Ben and I had friends over for dinner on Saturday, and one of the topics of conversation during the evening was their upcoming wedding. They have been together for six years and with the coming of marriage equality have known that they were going to get married. But they have recently decided that they wanted to plan something for next summer.
The conversation brought Ben and I back to the planning stages of our wedding – the excitement of the engagement and the anticipation of the wedding day. Our friends had a lot of questions about our favorite parts of the wedding and what things we may have done differently.
The moment also reminded me of how new this whole process is to a lot of same-sex couples. Today, I want to share some of the practical considerations that we discussed that can help get you started when planning your wedding.
It Can Be Whatever You Want It to Be
Above anything else, remember that it’s your day and you get to make it whatever you want. A great thing about the newness of marriage equality is that there isn’t a traditional type of ceremony or process that you have to follow. In fact, our friends didn’t have a typical engagement, where one person asks another. They decided together that it was time and started planning.
One of the first things you should do is decide what you both want and find a way to meet your desires. This includes things like the amount of people, type of ceremony, and how much you want to spend. Ben and I wrote down what we wanted individually and then shared, keeping the things we agreed on and compromising on the rest. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s what you want, not what other people tell you it “should” be.
Book Your Venue Early
One of the hardest parts for us was deciding on a place to have the ceremony. And we found out quickly that venues book up well in advance, especially in a place like Chicago. Once you’ve decide what type of ceremony that you want, you have to start searching for the venue that will meet your needs. You may have a better luck (and a cheaper bill) if you choose an off day like a Friday or Sunday, rather than a Saturday. Luckily, our friends are pretty sure that they found the right venue with the first place that they saw. But I wouldn’t count on that. You’ll likely need to see several places.
It’s Okay to Fight
Planning a wedding is stressful. Trying to mesh your ideas on the ceremony, find the right venue, decide who to cut from the guest list will likely lead to a few arguments. That’s okay. The best thing you can do during that time is remember why you’re getting married (because you love each other) and that you will get it figured out eventually. And sometimes it’s nice to take a break from planning and do something else that you enjoy to relieve some stress.
Don’t Forget the Photographer
For a split second, I was ready to forgo a photographer at our wedding. My thinking was that all of our family and friends would be taking pictures, and we didn’t need to pay someone to do the same thing. I was also trying to save us money; we were paying for the wedding and buying a house at the same time. Luckily Ben wasn’t hearing any of that. He was adamant about the photographer, and I’ve never been so happy to have been wrong. We ended up getting a great photographer, who captured the day perfectly. And now we get to relive the moments and share them with people that didn’t get a chance to come. It’s a day that you will never forget that will pass by in the blink of an eye. Make sure to have someone there capturing it for you.
Try to Enjoy the Process
The time goes so fast. Ben and I were both saying to our friends that we can’t believe it’s been over a year since our ceremony. And hearing Ben say he enjoyed “everything about that day” really makes me happy. Yes, there will be stress and hard times, but try to do all that you can to enjoy the moments of the planning process.
So that’s my two cents on the practical side of getting married. I’ll add some more personal finance related tips on Friday. But for now, is there something else those who were recently married want to add?