Subdue the Planzilla: or why I need to stop trying to plan everything and love the engagement

Guest post by LibbityLoo42
Planzilla approves of these cupcakes! (Photo by Andrew Graham Todes Photography)
Planzilla approves of these cupcakes! (Photo by Andrew Graham Todes Photography)

I have a confession to make. I am a Planzilla.

I love planning things. I love planning things way way way in advance. I've been engaged for all of three weeks and I've already planned far-too-far ahead for my future husband's liking. Please note: my future husband is not a planner of any kind.

One of the reasons I wanted a short-ish engagement is, while I love planning, I hate waiting. I want to get married and I want to get married now.

In my neurotic little brain, the longer I leave something for planning, and the more people I involve, the more likely it is to go horribly wrong.

I could quite happily start planning for my wedding (which has no date, no venue, no colours, etc.) right now, and get all the planning done by myself — no help from parents, planners, fiancés, siblings, or anyone — and it would be awesome. I would be so happy. I've already had some push-back on some of the offbeat decisions I've made (no bridal party, large engagement party/small wedding) from my sisters and Mother Dearest.

But here's where the problem lies…

If I did this all by myself, it would be my perfect day. But no one else's.

At this stage, I have already planned most of the engagement party, including invitations, catering, potential guest books, the guest list, and what I'm going to wear. Please note: The engagement party is six months away. The engagement party is going to be the Planzilla inside of me having her last hurrah before the wedding.

Why? Because:

  1. The Planzilla side of me stresses me out. She thinks that everything needs to be perfect and if she isn't in charge of things, things won't be perfect.
  2. As much as the Planzilla in me disagrees, the wedding is not actually about me, nor is it about my future husband, nor is it really about us. It's something we're doing for our families. We would actually be perfectly happy not to have a wedding and just get married on the sly.
  3. I need to enjoy this time with my future husband. This is a new stage in our relationship. A stage that seems almost functionally identical to the previous stage, plus a whole bunch of expensive planning and partying, but a new stage nonetheless. It'll be the last real “new stage” in our relationship before we get married.

I can't lose sight of what is important in this whole thing, and for me, it's my fiancé. It's spending time with him and being the same people we always were, just with a new title.

So Planzilla, I don't care if this wedding is “your baby.” Going on a planning rampage and roaring at people isn't very nice. Back to the depths of the back of my mind with thee.

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Comments on Subdue the Planzilla: or why I need to stop trying to plan everything and love the engagement

  1. Ha! I love this so much. I’ve been quite proud to proclaim to all of my friends that my FH and I both love planning parties, so there’s no way in HELL I’m going to turn into a Bridezilla….however, as we’ve been engaged for just over a week and have already pretty much picked a date, reception venue, dress, location for ceremony and general party theme, we just might be turning into Planzillas! Though after more than 18 years together pre-engagement, I suppose we might just know each other and ourselves well enough that some things don’t require that much discussion.

  2. I am the same. exact. way. It bugs the hell out of me that, at 7.5 months out I haven’t figured out what transportation we’re using even though we can’t really do that yet. I’ve really had to learn to manage my own inner expectations on what is acheivable when.

  3. Oh SNAP!

    This could definitely be about me and my commitment ceremony. Particularly when it comes to being stressed out by your inner Planzilla. I have Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and one of the symptoms is overplanning things – to ensure that any of the nightmare scenarios that I see in my head just doesn’t happen.

    The problem with that is that it simply isn’t possible to foresee everything that could possibly go wrong. And the more I plan, the more I have to worry about my plans not going the way I want them.

    And there’s not a lot of room for my family and friends, let alone my partner in that sentence.

    Becoming friends with ambiguity is a challenge for me. Its one of the things I”m looking forward to about the coming two years.

    • Can I just say that when I read “friends with ambiguity” it took a few seconds to realize you weren’t referring to some terrible inversion of friends with benefits? Lol

      The rest of it though, I have family members with anxiety disorders and I know how exhausting it can be sometimes. Good on you that you are so self-aware and have a positive outlook.

  4. “If I did this all by myself, it would be my perfect day. But no one else’s.”

    This, this, this!

    We decided to get married but couldn’t actually do it for a good year or so. So there was a lot of time in which were too soon to plan and I was going crazy. I LOVE planning, I LOVE researching and I LOVE entertaining options. I can be surprisingly unattached to those plans, I don’t actually care if half the options don’t happen, it’s not about achieving it’s about dreaming. It’s my wife’s idea of sheer hell.

    This was really hard at the beginning and I caught myself wishing I was just doing it all my own but it unlocked when I realised that, like the OP, if I did it all it wouldn’t be OURS, it would be mine. What worked for us in the end was that I did all the research, all the dreaming and then presented my wife with options and we chose from those together.

    We set aside ring fenced time when I would present the options for a particular thing that needed deciding on and we would then choose from them together. This meant she didn’t get bugged by me constantly showing her things I’d seen and was enjoying thinking about and I knew there were definite slots where I could show her everything and we’d get a decision.

    As I really liked all options I showed her I was really happy with whatever we chose together. She frequently picked my top pick anyway, I do know her very well. Everything we had for our wedding was what we BOTH wanted but every single thing was researched by me. This way we got to have joint power of decision and input and I got to have the overall picture (which is kind of like control but better) that I needed.

    Once we clicked into this way of doing things it worked really well and my wife began to get really enthusiastic about the choices and suggest things of her own. We are in the process of buying our first home right now and we’ve gone about it in the same way, I am lead researcher, she’s treasurer and together we decide. The revelation for me was that things we decide together are so so so so much sweeter and mean so much more than the dreams I come up with on my own.

    • This is basically how we’ve been approaching it. My fiance hates researching but I told him that unless there are specific things he does not care about or wants no involvement with, I would for us to make all of the decisions together. After alll, it’s OUR money, not just mine (or just his)! I research the options, pick a top few choices, say “I’d like to talk about ABC tonight after dinner if that’s cool?”, show him everything and give him the cliff’s notes versions of everything and together we either pick an option or decide that while the proposed options are cool, none of them are quite right and what would really work is ______.

      It’s been working so far, so I’m hoping the trend continues. I also have to remember this if/when we buy a home, as it seems to play to both of our strengths!

      • Oh, I just love this approach! I’m so stealing this for my planning process.

  5. fellow planzilla, here! before my FH and i decided to faux-lope, i was driving myself /mad/ trying to plan a wedding. no one was moving at my pace (potential venues and vendors), FH didn’t seem to understand that we needed to planplanplan (he is also not a planner), everyone kept telling me “oh, you have a whole year!”. it was pretty awful, and i hated every bit of if. it was a huge relief when we both realized a traditional ceremony/reception event wasn’t what we wanted, however i do still find myself being a planzilla even with our new plan. haha at least now it’s being a planzilla about how honeymoon (which we are significantly more excited about) and not an event we were barely interested in.

  6. Great article! Like MsTrickster I also have an anxiety disorder that causes me to plan obsessively. The problem is my partner hates planning and left to his own devices would leave everything to the last minute.

    He wouldn’t let me book anything until a year before the wedding- in which time I’d researched so much with so little contribution from him that I was majorly stressed. I feel a lot happier now we’ve got the big things sorted.

    • I too was stressed at the beginning about what seemed like my wife’s total avoidance of planning but in fact it’s just that she hates decisions, they really really stress her. While I love researching options, it overwhelms her as she can only see that she’s going to have to make lots of decisions about all these options. Once I stopped showing her everything and just presented realistic options to choose from (and really not more than three at a time) it was much much easier for her to make decisions.

      What I learned was that the bit that needs to be equal is the decision making, not necessarily the research if you don’t both enjoy it. In fact once I accepted this I got back the pleasure of dreaming and entertaining options on my own, but this time knowing that come decision time we would do it together. So I can honestly say that we planned everything together, however I did ALL the research, and I LOVED it!

  7. So…..I totally agree here. We’re getting married in less than 10 days, and I’ve realized from going through 10 months of planning, crafting, organizing, scheduling, and everything else, that I didn’t need to do SO much and could’ve asked some people to do more. So I’m doing that now (my best friend is setting up the after party, everyone is working out their own day-of transportation, etc.). But my advice is – get all the help you can, even if you KNOW you can do it all yourself!! It’s exhausting 🙂

  8. I’m so glad I’m not alone. my poor future husband is picking up all the slack because I am planning obsessed. I don’t eat. I don’t sleep. I barely do my job at work. I keep hoping I get to a point where I will have planned eveything and there will be nothing left to plan. By the end of the month we will have all the vendors set, and its too early to send invites so I think I’m close to that point, but i’m afraid there will be something to plan until the day (10 months away) ahhh!

  9. I am totally a planzilla – 2 years to go and I already have my venue, photographer, outfits, theme and finishing touches in hand! Key is though to keep it loose enough to not commit myself to everything until closer to the time as I just know I will want change things!

  10. I’ve just been soothing my inner Planzilla by giving her specific things to make lists of – stuff for the oh-shit kit, what I’ll need to take with me when I stay at my friends’ house the night before the wedding, what Fiancé and I need to talk to the vicar about, what the bridesmaids need to do on the wedding day, a schedule for the wedding weekend – you get the idea! That way all the Planzilla gets to do is type lists on the phone – no roaring at people! – and we’re both happy.

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