All I have to say is, the Knot's wedding planning checklists did not help with my terror.
So once we got officially engaged, I decided it would be cruel and counterproductive to send J a similar list. I also decided that the standard "oh my goodness we're engaged what's our budget who do you want to invite what are your three most important must-haves" conversation would be equally unproductive as a starting point. Because to me, there were bigger questions than flowers and venues. Questions that get at the heart of why we want a wedding, and how we want our wedding to feel. And once we answer that, I feel like the rest of it will all fall into place.
Instead, I wrote a new wedding planning "checklist". And we're beginning to savor its questions slowly, over a glass of wine at dinner, as we work through what's really important to us on this journey.
Our Wedding Planning Questions
- Why have a wedding? Why not elope instead? Why not have a small intimate party with family instead?
- What's the best wedding you ever went to and why did you think so? What do you remember liking best? What do you think gave you that "feeling"? How would you describe it?
- How much would you feel comfortable spending on our wedding? How much would you feel comfortable contributing jointly?
- What are the benefits and disadvantages of paying for all (or most) of the wedding on our own, without parental assistance? What do you envision is a fair breakdown for parental assistance, if we decide we'd like it?
- How much would you feel comfortable asking our parents for (each, separately, as a percentage of total?) and for what items (general budget; specific assistance with dress, DJ, rehearsal, etc; or another format)
- Do you have a ballpark figure for the total amount in your mind (including rings, ketubah, party rental, venue, catering, clothes, honeymoon, rehearsal)?
- How does a wedding relate in importance to paying for a house/kids/car/school/other big-life expenses?
- How many guests do you envision sharing our day? Do you think your must-invite obligation list would be much larger than half of that?
- How do you feel about a smallish wedding (50-80)? A really large wedding (200+)? A medium-sized wedding (100-150?) What are the advantages of any of these?
- How do you envision the night before our wedding? The day of? Are there elements you're really looking forward to? Things you figure just happen/you have to do? What about your ideal version of a magical day - how would it go?
- Which parts of wedding planning are you looking forward to? Are there any parts you're dreading?
- What are your ideas for making planning manageable - in the context of our relationship and everyday life, in terms of time invested, in terms of families? What challenges do you see and what strategies can we use?