Expectation Setting When Planning Your Wedding

Once you have the shiny ring on your finger is when you need to step back and realistically ask yourself and your future spouse about expectations for the big day. The reality is that your wedding day will not meet your expectations. In many, and likely unexpected ways, it will likely exceed your expectations. In other ways, it will not meet the details of the image that you have made up in your mind.

Leading up to the big day, here are a few times that wedding planning did NOT meet my expectations.

  • Once I got engaged, I knew that planning the wedding would become a priority in my life. But I got a quick and very harsh reality check when I realized that other life priorities would still be important, and unexpected hard challenges might still come my way. Life doesn’t stop or become more smooth just because you’re engaged. My ask to you: know that juggling these priorities is a dry run for what life will be after you are wed. When two become one (even from the engagement) means there will be double the joys and double the sorrows. Prepare for that earlier and try your best to welcome what comes your way.
  • After I selected my wedding gown, I came back 8 months later for my first fitting. I thought it would fit better than when I first picked it out and would only take a few alterations to make it right. Wrong. It felt like it almost got worse than the sample gown. It took two other fittings to make it right. It wasn’t a big issue, but it definitely deflated the emotions from my first fitting after dreaming about it all of those months. My ask to you: be patient with the vision that you have for the big day. Whether it be your dress fitting or trimming down before the wedding, it will all come together beautifully.
  • I had three women in my bridal party but only two attended the wedding. A longtime friend let me down leading up to the big day and on the day itself. My expectation was that having a small bridal party with my closest would be a smooth experience, but it blew up and brought a lot of unwanted drama. It ended up working out for the best because the people that genuinely wanted me happy were standing next to me, but it was something that I wish that I could do over. My ask to you: when you choose your ‘team bride’ ask yourself if it’s someone that will be by your side for life before you invite them to join you to be in all of your photos. If there’s someone that you’re on the fence with, trust your gut.

My hopes are that hearing about my experiences, you might benefit when you’re setting your own expectations. It doesn’t mean that you won’t be happy because you will be over the moon, but sometimes a mental reset of what you might expect can be helpful!

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Like the Parisians…

I just returned from a week in Paris with my family. We had a getaway and saw (and ate) everything. It was an incredible experience. It was my third time there but I was much younger so I saw it through new eyes.

I really connected to the fashion and the way that it laid the foundation of a beautiful and historic city. I stood next to the Yves Saint Laurent red wedding dress and was told about a 1.5 million euro wedding dress that resembled a waterfall. In Paris, people take fashion seriously, and it continues to blaze the trail for style around the world.

When it comes to your engagement and wedding season, there are a few opportunities that you will have to wear an outfit and I encourage you to put some thought into these purchases. You will have (at least) five key items that you will need to wear for your bachelorette, bridal shower, rehearsal, and then the actual big day from getting ready to walking down the aisle. It seems overwhelming but take your time to decide what to wear. Here’s what I recommend:

Once you get engaged, start keeping an eye out for these key outfits. You will likely start to daydream about your wedding and if you make these decisions earlier, you will have more space in your mind to make other key decisions closer to the big day.

And don’t feel like you have to fit into a particular style-box shared in wedding magazines or on tv shows. Whatever you decide to wear, it should feel: special and like an elevated version of yourself. It shouldn’t be something that you would wear any other day because these outfits can make you feel like this is a once in a lifetime event, and I think that’s important.

If you’re able to purchase an outfit for a special event, like a bridal shower, it’s great if you can wear it again. All of your outfits don’t need to be this way but if you can wear a white dress from a shower to a date night with your husband in the future, that can bring back your wedding day butterflies.

Take your style seriously, like the Parisians do, because it’s all much more than just a garment. Not only will these photos last a lifetime, but more importantly, your memories will.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Husband Appreciation Day

Today is Husband Appreciation Day. While that should be every day, social media likes to make an annual hashtag out of pretty much everything. So in honor of this day, and the fact that hubby and I just celebrated 9 years since our dating anniversary (Friday), I thought I’d share our love story.

Ever since high school I was often in a relationship. Most were very innocent short 3-month bursts of spending time with a guy and enjoying typical teenage activities together. I enjoyed the company and liked the idea of being with one person. I had a few get a little more serious as years passed and then I had one on and off longer term relationship with someone that I thought was the one. It turns out that he wasn’t and I am thankful for all that relationship taught me.

In college my family moved from Texas to California (which is currently where I reside.) I dated a little bit but nothing serious. A boyfriend and I broke up and then I decided to be single for a while. I wanted to get my priorities straight, to be able to love God first, then love myself, before I could have the space in my heart to love someone else. I learned over time that if this were done in the wrong order, it could be detrimental for me and what was truly important to me in a soul mate. I ended up being single for two years.

Fast forward and my sister was in town for her Spring Break. We went to T-Mobile to get her a new phone. A kind and funny employee with spiky hair helped us out. He had a beautiful smile and made me laugh but I don’t pay much attention. My sister saw there might be a spark there and got me more engaged in the dialogue. We ended up going in another time to see him and actually pick up her phone. My sister encouraged me to give him my business card.

I had two cards on me, one with an email address and one with a phone number. I gave him the one with my email address. Up until that point, I had never met anyone like this out in public (that I would end up dating)—it was always through existing circles like friends of friends, school or church. But he emailed me. And we wrote back and forth before we made plans to meet up again, so I then gave him my number.

We casually went on dates for a few weeks, I knew that he was different and that there might be something there, but didn’t know if it would be a ‘forever’ thing. When we started spending more time together and wanted to be exclusive, I made him ask me to be his girlfriend! (He thought that was strange, but how else would be know when our anniversary would be?)

I am glad that I dated because it helped me learn what was important to me and see how different people have unique strengths and weaknesses. And for that season that I spent time alone, I knew that God was not only preparing my heart but was working in the life of my then-boyfriend. Five years later we were married. I am feeling incredibly blessed that we have each other as life partners and I have so enjoyed being able to live out our love story. So today as I sit here, nine years since he asked me to be ‘his’, I appreciate him more than ever.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Creative Wedding Gift Ideas

The holidays are quickly approaching and that will bring with it some beautiful winter weddings. It will be likely that you’re invited to multiple weddings or wedding showers in a short amount of time, which might make it difficult on your wallet since this can already be a financially-strapped season.

Here are a few recommendations for wedding gifts that don’t break the bank. And remember that you don’t have to be cheap about it, you can still do something classy or meaningful!

  • Take them out before the wedding to somewhere like a local wine bar or specialty dessert place. If you just make sure that it’s far enough in advance before their planning gets too hectic, some couples really appreciate having some down time and a night out together leading up to the big day!
  • Go in on a registry item (like a bedding set, for example) with another wedding guest and make it a shared gift so you can split the price.
  • Buy the “smaller” registry items that many others won’t. (Do watch out because these can add up quickly, but if you focus on one room like a bathroom then it likely won’t break the bank.)
  • Offer quality time to the couple and share a home cooked meal after they return from their honeymoon. This could be helpful for them if they’re still up to their elbows in moving boxes and they can reminisce on the fun memories. Make this night feel special for the ‘bride and groom’ and make them your guests of honor.
  • Give them a gift card to a place like the movie theater in their home town for them to go on a date night.
  • Purchase something meaningful that ties into their shared interests as a couple. It could be something like a cute picnic basket for the couple that likes to go to the park or nice matching water bottles (those that keep water cool for, like, ever) for the couple that enjoys hiking. Just add a sweet note with the gift so it’s clear that you put thought into it.
  • If you want to buy them something meaningful but don’t have the cash right then, let them know that you’ll go in on wedding prints for them (like a canvas shipped from Shutterfly) once their wedding photos have been edited. Just make sure they don’t forget, so reach back out if you see their photos hit social media and offer to make the purchase!

As long as you go into this with the right intentions, that will be made clear. No matter what? True friendship and support for the newlyweds post-wedding day is priceless.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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‘Til Death Do Us Part

It’s been a while since I have blogged because my family is going through a hard time right now and I’ve had to reprioritize my free time. My dad is dying from cancer and will be leaving this earth to step in to eternity soon. It’s been incredibly difficult but my family is holding hands firmly every step of the way as we move through this hard season. Our bonds are strong and our faith in Christ is even stronger, so I know we’re going to be OK.

As we have been dealing with this, I have thought often about the true meaning of life, family, and marriage.

My parents celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary this summer and we knew it would be their last together here on earth. When we say “’til death do us part”, do we truly mean it? I know my parents did when they said “I do.” They meant the words of their vows with every depth of their beings and have clung to one another through every life season.

Can you say the same? Don’t let the stresses of wedding planning overshadow that special promise that you will make to one another. And when the confetti is thrown away and flowers have shriveled, will you vow to make that promise to love and care for one another over and over again?

Marriage is a gift. If you are blessed with a special someone in your life, hold them tight. Don’t forget to share your gratitude with them. And relish in each moment of your relationship, even when it’s not the most glamorous of seasons. Being married gives you the ability to have a life partner. There will be times of sickness and health, and like in my parents case this very moment, you might be given the opportunity to be with the one you love until the very end of life.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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