Lessons from Wedding Planning

Well, since I have officially freed up all my brain space from teaching, I have given it over to wedding planning. I get married in twenty-five days, which is not that many days! I am knee deep in gold lamé (more on that later) and RSVP’s and schedules and details and coordinating and all the things that come with weddings. I’m equally having a blast and glad I only do this once.

So, in no particular order, here are some things I’ve learned from this whole wedding planning process.

  1. Lace knitting takes longer than I thought. I knew this project was going to take a really long time, which is why I started it at the beginning of February. But edging takes FOREVER! It will get done, never fear, but I had to make myself a schedule of how many rows I need to do each day to get there.
  2. I didn’t need to know every detail before I asked people to help me. I think this came equally from my sometimes-rampant perfectionism and the fact that I’m normally giving directions to fourteen-year-olds, but one of the best things I learned was that I could give the people around me a vague idea of the direction I wanted to go and they are doing an awesome job making it happen. This was true of my caterer; I said taco bar, with lots of options so everyone can manage their own food needs, and he returned a proposal that made me wish for his taco bar every day. This was true of my florist; I showed her three photos and told her what I liked and didn’t like (and we bemoaned the prevalence of Pinterest and Instagram together), and she shooed me out the door and told me she’d make it beautiful. I could go on for a long time here, which leads me to…
  3. The best thing I did was surround myself with awesome people. I deeply respect the professionals I get to work with; they communicate well, they listen to my ideas and provide their expertise, and I am just in general so very lucky. But more important are the people who aren’t professionals and have to put up with me anyway! That would be my family and my friends. They are making things, calling people, organizing to travel halfway across the country, listening to me yammer on about stuff I know they don’t care much about…you people rock.
  4. My parents and my in-laws-to-be are wonderful. I’ve heard drama stories about wedding planning from my friends, up to and including in-laws sending out extra invitations to people they thought should be invited. Yikes. This has not been my story. I’ve had no drama. None. And, the best part? I don’t anticipate any in the next three weeks. Again, I’m wildly lucky.
  5. People love to be included. One of Jonathan’s friends is going to be our DJ, we’ve asked family and mentors to give us blessings as part of our ceremony, and everyone wants to share advice. In fact, in making decisions, my current favorite strategy is to talk it through with Jonathan, get advice from lots of people, and then Jonathan and I make our decision (or I made a decision, if it’s a quick one). Then no one is surprised and people understand our thinking. In general, it works out much better this way.
  6. I surprised myself. I was way more excited about wedding dress shopping than I thought I would be, and I love my dress in a giggly girly way that I haven’t felt since I was probably eight or nine. Is this actually important for making the important promise? No. Am I really excited about it anyway? Yes. I was initially stuck between the narrative of “it’s your wedding, go big!” and “you’re going to wear it once, don’t be wasteful and buy into the mainstream culture!” and I actually had to do a bit of soul-searching to decide what I really wanted. And then I ended up not getting the kind of dress I thought I would anyway!
  7. My friends traveled from almost every single US time zone to have a bachelorette party for me. I’m overwhelmed every time I think about it by how much they love me.  Read more here. On this note, I’ve been reaching out to people I don’t talk to as much as I used to or as much as want to. I have an incredible community around me, and this has been a great opportunity for me to reflect on that.
  8. It seemed really far away until all of a sudden it didn’t anymore. For the vast majority of the school year, my wedding felt ages away. One of the front office ladies is due on the same day I am, and so we would joke about how many days we had until our lives changed forever. All of a sudden, one day she told me it was forty days and for some reason that hit me. And then it felt really close! Time is weird.
  9. Lamé is obnoxious fabric and I remember how to sew! I’m not making anything complicated here – I’m just hemming gold squares to put at the center of tables. But as I cut and pinned and sewed, my hands remembered how to fold and pin the hem, how to thread my machine, how to press the hem with a press cloth, how to pull the pins as I sew. It reminded me of all the wonderful afternoons I spent sewing a quilt with my granny. Lamé ravels like crazy, which is the annoying part, but I fixed that with a bit of FrayCheck.
  10. Whenever things got at all stressful, I remind myself of the three things I decided was important at the beginning: the promise Jonathan and I are making, that as many of our favorite people as possible are there, and that I should probably feed them all (and me, I get sad when I’m hungry). There have been other things that I’ve cared about, for sure! My dress, as I mentioned. And photos – that’s the thing I get to keep. And there are a million logistics to keep the day run smoothly and I want people to be comfortable…but it all goes back to those three things. I know something is going to go wrong. Welcome to any big plan ever. But so long as I get to make that promise to Jonathan and there’s some food, it’s going to be wonderful.

The bonus lesson is that I don’t ever want to be a wedding planner. Once is great. But after this, I think I’m done.

I think this is going to be a theme for the next two months, but I am just so incredibly grateful to everyone in my life. People from all parts of my life have helped out, listened, or shared ideas or well wishes. If you know me, you’ve helped me in some way. Thank you.

Your homework: Who are the people who are meaningful to you who you don’t talk to very often. Reach out and say hi!

Hej då,

Jamie

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