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As soon as you get engaged - if not before, the well-meaning questions start flooding in: SO, when's the date? What are your colors? Have you picked out favors yet? For Mr. D & I this started as soon as we climbed down the mountain after our beautiful proposal hike & were driving back to Arlington. 

Colors?? Um, no, we've spent all day hiking miles up & over a rocky terrain. I'll have to get back to you...

 

The stress & pressure to transform into the perfect wedding planning fiancee, who knows exactly what types of blooms she would like in each centerpiece & has already determined her processional music like 5 years ago, can lead to major meltdown sessions.

It happened to me after the very first week we were engaged. Driving back from one of Mr. D's soccer games, I completely burst into tears. "I...can't...do...thiiiis" is what I managed to get out between sobs.  We were engaged in May, hoping to be married in late fall which left a little over 6 months to get it all together.

Looking back, I'm so lucky not only to have a fiance who is as understanding & supportive as he is but also that I was able to vocalize those thoughts. Not addressing the feeling of impending doom for your big day is not going to change the way you feel. 

Just as we're told in our walk with the Lord: Doubt your doubts. Believe your beliefs.

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So, if you get to the point of feeling crazy frazzled & not knowing how you'll ever pull off a wedding, just remember this: yes, it's one wonderful, special day that y'all will be able to look back on for the rest of your lives. But it's also the day that before God & all your family & friends you get wed. Become one with your groom & begin the journey of marriage. Here are a few things that have helped me over the past 3 months of planning:

Remember why you're getting married. This is obvious but in the midst of scouring the e-n-t-i-r-e internet when searching for the exact shade of mint green for your bridesmaid dress (as I felt like I did), it can be easy to think, "Fiance, who?" Remember that amazing guy, who holds your hand during car trips, puts up with crazy talk about silly things like red pants, agrees to go to country concerts though he would rather not, makes brunch for you & loves you to the moon & back. That incredible guy has asked you take the adventure of a lifetime together, not spend tons of months stressing over teeny tiny details that only you will notice in the end.

Take time to go on weekly dates, ***no wedding planning allowed.*** I'm guilty of this - trying to squeeze in questions about our wedding music & planning the rehearsal dinner like it's my job. Buuut without spending some good quality time as just two lovebirds, no wonder we brides-to-be can get so charged up & emotionally stressed out, am I right? Mr. D & I are doing better at dating during this busy time but y'all, it's so important not to allow less important things to take the place of the important people in our life. And hey, maybe it's your groom that's getting swept away into TheKnot.com land & overwhelmed with registering for everything today. Then you can be the one to initiate a fun date night this weekend :)

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And actually, funny thing is I was feeling like we needed to go out & just have a lovely dinner & a movie night together several weeks ago so I mailed Mr. D a date night invite & was super pumped about our time together that Friday. The wait at the restaurant we'd been wanting to try was 1 1/2 hours so we went to get Mexican instead. It the hottest day of the summer & we had to be in the hottest restaurant in Arlington. And there weren't any movies out we wanted to see. Needless to say, we've had much better dates but prioritizing the relationship is key & so, so crucial :)

The only things you need at your wedding are you & your groom.  Repeat it after me: you & your groom. (Oh & a photographer to capture the special moments between you two ;) ) Reading this lovely blog post over on Southern Weddings (y'all, if you haven't checked them out, do it now!) is a huge breathe of fresh, engagement air. Despite what coworkers, friends, ladies you meet at Target, strangers & anyone else may tell you, you don't need a live band, an expensive venue, formal tuxes, an open bar, fancy welcome bags, the garter toss to make your day complete. Now, if these are things you want? That's wonderful. Get a vision for how you & your fiance see the day unfolding, budget it all in & plan away. But don't believe the lie that the world, & the wedding industry, will try to push that spending $$$ on your wedding is the only way to go. All brides have different budgets, different priorities, for their special day. Don't allow what someone else says to be the only way. It's not true.

The coolest part, to me as a photographer & guest, of a wedding is seeing how two people, two families joining together are represented throughout the details of the day. If you like brunch & jazz, then by all means, have a jazzy mid-morning wedding. If you would really like to serve homemade desserts instead of a tired wedding cake, serve it up. It's easy to allow all the pretty things we see on Pinterest to consume our thought process. But doing things because you feel like you should? That's not genuine. It's not you. Mr. D & I came up with a list of what's important to us & what we wanted to include in our upcoming day (only 85 days away!!!) & that's what we use to determine if we should/shouldn't do something. We both want to honor God & have a fun time of celebration of the Lord has done with our guests. If whatever the dilemma is (do we need this? Should we include this?) falls outside that criteria, we let it go.

At the end of the day, if you're more married than when you started, it's a success. One of my upcoming couples shared that with me over the phone when I asked what was most important to them. If they left with rings on their fingers, having committed their lives to one another, that would be a happily ever after. I couldn't agree more :)