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a pre-wedding reflection

well, here we are, folks. randy and i are getting married in 2 DAYS!! i can hardly believe it! it kind of feels like high school graduation - you spend 4 years (well, almost a year and a half in our case) planning for this momentous occasion that will mark the next big chapter in your life, and when it is finally within reach, it's like - WOAH!

randy and i spent pretty much a year on the nose seriously planning the wedding. i say 'seriously' because even though we got engaged at the end of november 2011, we didn't book the venue until march 26, 2012, and that's when things really got off of the ground. (click here if you want to read our engagement story!)

i can't even tell you the barrage of emotions that keep hitting me. i swear these past 2 weeks i'll cry if i hear one of our ceremony songs on the radio, or my stomach does flips when i think about walking down the aisle, or i feel like a kid on christmas eve - i just want this day to be here already!!! the feeling i have the majority of the time is anxiety because i have put literally so much work into this day, and i'm hoping it will go off without a hitch. i have really awesome backup with my family, friends, and day-of coordinator, but i'm just so ready to see how this whole thing turns out!

i also feel pretty proud of myself right about now. we didn't hire a wedding planner, and randy and i are paying for over half of the wedding ourselves, which is a huge accomplishment for us. i've done a good amount of DIY projects, found each one of our vendors (which have all turned out to be amazing), enlisted the help of friends-of-friends for some of the services, came up with a theme/ambiance for the ceremony and reception.. the list goes on! planning a wedding is a ton of work! i'm not going to lie and say that i'll be 100% sad when it's over because not having to worry about every little detail will be a nice change of pace. but it will feel weird not to have a 10-mile long to do list to take care of. i'm a project person, so wedding planning was right up my alley!

being at the end of my 'wedding planning journey,' i've definitely learned some valuable tips and tricks along the way. i wanted to share them with you guys, as i'm sure at least a few of you are either starting, in the middle of, or at the end of planning a wedding as well. since this is *knock on wood the only time i will do this, i don't want my new-found wisdom to go to waste!

i would say the first tip that comes to my mind is to stay organized from start to finish. when we got serious about planning the wedding, i got a box together so as to keep all of my planning materials in one place. then i got another, bigger box when we started accumulating things like special cocktail napkins, table number holders, and other ceremony and reception decorations. of course, my one box has turned into many boxes, but i can tell you where everything is and i know nothing is being left behind or forgotten about (god willing..). i also made an 'inventory list' since my coordinator and family are helping to set up the ceremony and reception. there are so many little details, especially if your wedding has a lot of small and special touches, the only way to make sure everything gets done the way you want is to do it yourself. since i am not about to be setting up my wedding reception in my brand new white dress, i made a comprehensive list of all of the items in the boxes, what they're for or where they are supposed to go, and (most importantly) if we want them to be returned to us afterward.

i would say the biggest cause of stress throughout the whole process was money. randy and i paid for most of the wedding ourselves, although we did receive financial help from my parents, which was a tremendous help! but there would be times when i would be sick and have to miss a day of work, or it would be slow at the dealership (randy is a car salesman for those of you who don't know slash if i've never mentioned it before) and we wouldn't be able to reach our savings goals for a given month. they say the top issues in any relationship are sex and money, and the second definitely came into play for us at times. one thing that helped was sticking to my tips for saving money. setting realistic goals is the key, and while things do happen and you may not be able to stick to what you set out to do 100% of the time, it's important to not get hung up on any short-comings and move forward. envelope budgeting also helped us tremendously! the past month or so i have been depositing all of our cash to send out balance checks to the vendors, and it is such a pain to remember what the money i have in my account is for; i even had to start a list on my phone! if we had kept all of the wedding money in our checking accounts from the start, it would have been such a pain to keep track of it all, and i can guarantee you at least some of it would have ended up going missing.

something else invaluable that i learned is to be flexible. this carries into non-wedding-planning life as well, but going with the flow and not getting hung up when certain details needed to be changed saved me a lot of stress. and believe me, there's enough stress with a wedding even if you're not stressing over anything in particular! because our budget was pretty tiny, we didn't have room to request peonies and expensive dessert buffet spreads and photo booths and a light show. for me, the overall feel of our wedding was more important than having a specific type of flower or other little detail that i will forget about in a month anyway. i feel confident that my vendors know what i'm aiming for with the wedding and that they can work within the budget to get me what i want. besides, if you're super particular about what you want, it's easier to get disappointed when something doesn't work out right. and don't try to do too many or super complicated DIY projects. take my word on this one! *disclaimer: i did have mini-freak-outs quite a bit. i know randy would laugh at this paragraph if i didn't put this in here

i feel like this is babble-y. the butterflies in my stomach are affecting my ability to write coherently! but that's ok. i'm getting married this weekend!!!!!! i'm not supposed to have to make sense right now! i honestly can't believe it's already here. i feel like i have been waiting forever for this day! i can't believe that randy is going to be my 'husband.' i can't believe i'll be some body's 'wife!' i can't wait! :)

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