Plenty of little girls are known to play wedding with their dolls and teddy bears, imagining their perfect day from infancy. Now it’s acceptable for grown women to fawn over flower arrangements and dresses, picking out their perfect ring before a wedding is in sight. I never thought about weddings in much detail: I had never even attended a wedding before two years ago. I didn’t have any idea how to plan a wedding when I got engaged: and suddenly everyone was asking me if I had a date. Overnight having a date had morphed into something much bigger than dinner and a movie. I needed guidance, direction, inspiration. And so I did what I thought was the logical thing: I followed everything wedding on Pinterest, and googled “Wedding Blog” and added Ruffled, 100 Layer Cake, and Green Wedding Shoes to my blogroll. Instantly, my Pinterest was transformed into a floral pastel wonderland, and I got that wistful far off look in my eye.
It was so incredibly easy for me to let those images of impossibly gorgeous flower arrangements and matching table settings convince me that anything short of having all of that would be inadequate, boring, and ugly. Isn’t this what everyone was expecting? Spending a fortune seemed like a prerequisite for a fairytale wedding, did that mean I wasn’t going to have one?? It was hard to ignore that on TLC’s Four Weddings the one with the budget under 50K never won. No, never. But I’m a graduate student on a fixed income, and no matter how much I balanced out the unattainably gorgeous pins with functional “Wedding Budget under $6,000: You’ll be glad you pinned this one day!!” I began to realize how much the two did not go together. My anxiety was through the roof. I began to feel increasingly like I was underwater paddling flailing for air every time I saw something wonderful that I knew was out of reach.The scariest part was still the unknowns- the questions everyone was asking me that I couldn’t answer: When? Where? What’s your theme? And all I was thinking was How??? I thought Pinterest held the answer- I even found a cake that provided my perfect wedding inspiration: and I thought things might just come together. I had gone on a Pinterest binge but now I had to divest myself emotionally: Pinterest cold turkey.
Flash forward six months and I hadn’t done a single thing in my wedding planning. Instead I’d focused on school: finished my graduate classes, chosen a thesis advisor, and passed my qualifying exams. Suddenly, I was feeling like a confident powerhouse and ready to marry the man I loved. Gaining control over my life helped me reconnect with how I was going to tackle this gorgeous overwhelming monster named Wedding. The How.
How turned out to be the answer for me. I found an invaluable and wonderful resource called Here Comes the Guide that helped me research California Wedding Venues from my Boston apartment, getting a cursory idea of what beautiful places were both in my price range and near my childhood home. I felt so much better after making an itemized spreadsheet (I know…) of my favorite places that were also within my price range; somehow having all the costs on *electronic* paper was a lot less scary than the unnamed skyrocketing costs I imagined in my head.
Now I’m taking it just one step at a time. Step 1: VENUE. It’s going to be 10 venue visits in 6 days, find one and BOOM. Done.