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No Such Thing as a Wedding Without Compromise

Kaitlin Palma, a talented wedding photographer shares her own personal experience on planning a wedding during covid and her advice to other brides on how to incorporate mindfulness and compromise into their special day.

There is absolutely no turning back now, I thought. We hit “submit” and were then led to a page that read “You have successfully submitted your deposit!”

If I needed to pin-point any particular moment where wedding planning felt, well, real, it was this. Andrew and I had just paid the deposit for our wedding videographer. Now, maybe the videographer isn’t the first vendor on your list. However, there was an exception here because we were just super excited! Okay, maybe that isn’t an exception, per se, but we were geeked out, nonetheless.

“It’s one day. One freakin’ day. We don’t need $3,000 worth of flowers!”

This is where it begins: the knots in your stomach, or maybe even butterflies, the flashes of panic when brief moments of possible impending doom strike. Perhaps we were too excited, or maybe even thinking about it too much, or perhaps this is really what wedding planning is.

Beyond cake tasting, beyond date selecting, beyond choosing a venue that begs both impeccable taste and personal value, but also doesn’t break the bank (an near-impossible task, to say the least), wedding planning can come in just another form of good ol’ honest anxiety. And, truly, I’ve come to terms with being okay in simply admitting that.

Let’s break it down: weddings cost so much money. Now, wherever that money may come from–your parents, your to-be parents-in-law, your rich aunt, your poor aunt, or your own savings account–that money is painful to spend. Your thoughts will likely cycle from: “This is the biggest and best day of my life, I will spare no expense!” to “It’s one day. One freakin’ day. We don’t need $3,000 worth of flowers!” Hear me when I say that those thoughts and feelings are normal, and you will likely continue to be at war with your decisions.

Stay open minded with the possibility of a wedding that might look a little different than you had imagined.

In addition, feelings of guilt, regardless of where the money is coming from, is also something that happens. What I’ve learned is this: you have options.

Trust, both my fiance and I get it. We’re both subscribers to an every-detail-counts, aesthetically marveling event, which does not make this process easier to execute on a budget. Prior to getting engaged, I always imagined a wedding that was totally and completely done under the expense of only myself and my partner. I wanted this to be a milestone in our lives that we could say we accomplished all on our own. Quickly, I realized that not only was that monetarily impossible at this point in our lives, but also that one of the reasons we create wedding events, at all, is so that we can celebrate with all the people in our lives we love the most. 

That said, when it comes to the money being spent, I’ve learned that you can take the help when it’s being offered. Allow your family and loved ones to be a part of your day. They want to celebrate with you. Allow them the possibility of taking part in making your celebration the best it can be. If you do decide to do so, and it’s still too much, change your game plan! Stay open minded with the possibility of a wedding that might look a little different than you had imagined. It will feel just as, if not more, magical. 

When Andrew and I embarked on this mission, we immediately started our mood board–a Pinterest one to be specific (okay, several Pinterest mood boards). We knew this day needed to mirror our personalities and “couple style,” if you will. So we got excited.

 We were so set on the idea of an outdoor desert wedding: rustic vintage furniture, Persian rugs, dried flowers, and a color palette that’s really just variations of clay. With that idea in mind, we found a prospective venue! We reached out, and immediately coughed that idea right out as soon as we saw the price tag: $15,000, seating rentals not included.

Well, there goes that dream! It goes without saying that those moments are nothing short of disappointing. They just are. However, continue to keep your options in mind.

We realized the Joshua Tree venue simply was not going to happen.

After we realized the Joshua Tree venue simply was not going to happen, we readjusted our possibilities. Reiterating questions like “Who do we want there?” and “What areas are accessible for both us and the people we love?” can be a huge help in this process. Those questions can also be followed by ones of practicality, as well: “What areas can our vendors easily reach? What amenities can our venue provide for us?” Blending practicality and open-mindedness led us to the venue we ended up deciding on. Is it outdoors? No. Does it even look like a desert? No, but it can support that color palette if we want to stick with it, and it comes with seating. Bingo.

Now, one thing I can’t ignore about flexibility and keeping an open mind is that the examples I’ve provided about my experience with my fiance and our process lacked one anxiety that so many couples are experiencing right now: altering plans in the face of a pandemic.

Andrew and I were lucky enough to land on a date far enough in advance that we (hopefully) will not need change. However, that doesn’t mean we haven’t been concerned. We have worried about potentially changing our date and cutting our guestlist even more.

So many things are uncertain. What we do know is this: if things need to change, it’s still going to be the best day of our lives. 

From monetary expenses to emotional ones, all of the anxieties that erupt from planning a wedding are very real, very present, and very valid. Whatever they may be, it’s imperative to remember what is truly important in this: you and your partner. Diamonds are formed under pressure, right?

Please see Kaitlin’s and her team’s work at https://www.sethandcompany.com/

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