Why I Didn’t Love Planning My Own Wedding and What I Learned in the Process

Guest: Kristina Scott | Makeup Artist | Beauty by Kristina Scott

Confession time: I really did not love planning my wedding *GASP!*. Unlike my friend Ashley, the wonderful wedding planner extraordinaire here at Toney Consulting, I do not have that organizer-planner-delegator gene. But I had to be the one leading the way in designing and planning my big day.

Do I regret it? Not really. Would I do some things differently if I could go back in time? Oh yes!

It would be unfair to not highlight that I wasn’t totally alone, and it did take a small village to create our beautiful wedding. It was beautiful and, to my surprise, perfect. I am so incredibly blessed to know some gifted people - friends and family - who provided their talents and time to help with design, florals, food and other little details.

But not everybody has the privilege of personally knowing a florist or a caterer or a baker, who also happen to understand your vision. I am very very lucky!

And even with all that said, the process of wedding planning took quite a toll on my mental and physical wellbeing. I can’t tell you how many times I dreamt at night that maybe when I woke up, it would finally be over, and it would be the day after my wedding, and I wouldn’t have to live and breathe wedding planning and Pinterest boards anymore. But day after day for months, I worried myself to tears with budgets, vendors and timelines.

Here are the 5 main reasons why I didn’t love planning my wedding, and the lessons I learned along the way:

We had a short engagement and were on a tight budget.

That was because I was a newly graduated international student living and working multiple jobs in Seattle, WA at the time. Money was limited, and we had to speed up our engagement to meet an immigration deadline. Also, my fiancé and I were apart because he is an Army officer and was going through a Captains Career Course in Fort Benning, GA. That made it really hard to enjoy our engagement.

All of that caused me to constantly worry about running out of time, stress about not getting RSVPs and vendor replies in time and, of course, worry whether we were going to go broke in the process. I had to be picky about what I spent time and money on and learned to make decisions quickly.

Lesson: Make a calendar of deadlines and follow it. Don’t worry about bugging people to get back to you, they can deal. Have a strict realistic budget, and please make a spreadsheet of it! Pick a few things that are most important to you about your wedding day and prioritize them financially and time-wise. For me it was photography, the venues, music and the decor of the reception venue.

Planning a wedding seemed like a huge responsibility to please and impress my guests.

I couldn’t stand the thought of embarrassing myself in front of friends and family by having an unorganized or less-than-beautiful event, or forgetting to take care of something they would expect to see. I worried about what people would think about me not incorporating some things we couldn’t afford or didn’t make time for. All I wanted was for my guests to really enjoy it!

Lesson: Sure, some people can be judgmental. But the hope is that those you invited are going to show up to witness your love and happiness and support you. Trust that! On the day of, just focus on yourself and your spouse. That’s all that matters.

I had no idea where to start.

My head was exploding the first few days after getting engaged. I was pinteresting’’ and googling bridal timelines and feverishly thinking, “OMG what do I do???” Thankfully, Pinterest came to my rescue and I got some good advice from a couple friends, so I was able to follow something resembling a plan. But it really felt like stumbling around blind for a while.

Lesson: Bad news - if you don’t hire a wedding planner, it is going to be chaotic. Just accept that. And then choose your colors. See, one thing already done! :) The next thing could be the same key priority that you picked for your budget. For me, it was the venues. My choice of florals, music, entertainment, decor and even my dress flowed from it.

I hated feeling out of control, looking weak and asking for help.

Any ladies with pride issues in the house? Few things hurt mine quite like feeling helpless or uninformed. Wedding planning really challenged and changed that. Because of my situation, I had to accept help when offered, and even (oh no!) ask for it. My wedding and I were better for it at the end, so it was totally worth getting over my pride a couple times.

The “small village” I mentioned earlier was a group of my friends and family who volunteered their space, resources, time, skills and knowledge. I will never not feel grateful to them for offering their help and pushing me to being open to ask for it.

Lesson: As weird as asking questions and admitting the need for help can feel for some of us, remember that people offer to help because they can and they want too. If it’s someone who knows you and loves you, is willing to help and has the skills to - why not?! My helpers made my wedding totally unique, absolutely family-centered and intimate - just the way I wanted it to feel.

I had very different expectations about wedding planning.

I had seen “The Wedding Planner” maybe a hundred times. I wanted to be the J Lo of my own wedding, walking around with one of those Bluetooth earphone thingies and checking things off my hyper-organized checklist.

In my mind, wedding planning was a romantic flurry of tulle, cake tastings, dress fittings and flower sniffing. Cute!

Girl. I was so wrong. It was not cute. For me, wedding planning felt more like a project management job where I had zero experience. It was all about problem solving, strict budgeting, organizing vendors, managing correspondence, meeting deadlines, locating resources, learning to say “no,” scrambling to get RSVPs (literally the worst), and learning on the job.

Lesson: If you are not a professional, it will be pure craziness. I didn’t know any better at the time. And maybe neither do you, dear bride! But I was slapped in the face with the reality and lived to tell the tale - most of the time, wedding planning is far from romantic. To my knowledge, even professionals hire professionals! Sorry to burst your bubble, but we have to be realistic.

At the end, I’ve come to terms with the fact that my wedding planning experience was not as easy and fun as I had hoped for multiple reasons. BUT, somehow it still worked out! Most people I know had multiple things go haywire before or on their wedding day, yet the wedding still happened, and it was still one of the happiest days of their lives, and everyone still looked happy in pictures.

Yet I can’t help but think back on my engagement and wedding day and wish so, so much that I had enjoyed it more. If you are a soon-to-be bride, I would really encourage you to think about how much better your wedding experience will be if you get a professional in your court who you trust, who understands your vision, and has the resources to make it a reality.

A wedding planner already has a plan while you’re still freaking out about where to start.

And you can just hold on to the thought that even if it rains the whole day, your cake falls apart, your makeup artist bails on you, and one of your bridesmaids faints, you are still going to be marrying your person. Love always wins!


Kristina Scott

Instagram: @beautybykristinascott