Photo by: Amy and Stuart

When people found out I had set a wedding date two months after I got engaged, they were shocked. It was almost unheard of to plan a wedding that quickly unless you were planning on eloping or doing a civil ceremony. Granted, our wedding was only for immediate family and a handful of friends, but we still had 60 people to plan for. Having a wedding in two months made the most sense with our life circumstances, work and family schedules at that time. I admit it got a little crazy for the 10 days before to the big day, but I’m certain that I wouldn’t have changed anything about my wedding, the planning or the short timeframe in which I had to do it. Generally I never want to rush through anything, but having less time to plan such a life changing event couldn’t have worked out better for us. There are a few important truths I learned in the process. Here are my top three:

1. Having more time to make a decision doesn’t always mean you’ll make the better one. By nature, I tend to be indecisive. It’s hard not to be with the abundance of options we have in the world we now inhabit. Simply buying a box of cereal at the grocery store can become an overwhelming task when you’re faced with an entire aisle of different kinds of cereal. The more time I have, the more opportunity I have to obsess over the little things and repeatedly change my mind. When planning a wedding, there are thousands of decisions you have to make. Having to make decisions quickly encouraged me to listen to my gut and follow through no matter what happened. Yes, in retrospect, there may have been some things I could have done better, but isn’t that always the case in life? Living well means not being afraid to jump in and experience both the good and the bad. We go for it, knowing that we did the best we could at that precise moment. It’s better to act decisively rather than living timidly and never seizing the experience you want to have.

2. Help yourself before you help others. People told me that I would inevitably disappoint some people when planning my wedding. At first, I didn’t believe it because everyone seemed so excited to be involved and help in any way they could. I was wrong. The deeper I got into the details and the closer I got to the big day, the more emotionally invested my loved ones became. I started getting unsolicited advice on how people thought I should do things at my wedding in order to make everyone happy. As the host of the party, I started stressing about how everyone else would or wouldn’t feel. There was just no way I could have made everyone happy if I had listened to each person. What was most important was that we could all experience love and joy at my wedding. I realized that I had to make sure I was centered and fulfilled first and foremost in order to create an atmosphere from which other people could laugh, smile and enjoy themselves. With the bride and groom at ease, everyone else was able to let go and enjoy the whole experience. It’s easy to get caught up in people pleasing, but if you’re not happy yourself, you won’t be able to please anyone.

3. In the words of Maya Angelou, “People will never forget how you made them feel.” While I spent 2 months planning every little detail, from what earrings I was going to wear to what color the napkins were, in the end, people walked away with how I made them feel. It didn’t really matter what my dress looked like or how many flowers were on the table. After the wedding, people recounted their favorite parts to me and among them were the beautiful energy they felt in the room, the look on my face when my husband sang to me, and the emotion in my mom’s voice that made them cry when she spoke. It’s easy to get caught up in things like how much money you spent or what didn’t go as planned, but after all is said and done, it’s the emotions you share with other people that make lasting memories. Of all the things I remember from my wedding day, it was the immense, unconditional love I felt from my husband, my friends and my family. Nothing in the world is more memorable than that.

Every person is different and while some people may prefer an entire year to plan, others may benefit from having less time. If you’ve planned a wedding, what do you think are the most important things you learned in the process?