Once you’re officially engaged, it can be a bit daunting to know what to do next. Suddenly a lot of people want to know a lot of details. If you haven’t decided on them before announcing the engagement, well, you might feel a bit at sea. Friends and relatives – even ones with the best possible intentions – can begin to seriously stress you out with conflicting advice.
So what to do now? How to take the reins?
Sometimes a good place to start is by figuring out what you don’t want. It’s surprising how few of the expected trappings of weddings are actually required, either legally or spiritually. So if you’re not wild about white, you don’t have to wear it, and if you have no interest in identical bridesmaids’ dresses, you can tell them to pick their own (hint: do give some sort of guidance lest you wind up with a situation like the one I saw once where the MOH decided to express her contempt for her sister’s wedding by wearing a slinky black jumpsuit with lots of decorative zippers and the highest heels I’ve seen not worn by a ‘working girl’). You can decide that your ‘theme’ is just ‘wedding.’ Cake is an option for dessert, but not required.
Once you know what you don’t like, though, you find that you’ve got even more options than you realized at first. Don’t panic. This is where you start to winnow down those options by figuring out what you do like, and what you do want, and what really is indispensable to you and your intended.
Try sitting down and thinking about how you want people to feel at your wedding. Do you want them to be wowed by your surprises? Impressed by your elegant taste? Relaxed by your simple hospitality? Amused by your whimsy? There pretty much isn’t a wrong answer here. This is your wedding, and it should reflect your priorities. Just make sure your intended is happy with the same feeling, because it’s not just your wedding.
Knowing how you want people to feel automatically sheds inappropriate options. If you want an unexpected spectacle, you necessarily have to either reject or adapt all the expected trappings. If you’re going for traditional pomp and circumstance, then you’re not even going to look at the latest trendy accessories. If you want an informal, relaxed atmosphere, why on earth would you bother with a sit down dinner with lobster and caviar?
Just start with the overall feel, and you’ll be amazed how easily your eye starts gravitating towards ideas that fit that feel. Things that don’t fit will be quickly identified and easily rejected.
As with finding the love of your life, feelings are the best place to begin.