I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t obsessed with weddings.
I can’t name the catalyst that sparked my undying devotion to weddings and all that comes with them, but I do know all the ways it unfolded. Starting in fifth grade, I’d spend hours watching Say Yes to the Dress on TLC. I learned the different silhouettes and how they fit, what fabrics were voluminous and which were the most expensive and that “white” wasn’t as simple as it seemed. There was pure white, cream, off-white, champagne, ivory and all of those colors presented differently depending on the style and fabric they accompanied.
From there I would gaze at wedding magazines in nail salons, learning the trends for that year in everything from engagement rings to bridesmaid dresses and memorizing the different concerns a bride could have that the slippery pages of the magazine answered. I loved the glamour and formality of the whole affair; it felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity to pull out all the stops without a shred of judgement. I admired how each wedding could be molded to reflect the bride, the groom and what they wanted their life to be like.
When Pinterest came onto the scene my freshman year of high school, it launched my love of weddings to new heights. Before I had to wait for a magazine and was only able to peruse the curated and limited pages. But with Pinterest, I suddenly had unlimited access to weddings – and not just the ones in magazines, but hundreds and hundreds of weddings with endless ideas on every element of the affair. DIY wedding décor was on the rise with hand drawn chalkboards and centerpieces crafted by the bridesmaids. Venue options expanded from ballrooms and churches to barns or museums or even a post office. And to my delight, there were so many more wedding dress designers than the ones featured at Kleinfeld’s.
My favorite was Vera Wang. Her dresses embodied drama and elegance without being cliché or overdone. After discovering a photo of her dress worn by a bride in Hawaii on Pinterest, I clicked through all her collections on her website and immersed myself in the world of Vera. Years later, I was gifted the Vera Wang on Weddings book for Christmas by a coworker. I spent hours poring over each page, letting the words of the all-knowing Vera sink into my head. I even got to meet her at a work event once. She is every bit as regal as I imagined.
This year, just before my twenty-fifth birthday, I got engaged to the sweetest, most thoughtful guy. I’d been impatiently waiting for him to pop the question. We only dated for about a year before getting engaged, but as they say, when you know, you know.
I felt prepared, of course. My primary wedding Pinterest board (I have multiple) had accumulated over 1,100 pins by that point. I was armed and ready with all the inspiration a girl could ask for. But what was interesting after all those years of planning, was that when it came time to actually choose what I wanted at my wedding, I felt nothing quite lived up to my fantasies.
In my imaginary wedding-palooza world, the budget was endless, I could force weather patterns and there was no global pandemic. But here in the reality of 2020, there are actual limitations.
I knew weddings were expensive. Obviously. I had only spent half of my life researching them. But it turns out monopoly money is easier to spend than cold hard cash. And I found that for the caliber of wedding I wanted, I was looking at well above the national average, which is already extremely high for a party if you aren’t a Kardashian.
I also had a very specific vision of a “reverse snow globe” wedding. I’m completely serious. I wanted our venue to be essentially a glass dome and for it to snow as I walked down the aisle. Fake snow is a bit trickier than I had anticipated and Mother Nature bends to no one.
And then there is Covid… Stephen and I talked through our options, but ultimately came to the conclusion that we don’t want to sacrifice a wedding with all our friends and family, nor do we want to risk anyone’s health. So we are doubling what I had guessed would be the length of our engagement and looking at dates in 2022. While we are cautiously optimistic that public health will be restored by then, we are also checking refund and reschedule policies for any potential vendors.
While taking appropriate precautions, I’m doing what I can to plan our wedding. I’m fortunate enough to work freelance right now, which has allowed me time and flexibility to start getting things in order and I want to take advantage of that while I have the time. I’ll be sharing that process here, including my Pinterest strategy (there is one, believe it or not), how I am planning my budget, how I determined our theme and of course, the dress shopping process. I’ll also sprinkle in personal anecdotes about Stephen and I, how we’re navigating arguably the most confusing wedding seasons ever and what we’re learning during our engagement.
If you don’t want to employ a professional planner, you’ve come to the right place. I’m probably just as informed as your average wedding planner, but we’ll skip the crazy fees.