What do you do when your fiancé isn’t excited about the wedding?

Photo by  Paz Arando  on  Unsplash

Photo by Paz Arando on Unsplash

This week I received an email from a bride that I thought would be a good topic to write about instead of answering it through Facebook Live.

In her email, she expressed her frustration because her fiancé didn’t seem interested or excited about the wedding. When they do talk about the wedding, he makes jokes about it and responds with “I don’t know, I’ve never planned a wedding before.”  She is frustrated, irritated, and the joy of wedding planning is completely gone for her.  She wants him to be happy about the wedding and it doesn’t seem like it is.

When I use to coordinate weddings, I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have seen this situation happen.  Unfortunately, it’s a common occurrence.  Because you as the bride-to-be may have dreamed about your wedding day for years.  You may have Pinterest boards, magazine cut-outs, even a binder full of things you like.  And wedding planning fills you with joy and excitement. 

But then you turn to your fiancé and you expect him to feel the same way and when he doesn’t you feel frustrated, irritated, and depressed.  You argue because you want him to help out but he’s not helpful and he’s just adding to your stress even more.  It’s to the point where wedding planning isn’t fun and your excitement has been replaced with irritation and maybe even depression.

So what do you do?  Is it possible to turn this situation around?  Is it possible to stop feeling tired and drained and feel excited and energized again?  

The one thing I’ve told the couples I’ve worked with in the past is that wedding planning is not your typical party.  For some couples, this could be the first event they’ve planned together outside of home gatherings.  There’s a lot of decisions that need to be made and when two opinions don’t align, this can lead to some tense moments. 

Here are some things to consider that can help bring your excitement back to planning your wedding:

When you plan a party at home, how involved is your fiancé?  This is a good indicator as to how involved he will be with your wedding planning.  If he’s usually the guy who you tell what to do, what to buy, how to help out, etc. then there’s a good chance when it comes to your wedding, he may operate from the same standpoint.  For him, if leaving things in your control is what he’s used to doing, planning a wedding (in his mind) shouldn’t change that.  

Ask him what areas would he like to help out in? I get it, choosing colors, a theme, what flowers to pick may not be his thing.  He really may not be able to see the difference between a rose and a carnation and to him, it may not rate high on his scale of interest to have an opinion about it. So ask him what is he interested in helping out with.  Maybe he likes cars, so then you can tell him to figure out transportation on the wedding day.  Or he likes to drink, he can decide if there will be an open bar, cash bar, a specific drink to serve, etc. for your reception.  He likes food so he’ll go with you to the cake tasting and in choosing the meal for the reception.  Or he's into music so he can choose the DJ or band. It’s not a lot off your plate, but it’s something and it involves him in areas that he’s interested in so he will be more enthusiastic about being part of the decision-making process instead of you doing it all solo.

Find your support system. So he’s not interested in wedding planning, instead of arguing with him and trying to make him feel guilty for not helping make decisions, look to someone outside of your fiancé who can help you.  Sometimes, weddings, parties, and big event aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.  It’s annoying, frustrating, and depressing for you. But you love your fiancé and he loves you.  You both want to get married.  Having conflict over the planning shouldn’t take away from the fact that marriage is the end goal.  So if your fiancé isn’t as involved as you’d like him to be, instead of taking your frustration and disappointment out on him, I recommend you find a support system that is enthusiastic, helpful, and excited for your wedding.  That could be your mom, your soon-to-be mother-in-law, your sister, best friend, even co-worker.  It doesn’t matter who it is, the person just needs to show enthusiasm and be supportive of you.  The food, the DJ, the photographer, and all your other vendors, it's nice to have someone go with you to these appointments whether they participate in you deciding to hire the vendor or not.  It may not be your fiancé, but it’s someone who cares for you and is on your side.  They’ll make sure to support you and they’ll help remember information, especially when you feel overwhelmed. 

Hire someone. If you are beyond frustrated, you argue all the time, and you don’t want to do it anymore, but you love your fiancé and you want to marry him; this would be a good time to hire a professional.  That’s what wedding planners do.  They can take your ideas and help make it a reality.  Yes, you’ll still need to interview vendors but they can help narrow the field so instead of having to interview a half dozen vendors for one area, you may be interviewing 2 or 3, which will save you lots of time and energy.  And a wedding planner, will help you stay on track, keep the details organized, and let you know when something is missing or not.  A wedding planner can also go with you to vendor appointments, so when your fiance or support system isn't able to attend with you, your wedding planner can. 

Remember, planning a wedding is often the first time a couple plans a large event together.  You are bound to learn things about one another that you never knew before.  Keep communicating with one another and playing up each other’s strengths.  And when all else fails, hire someone that can help you through the entire process.  You want to look back on your wedding day with fondness, not with regret and love, not anger.  



Staying Connected

Photo by  Ben White  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Whether you are planning your wedding or you’re just living your life, one of the most important aspects of your life is your connections.  And no, I’m not talking about who you know who can get you into the club or get you free tickets to concerts; I’m talking about your circle, the women and men that you connect with at a deeper level than just small talk.  I’m talking about the people who know you at your most vulnerable and at your craziest, the people who are your family because you’ve chosen them to be not because of your blood relation.  These are the people you think to call when you have good news to share and the ones you go to for comfort when the world feels like it’s going against you.  They’re the ones who will always empathize with you even if they may not understand what you’re going through and they’re the ones who will give you the honest-to-goodness truth whether you want to hear it or not. 

But even with how deep and strong the friendship is, have you noticed that as each year passes, the friendships often are harder to maintain?  I remember a time when I could pick up the phone to see if anyone was free to go out later that night.  Now, to go out with anyone, it takes time and planning.  As we grow further into adulthood, we're not as "free" as we use to be and it can be so much harder to stay connected.  Friends are married, have kids, have elderly parents, have jobs and obligations that we didn’t necessarily have when we were in our 20’s.  It’s made maintaining friendships a little more challenging than before.  Have you noticed the same thing in your own life?

I have. But something else I've noticed is that the more challenging it has become to stay connected, I've actually found out who I really want to connect with when I do have free time.  It actually means my relationships are deeper and more special because our time together is often separated with weeks or even months of not being able to connect. And the 20 or so people I thought were my "close friends" in my 20s has whittled down to 6 women in my 30s. But these women know me inside out and even though it may take some finagling to find time to get together, we're able to pick up as if we haven't been apart. 

So how do you stay connected with the people that mean the most to you?  Here are a few of things my friends and I do to stay connected:

We work out together.  Whether it’s going hiking or just going out for a walk, instead of going to the gym, we use the time to exercise together, which gives us about an hour, if we're able to schedule it, every week. 

We plan early breakfasts.  Saturday morning breakfasts at 8am with daughters.  It’s ladies time and even though we do have to watch over kids, we’re still able to get some time in to talk and catch up.

We plan weekend getaways months in advance. And when I say months, sometimes it’s 6 months and other times it’s almost a year in advance.  That usually gives us enough time to get husbands, boyfriends, kids, and parents scheduled and organized so we can take a weekend off together.

We meet for lunch during the workday This way can be trickier, but if you have a friend that works near you like I do, we meet for a quick lunch.  It’s definitely short and it’s a time crunch, but it works for quick catch-ups.

We take time off while the kids are in school.  We’ll work half a day and then meet up for late lunch or for a massage before heading home to pick up the kids and meet spouses for dinner.  

We combine family time.  If your husbands are friends then we can have family time together where we all hang out. Granted, it can be hard to find time to slip away for some girl talk, but sometimes it’s better getting together and having snatches of private girl talk time than nothing. 

No matter how you do it or what you need to do, it takes a commitment on both parts to schedule time to stay connected with friends.  How about you?  What do you and your friends do to stay connected?  Share with us below!

Is it okay to have my bridesmaid pay for their dress?

Photo by  Omar Lopez  on  Unsplash

Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

This week, we’re continuing the theme of talking bridal party, most particularly your bridesmaids.

A question I’ve received often from brides is whether or not they can have their bridesmaids pay for their dress. The answer to that is “Yes!” 

When you ask your friend to be a bridesmaid, it’s good to have the conversation early on what you intend for the bridesmaids to pay for.  I understand this can be an uncomfortable conversation, but trust me when I say they’ll appreciate knowing up front what they have to pay for rather than them finding out and being surprised and possibly upset later on. One of the most popular reasons someone will decline being a bridesmaid is because of money.  So being upfront with what your bridesmaids will have to pay for will prevent disgruntlement later on. 

Here are expected expenses for your wedding day, you and your bridesmaids will need to be aware of:

  • Dress for the wedding
  • Shoes for the wedding
  • Hair and make up
  • Accessories

Depending on if you want your bridesmaids to have the same “look” meaning same dress style, hair style, nail color, and shoes, you may want them to get their hair and makeup done by the same salon.  

If you like having a variety of looks but say one color scheme and you’re not particular on style then that gives your bridesmaids flexibility on hair, makeup, and shoes. 

And as the bride, it’s okay to have your bridesmaid pay for all of these items.  If your budget can afford you to pay for one of them say hair, makeup, or dress your bridesmaids will appreciate the gesture.  But if your budget doesn’t have room for this then let your bridesmaids know this as soon as possible because they may not have a flexible budget and will need to save up to pay for it.

Also, bridesmaids dresses don’t need to be ordered as early as your wedding dress; however, once you figure out what style of dress you want your ladies to wear, it’s helpful to tell them sooner rather than later, that way they can budget that into their life.  

As a bridesmaid, it’s wonderful to be asked to be a part of a wedding.  The role shows how special your relationship is with the bride, but the cost of being a bridesmaid can definitely add up.  Aside from the items needed for the wedding, you also want to keep in mind your friends are also contributing to your bachelorette as well as gifts for your bridal shower and wedding. So letting your ladies know what they’ll need to pay for, will help make their life and your life a little easier.  The last thing you want is someone backing out last minute because they can’t afford the expenses because they didn't have enough time to budget it in.  

Remember, wedding planning is suppose to be fun.  Yes, it can be stressful, but for the most part, it should be enjoyable.  The last thing you want is to have disagreements and end relationships because of money with your bridesmaids.  So let them know upfront what the cost expectations will be.  In the end, everyone, including yourself will be happy.

Have you chosen your bridesmaids' dresses yet?  Will you be paying for it for them or will they be paying for it themselves?  Have you had the money conversation yet with your bridesmaids?  Share with us below if you have and how the conversation went!

What to do When the Door Keeps Closing

Photo by  Masaaki Komori  on  Unsplash

Have you ever had a goal in mind, a goal you may have spent the past couple of years working towards, only to have door after door close in your face?  This could be for a job, a relationship, or even something personal, like wanting to move out.

A couple of weeks ago, I met with a client regarding his career direction.  For the past two years I have known him, he was focused on one specific career goal, he wanted to become an occupational therapist.  The problem was he was having a difficult time getting into the field: his phone calls and emails were going unanswered, the one job he was offered and accepted the day before his start day he was told the company decided his position wasn’t needed anymore, and he had another year of classes he needed to take before he could apply to any program.

He came in feeling defeated and frustrated.  So we talked about his options until I asked him “how badly did he want this?” Because at that moment, he was filled with such frustration and despair, he was thinking it was time to move on. I told him to go home and think about it.  To not make a decision but to take some time to just be in the moment, put occupational therapy out of his mind, go through his day, and just be.  He agreed and we decided we would meet again in two weeks.

I saw my client this past week and he came in a completely different man.  He was happy and the energy and excitement were coming off of him in waves.  I asked him what happened and he said that since he lost his job he went back to a job he had in college for a physical therapy company where he talked to the owner and decided to change his career path.  He was going to become a physical therapist assistant and was going to continue to work at this company to eventually get a job once he received his certification.  Not to mention that the classes he had completed for occupational therapy met the requirements for physical therapy assistant.  He already applied to three programs and was hoping to start in the fall. 

It was amazing.  It had been two weeks and I felt like I was talking to a different person.  The energy, the excitement, and the actions he had put into his new goals far surpassed the actions he had put into occupational therapy and all of this happened in just two weeks.  I felt so happy for him.  We talked a bit longer and he left in a much different frame of mind compared to our last meeting. 

Why am I sharing this story with you?  Because sometimes doing nothing can be better than constantly doing something. And when we do nothing, you never know what door will open up.  For years, my client was so focused on one goal nothing else was an option. But the goal led to nothing but closed doors again and again.  It wasn’t until he stopped trying was he able to find a new door that opened up for him, a door he wasn’t looking for, but made so much sense and excited him in a way that he hadn’t felt in so long.  And when it’s the right path what he found was door after door opening up and instead of resistance he felt nothing but flow.  It was amazing and I felt so happy for him.

If you find yourself in a situation where you set a goal for yourself but every opportunity leads to nothing except for closed doors, I recommend stopping everything.  Stop putting any action into your original goal.  Stopping thinking about what you are doing to do next, who are you going to try and talk to next, where are you going to go next. Take some time to reflect, see if this is what you really want, and when the answer comes to you, go from there. And if nothing comes to you, there's nothing wrong with just sitting in silence, being present with what's going on in your life now, and then continuing on with the journey. I'm not saying you always need to change your plan, as what happened to my client, but taking a little break can help you get refocused, especially when you've been feeling nothing but frustration rather than happiness.

If you’ve been a situation where you’ve encountered nothing but closed doors, share with us below.  How did you get through it?  Did you change your path or stick with it? And if you are currently in a situation where you feel that you have been experienced nothing but closed doors and need support in moving forward, you can reach out to me.  I’d love to help you just as I helped my client. 

What Does a Maid of Honor Do?

Photo by  Colin Maynard  on  Unsplash

Photo by Colin Maynard on Unsplash

You’ve asked your friends to be your bridesmaids and they’ve all said yes! And you’ve asked your best to be your maid of honor and she said yes as well. But then she asks you “what does a maid of honor do?” And you look at her blankly and you both start laughing because you have no clue and obviously neither does she. 

Has this happened to you? Does it sound familiar? Unless you've been a part of a wedding or your friend is married, there's a good possibility that the role of the maid of honor may be a bit unclear.  Below I share my opinion on what I believe a maid of honor does that's different from your bridesmaids. 

A maid of honor is an unmarried woman who is the chief attendant of a bride.  If your friend is married, she's then called your matron of honor.  Regardless of her marital status, she is basically your right-hand gal.  She’ll help you organize bridal party activities and she’ll help plan your bridal shower and bachelorette party.  She’s your go-to person when you need to vent and she’ll hopefully be your voice of reason when you’re acting a little too close to a bridezilla.  

A maid of honor can be your best friend, your sister, your cousin, or any woman who you feel is close to you and can help support you during your wedding journey.  Sometimes, the role of a maid of honor can be exhausting and more stressful than initially intentioned.  So in support of your maid of honor, it’s good to know what kind of expectations you have for her before she agrees to the role. Because sometimes, your best friend may want to be your maid of honor, but she’s got a lot going on in her own life, that she won’t be able to commit to helping you.  It'll save you both headaches and heartaches if your expectations are stated right up front so she can decide if she'll accept the role or opt for the role of bridesmaid instead.  

Here are some of the basic duties a maid of honor traditionally helps with.  Keep in mind, this list is one I've curated over the years and you may or may not need help in all of these areas, but its a good starting point for you to go by:

A maid of honor can:

  • Help plan your bridal shower.  If she's available, she may plan your bridal shower on her own or she'll recruit your bridesmaids to help out. Depending on how involved you want to be, she can be more of an assistant to you or take full control of the planning and execution of the bridal shower leaving you to enjoy yourself. 
  • Attend your wedding dress fittings with you.  She knows your style and can be supportive, yet honest, on what looks good on you.
  • Be the designated point-of-contact when it comes to organizing bridal activities such as bridesmaid fittings, spa days, and wedding day prep.
  • Plan your bachelorette.  Again she’ll have the bridesmaids to assist her, but this weekend is typically a surprise for you. To be helpful, it would be good to give her a list of things you're willing or wanting to do and things that are a definite no-no for you. 
  • Fill in for your fiancé when he’s unavailable to meet with vendors.  It’s always good to have one other person with you when meeting with vendors (to get a second opinion).
  • Help you create any DIY items for your wedding.  This can also be something you can recruit your bridesmaids to help with.  You can make a party out of it by getting take-out and having your girls bring drinks as you get crafty. 
  • Be your go-to woman on your wedding day.  She’ll help lift your dress when you need to go pee and she’ll tell you when it’s time to touch-up your makeup during your reception.  
  • Be your support system. She loves you and can support you through the roller coaster of planning a wedding, but she also can help you stay in check when you're about to blow your budget and make you laugh through another meltdown.  

A maid of honor's duties is often limitless.  You may not realize how much you'll come to depend on her opinion or her presence as you go through your wedding planning journey.  It's good to have an idea of what you expect from your maid of honor that way if she can't be there for you in the manner that you need, you can ask someone who will.  I've seen it happen many times where the maid of honor wasn't the bride's best friend but rather a good friend who's single and was able to devote her time to helping the bride in planning her wedding.  The bride's best friend was happy because the pressure was off for her and she could be supportive as a bridesmaid and the bride was happy because she had someone who was able to give her the time and attention she needed. And being happy during your wedding planning is what's important.

Back to you. Did this list help you?  Have you chosen your maid of honor yet?  Do you know what kind of duties you need here to help you with?  Share with us below! 

The time I thought I was meeting 300 brides

Photo by  Brittany Gaiser  on  Unsplash

Last weekend I participated in my first wedding expo.  It was the first time I attended one as a vendor.  When I was a wedding planner I use to go yearly to expos to check out the offerings or to go with clients.  It was a completely different feeling experiencing it from the other side.

For one thing, there were an anticipated 300 guests expected to attend.  300 people is a lot! Working a wedding for 300 people, I can do no problem.  But working a table where I have to talk to 300 potential bridal clients is a new experience. And as an introvert who does better in small groups than large crowds, I was incredibly intimidated.

But I prepared and I prepped myself.  I was ready with my swag and mentally ready, and to be honest, I was excited to be able to share my work with women.  This was going to be the first time I would be able to talk to many women about the work I do; that in itself was going to be fun.  Because I believe mental and emotional health is so important and I am very passionate talking about it and bringing awareness to the masses about it.  

So while I was ready to share my message with all the women attending the expo, what I forgot is that sometimes life has another plan.

As you know I live in Southern California, we don’t get many rainy days here.  In one year, I can usually count how many rainy days we get on one hand.  But lo and behold, the day before the wedding expo, what happens?!  We get a night of rain! And as a born and raised Southern Californian, I can tell you, that when it rains, we rarely leave our homes.  So when I was driving to the wedding expo the next morning, while it was no longer rainy, it was still overcast and I wasn’t sure what that would do for attendance. 

And so what happened?  Well, it didn’t matter how intimidated I felt or how much I prepared because when Mother Nature calls, we’re all affected one way or another.  And what that meant is that my worry about being intimidated talking to potentially 300 women was all for naught.  Because the rainy Saturday and a gloomy Sunday morning meant most Southern Californians stayed inside and the anticipated 300 turned into about 30 people.  Not 30 couples, 30 people! 30 instead of the anticipated 300! That’s a huge difference. 

Was I disappointed?  A little.

Was I relieved?  A lot.

Because if I were, to be honest, the rain was exactly what I needed.  I had been so intimidated by the idea of talking to so many brides, but due to the grace of rain, there was a small turnout.  That meant each bride that came to my table, I was able to spend some time getting to know them, talk to them, and really engage with them that felt good for me and allowed with me to connect with them better. How wonderful was that?

I believe in the saying that “the universe only gives you what you can handle” from Paulo Coelho.  Maybe the Universe knew how nervous I was and how I may not be at my best if every single one of the 300 brides came to the expo.  I'm not saying it rained just for me, but I do appreciate the helping hand I received. And while I couldn't predict how many people would have shown up, I did make sure I was prepared for it just in case. 

Has this happened to you?  Was there an event in your life you were nervous about, but the reality was nowhere near what you had anticipated?  How did you prepare yourself?   Share your story with us below!

And you may be wondering, will I do another wedding expo again?  The answer is, of course, I actually went home that night and signed up for another one in 3 weeks. :) 


Tips for Creating Your Guest List

Planning your guest list can be one of the most stressful parts of wedding planning.  Why is that?  Because everyone loves going to weddings.  Seriously.  Rarely do you find anyone not wanting to attend a wedding.

I have been to over 50 weddings in my life so far - weddings I’ve planned, coordinated and attended as a guest.  And to this time, I still don’t tire of them.  There’s something about weddings that make it a fun gathering that people want to be a part of. 

However, whether you are on a limited budget or you have limited space at your venue, deciding who will attend your wedding can be difficult.  Do you want it to be an adult-only wedding?  If you allow kids, should you put a limit as to how many families you invite?  Do you let your parents invite their friends?  Or your siblings invite their friends? Do you need to invite your coworkers?  How about your college friends? High school friends? Childhood friends?  Or how about, the friends whose weddings you've attended, but you haven’t been in contact with them in years?

Feeling overwhelmed yet?  There are so many questions and soo many people.  How do you get a grip on who to invite without wanting to tear your hair out?

Here are my tips for getting organized when it comes to your wedding:

Tip #1: Start a list. Take out a piece of paper and for the next week, you and your fiancé will write down every name of every person you may want to have attend your wedding.  You can open this up to your immediate family as well (especially if you are close to your siblings' friends or consider your parents' friends to be honorary aunts and uncles).  I say take a week because, at your initial writing, there are names you will most definitely forget.  

Tip #2: Know how many people you can invite. Then invite 10% more than that number because anywhere between 10-20% of your invited guests will decline.  

Tip #3: Go to excel or grab three sheets a paper.  I say excel because I like the convenience of it or you can start a sheet in Google docs and it can sort, alphabetize, add/subtract easily. But if you prefer paper and pen grab the three sheets of paper.  Label each sheet “List A - must have, List B - would be great to have, List C - no biggie if they’re not there.” 

Tip #4: Start placing names on each sheet.  This is definitely something for you and your fiancé to do together.  Don’t tackle this alone because you’ll end up putting all your people on List A and his people on List B or C. Haha just kidding.  Maybe not.  But it’s good to do this with your fiancé, especially if there are guests your immediate family want to have there but they end up on List B or C. 

Tip #5: Don't do it all at once. If you try to do it all in one sitting, I guarantee by the time you get to the bottom of the list, you're going to be so drained you won't care what list each person is put on.  So do a little bit, take a break, and come back to it when you can.  Of course, don't put it off for too long; the last thing you want to do is send your invitations last minute. 

Bonus Tip: Look at your List C.  Depending on your relationship with the people in this group, you can save yourself some potential headaches and tell them (in-person ideally) that you may not be able to invite them to the wedding. You can give an explanation like we don't have enough space, we're on a limited budget, etc. Give a reason that's genuine.  They'll understand. However, if they’re people that live far away or you’re not close to them, you don’t need to say anything, and just send them a wedding announcement after. 

Hopefully creating your guest list can now be stress-free!  Did you find these tips helpful?  Share with us below how you created your guest list? 

Why self-development is important

Photo by  Ben White  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

In 2002, when I graduated from university, I believed I was done learning.  I was done reading textbooks, writing papers, and taking tests that would determine if my knowledge was sufficient enough to pass a class.  I was plain done.  Does this sound familiar? Maybe it happened to you too?  Were you excited for the day you graduated because it meant no more “learning?”

This didn’t mean I stopped reading. Oh, I read.  I love to read, but all I would read were mystery, suspense, and romance novels.  Fiction only, please. Stories I could lose myself in that would take me away to another world, another place.  

Then in 2013, I learned about self-development and the importance of investing time in myself. I read my first personal development book, Happy for No Reason.  It opened a new world that made me not only read stories of how people would grow and change their lives but I also learned new techniques to implement into my life.  

Slowly, very slowly, I would read more of these type of books.  And then last year, I attended my first Mindvalley Reunion.  Two jammed pack days where I would learn from top self-development teachers and I would meet people who believed that self-growth is as important as breathing.

It was new and scary.  I thought the need to learn ended when I graduated. And yet, here I was attending an event where I was going to be introduced to new techniques of living and of looking at the world. I came with an open mind and in doing so, I found my mind being pushed out of its comfort zone.  I questioned structures that I have calmly accepted my entire life and I felt a shift happening.  

I went home and was on a transformational high! I was going to make changes in my life and elevate to a newer, better me.  But then reality sunk in.  

I got home and my mind had to absorb the fact that while I learned so much, my external world hadn’t changed all that much.  How was I going to find balance to both?  I ended up enrolling in an online class that taught me to make daily changes in my life so I can be better equipped to meet the goals I have set in my life.

But as months carried on, I found myself falling back into the habits, thoughts, and patterns I lived pre-reunion.  It was a bit of a bummer when you realize that the change you were hoping for, hadn't happened. In fact, you weren't even sure if it would happen.

Then last weekend I attended Mindvalley’s 2018 Reunion.  Another jam-packed weekend of insight and inspiration.  But I noticed something different this time around, I was a little more jaded.  Not as eager to socialize as I was the first time nor to buy into all knowledge that was being presented.  And while I was inspired, I was more of a skeptic, these practices are great now, but I know what will happen when I go home, I’ll go back to my own patterns and habits.

But it’s been a week and here’s what I’ve realized.  There’s a reason why we need to read the books, attend the conferences, and listen to the audios.  Something the skeptic in me accepts and even agrees with.

You never know what will stick.

When I started this self-development learning, one of the first things I tried learning was Law of Attraction.  It was an absolute failure.  I didn’t get it.  I couldn’t comprehend, “intention, attention, no tension.”  I mean really, it didn’t make sense.  And then following the reunion, I suddenly had this desire to learn about it again so I went to google and I started researching and reading.  And for some reason, what confused me before, actually made sense this time around.  Ah-mazing. It took me 5 years to finally understand it.  And this lead me to my second realization, self-development will always be there. It waits for you, for when you're ready. Opportunities to improve my life are abundant, it's up to me to see the possibilities and hold them in my hands.

So why is self-development important?  Because whether we choose to make a change in our lives or not, having the option to grow is important.  And the best way to make that change is to be influenced by what we read, see, hear, and experience in our lives.  The ability to grow is undeniable, whether we decide to make the change or not is our choice.  If you want it, you need to be willing to put the work in for it.  

What was my take away?  Well, I can think what I want and even if my environment doesn’t necessarily support my new way of thinking, if I am persistent in making a daily change, eventually something will change.  Hopefully.

So what am I doing right now?  I've finally decided to learn how to meditate.  I started small with just 5 minutes a day and this morning, I reached Day 20 and I've hit the 10-minute mark.  Also, since I love to read, I spend the first 20-minutes before sleeping reading something that goes towards personal development and then I stop and read a book of fiction until I fall asleep. It's all about the baby steps and my fictional stories make me happy. 

How about you? Do you believe in self-development?  Have you attended a workshop where you learned so much and was eager to implement it into your life?  Were you able to make a change? Share with us below!

How do I choose a wedding date?

Photo by  La Caravan  on  Unsplash

Photo by La Caravan on Unsplash

It’s an exciting time when you start planning your wedding.  There are so many things to do it can feel overwhelming.  Make sure you check out our past article on 5 decision to make before you start wedding planning. One of the first things you will do when planning your wedding is choosing your wedding date.  This date needs to be made before you start meeting your vendors. For some couples, this is an easy decision, but for many of us, it can be difficult.  Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind when choosing your wedding date:

Tip #1: Is there a significant date you would like to follow?  Maybe you started dating on a certain date, which was the same day your fiancé proposed or you want to choose a date that has a fun number combo like 09-02-18 (because you know 9 x 2 = 18 and that's just a fun way to remember your anniversary).  You can choose a date that’s in between your birthday and your fiance's birthday so you’ll have a date to celebrate in-between your birthdays.  Or your grandparents mean the world to you and you want to get married on their wedding anniversary.  This also could be dates you want to avoid as well (for example, you may not want to get married on the same date as your siblings, cousins, best friend's wedding, etc.)  The good thing is there are 365 days you can choose from.  Check with your fiance for any significant dates you want to reference for choosing your dates. 

Tip #2: Keep in mind the season.  This can vary depending on where you live, but typically wedding season can start in May and run through October.  During peak wedding times, prices can go up so if you’re on a budget and you’re open to getting married during the off-season, you may be able to find great deals with your vendors. 

Tip #3: Do you want to get married at a particular location?  You always imagined yourself walking down the same church as your parents or you grew up wanting to have your reception at a hotel overlooking the ocean. Popular venues can book up well over a year in advance so if you want to get married at a particular location, having a flexible wedding date can be helpful.  If the date isn't important to you, you can base your wedding date on your venue’s availability. 

Tip #4: Does weather matter?  If you live where it’s humid, you may want to avoid July and August.  If you live where it snows, you may want to avoid November-February.  This doesn’t mean you can’t get married during these times, but keep in mind that weather can affect your guest attendance and your wedding photos.  And while your wedding photos will look gorgeous no matter the weather (I've seen many great winter wedding photos), if you want to be the most comfortable, pick a time when the weather is most pleasant for you.   

Overall, your wedding date does not have to be a significant date prior to your wedding.  The fact that it will be your anniversary date is significant enough.  So when it comes to choosing a date, choose a day that feels good for you and your fiancé, no matter what, it will be your special day. 

Have you chosen your wedding date yet?  How did you decide on your date?  Share with us below!

Digging to the root of happiness

Photo by  Marion Michele  on  Unsplash

I had lunch with a friend yesterday and we were chatting about career direction. He’s at a crossroads with his career and he’s trying to figure out what to do next. Should he aim for a manager position even though he doesn’t want it but it’s the next logical step in his career? Or should he leave his job, take out equity on his home and spend 6 months traveling the world figuring out his next plan? 

When I asked my friend what brought this on, he said he realized that he wasn’t happy with life and he believed work was the reason for it. He felt stuck and believed these were his only two options. I understood where he was coming from, but I believed he had more options than the two he stated. 

How often in our lives are we at a crossroads?  Whether it’s our career, our relationships, or something deeper.  How often do we take the time to figure out the root of the crossroads?  

This lead to a discussion about happiness and what it means to be happy.  It wasn’t intentional but we were unconsciously digging to the root of his unhappiness. 

As we talked, he realized that he wasn’t as unhappy as he thought. That there are many things in his life that he’s happy with. Many things he enjoys and looks forward to. But the one thing that he wasn’t sure about was his career. 

He liked what he did. He liked his co-workers. So when I asked him “what about your work is making you unhappy?” He had no idea. He just felt that it was time for a change. 

At this point, our food arrived and focus came on filling our stomachs.  But while I was eating, I thought “when you feel unhappy, do you even know why you’re unhappy?” So I asked him.

Because my friend was so sure that his unhappiness stemmed from work. He was so sure that if he left his career he would find happiness. Except when we talked about work he admitted he was happy with what he was doing, but he’d been doing it for over 15 years and felt it was time for a change. And yet, when we started breaking down everything he does, trying to figure out what about his job he disliked, there was nothing he felt he did that made him unhappy. 

Then the question changed: if you’re not unhappy, what is it you are feeling?  Is it boredom? Was he bored because his job is routine and not challenging? Bored because he feels that everything in life had become predictable? How do you define happiness and are you confusing unhappiness with another emotion?

We didn’t intend to go so deep. In fact, we went a lot deeper than either of us intended that it almost became too uncomfortable as my friend realized he may have an underlying concern he didn’t know of. But that can happen when you decide to peel back the layers. When you don’t accept one thing as truth and you ask a question again and again. 

I took a class once about Bryon Katie’s The Work. It was difficult and it was profound. It made me look at things differently and re-examine my outlook on life. It was challenging and eye-opening. And this lunchtime conversation felt similar to how I feel whenever I do the work. When you are trying to get to the root of a question, you ask yourself the same question again and again. Have you tried it before?  If you haven't, try it. You can ask yourself the four questions or you can simply ask yourself why. Then ask yourself why again. And again. And again. You may be surprised what answers come up. 

And if you ever need help on this. If asking the questions is too hard to do alone, write me. Talk to me. I’d love to help you peel back the layers. 

How did it end with my friend?  He decided to go home and think about it.  He wasn't going to quit his job just yet, but it was still an option. 

Has this ever happened to you?  Have you felt you were at a crossroads in your life and you didn't know why you felt the way you did?  Or if you believed one thing was making you unhappy but when you broke it down, you realized you were actually happy?   Have you ever asked yourself why and then asked yourself why again and again?  Share with us below!

What happens when you lose your photographer

Photo by  Brooke Lark  on  Unsplash

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Recently I received an email from a soon-to-be-bride with a dilemma. Here’s her story:

Dear Rachelle,

I'm very upset right now. I got engaged a while before my cousin. I have had my wedding planned for over a year now for June 23, 2018. She just recently got engaged last summer and set her date for sometime late October. Well, she is good at photography and agreed to do my wedding. The only fee was to pay to have the pictures printed. That's so cheap and took a really big burden off of me!! Well, because they are "so in love" they bumped their wedding up to the week before mine so now she can't do my pictures!! She knew about this since I set the date and knew I couldn't afford a photographer... I now have to hope I find someone in my friends list that had a hidden talent for photography or go with crappy photos... or should I move my date back a whole month?

Sincerely, Upset. 

This is definitely a difficult situation and while it may not necessarily be a cousin, it can happen where a photographer or another vendor may not be available at the last minute.  That's why it's important to have a contract and to read the fine lines of a contract, especially in relation to cancellations.  But for a friend or family member agreeing to be your photographer and then backing out the last minute, it can be incredibly frustrating.  And of course, this situation is even more difficult because she has moved up her wedding date a week before yours.  

The first thing I want you to know, it's okay to be angry.  This is incredibly frustrating and if screaming or having a good cry session will help you feel better, I say go for it.  Don't hold it in.  But once you've let all your anger out, it's time to get busy. I also want you to know that everything will work out for the best.  Your cousin may have been the most affordable option but that doesn't mean she is the only option for you.  Here are a couple of suggestions to start:

  • Look at local photographers. Sometimes photographers have assistants that may be starting out and may be willing to do your wedding at a discount
  • Look at local colleges. Same thing as above where a local college student may be willing to do your wedding for free as part of a class assignment or for a testimonial
  • Ask other friends or family members. There may be a friend of a friend who’s an aspiring photographer who may be willing to photograph your wedding for free
  • Look at city classes. There are classes your city offers where residents can take photography lessons. Photographers in those classes may be willing to do your photos for free or at a discounted rate
  • If you have a wedding planner ask them for a recommendation.  If you don't have a wedding planner ask your venue if they have a preferred vendor list or if any of your other vendors like your florist or DJ to see if they know of any photographers. 
  • Rearrange your budget and pay for someone to do your wedding. There are lot of photographers out there that do different packages for different rates.  This will take time as you'll have to find your local photographers, interview them, and find one that you feel understands you and your wedding vision. 
  • Forgo a photographer and do something untraditional. Before smart phones and DSLR cameras, back when professional photographers were the only ones that would have the multi lens and high-def capabilities, people would use disposal cameras. They would place a couple disposable cameras at guest tables and have guests take photos all night long and then collect the cameras at the end of the night. It’s completely untraditional and a throwback idea but it would be a fun spin to your wedding and your guests will enjoy it 

These are just a few ideas for you to think about that can help start you off in searching for a photographer.  I wouldn't really recommend moving your wedding day, especially if you have your other vendors already set for June 23rd and if your guests know that June 23rd is your wedding day.  It's easier to find one vendor rather than asking everyone to change the date.  Not to mention, vendors and the venue may already be booked. 

The important thing to keep in mind as you start the search for your photographer is that the photos help commemorate the day and allow you to look back on your wedding; however, they are not the reason for your wedding. The day is about you and your partner. Make it everything you can. And if you think out of the box for ways to make your photographs happen, you may be surprised what the results may turn out.  I wish you the best of luck and I hope you let us know how it goes. 

Knowing when you’re doing too much

Photo by  Cristian Newman  on  Unsplash

In December I signed up for a program I thought I really wanted to join.  The program started in January and I thought I was ready for it.  Turns out I wasn’t.  Because when the program started, I had four other things happening at the same time.  Needless to say I was incredibly overwhelmed, especially when I found out how much weekly work I would need to put into the program.  And I don’t know about you, but when I’m overwhelmed, I freeze and I do absolutely nothing.  It’s like my brain can’t handle how much it needs to do so it shuts down and decides to do nothing.

On top of that, the other things I had happening, I couldn’t postpone them.  They were family related and work related and they demanded my time and attention right away.  So I had to make a choice: do I stay in this program or do I withdraw?  There was a bit of a time crunch because I only had a couple of weeks in order to get a refund and if I was going to withdraw I really wanted the refund.  But I also wanted to be in this program.  There was the thought process that I could stay in the program and since I had lifetime access I could take it whenever I was ready.

But let’s be real here, how many times, have you bought something with the intention to use it later and never did?  Because that has happened to be countless times in countless programs.  I think I’ll do it and I don’t end up finishing it.  It’s a terrible habit of mine but I totally get caught up in the benefits of different programs and before I know it I’m convincing myself I need it and I’ll figure out when to take the program and how I’ll pay off my credit card.  Not. Good. At. All.

And I really didn’t want to start my 2018 following patterns I have doing for the past five years.  Because that pattern has only given me more debt and unfinished programs.  It was time for a new pattern to begin. So today I'm sharing with you my process on how I made my decision:

  • I sat in a quiet space and took a few deep breaths.  I was actually in my car driving home from work.  I turned the radio off and just breathed through my emotions.
  • I went deep to see what I was really feeling.  What was I going to miss out on? How would it feel? If I stayed in the program, would I feel okay or would I feel more stressed and overwhelmed?  Could I devote the time and attention the program deserved or would I half-ass it?
  • I broke it down. What were the pros and cons staying versus leaving the program?
  • I made the decision and then did nothing.  That’s right.  I made my decision and then left it alone.  I stopped thinking about it and I went about my day.  I didn't think about it for two days.  When I was ready, exactly two days later, I tapped into my emotions and I saw that there were no guilt and only relief.  It was the right decision.

Two days later, I sent an email asking for a refund and while I was still nervous and wondering if I was going to regret it, I knew the answer would be negative.  I had to do what’s right for me and I knew by staying in the program I would be doing too much and I would stress myself out.  I also knew if I stayed in the program even with the lifetime access, I probably wouldn’t ever go into it like the other programs I paid for and did nothing with. 

And since then, I have felt no regret.  I haven't thought about the program once.  And I have moved on with my life.  And I have not signed up for another program.  

Has this ever happened to you?  Have you ever added more to your to-do when you already have a lot going on?  Do you know when you’re doing too much?  What do you to do manage it? Share with us below!

When someone asks to be in your wedding that you didn’t intend to ask

Photo by  Zoriana Stakhniv  on  Unsplash

Have you chosen your bridesmaids yet?  Do you know who you want to ask?  Or have you had someone hint that they would like to be in your wedding but you hadn’t planned on asking them?

When I was a wedding planner, I had a bride ask for my opinion: the bride’s cousin (a cousin she’s grown up with) wants to be in her wedding but the bride didn’t want her as a bridesmaid. What should she do?!

This can be a tricky situation.  There are many relationships you have to navigate and I can tell you not everyone will be pleased with the outcome. Because she’s your cousin there’s the family aspect that can make any situation a little dicey. If you say no, your cousin may get hurt, your aunt, mom, and maybe even your grandma may get mad. This of course, being the worst case scenario, but this doesn’t mean you have to bite the bullet and agree to let your cousin be a bridesmaid.  Oh no, this is just the opposite of that, remember this is your wedding day.  Here are some tips to consider when someone asks to be in your wedding that you didn’t intend to ask:

Tip #1: Remember, it’s your wedding day.  This can be difficult to remember, especially if your parents or relatives are helping pay for things, which may allow them to think they have a say in the decision making.  Just remember, this is your day.  Your memories.  And when you look back on this day, you want to look back on it fondly and not think “why is my cousin in my wedding party.”

Tip #2: Get the opinion of the matriarchs in your family.  If your mom and grandma says it’s okay, you don’t have to have your cousin in your wedding, then know you’ll have their support and you can  decline your cousin’s request.  Just make sure you get their opinion before your say anything to your cousin.  

Tip #3: Deliver your answer with kindness.  You’ve decided not to let your cousin be in your wedding, but it doesn’t mean you have to be rude in your delivery.  Being kind and empathetic can go a long way in getting your cousin to understand her participation isn’t necessary, but thank you for offering.

Tip #4: Let your cousin know you already have your bridal party picked out. She may understand her participation isn't necessary if she were to know you have an even number of bridesmaids and groomsmen and everyone has already agreed to be in your wedding.  No one wants to be the odd one out walking down the aisle without a partner. 

Tip #5: Offer your cousin another role. There's plenty of roles that can be designated to willing family members such as a reader for your ceremony, escorting your grandparent down the aisle, or singing a song during the reception.  She can even be the person in charge of the sign-in table, gift table, or dessert table.  By giving your cousin other opportunities to be involved, you can help take away the disappointment of not being a part of your bridal party.

Tip #6: Grin and bear it.  Embrace the situation.  You may not want your cousin in your wedding, but not having her be a bridesmaid may be more stress than it’s worth.   Just make sure you won't become resentful of her participation and if anything, assign some of your bridesmaids to keep her away from you or take her in hand if she isn’t as supportive as you’d like.  You never know, she could end up being the most supportive person in your wedding party.

Bonus Tip: Don't make the decision right away.  Tell your cousin you need to talk to your fiance and take the time to think of a plan on how you want to handle the situation.  The last thing you want to do is say "no" right away without thinking through the repercussions of turning your cousin down.  

What do you think of the tips listed above?  Were any of them helpful?  Have you chosen who will be in your bridal party?  Share with us below!