Facebook’s relationship status feature is so unholy. I have never used it but I’m certain that it has created relationship dramas of all kinds since its’ inception. After getting engaged in April 2013, I certainly shared my excitement via Instagram and Facebook (hopefully to the dismay of more than one ex-boyfriend) but I never made things “Facebook official” by posting my relationship status. Reflecting on the status categories -single, in a relationship, engaged, married, in a civil union, in a domestic relationship, in an open relationship, separated, divorced, widowed, and my personal favourite, it’s complicated- I’ve concluded that it’s all crap. All relationships are complicated so why don’t we all select that option and be done with it. Rant over.
Our decision to get engaged was not traditional by most standards. We designed my engagement ring together, we selected our wedding venue before we were officially engaged, and he proposed in the living room of our apartment (gasp! we were already living together). When I really started to delve into the beginning stages of planning, I realized that I had no clue what I was doing. I knew what I liked and didn’t like but everyone had an opinion on everything and this started to weigh on me. I knew that I had to pull myself together before I started to lose control and although the following list did not prevent me from the occasional bridal meltdown, it helped keep my thoughts in order.
Here are my recommendations for your “Wedding Planning Survival Kit:”
1. A notebook – You will need to write down 7 million things so you might as well put them all in one place. I received a notebook as a gift long before I got engaged but I think it ended up being perfect for this occasion – except maybe for the meeting with our Minister.
2. The 7 Year Pen – Since you’ll be doing so much writing, it only makes sense to have a pen that will last and the story behind this particular pen is just the icing on the wedding cake. You can get your own here.
3. Get on Pinterest! – I am not even kidding when I tell you that the majority of my “vision” came from perusing Pinterest. Pinterest generates more referral traffic than twitter so I’m confident that you’ll find what you need and will be able to conduct key word searches in ways you never dreamed possible. Check out my wedding board – I created one giant one but definitely suggest creating separate boards for each category (i.e. dress options, hair/makeup, bridesmaids, groomsmen, decor, gift ideas etc. etc. etc.)
4. Create an account at theknot.com – I utilized their to-do checklist the most because you can customize the items and organize everything by month. The “favourites” feature allows you to tag and save items you love, similar to creating a board on Pinterest. You can also download The Knot’s Wedding LookBook app (available for iphones and androids) that is a fairly exhaustive database of thousands of wedding dresses that can be filtered by style, neckline, price, and designer.
Update: I recently discovered that the app now has a selection of engagement rings, accessories, bridesmaids, mother of the bride and flower girl dresses, and wedding rings – and it’s still free!
5. Attend a wedding show (or two) – Don’t go to more than two! For me, it became very overwhelming very quickly. My favourite was the National Bridal Show because I found that it was well organized and had a great mix of vendors. We booked Flashpoint Photobooth, Irresistible Cakes, and Freeman Formal (more on that later) within 2 hours – I’d say that’s a bridal miracle. We got amazing deals on all three bookings and were extremely happy will the services; the photobooth was the best wedding investment no ifs, ands or buts. I also attended The Wedding Co. Show and Toronto’s Bridal Show – the former was amazing for decor ideas and the fabulous jeweler, Pamela Lauz, who made my engagement ring was there showcasing her unique pieces; the latter was just not my cup of tea.
6. Martha Stewart Wedding Mags – Martha’s were my favourite. Plain and simple, I am a big fan of her comeback story and she happens to do some of the best wedding DIY on earth.
There were many other items in my survival arsenal – wine, chocolate, weight lifting, my mother, my maid of honour, my bridesmaids, and of course, my fiance. Whether or not any of these work for you, do yourself a favour and select your own survival items that will feed your excitement and reduce your stress. If all else fails, you can always hire a planner – I can recommend those too.