We're going on nearly five years of being married (ten years together) and yet I still love looking back on how fun it was planning our wedding. G and I had a long engagement, which helped me approach most things with a sense of calm enthusiasm, but we certainly had our fair share of stressful moments. I'm consistently asked what my top pieces of advice are for people in the midst of wedding planning, and I always come back to the same three things. In the hope of helping brides-to-be, I thought I'd share those with you today.
Serve your meal family-style. If your wedding includes a meal, I'd highly recommend serving it family-style. We had large dishes of food placed on and around the tables so that people could serve themselves. It created such a warm, friendly atmosphere that encouraged people to share and talk instead of simply queuing up in a long buffet line, which feels a little like a chore. Plus, it also meant that our guests could decide exactly what they wanted to eat instead of having pre-plated portions placed in front of them.
Write your own vows. Our ceremony was short and sweet, but the one thing that truly set it apart and made it feel really personal was that we wrote our own vows. It was perhaps the single most intimidating thing I've ever written, but I felt so proud sharing the things I loved most about G and my promises to him as his wife. It allowed G to show a kind of rare vulnerability and when he got choked up, it was the thing people said moved them most about our wedding.
Really embrace the fun parts of wedding planning. There are plenty of not-so-glamorous parts of planning a wedding, including budgeting, whittling down guest lists, and the inevitable arguments that arise between family members. So when there are fun decisions to be made, lean into them. I was positively giddy the day G and I went to sample cakes and still cherish the day I spent with my cousin in New York when I found my wedding dress. G and I took dance classes from a cowboy-boot-clad instructor and my dad made us an entire album of potential songs we could choose as our father-daughter dance. Some of those parts of the planning process turned out to be just as memorable as the day itself, so let yourself enjoy the act of being engaged and suspend the stress whenever you can.
Photographs by Max Wanger.