Being a bride AND a wedding planner
a quick how-to from someone still figuring it out herself
Step 1: Get yourself a wedding planner
I’m constantly asked “Well, you’re a wedding planner so you’re obviously planning your own wedding, right?” Wrong. When you’re a hairdresser, you don’t HAVE to cut your own hair. You can, and you might want to sometimes, but it’s okay and, frankly, recommended to get by with a little help from your friends. I know the endless ways that I help my clients through their wedding planning process and it’s okay to want to sit back and experience the magic yourself. One could argue it will make you a better wedding planner.
Step 2: Trust the system
Trusting the system kind of feels like looking at your wedding through one-sided glass. Sometimes I just want to pick up the phone and get an answer knowing full well that if the answer were available I’d have it already. That’s when you have to just trust the system. It’s so easy to feel like your wedding is the be-all, end-all when, in fact, everything will go a lot smoother if that sense of urgency is reduced. The answers will come in due time.
Step 3: Learn to let go
Let other people plan things for you, they want to. Your family and friends will want to plan you parties and showers and celebratory dinners and they will do a fantastic job. They are probably just as excited as you are for all of the wedding festivities and they want to make you feel like royalty. Giving them a little guidance (like saying “hey, it might be fun to put out photos of us” as a suggestion) is okay, but you need to let them do their job, their way. Stop micromanaging.
Skipping this step can create a sense of separation. Going back to what I said in step 2, this period of time is so much fun for both of you. Acting as the planner will take your attention away from the enjoyment of the festivities and make your fiance feel like he or she is going through the process without you and that’s certainly no fun. Enjoy everything together.
Step 4: RESTRICT THE WEDDING TALK!
This is the hardest part of the whole process for me because I talk about weddings day in and day out. Discussions about your wedding should be enjoyable, not taxing, and feeling tired of it all and can be really discouraging. Remember that your relationship began before all of this wedding talk. There is a separate connection under that pile of wedding talk and it’s important to remember why you’re going through this in the first place. Go on a date. Take time to remember what you both have in common, how you make each other laugh. Don’t ever let your wedding planning extinguish your spark.
Step 5: Embrace your knowledge
As a wedding planner, I’ve worked with a number of different vendors and am fortunate enough to have seen their work in action. This is the incredibly resourceful part of being a wedding planner before being a bride. A long interview process is unnecessary when I know in my heart who I want on my vendor team. Skipping those steps (while still making informed decisions, of course) frees up a lot of weeknights and prevents a lot of stress.
It’s not weird to work with your friends. It might seem like a conflict of interest, but when I think about my wedding day I know how happy I’ll be when the faces I see setting up my day are the faces of people that I adore. Vendor teams are all about relationships and knowing that my A-team is composed of people with whom I can also grab a drink, swap stories, and laugh until we cry, makes me the happiest bride in the world.
It’s never easy for someone as type-A as I am to relinquish control, but I’ve found that being both a bride is an exceptionally helpful learning experience that helps me mold my practices as a wedding planner. Some could argue being a wedding planner might “ruin” the magic of being a bride but I don’t agree. I think being a planner has taught me to be a respectful bride, and has shown me the value in patience and self control. Each bride experiences her engagement in her own way and I’m beyond thankful for the process I’ve had so far with my team.
All images by Cecile Davis Films.