Real life doesn't stop: Top 10 things I've learned from wedding planning

July 25 2012 | Guest post by Vegancupcake

Vegancupcake has already talked to us about how buying a new car with her partner triggered cold feet and gave us advice about pre-marital counseling, now she's giving us her top 10 things she's learned about life and love just from planning a wedding that just might change your perspective on things as well.

Wedding Shoes
Photo by Hannah Millard

10. If real life doesn't stop, be glad.

I chose to get certified as a prenatal yoga teacher AND massage therapist at what could be considered a ridiculous time: the months leading up to getting married. Exciting… but ridiculous timing.

But, fatigued as I am, I feel so fulfilled and electrified by this new direction. When I get married, I will be in the thick of professional growth. Not quite the image of an established comfortable woman resting on her laurels, but it feels fitting that I will be mid-stretch when the wedding day marks this love milestone. Life is in motion. Life is motion.

9. No one else's real life stops, be glad of that too.

I look around at my friends and feel like they are all reaching new places — my friend who will miss my wedding because she's in Ecuador in the Peace Corps in particular. I had a total melt down in a train station in January at the thought of her not being at my bachelorette gathering, but I realize that she is practicing what she preaches in a whole new way… I guess it's called self-actualization!

It feels like all my friends are moving into new phases in graceful and pride-inducing ways. I don't need everything to stop… I like looking around at the views of all this harvesting.

8. We are often wrong about what we need.

This has been a big one. I keep thinking I need evenings to go a certain way, or that I need something out of an afternoon in particular. For example, I sometimes think I need alone time on a Saturday night, but my future husband will make rare, hard to come by plans with another couple. So I go out with them and find that it was so refreshing and rejuvenating.

I am trying to be more flexible about my "needs" so that I can merrily admit when something else turns out to hit the spot just as much. Often, the spontaneity of being proved wrong is a joyful surprise — it helps me accept what's happening instead of wishing for what isn't.

7. When we are not wrong about what we need, we get it.

There have been so many weeks where I feel my life and schedule pressing in on me and then four things will cancel in a row. It does feel that when I do truly need help getting space, I get that space. Or if I let myself be flexible about where or when, I will get the "need" met at unexpected moments. For example: I did get three nights in a row of early bedtime and TV movies last weekend; I just got it in a motel in Connecticut, attending a conference.

6. Moderation is better than fasting.

I kept trying to give up beer and then give up coffee and then give up blah blah blah… to be as healthy as I can. But I'm finding that when I let myself have small amounts of either, I feel pampered and treated well.

5. You are allowed one obsessive project.

I read in a book that brides' fixations should sometimes be taken seriously because they correlate to a legit priority. So I am letting myself become completely overzealous about hand-making thank you cards. I do feel that expressing our gratitude in a very personal, sincere way is the one thing I want to become so committed to that I take on a slightly unreasonable project. But don't worry: I'm having fun with it!

4. "Letting go" is different from indifference.

I have learned about myself that my favorite way to deal with something that's stressing me out is to do it and be able to cross it off the list. My partner is not like this; in fact, I would say he is the opposite. This has been the source of our tension, but I mean tension in a literal, even positive way — the two ends pulling that keep the whole thing from falling. But to "keep up with" (and by that I mean "slow down to") his pace I have often had to "let go" of my pace or my agenda. Sometimes I have truly let go peacefully and with curiosity, and other times I have swung so wildly from wanting to control that I have disengaged completely and checked out of the process. I would obviously like to relax and stay present, as opposed to choosing passive-aggressive disinterest.

3. Choose and build rituals carefully and lovingly into your life.

I love going to Trader Joe's with my partner on a random weeknight, almost as much as I love doing anything else… I love making my oatmeal every morning and climbing back into bed in my underwear to eat it where I can look out the window at the city… I love drinking a glass of wine in the bathtub… I love how if my partner is on the phone when I get home he still wants to embrace first thing… I love how the lunchroom at work has plastic trays of sushi on Wednesdays and I can always find a vegetable one if I dig for it long enough.

2. No amount of time is too short when it comes to taking a break from stress.

I am finding, more than ever, that two minutes of stillness make all the difference. I used to be so "all or nothing" about this; that I needed a half hour of journaling or at least fifteen minutes of meditating. Not necessarily: three breaths alone can be like pressing a reset button.

1. You can be whatever kind of princess you want.

I think this one speaks for itself. There is no way the day itself won't be fun and beautiful. And yet there is also no way I will be completely calm for the next six weeks. So I am aiming to manage my stress in a way that takes it on without letting it get in too deep.

In looking back at the previous ideas, I think it's clear that I have choices: be personally overzealous, let go, or ask for help from others getting what I need. I can always take breaks from the noise of so many details whenever and however I can.

Thank-you, wedding planning, for that lifelong useful insight!

  1. Great list! It's so helpful to read what other people are learning

    Does this sound dirty to anyone else … "I am trying to be more flexible about my "needs" so that I can merrily admit when something else turns out to hit the spot just as much." 😉

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  2. Thanks for sharing these great words of wisdom! I read #8 out loud to my fiance and he shouted, "When did you have time to write this blog?!" I have been terrible about turning down outings with friends. Even going out to dinner. "It throws off my work out/healthy eating regimen plus, I have to work on ________ (fill in the blank) for the wedding!" But every time I've allowed myself to go out, I have a good time. Plus I feel more motivated to get things done after hanging with friends. 🙂

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  3. I agree – great list! And I also agree that #8 rings especially true for me…..so so SO true! Thanks for the words of wisdom. 🙂

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  4. This was fantastic. I am so glad it is not just me. All of these ring true to my spirit. Thanks so much.

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  5. #10 is something I have had to really accept. We're planning the wedding, working on remodeling the house, have 3 horses and full time jobs. An oppurtunity to buy a young horse who may be my next competition mount came up and I really worried about it being the 'wrong time' – but an oppurtunity never comes at the 'wrong' time. Soon, we'll have 4 horses, a remodeled house and be sneaking up on the wedding.

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  6. Can I add one to your wonderful list?

    Put your headphones back in… when I find myself feeling too stressed about all the directions I am being pulled in I also tend to notice that I have stoped walking to work with my music. Plug back in and all of a sudden I am lifted – I even find myself taking the long route home so I can get in one more track.

    I guess it's not all about music – more time for just me and breathing space and doing those things I love because there is always time for that, especially when it doesnt feel like there is.

    3 agree

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