Friday, November 2, 2012

A Practical Wedding

A Practical Wedding - by Meg Keene
Buy the book here

Meg's goal for this wonderful book is for you to have more realistic knowledge of what goes into planning a wedding from start to finish and everything in between. I highly recommend you buy this book BEFORE you start wedding planning and maybe even before you get engaged if you think you're going to get married. I'm highlighting a lot, but there is still much much more great information for you to read in her book. My comments are in italics.
The Six Stages of Wedding Planning 
(read in full in the book)
1. Euphoria - Yippie!!
2. Discovery - Pretttty!
3. Panic - How the hell?
4. Outrage and Depression - "What the EFF!?"
5. Rebellion - EFF it!
6. Zen - It is what it is!

In the beginning......... 
The bridal bouquet tradition emerged around the turn of the 20th century, before that women held prayer books or a handkerchief. White wedding dresses became popular in the early mid 20th century thanks to a serious marketing effort. In 1950s it became popular to have the catered wedding reception. The Unity candle was invented in the 1970s as part of a soap opera script.

Learn to say yes to what makes you happy, and a kind but firm NO to things that are wrong for you.


Learning to stand up to people graciously. When people push you around, inform them of what you're doing and why. Your wedding is YOUR business. 

Questions to ask before you get married.... Faith, Money, Goals, Family, Location, Sex, Responsibilities, Fighting, Skeletons in the closet, End of life care. She has a huge list of very important things to discuss with your partner at some point during your relationship. You DON'T have to sit down and answer all these at once, but should make it a point to talk about them. I also did a post on another book "Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married" by Gary Chapman read here
You Need Help!
You need someone to pat you on your back for 20min. while you cry and then take you out to lunch and make you laugh.

Some people love to organize things. Find your friend, (i.e. this had been me) who is super organized and secretly loves running things and delegate to her/him, make her/him your "stage manager". 

Or hire a wedding planner!!!! 

Guest List - Make a list of everyone and start the ones who you both love and who must be there, then work backwards till you have a number. The trick is to figure out how many people you want around you on your wedding day, and then figure out how many you can afford.

You can send save-the-dates up to a year in advance, or you can skip them altogether and just call people. 

Dealing with children and plus one - The people invited are the people who's names are written on the envelope. So if you're not inviting children, you don't put the children's name on the envelope. Or don't write "and family". If you are not inviting plus ones, the same rules apply. Unfortunately you still will probably have to follow up with them and firmly but politely say "While we're delighted that you'd like to bring your child/boyfriend/girlfriend, I'm afraid we can only accommodate you at our wedding."

Talking about the price of the wedding
Make sure that before you get into the money discussion you let everyone know money does not buy influence and that everyone is in this project together! Also make sure your parents or whom ever offers to pay can actually afford to give you what they plan to contribute!

Talking with the parents, "We think the price of our wedding could be between $10K - $25K, depending on the location and the total guest count. Let's talk about what your preferences are, and then you can think about how much and if you'd like to contribute financially."

The even split - Bride's parents 25%, Groom's parents 25%, Bride 25% and Groom 25%
Based on interest split - It may be that there is a certain part of the wedding that is more sentimental or means more to your parents and they can pay for that part, like food or the dress.
According to ability - give according to what they've got, if your husband's parents are well off and your parents are struggling, $5K may be as meaningful as $50K. Make sure to keep each person's contribution private. All you have to say is "so and so gave a meaningful amount" that's all anyone needs to know.
Paying on your own - the advantage to paying for a wedding on your own is clear since you get to outvote pushy family members. But there is a catch: your family might not be helping you pay, but they may really want to be involved in your wedding.

Photography - Here's a little secret: a good photographer can make any wedding look amazing. A bad photographer can make the world's most expensive wedding look like a hot mess. If you want to remember your wedding day and have beautifully crafted images then choose your photographer carefully. 
Traci Arney Photography

To DIY or Not to DIY - That is the question
DIYing a million projects for your wedding can be a huge pain in the ass and a demanding addition to an already stressful event. DIYing elements of your wedding can be also rewarding, if undertaken in moderation.

DIY doesn't always save money if you are spending tons of money on supplies and flounder around messing it all up. 

The minute DIYing is making you insane, put down what you're working on and step back and take a break, reevaluate, hand it off to someone else, or just forget about it!

Some DIY projects say that they are made by hand, but really you need a team of professionals to make that "simple" project. 

It's really important to understand that crafts made by amateurs may look like that, amateurs!

Meg likes the term DIT - Do It Together, rather then DIY - Do It Yourself. 

Be honest with yourself. Not all families are the type that rally together to throw a wedding by hand, and it's not always worth forcing the issue. There are times when you have to own up to the fact that your family is not crafty or just does not want to do hard work to make your wedding happen. Allow your loved ones to show their support in ways that make sense to them. DIY won't save the world, and it won't save your wedding. So focus on saving your sanity instead! 

Words of Wisdom
Stop trying to force your wedding into the box of How Everyone Else Does It, and just let it be what it is.

Make sure the "but we deserve it" line of thinking isn't sneaking into big-ticket items and making you go way OVER BUDGET.

If you can't afford something, you find a way around, or you do without.

It's better to do a few things well than to do a lot of things poorly!

Wedding planning can cause a lot more family stress than we imagine. 

The truth is, for most of us, families are loving, messy, complicated creatures. For many families, wedding planning looks nothing like it does in movies. It involves a lot hugs and smiles, but also a fair number of arguments and tears. This is normal!

Planning a wedding can be difficult especially if you tend to be a perfectionist who has extreme tendencies toward anxiety and hates nothing more to being wrong. 

Remember each choice your make gets you a step closer to getting married.

In the end, your wedding is not just one day, it's the accumulation of all the moments that went into creating it. Enjoy the time you spend making your wedding happen with people you love. It will be sweaty, tiring, and little bit stressful, but magical.

Hopefully, you've picked a good partner to marry, and the rest of your choices will become just details.

Don't be afraid to fight and cry, and don't be afraid to say NO when you really need to. Think of it as practice for the rest of your lives together when dealing with family members on both sides.

Planning your wedding with your partner is great since you'll need these skills later in life for doing things like caring for a sick parent, having kids, renovating a house, or moving across the country.

Sometimes the idea of marriage gets lost under the modern idea that when you already live together, not much is going to change after getting married. Sometimes it's a panic that pulls us back to reality: getting married is a HUGE commitment, and not one to be taken lightly.

Though it seems terrifying and expensive to call off a wedding, it is infinitely worse to call off a marriage! The people who loved you before you were a bride-to-be will still love you once you call off your wedding. 

Getting married does NOT equal happiness.

Wedding Realization - Marriage isn't for forever, it is for today. Look around at your life and your relationship and figure out how it is doing NOW. If it's good, it's good. If it's not, take actions to fix it. But there is nothing that can be done about 30 years from now, other than to take care of each other in this moment.

Stay grounded, and focus on why you love your partner enough to make this huge commitment.

Weddings are about hope.

On days it seems to hard to go on, too hard to pick out flowers, remember the why of weddings.

Weddings allow us to celebrate who we love with the people we love.

The hardest part of wedding planning is often the conflict btwn what we hoped would be, and what is.

The ceremony is the core, don't overlook it and it's importance.

You should feel different walking down the aisle than you felt walking up.

There is a whole wedding marketing machine set up to sell you the "perfect" wedding, but the reality is, things are going to go wrong on your wedding day. That's fine. It's the imperfections that make the day yours. Perfect weddings don't exist!

It's really, really hard to ruin a wedding. Little things may go wrong, but you can choose to not let it matter. Although BIG things could go wrong. The key is rolling with what happens, letting go, and appreciate the reality of the moment, and have a back up rain plan!

If you're marrying a partner who makes you deeply happy, the wedding just becomes the party to kick off the rest of your life.

Also remember that the wedding day isn't the all important be all - your marriage is.

The wedding marks the beginning of married life; it is the announcement of the start of something great.

Your wedding is a major life event.

Remember what your wedding is: a celebration!

When marriage goes right, it allows us to be stronger people together than we would be apart. 

Now What!?
You've spent a lot of time planning this wedding and gone thru and emotional roller coaster of highs and lows, at some point you're going to crash. The wedding is over; your life has changed; you are coming back to reality. Some crying is normal. You may wonder, now what? Or you may feel like you have postwedding freedom and glad your wedding is over. Make sure to take some time off together and think about what just happened. Savor being a brand new family.

My Engagement Weekend 2009 
Amelia Island, FL
Love you Christopher ~ Layla

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