Welcome back to Let’s Cut the Cake – our series on AJ and I’s journey planning our own wedding as a pair of wedding photographers! It’s called Let’s Cut the Cake because that’s what AJ and I will be doing on May 16th, 2020!! Can’t wait to have you all along on this crazy long, messy path that is actually planning a wedding.
Today, we’re gettin into some lessons we’ve learned and how this year has been.
So here we are, coming to the end of our second year being engaged, our first year-ish of really buckling down and wedding planning.
It has been everything that people say it is going to be and then some. I think we’re finally past the messy middle part and into the more concrete stage, for which I’m grateful!
We haven’t done a he said / she said blog post since we wrote about the story of us! But I always loved getting to pick AJ’s brain like this and seeing how we’re the same and how we’re different!
So here’s some things we’ve both learned along this messy wedding planning journey!
I am all about a slow burn and the idea that good things take time. Since AJ and I got engaged 7 years into our relationship (not after only 3 years, like I wanted back in college), I’ve really understood how you can’t rush into things.
This being about a year and ten months of us being fiances, I’m still a believer in taking your time. I’m so grateful that we have been able to live out this transition period to its fullest extent. I think it’s been so important for us and for our relationship.
As for me personally – wedding planning has been a roller coaster for me in every sense of the word.
My emotions (let’s address those first because they take up like all of my brain space) towards the wedding have been all over the place.
I’ve been scared, excited, apprehensive, anxious, grateful, overwhelmed, overflowing with love, excited to the point of anxiety (WHY), hopeful, tearful, scared again. I’m still figuring out how to deal with all of this.
I put myself in a bit of a pickle. I am trying to avoid being that girl who only talks about her wedding and herself so much that you avoid that girl til it’s over.
And I want so badly to not be that girl that I find myself changing the subject when people bring it up…!?!
Seriously what is up with that!? Why am I the way that I am…I think I sent people mixed signals at first by being so weird about it. Like I had friends who would repeatedly say they knew I didn’t want attention or a big thing and I had to be like wait, I’m shooting myself in the foot – yes please I do want every aspect of being a bride!!!
What I’ve learned:
I’ve learned three major things that I often have to keep reminding myself.
I have learned that it is IMPERATIVE to delegate, and you should absolutely not shy away from it.
I’m someone who has like basically no authority and I’m always afraid of asking too much or being a bother to people. Even people like, my friends, family – ya know the ones who would never think of me that way!
But your loved ones (even those people you think would not have time or care that much!) really want to be involved. But they won’t know how or if they should (see, they’re also worried about encroaching just like you!) until you tell them.
So I’m learning more and more to speak up and let people help me celebrate this! Because it’s what we all want 🙂
I’ve learned that I don’t want this to feel like my wedding at all. I want it to be ours.
Earlier this year I was having a mental block. I couldn’t even picture what I wanted or what I was expecting. I would try to envision something – and at first I thought I would just see other people’s weddings because it would be easy for my brain. But literally I would just picture the big room in Sunset Ranch just empty.
I talk way more about this in this post, so I won’t repeat myself. The gist is that I learned I need to go through this side by side with AJ, just like I do all parts of life!
I have learned that it’s okay to be more fearful and unsure about planning than excited.
I think that is not the norm, that most brides are expected to be thinking about this since they were little and just be ecstatic and nothing else.
But I think it’s okay to be overwhelmed and feel the weight of the pressure. Not acknowledging it or thinking there’s something wrong with you (hi, me) is what’s not okay. If pretend it’s not there, you can’t move out from under it.
Being more apprehensive than excited does not have anything to do with the part that really matters: the marriage. It doesn’t mean you’re scared of the future, or worse, scared of the marriage ahead of you!
From a guy’s perspective specifically, wedding planning is hard and intimidating.
It’s forced me to come face to face with things that I’ve never thought about in my life, and that’s a scary sentiment. How do I know what I like? How do I know what will look good, or play well, or be well received by my friends and family, since this will inevitably be remembered as a milestone in our relationship by everyone in our life?
I view Holly and I’s relationship as being remarkably strong and communicative; we both know each other, and our opinions, likes and dislikes, intimately. But it’s tough to formulate opinions on things that you’ve never seen or come into contact with. All that to say, it’s scary stuff.
I think my biggest personal takeaway from the year is that I wish that I’d had done more of my own personal research with the small things. Instead, most every option or decision that I experienced was curated – in part by Holly, and our wonderful planner Ashley – but I didn’t prioritize taking the time to know what I thought outside of that bubble.
Fortunately, Holly and I have extremely similar taste, and she and Ashley have had some truly incredible ideas that are driving our wedding towards something fun, unique, tasteful, and above all, a reflection of the growth of our relationship.
But, at six months left (almost to the day!), that’s a great problem to have.
I’m so grateful that we decided to have a long engagement – starting with relaxing/basking in engaged life for the first six months, a walk-to-run planning schedule for 2019, and kicking into high gear when 2020 starts. This means that I can be aware of my own personal shortcomings and still have tons of time to get involved and make a new impact.
My biggest piece of advice to a groom marrying the love of his life; don’t be afraid to get involved on your own time. It’s almost a trope to trust that the wedding is a bride’s day – that she, her family, and a planner/coordinator will run the show – but I care about this day because I care about our relationship, and her, and I wish that I’d been doing more this whole time to interject personal, thoughtful, reasoned opinions throughout the process.
I’m really looking forward to 2020 because I’m excited to come to the table with my own ideas and be confident in my participation. And if my ideas are terrible, and I fall on my face? I know Holly will still love me, and I know it’s still going to be an amazing day.
So what am I most looking forward to in the new year? (Cue the music) All the. Small things.
We’ve worked hard to select vendors that we feel passionate about and confident in that will shape the larger framework of our day, but I’ve been amazed to find how many little things sit in between those larger bullet points. And I’ve learned from the 25+ weddings we shot since getting engaged, those things really influence a day.
I want our day to be the best day ever from start to finish, and I fully understand now how absolutely critical every teeeeny tiny little detail is; we have some specific pieces that I’m really excited about (extremely my aesthetic, stay tuned), but I can’t wait to spend the first few months of the new year diving into every little thing that a guest would touch that makes them feel like this is our wedding. Because it is – and it’s going to freaking rock.
Next week I’m going to talk about all the things we have next up that I’m excited about!! Stay tuned for that! Here’s more about our wedding planning:
Why we chose a long engagement (more on that slow burn)