How To Stay Sane While Planning A Wedding

wedding feature

I originally wanted a simple, laid back, backyard wedding at the house I grew up in. It was all going to be so easy and awesome and cozy and homey and I could put my wedding dress on in my childhood bedroom and say my vows under the big tree in the back yard.

Magical. Big, super-dramatic sigh. Commence pinning.

But then both my mom and Joel promptly shat on that dream.

Joel said he didn’t think he could handle my mom not being able to handle hosting a wedding at her house. And my mom (KPal) said “I simply cannot handle hosting a wedding at my house. I will go crazy. We all know this. You saw what happened on my 60th birthday when it almost rained. I had a borderline nervous breakdown in my bathrobe and that was 50 guests and some pasta salad.”

We had to move along to other ideas. I learned early that I would need to be flexible if this was going to go smoothly.

So we decided on that simple wedding (ha, that’s hilarious to me now) on the farm of a family friend outside of Rochester. It’s gorgeous up there, the farm is gorgeous, the barn is gorgeous, our friends up there are unbelievably hospitable and helpful, it’s all good. We’re less than two months out and I honestly feel pretty good about things.

I really hope I am not kicking myself in the ass in the very near future for writing this but (knock on wood) wedding planning really hasn’t been too bad. At least, it hasn’t been the straight-up nightmare that I know a lot of people experience. I’m very grateful.

So, I thought I’d share how I’ve been attempting to stay sane and happy during this process. Seems to be a hawt tawpic.

1. I read this book.

A practical wedding

Always with the books, I know, sorry. I always start with a damn book. But my friend, Catherine, who I believe to be super grounded, happy and intelligent, suggested it to me immediately post engagement drinks. She’d successfully navigated a wedding in the recent past, so I promptly ordered it on Amazon. It was stupendous. Every newly engaged woman should read it.

2. I decided what I was going to care about and what I was not going to care about.

I care about our budget. I care about the ceremony. I care about my dress. I care about honoring my mother and grandmother’s requests and I care about our guests’ enjoyment.

The rest, I don’t really care about.

I don’t care too much about the particulars of the menu, or the flowers, or the invitations, or my bridesmaids outfits, or the groomsmens outfits, or a signature drink or the tablescapes or whatever. I don’t think I have the emotional capacity to micromanage everything that comes along with a big wedding so, I decided early what was really important to me and what was not. I think it’s been serving me well and making me a more agreeable, easy-to-deal-with bride. But you’d really have to ask Joel, my mom, and my friends about that.

I basically decided that if KPal wants shrimp at every course, then KPal can have shrimp at every course. I am not going to argue with her.


3. I decided I was going to be as nice as possible. 

People do a lot for us around our wedding. They give gifts, they plan things, they listen to us tweak out, they spend money, they spend their time and they care. Some people care more than others but, everyone cares. And it’s really nice. I thought I’d be more uncomfortable with the attention and celebration but, turns out I like getting gifts and people asking me about the wedding. It’s nice to be cared about and fussed over a bit. And I just keep reminding myself that no one is required to do any of this. So I’m going to be kind and gracious and appreciative. Even when unsolicited advice and opinions roll in 🙂

Have I freaked out at KPal and Joel a few times though? Of course I have. I’m human. #doingmybest #winehelps

4. I keep reminding myself that none of these details have anything to do with marrying Joel. 

This one I think is the most important.

We could get married in our kitchen this afternoon if we wanted to. We don’t actually have to do any of this in order to get married. And honestly, when my mom gave me a check to cover the wedding, part of me wanted to take it and sprint like a running back off into the night with it tucked under my arm and never return. But I didn’t because it was our choice to throw this big wedding, nobody forced us to.

And I can’t wait to marry Joel. I’m pumped to say my vows in front of everyone I love. He is the kindest, most patient, handsome, interesting, funny, smart, supportive and loving guy I’ve ever met. And he can make things. And he can cook. And he has a beard most of the time. And he came as a package deal on the internet with Jacko! Dream scenario. A boyfriend and cute Shiba Inu, 2 for 1! A two-fer! I nailed it.



And Leisha and BShan have been really helpful in reminding me of this fact: no matter what happens on my wedding day, if it rains, if the caterer doesn’t show up, or the band doesn’t show up or the flowers go brown or the shuttle bus gets lost, whatever. I am still going to be surrounded by my friends and family and I am still going to marry Joel. And that’s really all that matters.

Plus, my grandma told me at my cousin’s wedding that marriage is not about a party. She said marriage was going to be the hardest thing I ever do in life, aside from raising a child but, it could also be the most rewarding. She said dance now but, get ready for the long haul, because these parties don’t matter nearly as much as you kids think they do. And then she told me to go dance with my grandpa because he was driving her crazy.


I always keep that conversation in mind. I mean, I watched her take care of him for fifteen years as Alzheimer’s slowly took over and that looked incredibly hard to me. But that is one of the vows right? In sickness and in health. And they always seemed happy together. They loved each other and they seemed to really like each other as well. Plus, they raised a great family to boot. I hope Joel and I last 65 good years like they did.

So I just keep reminding myself that the quality of those potential years ahead of us won’t have all that much to do with the party we are throwing on June 6th anyway.

So yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing to try to hold it together, ya’ll. I hope this adds some value if you’re in a similar situation.

Oh and now I’m crying at my desk. That’s another thing I’ve been doing. I’ve been crying a lot. Because, well, I have a lot of feelings.



  1. Oh Dana! What a beautiful post this was! I am so proud of you and blessed to be your Aunt. You are right on D- Money about marriage. But then again, you could NOT have had a better example than Grandma Helen and Poppie. And yes, you will be surrounded by all that love and support you and Joel.

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