Giving in to the frenzy: How I learned to stop worrying and love wedding planning | 9Lives
Reading Time: 5 min

Don’t let the title of my article fool you… I still don’t particularly enjoy wedding planning. But fear not, that is not the end of the article. Since getting engaged in early March, I’ve been on a journey to figure out this thing called ‘a wedding’. This is my honest account of how I’ve learned to keep head above water and even to enjoy myself.

Getting engaged

By far my favourite part thus far, I still remember those blissful few days after getting engaged. We saw our families, it took nearly a week to get through all the messages, and we just spent this time enjoying each other’s company (mostly drinking bubbles). If you are into that kind of thing, my love language is quality time, and therefore these precious few days were definitely the biggest treat.

Planning the actual wedding was so far from my mind that it scares me a bit now. Looking back at how naive I was, I’m not sure how I thought this was all going to go down. I’ve been reading a lot about couples getting married within three months or even less, and I firmly believe that they must’ve already had some money saved, and where did their guest list come from so quickly, and do you wear your mother’s dress or borrow one because my research says that a dress takes nine months….

I have a lot of questions…

To have a binder or not to have a binder

If you know me, you know that I plan. I over-plan, in fact, I am a big fan of planned fun. Which, I promise, is more fun than it sounds. Translation: I’m a bit of a Monica. There, I said it! I have this one side that needs a wedding binder with emails and quotes and ideas and budgets and spreadsheets and vows and contracts and colour-coded duties for everyone involved.

The other side of me kind of just wants to nap till the wedding. I have this Cinderella-like dream of woodland creatures streaming in to help me with tough choices such as “should I wear my hair up or down, should I go minimalist or maximalist or most importantly… should we just elope?” So, then no to a binder.

I’ve settled for a Pinterest board which I maintain religiously. Every single idea, everything that I kind-of-like and all the stuff that might seem like my vibe, I add to the board. I’ve also shared my board with a few people close to me, so they know what my taste is and so that they can help me with ideas. And yes, the board is highly organised; it has sections and titles and a variety of images.

The infernal guest list

If you’ve ever planned a wedding, or just stood within earshot of someone planning a wedding, you’d know that the guest list is a massive headache. There are two entire families (sometimes even more) to keep happy, while you are trying to squeeze in friends you actually like, hoping no one notices. I’m not even talking about colleagues and your cousins’ plus ones here…

We set up our initial list and shared with our families for feedback. They came back with a few suggestions and ever since then I have found myself struggling to go back and revise. Just because it is such a draining process and in an ideal world you would actually just like to invite everyone.

We’ve settled for a headcount of 70 people. Who those seventy people will be, we’ll decide closer to the time. And of course, we have an A and B list because as we know not everyone will be able to attend, especially overseas family.

It takes two to get married

The other day a colleague asked me if I am a bridezilla. I quickly realised that while I might not see myself as one, chances are that I actually might be one. And therein lies my wedding planning mantra; ‘Never leave your man behind’.

To me, this means not making everything about myself. Hundreds of people will have very Braveheart-esque reasons why this is all actually about the bride, but that does not mean that this is how I want my wedding to go. I want to pitch up on the day and see a vision of I have created with the person I’m pledging myself to.

It also means not sweating the small stuff. What makes our wedding planning a tad harder is the fact that we have a long-distance relationship, so while bickering about chocolate versus vanilla cake for the reception, you also need to start making plans for a move, which does add a lot of extra pressure. Therefore, constantly keeping sight of his needs and wants during the entire process is quite high on my priority list.

For the love of wedding planning

Just before my 21st birthday, I was seeing a psychologist about some trouble I was having with anxiety. Most of these anxieties came from the fact that I had a tendency to listen to too many opinions and not take the time to make up my own mind about stuff and then just obsess over the fact that I felt like I was not being true to myself. It’s a vicious cycle, really. The most valuable thing that she taught me was to make a list of things that is on your and to write down how you feel about them.

After a few weeks of walking around confused about the whole wedding planning thing, I stumbled onto a book by Amanda Pendolino called Wedding Planning for the Busy Feminist. I devoured the entire book in a day (I would recommend this book to anyone planning a wedding!) and realised that her ‘You do you’ philosophy is exactly the reminder I needed to do… well, me!

At this exact moment, I started enjoying wedding planning. The first to go was the idea of a traditional late afternoon/evening wedding; I’ve never really liked them so why do one? I’m not particularly religious and these days everyone just gets married beforehand anyway, therefore I’m trying to convince my brother to do the honours. I’m also toying with the idea of not having a white dress, leaning more towards a light sage dress that’s airy and feminine.

I’m currently just trying doing what feels right to both of us. And if that vision turns out to be a minimalist boho-chick brunch with a Star Wars theme, then we can burn the photos afterwards and tell the kids that we just went down to the courthouse in our Sunday best.


Free State-girl, living in Stellenbosch. Love to explore small towns, read in Afrikaans and everything pop-culture. My favourite yoga move is 'The Pigeon' and one day I'd like to own my own vintage cinema.

Write A Comment