A friend of mine just got engaged about a week ago and they chose to have their wedding within the same year.  We have already established that Brandon and I will be having what feels like the longest engagement ever. My friend is talking about bridesmaids dresses and color schemes, but it feels like it’s way too soon for me to jump on that bandwagon.  When do I get to start doing fun things like picking out favors and planning parties?  I’m starting to get antsy.

I have finally realized what all those wedding guides mean, when they tell you to get a “wedding idea binder.” I can’t remember what I like and don’t like anymore. Not to mention that I can’t begin to explain to any florist or cake designer what my style is because I love so many different things – classic toile patterns, bright pink flowers, peacock feathers, rhinestones. I’m sure there’s a way to make all these things work together, but if I don’t see them in front of me, it all seems like it could turn into a mess.

First, I began searching the Internet for pictures of flowers, dresses, and various other things that drew my attention. I made different folders on my computer for the categories of pictures and started organizing my findings. However, I soon realized that this didn’t let me lay things out next to each other.  For example, the beautiful bouquet I loved so much couldn’t be placed on top of one of the bridesmaid dress contenders because everything was digital. I wanted something more tangible. 

Then I pulled out a notebook and started to tape pictures into it, but soon realized that this wouldn’t work either. If I decided I didn’t like a bouquet anymore, I couldn’t pull it off the bridesmaids dress that I had taped it to. The dress would be ripped, and the process to find it all again was an Internet nightmare. 

I finally settled on an accordion folder with different tabs for each category of photos. I can pull out things that I like and lay them in front of me, organizing things as I please. It’s a lot like when I played with paper dolls as a little girl. When I wanted to dress up my dolls, I would lay out on my bedroom floor and put outfits on them all at once.  I could see everything in front of me and I could make adjustments as I pleased.  Another benefit to the accordion organization is that I can also put fabric swatches, feathers and any other bits of inspiration for the style of our wedding. So far, I’ve collected a couple of peacock feathers and bright blue ostrich feathers, as well as some scrap fabric that had really great texture. 

I’ve already changed my mind about what I like and dislike a couple of times and that’s fine by me.  With this long engagement, I will have plenty of time to figure out what we really and truly like.  A wedding is the biggest declaration of your style as a couple (or as an individual, depending on your groom’s level of involvement).  I don’t want to include anything in the wedding that I’m not completely attached to. When my children and I look back on the wedding photos, I want to know that every detail was completely thought out, enjoyed and celebrated by two people that are completely in love. Does that sound a little obsessive? I guess I wouldn’t have known it if I didn’t see it lain out in front of me.  What a difference that makes!