Hi there, friends!
I’m glad to have you back in the second part of this guide to Make The Pretty Mean Something for your wedding celebration. Let’s recap, shall we!
In Part 1, we talked about:
- How The Heirloom Experience came to be, and why I see so many couples dissolve into puddles of stress during their wedding planning process.
- More importantly, I talked about how to do things differently! The key to pulling back from that feeling of overwhelm is to tune out the never ending feed of inspiration and expectations, and focus most on those elements that really matter to you. Yes, you can do this!
- If you take nothing else away from reading this, I hope you hear this: You have permission to make your wedding day reflect exactly how you want to remember the beginning of your marriage. By the power vested in me from this world-wide-web, I give you that permission. Take it! You can do this with kindness and with love, and still make the months leading up to your wedding a celebration of this life you and your partner are starting together.
Now let's talk about the next step in HOW to determine these values.
What is a wedding value and can I find it on Pinterest?
In the first post we covered why it’s important to determine your wedding values. But I’m sure there are some of you still reading that think, “Great! I’ll just add this to my never ending to-do list, right after I learn a second language and wash my apartment windows”. I get it. My apartment windows are a little neglected too. But I promise this one is worth it, and does not require Windex.
So how do you know what your wedding values are? Here’s the big secret...They’re essentially just your regular everyday values in a fancy dress. Your wedding day will be one of the most memorable days of your life. But your values don’t change just because it’s your wedding day. Your wedding values are the values that you live in your life, year after year, whether you pay attention to them or not. Most of us don’t have the opportunity or need to define these values on a random Tuesday afternoon, so determining your wedding values, is really about writing down what’s most important to you, and talking with your spouse-to-be about theirs. Here are some of my best tips for how to start this process:
1. Look at your Family Background and Upbringing
What are the values you were raised with that you still hold in your adult life? Not everyone values exactly the same things as their family or parents, so take permission to consider whether the answers that come out of this question are ones that really resonate with you, or are what you feel your loved ones think you should be doing. However, I find that people naturally swing back to the core values they were raised with, especially at big moments in their lives.
The best way to do this one? A good old-fashioned gut check. There’s no fancy formula, or complicated process. It’s a feeling that you know to be true when you’re quiet and you sit with your thoughts. Mine happens in my stomach. I can literally feel the right choice. Take a quick moment and think “what is really important to me?” Notice the first few things that come to mind (or stomach).
2. Look at How you Spend your Weekends and Vacations
It doesn’t have to take a ticking biological clock for you to know that time is an incredibly valuable resource. How you spend the precious milliseconds away from your work computer gives you huge clues into what your values are.
Here are some examples:
Was you last vacation to explore a new city; twisting and turning down small cobblestone streets in a foreign land? - Unexpected Surprise and Adventure
Did you spend a week at Disneyland with your entire extended family? - Community and family togetherness
Think about your go-to Saturday plans. What do they typically entail? Here are some examples:
Do you spend your day hunting through bins at a flea market looking for the perfect unique dessert plates? - Incorporating hand crafted details or Family Heirlooms
Cheering on your favorite football team at a big tailgate with all your college friends? - Shared Experiences and Personal Traditions
Spend the afternoon flambeing the perfect tart for your weekly dinner party with your neighbors. - Intimacy and Shared Meals
3. Look at Your Home
Looking to your home for inspiration on what is important to you can give you great insights into your values. Especially if it’s a home that you and your love share together. How you’ve prioritized what occupies the physical space you live in every day has essentially done this work for you! Interiors provide a huge inspiration source for weddings. Being fully immersed in the feeling of your home is the same experience I want guests to feel when they step into your reception.
Here are some examples:
Do vacation and travel photos cover your walls? - Personal Details and Shared Experiences
Do you always have room for one more at your weekly taco-night? - Casual Celebrations and Shared Meals
4. Ask Yourself How You Want To Feel At The End Of This Process
Two questions I ask every single couple that I sit down with are:
- What do you want to remember about your wedding day when you look back on it from your first anniversary?
- What do you want to remember about your life together when you’re 80?
It’s so true that hindsight can be 20/20. Imagine your life after your wedding day and try to pull some perspective from your future self about the memories you’ll really want to cherish, and the detail that will fade away as time goes by. Plan for those memories and place less of a priority on those areas that don’t come to mind in your picture.
Editing Down Your List and Discussing With Your Fiancé
After you’ve thought through the list of tips above, you will likely have a list of 4-8 things that feel important to you. That’s great and you should celebrate (hello, red wine) for getting this far! In actually, it’s really hard to have 8 priorities for your wedding. And if you have 8, then that whole other person whose day this also belongs to might also have 8, and now you’re back to overwhelm. Don’t panic (insert red wine here). It’s time to edit.
Look at your list and their list and compare. If there are any overlaps then those are obviously shared values and they should be on your final list. If there are no overlaps, then look at your list and rank the items by importance to you. Have your partner do the same. What are the top two on each of your lists? Try to come to a mutual agreement about your top 2-3. Congratulations! Those are your wedding values!!
Insider tip: For anyone with a partner who runs for the hills when you mention the words goal, value, or discussion - do the exercise for yourself and ask your partner only the last question. You’ll gain the most insight, with the least amount of resistance, and you can still incorporate 1-2 values important to both of you from what comes out of that discussion.
Next week we wrap up the series with some practical advice on how to plan your wedding around your values! Can’t wait to see you back.