Once (or Twice, or Third Time’s a charm) In a Lifetime Wedding Planning Advice
Congratulations, you’re engaged! What’s next?
Every year in the United States, there are approximately 2.5 million weddings, and the wedding industry has grown to an empire of 40 billion dollars per year—that’s a lot of starry-eyed lovers tying themselves up in knots!
As a much-married woman myself , I’m a wedding and honeymoon veteran. And being a former florist and now a travel consultant, I’ve also facilitated many weddings and honeymoons over the years. So I feel very qualified to give advice—about weddings and honeymoons, that is. Not necessarily about how to stay married. (We have Dr. Phil for that. )
First of all, pre-wedding, you have to narrow it down to THE ONE. Difficult, perhaps, when there are so many fish in the sea. But only one will truly be your soul mate forever, right?
Here’s my 5 Important Things to Know About Getting Married List.
Number One: It is NOT about “the event” itself. If you think it’s about having the wedding of your dreams, I have some bad news: you wake up one morning and the party’s over. No more belle (or beau) of the ball for you. Nope, now you’re a married person, one half of the team, with the long years stretching before you and nobody cheering you on. the party’s over… That being said, photos are forever so please don’t cheap out on the flowers. They should be one of the first things you think about, not something tacked on at the end. (And I no longer have a dog in the hunt, so you know I’m telling the truth.) Flowers make every occasion special!
Number Two: If you have a limited budget (and we all do, to one extent or the other), prioritize. Is it more important to spend a fortune on the wedding and reception, impressing your acquaintances or trying to outdo your best friend, or would you rather have a memorable honeymoon, one that sets up a lifetime of festive travels together? Personally, I’d go for the fab honeymoon. Big fancy weddings are stressful and short-lived–and truly memorable honeymoon memories might just get you through a rough night down the road, when you’re awake at 3:00 am with a screaming, teething baby. (These things happen. One plus one makes three…or more!)
Number Three: In any case, please, please, please do NOT spend more than you can really afford. A boatload of debt will create unnecessary stress and cause fights. You will have plenty of other things to fight about, as you probably already know.
Number Four: Expect to detox the first few days after the wedding. Especially if you’ve blithely disregarded all my sage wisdom and have persisted with the big stressy wedding, you’ll find yourself crashing when you hit the sandy beach. Plan your activities for later in the week and give yourselves a few days to just lay low.
I’ve been married four times. People think that’s a lot, but when it’s your own life, it all feels organic and natural. That means four honeymoons: The first time, back in 1980, we went to Yosemite and stayed in a rustic cabin–cozy fires, bike riding, big puffy coats! Gorgeous Yosemite and Bridal Veil Falls.
The second time, we headed north: to beautiful British Columbia. Victoria, Vancouver, BC, the San Juan Islands…we stayed in B&B’s, which my husband HATED–no TV, shared bathrooms, tea with the apron-clad grandma who ran the place… Victoria, BC.
The third time we chose Mexico. Sunny Puerta Vallarta–lots to do there. We kayaked and snorkeled and jet-skied with big sea turtles… me and the iguana!
The fourth (current and final) husband and I chose another path–we did a destination wedding in Miami on a cruise ship and sailed off on our honeymoon with 50 guests! It took some time, but I finally found the right guy for me. Which brings me to my last and most important piece of advice—
Number Five: If for some reason, this marriage doesn’t work out, you can always reboot. No matter what they tell you, there’s an escape clause. If you need support, call me. Not everyone finds the love of their life the first rattle out of the box. I hope you are happy forever, married or single, remarried or blissfully living together, and I hope you have the courage to ”get back up on that horse and ride” if you’re thrown a time or two.