Focusing on the Finish Line by Nia McLean

As I write this blog, I am running on fumes. My wedding is three days away and I feel like a walking-talking to-do list. This morning, I reluctantly emailed my professors to let them know that I am getting married this weekend and have a myriad of last-minute tasks to complete and would not be able to make it to class. They all congratulated me, and sent well wishes. I still have a quiz due tomorrow and another on the day that I return from my mini-moon. Their reprieve helped open up my schedule a bit, so that I do not feel as rushed as I would have otherwise. I’m also not sure that I would have been able to concentrate on much as my mind is already set to 5pm Saturday.

bride and groom before wedding day

To those who are aware that I am having a sunrise wedding (beginning at 10:30am), the notion of 5pm may sound strange. While I am definitely looking forward to having our closest friends and family all under one roof to celebrate Sean and I, I am also looking forward to the moment when it is just Sean and I. Just us, with no checklists, spreadsheets, vendors, or invoices. The wedding planning will finally be done and our life together will begin.
Prior to planning my own wedding, I never understood why people pay wedding coordinators. I reasoned that Sean and I did not need all the bells and whistles and our budget required that we keep our list of invites short. Therefore, I assumed that it would be easy enough to do most of the heavy lifting ourselves. I realize now how completely naïve I was. This naïveté has cost Sean and I a great amount of money, time, and sleep.

DIY wedding organization

Nonetheless, doing things ourselves has earned us some bragging rights. People are constantly impressed that we managed to plan a wedding in nine months. With the wealth of information on the Internet and our personal networks (i.e. Sean’s mom), we were actually able to accomplish a lot. Yesterday, I spoke to the day-of coordinator for my reception venue and she complimented me saying that I was one of the most organized brides she had ever interacted with (I laughed to myself, wondering if she would still feel that way if she saw the tornado that is my apartment.) I am particularly proud of the wedding programs I created using a program kit and template I got from Michael’s. I do not possess the slightest aptitude for design. Yet, with a little patience I figured it out and we are pleased with the result.

DIY wedding programs schedules

If I had to do it all over again, perhaps I would have suggested that we invest in a wedding coordinator earlier in the process. We secured the services of Ms. Bettye, one of our church members who helped coordinate the church’s weddings alongside Sean’s mom for many years. We brought her on during a time when we were extremely overwhelmed and she has helped us a great deal. Sean’s mother has also been instrumental as both a sounding board and a planning partner. She has helped to keep me on task even and has done a lot of legwork to ensure that Sean and I have a beautiful day.

DIY wedding gift wrap

We are just three days away and there is still so much to do. Several times today I have prayed for a second wind to help Sean and I. Perhaps he is refueling, as he is asleep right now on the couch beside me.  Like that line in the Robert Frost poem, “there are miles to go before I sleep.” I know that in a short while, it will not be like this. At a recent bridal show, a vendor encouraged me to enjoy this “unique” time in my life. She said that if she could have remained a bride forever, she would have. I am just the opposite. I just want to be married already!

packing for wedding day

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Focusing on the Finish Line by Nia McLean
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Nia McLean is finally getting married! She reflects on her DIY wedding planning process and how she wishes she had hired a coordinator earlier on.
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