Learn from my wedding planning fails: 5 wedding wins and 4 total fails

Guest post by Rowan
the greatest teacher failure is alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
You can get this great print from KianaBella Prints

I am forever creating grand visions that are near-impossible to accomplish. Our wedding was amazing, and planning it was one of the most stressful things I have ever done. My husband advocated elopement from the start, and resisted many of the crazy details I was so excited about. That said, there were some wedding planning fails.

In the end, it was the details that made it so special though, and the elaborate ritual of the day drew us much closer than an elopement might have. We both love what we created for our wedding and are so glad that we chose to make it a grand community event. It fit who we are and what we are creating in our lives.

That said, there were definitely some things I would have done differently.

Here's what we did right for our wedding:

  1. We hired a trusted friend as our event coordinator, who understood our vision and could keep us motivated and sane.
  2. I made lists of the people in my life who could potentially help me with specific tasks.
  3. We eliminated the wedding party. We had absolutely no Wedding Party Drama. I didn't have to worry about matching dresses, crabby friends, hurt feelings, or suffering through an endless string of pre-wedding parties that would have also had to be planned and paid for.
  4. I made sure that we ate a healthy, home-cooked dinner and lunches most days. I would cook large amounts and create several meals at a time. Eating healthfully is one of the best ways to keep my stress level low.
  5. I let go of visions that just were not working. I had to change my vision many times to meet the reality of our space, budget and energy. What we created was perfect for us, and the things that did not work out weren't that important.

Here's what I would have done differently for our wedding:

  1. Started planning a year in advance.
  2. Hired my event planner/coordinator months earlier than we did. There was a mess of details to untangle by the time we hired her.
  3. Scaled back a bit. Our wedding decorations were lovely, but not nearly as necessary as I thought they would be. Our event was outdoors at a gorgeous state park, and the scenery was more than enough to entertain our guests. Of over 1000 photos taken by our guests, only a small handful were of the decorations we had so painstakingly made. Most of the photos were of us! That's what people are coming for.
  4. Made sure I had enough *me* time to balance the stress of planning and making stuff for the wedding. I run a business and a small home farm, so the last few months were extremely hectic with wedding stuff on top of my already full schedule. I wish I had scheduled time at least once a month at the ladies-only day spa in the area. And massages. Anything to totally pamper myself and relax.

Oh, and can we talk about how I stayed sane on our honeymoon?

I originally advocated an adventurous, (expensive) road-trip honeymoon in a rented RV. We ended up spending five days at a friend's cabin in the temperate rainforest here in WA, and hiking pristine wilderness trails amidst some of the tallest, most amazing trees in the world. Our honeymoon cost us nothing out of pocket after all of the gifts to our honeymoon registry and the gift of the friend's cabin. It was delightfully stress-free and totally magical and romantic. We didn't have to rush anywhere or buy anything on credit, and we saved a ton of money on gas.

When we were out there alone on the trails, hiking past waterfalls, the sun shining golden on old growth trees dripping with moss, I asked my husband to remind me of this moment the next time I get stuck on an impossible fantasy.

Then I can relax and let things unfold in an organic way, let the magic happen.

That's your goal for wedding planning… and for all of life really: being able to relax, and letting things unfold.

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