These Bridal Style columns may focus on all the fun aspects of planning your wedding, but today's post is a little more serious. As longtime readers know, the boy and I got engaged almost two years ago. I started planning our nuptials during the fall and winter. And then the boy hit a very bad case of burnout, forcing us to postpone the wedding to a to-be-determined date. Dealing with the emotional fallout from that was one of the most difficult things we've done as a couple, but if there's a silver lining, it's that the experience strengthened our bond and assured us that we have what it takes to make it in the long haul. We resumed the planning process in January and set a new wedding date for this September (yay!). But I haven't been as eager to document everything online because, to be honest, I haven't actually been that pre-occupied with wedding stuff.
One of the simplest yet most profound things we realized in couples counseling was that, with both of us having a multitude of commitments, we just weren't making time to be with each other. So that was what we worked on this past year: streamlining our lives to make room for more date nights, more do-nothing days, and more time to de-compress. Prioritizing "us" time has done us a world of good, and remains at the top of the list, even though we kicked off wedding planning this January.
Although we're planning, we're actively refusing to let the process take over our lives and trying to keep things simple. So far we've got the big things figured out, like the date (mid-September), the ceremony location (Stanley Park Rose Garden), and the reception venue (Chambar). The photographer (Stephen K. Lee), florist (Flower Factory), hair/makeup (Creme Bridal), and decor rentals are all lined up.
We hired Mandy Wong of The Sweetest Day as our day of coordinator because we wanted to enjoy the day rather than worrying about the details. I even have secret Pinterest boards to document and share the decisions we've already made, and to track hair and makeup ideas with my bridesmaids. The boy and I went suit shopping a couple weekends ago. And just the other day, as I finalized the invitations we'd ordered from Minted, I felt a twinge of excitement and accomplishment.
Part of the reason we're so low-key this time around might also be because our engagement was so long and we've already made quite a few decisions. But I hope that even when we're drawing closer to the big day and the list of last-minute errands grows, we'll be able to keep things relatively stress-free.
If I have one piece of advice for couples planning their weddings, it's this: Don't get so caught up in ticking things off to-do lists and sweating small details that you lose sight of each other. Make time to have dinner and date nights where you don't talk about anything wedding-related. Go for walks. Spend a day watching rugby. Re-do your patio and sit out there doing absolutely nothing at all. None of this serves the wedding, but all of it goes toward building your marriage.