I'm Joelle, an international Lifestyle and Wedding Photographer based in St. Joseph, MI. I'm also an educator and Photo Editor for photographers interested in growing their business and living life more.
Photo by: Nicole Balsamo Photography
Whenever I tell someone I am planning a wedding, they exchange congratulatory comments then immediately start asking how all the planning is going. Sometimes it feels like I’m reading off a rap sheet of items that need to be crossed off. By the time I’m done going through the list of done and not done, I’m exhausted and feeling anxious about all that we have left to plan! Don’t get me wrong, I could not be more excited to marry my fiancé, but planning a wedding can be stressful, hectic and overwhelming. In all honesty, the only thing keeping me from losing my cool is including my partner as much as possible.
If you are recently engaged or soon to be, one piece of advice I have for you as you plan your big day: Remember it is a day about both you and your partner. As little girls we are conditioned to grow up dreaming of our wedding day. Society caters all things wedding to the bride and often the groom gets overshadowed. But there would be no big day without your partner – don’t forget that!
Remember as you are planning your wedding that this season of engagement should also be used to prepare you for marriage. You and your fiancé will be joining lives together: learning to combine values, compromise, complement one another’s tastes, and care for one another. Use your engagement to start your marriage off in the strongest way possible. Because my fiancé and I will be faced with countless decisions we have to make as a couple, we have approached our wedding planning as a team. At times, it may be difficult to put my childhood wedding fantasies a side and allow my partner’s opinion to take precedent. But, including my fiancé in wedding planning has actually been a huge a stress reliever for me, making this process fun and less daunting! Here’s how I include my guy in the planning of our big day!
This step seems straight forward, but for some it can be harder than it looks. The list of wedding to-dos is endless. Between vendors to contact, contracts to finalize, and cake flavors to decide your head will be spinning. This is where your fiancé can help (if you let him)! Give your guy a task off of that never ending list, and let him tackle it. It may be hard to let go off the responsibility, but trust that your guy knows your priorities for this day and can handle the task at hand.
My mister has been a trooper at reaching out to DJs, florists, and travel agents for our big day. With him handling these to-dos and facilitating that communication, I am freed up to focus on other things, and man…IT FEELS GREAT! There are times when I need to lean on him. There are things he is better at than I. That’s the beauty of a relationship and it’s what makes us a team. Start a foundation for teamwork now and let your fiancé have a whack at some of those to-dos!
This might seem like a no brainer, but I learned early on to make this process a team effort. Just like in your marriage, you will want to come to decisions together. Wedding planning is the perfect place to start practicing! You will be faced with so many decisions to make (big and small), from napkin colors to venue decisions. Even if something seems small, like the font of our wedding website, I ask his opinion because he is the other piece of this puzzle. Together we are joining our lives, which includes our different styles, opinions, tastes and so on. Yes, we won’t see eye to eye on everything but wedding planning has been a perfect chance for us to learn to compromise and hear one another’s opinions loud and clear.
Something we did right away was set a budget. We came up with a ballpark figure of where and researched venues and vendors that fit within this budget. These books have been helpful resources with setting a budget, and making sure we are thinking of all the little details that need to fall within said budget (aka, everything we have to save for!).
Before we book another vendor we always look over our budget. We have a spreadsheet that we review together and “check in” on our progress. I know it doesn’t sound glamorous, but managing finances is something you’re going to have to learn to do together. Think of budget check-ins as great practice for the future.
Taking time to cheers with my guy has been my favorite part of wedding planning!
Something I absolutely love, is celebrating life with my guy. We have made a fun habit out of taking time to celebrate when we cross something major off of our to-do list. For example, after we decided on a cake baker we made it a little party, grabbed a window seat at our favorite and toasted to us! If you don’t take time to celebrate and live in these moments, wedding planning can consume you. I love thinking back on all of our mini celebrations and I know these are memories I will cherish most about this season of our life!
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Olivia runs The Lovely Twist, a lifestyle blog sharing encouragement, health and beauty, easy recipes and more. She believes there is both beauty & a sense of grace in finding the lovely in each of life’s challenges. It is her sincere desire to inspire others to conquer their life’s twists!