Hey y’ all, it’s Landan! If you haven’t been following along with all of our blogs, here are three things for clarity that might make this blog post make a little more sense. 1. I did not get married at The Chandelier – but you totally should. 2. I work in the wedding industry and I’m super Type A. 3. I like to share alllll of the details I learned while planning my own wedding day so yours can be even better. I’m probably considered a chronic over-sharer by most people, but if even one bride gets value out of reading this, it’s worth it to me.
If I had to plan our wedding day all over again, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it would be a very different experience. Not only because I’d have more knowledge from actually planning a wedding, but also because I would take my favorite parts of the day and focus on those while eliminating the parts (and people) that weren’t my favorite. I can, without a doubt, say that it would be a completely different wedding.
Spoiler alert: it would definitely be at a different venue.
But, in all honesty, I said from the very beginning that I could have planned 5 totally different weddings that would still be true to who Kevin and I were as a couple. I narrowed in on the one that came the most naturally because that seemed like the most logical decision. It was a “traditional” wedding with a few twists thrown in to make it feel different from the dozens of weddings I’d attended and the hundreds of weddings I’d seen.
Second spoiler alert: it wasn’t all that different.
It was unique and special because it was our day, but it was nothing groundbreaking. And that’s okay.
Before I get too far into it, I want to say that I loved our day. I don’t regret the decisions that I made and on an individual level I wouldn’t change them because it would alter the overall experience. I say I would plan things differently now because I’ve been through it and know what moments we loved the most from our day, but I never could have foreseen that without going through it. But, even as I was in the middle of the planning process, I did have a major downfall that I kept encountering. I’d (optimistically) like to believe that it’s something I was experiencing because of my career and who I am as a person, but if I’m being realistic I think it’s more likely that it’s something that a lot of brides face.
I’ve eluded to it in numerous other posts, but I’m constantly telling you to plan a wedding that is completely, totally, uniquely yours because it’s something that I struggled with.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t making decisions that I was unhappy with, but I sometimes let preconceived notions of what our wedding was supposed to be like get into my head. I wanted to stay somewhat true to tradition, because I wanted it to feel timeless, but I wanted it to be “different.” I wanted to plan a wedding where people noticed all of the little details and thought I put into it, where my vendor team could post the photos on their instagram and get attention on them so their hard work could be shown off, where our guests would not only say how much fun they had at the wedding, but where strangers could look at videos or photos of it and get inspired for their own days.
I constantly looked at other weddings when planning my own. I looked at welcome signs and figured out how to make ours unique. I looked at the typical menus and spent three days writing a story that incorporated our menu so our guests could get some insight into why we chose the menu we chose. I looked at dozens of different grand exit ideas and finally chose a cool one, but didn’t even end up doing it due to weather. I chose purple because it was the color I always wanted incorporated in our day, then it became one of the most popular colors of the year for weddings and I saw it everywhere by the time our wedding happened. I went to 19 dress stores to try to find exactly what I was looking for – and I found it – but the two really unique details in it aren’t even recognizable in our wedding photos and videos. So, I pushed to have a unique wedding, because I thought that it was important, but when everything was all said and done it wasn’t actually all that different from all of the weddings I’ve seen.
We look at Pinterest and Instagram and the hundreds of different wedding magazine on the market and we take all those little pieces of inspiration to plan our own days, always thinking “but ours will be unique.” And it is different and unique to you, but not necessarily to the outside world.
There are so many beautiful weddings, truly. I’m not discounting how beautiful and unique every single one is. I just wish I would have entirely focused on my style and what I liked, not what was expected or what I thought might make a splash on Pinterest. Funnily enough, one of the things I was most passionate about including was my dad’s blue truck. I chose it entirely for me, yet it was one of the more “popular” elements from our wedding day. And, one of the things I almost eliminated because I thought it was “too popular/overdone” ended up being one of the most impactful emotional parts for me – the song I walked down the aisle to. Looking back, I’m disappointed in myself that I almost changed something I cared about just because I wanted to be different. I’m so thankful that I didn’t, but it also makes me realize how much I wanted to write this post because I don’t want you to feel alone if you are thinking these things too. You can get additional info on getting affordable spare parts for your truck.
I won’t say that the majority of my decisions were made because of what I thought was expected or even that I thought our wedding would become this huge inspirational wedding, but it is something that loomed in the back of my mind while planning. And it is definitely something I’ve caught myself doing post-wedding. It’s so easy to see weddings that came after yours and say “I wish I had done this” or “I should have changed that,” but that’s kind of how life always is. It’s just multiplied with weddings because it’s something you only get to do once and don’t get redos on.
Our photos might not go viral on Pinterest, but they do look incredible on the gallery wall in our home and they bring me a lot of joy there. Our vows might not be incorporated in a wedding video that’s been viewed a million times, but they will be watched hundreds of times by us. And our day may not get featured in a wedding magazine, but it will keep getting posted on my personal Instagram and looked at in our own wedding album.
Pinterest, Instagram, wedding blogs, open houses, wedding magazines, styled shoots, and bridal shows are great resources and a wonderful spot to find inspiration for your wedding day, but that’s all they should be. They should not be a place where you compare yourself or your day. They should not be measures of success or a goal to attain. Every single time I’ve had a doubt about our own wedding because of something else I’ve seen, months after our wedding was over, I like to remind myself that comparison is the thief of joy. No, our flowers may not have been the most over the top display that splashes the homepage of Instagram and our dance floor may not have been the most packed ever where people watch the video and think “wedding goals,” but it was filled with joy. I loved our flowers. I smile every time I see photos from our dance floor. Comparing our day to others does nothing except take away from the experience, and I enjoyed our day way too much to let my thoughts negatively impact it. It’s too meaningful to view it with comparisons in mind because there is nothing beneficial that comes out of that.
It’s pretty common to see influencers posting about how you shouldn’t compare yourselves to others. That you never know the circumstances fully and that Instagram isn’t always reality. It’s fully talked about and accepted with the fashion and beauty industry, people are constantly posting a photo of their clean home and then showing the mess just outside of the frame on their stories, and everyone posts photos of their kids when they’re smiling, not necessarily when they’re throwing a tantrum in the middle of the store. People talk about that. But, they don’t always talk about it in regards to weddings.
It’s not a fun wedding planning topic or something that we like to admit about ourselves. I’m sure someone, somewhere, is clutching their pearls and absolutely aghast that I’m putting these thoughts out there on the internet for you to read, but I want to address it because it’s the only way I know to help people who might be feeling how I felt. Wedding planning is supposed to be a fun process, but we’re constantly told it’s stressful. What I’ve started to realize is what makes it stressful is entirely different for every single person, depending on their own circumstances.
Maybe it’s stressful because you just hate planning things. Maybe it’s stressful because you’re watching your budget and trying to make cuts along the way. Maybe it’s stressful because of the people in your life that surround the process. Or, if you’re like me, maybe the stress comes from putting too much pressure on yourself.
The funny thing is, the solution is stupidly simple, regardless of what your stressor is.
Plan your wedding how you want to plan it, for you.
In hindsight, I’d plan our wedding entirely differently not because I have some really cool idea of how to make it different or because I think it would become one of the most influential weddings, but because I would be planning it just for us. I would take the things we loved – being with the people who celebrated with us all weekend, capturing those moments, being surrounded by blooms that I’ll never forget and my grandmother would have loved, and dancing all night long – and focus on those things. Will I always love the little details I put in? Heck yes. Do I have any regrets on doing them? Absolutely not. But, would I have reworked some things to still be able to incorporate all of those things yet shift the style of the weekend? Yup.
My biggest downfall in wedding planning was getting caught up. Caught up in wanting to be different. Caught up in wanting pictures that would look cool on Pinterest. Caught up in overanalyzing some details then just going with others because things happened so fast. Caught up in wanting it to be the perfect day.
I won’t tell you that you can just show up and not have put any planning into your wedding day, because it does have to be planned. But the planning isn’t what makes it perfect.
Stumbling over a line in your vows because you’re more focused on how you feel than saying it just right makes it perfect.
Realizing your food got cold because you were enjoying talking to everyone makes it perfect.
Spilling red wine on your dress because you’re having too much fun makes it perfect.
Loosing the penny on your shoe because it was so cold the glue froze makes it perfect. (Side note: I don’t know if that’s actually why it fell off. I’m going with it though.)
I could go on and on. I don’t know what will happen on your day, but I know that it will be so uniquely you and that is a wonderful thing, even if you don’t realize it quite yet. I sincerely hope more than anything that this blog post didn’t resonate with you. I hope you’re reading it and thinking that I’m crazy, that you aren’t feeling any stress in wedding planning and that you are already planning a wedding that is 100% for you.
But, if there’s even a little bit of you that is either 1. planning a wedding and making decisions based on what you *think* you’re expected to do or 2. looking back at your own wedding and having regrets now that Pinterest is popular and/or your frenemy from high school is posting her wedding photos on Insta, this is for you.
Your wedding is going to be (or already was) great.
I know it’s hard to not compare yourselves and your day, but stop. Think about the JOY from your day and focus on that. Your wedding day is all about you and your spouse, and kicking off the wonderful marriage you’re going to have. That’s what matters.