I have started and restarted this post half a dozen times in the last week. However, I wasn’t able to write it fully because every single time, I have added to it or taken away and thought about it honestly way too much. So today, it is Monday, August 8th, and I am sitting at my computer with a blank canvas in front of me to write this post with whatever emotions come to my mind, and simply hit publish. Because sometimes, writing things as they come to you is better than coming up with trying to find the perfect way to say what you feel.
This past weekend, my final couple, Diane and Derek, said "I Do” to each other and became husband and wife. On the planning side, everything on Saturday went perfectly. Her parents began walking down the aisle right as the clock struck 1:00, dinner was served at exactly 4:00, but that’s not what the most important details of the day were for me - my bride and groom from this weekend were the perfect couple to end my wedding planning days, because every guest there was there truly to celebrate the love that these two have found with each other. So many people were just plain happy and giddy - and you know what I realized? That is the same way it has been on a wedding day with so many other couples I had the pleasure of planning with. The couples whose days I have been blessed to be a part of have been filled with so much joy, love, and laughter, and I seriously can not thank all of them enough for trusting me with such an important day in their life.
One year and one week ago today, I made the announcement in this blog post here that I was going to stop wedding planning so that I could pursue the plans that I feel God has for me. Every time that I have said that and every day that has passed since, it has created in me a joy about the unknown and a peace that is unexplainable. Things have transpired that have further shown me that this is the right choice, even though it’s not necessarily one that I want to do. I feel that everything happens for a reason, that God speaks through people to you, and sometimes, as terrifying as it may be, you need to lay down what you feel is the best job to do something even better. And that for me, is wedding planning. Am I saying that this chapter will be closed forever? I don’t know. But for now it is, because sometimes you need to close a door completely in order to see the light in a window that God has shining in for you.
I have had so many incredible weddings over the last six years. I started out planning weddings in the fall of 2010 (and honestly the first time it crossed my mind was one week after my husband and I got married, in July of 2009. I started this business as a “hobby” while I taught second grade. A couple of years into my planning business, I decided to stop teaching so that I could plan weddings full time while raising my daughter next to me, and now also have my son who I spend my days with too. To say that life has changed for me in the last few years is an understatement. This work is something that I have truly, truly loved, and a big part of me is really sad to be closing this chapter. However, I also feel that as I have been told I have become a great wedding planner, there was something more waiting for me - something was missing. I have completely fallen in love with the design aspect over the last few years, namely with invitation and product design. I have added things to my Etsy Shop continually over the last few years and have really, really come to love the design aspect that comes with being a product designer. To those of you who have been around since the beginning, you have seen the changes that have taken place, and I am so grateful you’re still here today cheering me on. I have also found that as a mom, I love to encourage other moms, other women who are in business, and my faith has grown tremendously in the last six years, more than I ever could have imagined.
And then one day it happened. I heard God very clearly, say to me, “I made you for more than this. Not more with weddings, but more from your heart.” The day I heard that, I sat back from what I was doing, stopped everything, and simply said “ok” with a trust I have never had before. And suddenly, doors began to open in ways that I never thought possible and everything became very clear. I began designing invitations with a newfound love and added more and more custom-design items to my shop, and since that day that I sat back and said "ok", I have felt this is the right decision in more ways than I can count. Although I one hundred percent feel that by closing the door to planning weddings that I am on the path that God has now chosen for me, and that He has arranged everything in the way it is now to be standing where I am today, I also couldn’t help but say that I have truly, truly loved my time as a planner. There never was a wedding day that went by where I wasn’t in tears of joy at some point.
Sometimes it was the moment right before a bride walked down the aisle, as she lovingly held her dad’s arm with one hand, her bouquet with her other, connecting eyes with me, where I would tell her to just breathe and smile because her forever sweetheart was waiting for her, seeing that love and calm suddenly come across her, right before fluffing her dress once more before she began walking down the aisle. Sometimes it was simply looking across a reception or a ceremony room that had been set up before guests arrived, and feeling such happiness that everything came together as perfectly as it did. A first dance as Mr. and Mrs., or a toast given by a dad or a Best Man. A prayer said by a groom holding his future wife’s hand on the other side of a door, or the car driving away as the newlyweds looked back and waved, there is something truly romantic and magical about being there on wedding days. Something truly special about committing your life to a person, the one you have found and desire to spend the rest of your life with, and then sharing that with the people you love the most in your lives.
If I say only one more thing here, it is this. If you are engaged or a newlywed, whether you have been married for one year or twenty, I hope that you always remember the way you looked at your husband or wife on your wedding day. It doesn't matter if you have 30 guests or 200. It doesn't matter if you have $1,000 or $50,000 that you choose to put towards your wedding day. What matters is the moment that you held your hands together and said I Do, the moment you became husband and wife. The day you said your vows and both made the decision to stick together for all the days of your lives - for richer or poorer, for better or worse. In sickness and in health, to love and to cherish each other as long as you both shall live. To support each other, to love each other unconditionally, and to be each others rock throughout life together. That is what matters. That’s where the good stuff is. A wedding is meant to be a sharing of a commitment of love for a husband and a wife, and ten, twenty, fifty years later, I hope you still are able to see that love for each other under all of the wrinkles we are all bound to have, and remember how much you loved each other the day you said I Do. And if I was a part in making that day stress free so that you could only have the emotions of happiness and bliss and joy and love when you look back in the years ahead by planning your wedding day with you and knowing that everything was taken care of so that you didn’t need to worry about anything at all, then my job was perfectly done.
To those whose wedding day stories I got to be a part of, thank you. Thank you for letting me be a part of your day, and for all of the wonderful memories I have with you as I close this door to begin my new journey solely as a designer. Because it has been one incredible ride, and I have loved every minute of it.
Cheers to the future, whatever it may hold, walking the path that God has created for me. I may not know all of the details about what’s ahead, but something tells me that it is going to be amazing.