I’ve a gorgeous New Jersey wedding to share this beautiful Monday morning. When I read through Stepanie’s submission, I thought wow!!! What an awesome journey and then she described their wedding day as Covenant. Love. Warm. Detailed. Family. Imperfect. Beautiful. Then I thought this lady is quite interesting I’d love to be her BFF. lol
The Planning Process
The planning process consisted of only 6 months. This process is very different right after engagement compared to a month before the wedding. First, you have all these elaborate ideas in the world (thanks to the gift and curse known as Pinterest… gift because it’s an endless spring of ideas, curse because these ideas are paired with a time commitment and sometimes a lofty price tag). However, the sooner you get to the grand event, you’re just happy to make a decision you are forced to stick with due to lack of time and the joy of crossing one of the many last-minute To Do’s off your never ending task list.
I’ll be honest: I probably didn’t utilize my bridal party as much as I could have. I didn’t want to bother my girls much and frankly, I can be indecisive. I also wanted the major themes and staples of the wedding to come from the inspiration of my fiancé, Lionel, and I. This lead to lots of time brainstorming, searching, comparing, buying and returning items on my own. Lionel was laid back with details, so long as I was wise with spending, and so this meant I was pretty much on my own and had free range.
The best part of planning arrived when I decided to surrender to pride and overachievement and employ the services of a wonderful wedding/event planner: Wodline Hippolyte, Envision Weddings & Events. She helped me with all things reception: the vision, illustration of Lionel and I’s love in a tangible way and how to implement all of that in the savviest way possible. With her, I had someone tell me to think bigger, it’s my wedding after all, or to filter my oceans of ideas into a calm stream of beautiful simplicity. Less really is more, I’ve learned. She agreed and I was free to move forward in confidence. When the day arrived, I trusted her wedding design gifting and was blown away when I walked in. Find someone you trust and just trust them. Simple.
The Creative’/Vendor Selection
My vendors were all blessings from God. Seriously. They all were connected to my fiancé, who is the teen director at a large Non-Denominational Christian Church. We all share the same evangelical faith and they were all happy to bless us with their talents for reasonable fees.
All highly recommended from others familiar with their work, Lionel knew them one way or another from church activities. So not only did they do an amazing job with photography, video, hair, makeup and event planning, they encouraged me and helped me keep the main thing the main thing along the way: marriage is a covenant, a sacred promise, in which God is intricately woven into and needed. One Thing I’d Change
I would have involved my mother in the process of selecting my wedding dress. I was so worried I wouldn’t have enough time (my wedding was only six months away), I rushed on Valentine’s day to pick my dress with my mother-in-law and sister. Although, I only went to one store and only tried on a handful of dresses, I’m confident my first dress, the dress I picked was “the one.” Still, I just wish I would have slowed down to make the time to include my mother in that magical, long-awaited moment. Brides: take time to savor each moment. I know everyone says that, but you may be rushing things you don’t need to. Enjoy this process of planning, praying, waiting and dreaming for that big day.
Hint of Culture
The greatest vein of culture pumped through the musical selections. We made sure to have a blend to honor the fusion of Latin American and African-American culture. This is best displayed though the parent tributes and dances. Since my father passed away at a young age, I dance with my mother to the very traditional song at many Hispanic weddings/ Quinceañeras (Sweet 15s), “Mi Nina Bonita” by Tomas de San Julian. Lionel danced to “A Song for Mama” by Boyz II Men. Through the afternoon, there was a mix of salsa, bachata, soul, hip-hop, r and b and pop.
During your engagement don’t just plan for the wedding, plan for your marriage. Discuss expectations and go into the marriage with a sober perspective on each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Don’t compare a strength of yours to his greatest weakness, it simply isn’t fair. Discuss the root of any concerning behaviors and identify coping strategies to grow alongside that person, despite those areas. Pre-martial counseling is extremely helpful and/or going through a solid book together that offers a healthy perspective to marriage, such as “The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God,” by Timothy Keller. Here’s an awesome quote from this book as a teaser and lasting thought:
“In any relationship, there will be frightening spells in which your feelings of love dry up. And when that happens you must remember that the essence of marriage is that it is a covenant, a commitment, a promise of future love. So what do you do? You do the acts of love, despite your lack of feeling. You may not feel tender, sympathetic, and eager to please, but in your actions you must BE tender, understanding, forgiving and helpful. And, if you do that, as time goes on you will not only get through the dry spells, but they will become less frequent and deep, and you will become more constant in your feelings. This is what can happen if you decide to love.” – Timothy Keller