Congratulations! YOU’RE ENGAGED and on your way to planning the wedding you’ve been dreaming of since you were a little girl. You have so many things to look forward to like dress shopping, picking your venue & church, selecting a photographer, picking your flowers – the list goes on. All of which can be stressful and overwhelming – I know. But if you don’t know where to start, here’s a few tips on how to start!
Take time to enjoy your engagement. Spend some time with your fiancé and celebrate this special time in your lives. When you’re ready – use these six tips to get you going and motivated in planning your dream wedding, stress free.
- #1 – Follow your heart
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” -Steve Jobs
“Follow your heart” is something we hear all the time and can be easier said than done, but it stands so true especially when planning your wedding. Often times our decisions are made based off of what others might suggest or think is best for us and because of this we unknowingly don’t take the time to really consider what it is that we want in that moment. When you’re struggling with making a decision ask yourself “Does this decision sound right or feel right?” Take your time and make the decision when you’re ready.
Here’s my example: it’s time to ask your best girlfriends to stand by your side as you marry the man of your dreams. For some, this is a piece of cake and for others not so much. It seems impossible to have to choose between your siblings, cousins, childhood friends, your high school BFFs and people you’ve met along the way, but the reality is you can’t choose everyone and that’s okay. Don’t choose out of obligation. Base your decision off of who you’re closest to and not who you feel etiquette requires you to ask. There are millions of ways to have those you love participate in your wedding without having them specifically a part of your bridal party. Assigning special roles like having them read one of the readings during mass, or being an usher, or inviting them along to your bachelorette party, even designating one particular friend as your go-to when you need advice/suggestions. There are so many ways to get creative and be inclusive of everyone on your special day – try it! This will set your heart and mind at ease knowing that everyone you love so dearly is sharing your special day with you right by your side.
Remind yourself that this is YOUR day and ultimately everyone will understand the decisions you’re making. Do what makes YOU happy and if that means changing things up a bit DO IT. **In my case, I had 2 Maids of Honor because I couldn’t imagine it without either of them by my side. And who’s to say I couldn’t? It’s what I knew I wanted and something I truly felt was right for me. I chose to listen to my heart and act on it. My decision was not traditional or the norm, but it was unique and special to what defines me and the friendships I possess with each of my MOHs.** Following your heart and its desires will ultimately save yourself the stress and make you happy at the end of the day – and that’s what matters most.
- #2 – Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
This was a tough one for me because I’m typically that girl that likes to be in control and not make people go out of their way for me. But I knew I wanted to make my once in a life time experience of planning my wedding one I could look back on and remember all the fun I had – not stress I was under. As brides you have a lot on your plate, so if there’s things you can let go of I highly recommend doing so. You’d be surprised how many people are actually willing and would love to help you. Your friends and family are just as excited for you – lean on them when you need them.
In my case, the people I leaned on most were my trusty Maid of Honors and Mom. My Maids of Honor were my go-to for all things bridesmaids. Any information that needed to be communicated to the girls like fittings, makeup & hair appointments, bachelorette party plans – anything, you name it – all communication was handled by them. They even split the tasks amongst each other! It worked out great. Letting go of something so small yet something so important was one of the best things I could have done for myself. It was one less thing I had to do which can help more than you realize.
And as for my mom, she helped keep things in perspective. She always knew just what to say when I was in a panic and somehow always took the time to validate my feelings & come up with a solution almost instantly. She consistently reminded me of how beautiful and special our wedding day would be and constantly reminded me of all the progress we’d made. Find your people – you’ll need them.
- #3 – Act with Purpose
“Ask Jesus what he wants from you and be brave.” – Pope Francis
When Alvaro (my husband) and I got to planning the Eucharistic Celebration for our wedding, we both knew and recognized that this, over everything was the most important part of the entire day. This is what counted, this was where we would receive the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, this was where our lives as husband and wife would begin. We knew how special and important this hour of our lives would be and we wanted it to be special and meaningful in every way possible. I knew I wanted every decision we were going to make to hold purpose behind every detail because after all God is what brought us together – literally meeting the Summer of 2010 at a Teen ACTS retreat.
When selecting the church you will marry in, ask yourself – why here? Why this church? Am I choosing this church because it will photograph nicely? Am I choosing this church because it’s around the corner of my venue? Or are we choosing this church because it holds a special place in our hearts? Have I or my fiancé encountered Christ here? **Mind you, not every couple will relate (destination weddings) and each have had different journeys in their relationships.** And if that’s the case, take the time to create new memories within the church. Pray, worship, volunteer, or give back to the parish community – do anything to make this Parish yours as a couple. Spend time there. Pray about it and give yourself the time to allow God to make the decision for you. He will lead you and let you know it’s right. Nourish and continue the relationship with the Parish even after you’re married, because after all this is where your story begins. Right inside those walls, in front of God, is where you two will become one.
Picking your readings – We were given a book from our Pastor titled “Together For Life by Joseph M. Chaplin“ that provided us with many choices of scripture readings, the different forms of the vows, and the various prayers and blessings that are a part of the wedding celebration. This book gathers all the choices together in a clear and simple format and creates an easy way for couples to let their priest know what their preferences are.
Here’s how we used the book: Alvaro and I decided to make it a Bible Study night so we sat down with each a copy in hand & read it silently to ourselves – cover to cover. We were interested to see if the readings that spoke to us would be the same or different. So we agreed to note which ones we liked/held significance in the moment and why. Once we were done we compared notes. He would explain why he liked the particular readings he chose and what stuck with him – I shared the same. This gave us the opportunity to fully understand and discuss what the meanings behind each reading were – if there was something we didn’t understand we’d look it up. We found it so interesting to see how even if we chose the same reading, we’d have totally different perspectives on them. Alvaro would have a particular reason why Genesis 2:18-24 meant something to him and my reasoning would be completely different. Each reading we chose meant something and had a different message for the both of us. Don’t stop until you find what speaks to you. Connect with God’s word and allow Him to speak to you & enter your heart. Then the next time you hear those readings you’ll be sitting up on that altar and you’ll look back and remember the beautiful conversation you had with your fiancé and Christ during that impromptu Bible Study and remember how it all came to be.
If you’re in need of a Catholic Wedding Program template here’s the one Alvaro and I used: Wedding Program Template-4
- #4 – Be organized
Of course we all know that organization eliminates the likelihood of anything going wrong so this is definitely a wedding essential when trying to keep stress to a minimum. In today’s world of technology there are so many things out there that can help organize you in the best way possible when planning your wedding. Here are some ideas and things I used personally:
- www.postable.com – Here’s how it works – they give you a link, you send out the link to all your friends and family, and your guests instantly will be directed to a page where they can add their mailing info. And there you go your address book fills up! It’s the best and easiest way to organize and gather all your guests information while keeping it all in one place.
- The Knot Guest Manager App & Website – We used The Knots Guest List Manager to help manage RSVPs. This is an easy way to eliminate your traditional mail in RSVP cards that can get lost in the mail or never get sent back. Your guests will be able to RSVP simply by visiting the link you provide and immediately RSVP electronically. We decided to offer both mail-in RSVP cards and electronic RSVPs and found that most of our guests preferred sending in their RSVP electronically. It also keeps your guest list easily accessible and the likelihood of you misplacing the cards or deleting your guest list file is slim to none.
- Aisle Planner – We used Aisle Planner for keeping us organized and it was a lifesaver! From checklists and timelines to guest lists and budgets, Aisle Planner lets you manage every detail for your wedding, all in one place.
- Wedding Wire App & The Knot Wedding Planner App– Both are great apps that help keep you organized and on track of what you should be doing within your current time frame. Great wedding planners to keep in your purse/back pocket!
- #5 – Never Look Back
We all change our minds no matter what the situation may be, but when it comes to your special day try making a decision and sticking to it. This saved me so much time and energy in the long run. For example, Pinterest these days has become our go-to for anything and everything. Especially wedding inspiration – so if you’re pinning away take the time to look back through all your pins for similarities. You’ll find patterns that can help guide you to making a decision for things like a color pallet, floral design, invitation ideas whatever it may be you’ll notice common trends. (That’s actually how I chose our color pallet after I saw how many pins had maroon and gold in them lol.) After you’ve made a decision on a particular item, stop looking for inspiration in that specific category. Clear your search bar and keep it moving. Move on to the next item on your list and never look back. You’ll go nuts second-guessing every little thing.
**Remember that no wedding is the same or should be the same. Pinterest is not always real so when you find yourself comparing your wedding to others tell yourself “there are no shoulds” – like you have to have a color pallete that corresponds with the season or time of year or you absolutely need to have a midnight snack for all your guests at the reception. YOU DO YOU. This is all just stuff, and your wedding will be just as beautiful & special with or without it. What’s important is that your wedding represents you and that love you share as a couple.**
- #6 – Enjoy every moment
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2.
Lastly, HAVE FUN! This is an absolute must. In order to not be stressed, don’t see it as a stressful situation. Remind yourself of all the progress you’ve made and remain positive. Remember that planning your wedding should be enjoyable so when you find yourself stressing or worrying too much about something in particular, take a break and come back to it. Go at your own pace and enjoy it. And if something goes wrong – that’s okay, your guests won’t know otherwise. Remember to laugh and not take things so seriously, have fun with it and stay true to who you are as a couple. These memories will last a lifetime and will be stories you’ll tell your children one day. Be honest and upfront 100% of the time and you’ll find that the process and experience will run that much smoother. Before you know it you’ll be walking down the aisle saying I do!
& there you have it! I hope the tips I’ve shared with you can help in some way and make your wedding planning experience one you can enjoy. Know that I am praying for you and only wish you nothing but blessings, love, and laughter on your special day. I wish you all the best as you begin your new lives together as husband and wife. May God’s love be the bond that holds your marriage together.
Happy Wedding Planning!:)
It gives me great joy that one of my best and closet friends agreed to write a guest blog for us this week!! I know that I have so many girl friends who are recently engaged or planning a wedding! I was blessed to have the opportunity to take part in Laura’s wedding as a bridesmaid, and I will tell you – I have never been surrounded by so much LOVE. I know you guys will find all her tips helpful – from the logistics of wedding planning to keeping God right in the center of it! Laura is one of the sweetest, most thoughtful, and kindest persons I know. With great pleasure I am happy to have shared with you her tips on one of the most beautiful days in her life! Below is a little more about this wonderful beautiful gal! 💖
About The Author
- Laura is 25-years-old, a wife, dog mom, and Bachelor/Bachelorette SuperFan,
- Favorite flower: Peonies
- Hobbies: Baking & Binge watching TV shows
- Role Model(s): My Mom
- If you could be the patron saint of anything, what would it be? For sure I would be the Patron Saint of Reality TV Connoisseurs
- Favorite bible verse? Phillipians 4:13
- Favorite Prayer: