As we approach our first wedding anniversary, I have few regrets about our engagement and the wedding as a whole. I enjoyed the wedding planning process, celebrated at every suitable moment during my engagement, and loved being a bride. The wedding went by (almost) without a hitch, and of course, at the end of the day I was married to the man of my dreams who I’d been in love with for almost ten years…
However, looking back on those ten years, and especially that busy, exciting year of my engagement, I’ve already forgotten so much!
Fortunately, after telling the proposal story (over and over) after we got engaged, that one’s permanently into my memory. But not the excitement of sharing the news with my friends, asking my bridesmaids to join our bridal party, planning my engagement party, struggles I had during wedding planning (and there were many) … and that amazing week in the lead up. Just… gone.
For that, and so many other reasons, I now tell all my brides-to-be to at least make a few notes in a journal or note book along the way, if not keep a wedding diary.
I’ve also made it easier for them, and others, by creating a wedding organizer, diary and keepsake of your engagement, the little white book. But for now, are nine reasons why you should keep a wedding diary and organiser.
1. It’s good for your brain!
Yes, your grey matter is going to be tested during wedding planning… whether that’s working on the wedding budget, doing tetris-like reshuffles of the seating plan, or making no-end of decisions, your brain is going to get a workout.
The practice of recalling events and memories and writing them down is so beneficial to train your brain to make stronger connections with that information and you will have an easier time recalling it – brain training at its finest.
2. The practice of writing (and also what you write) is great practice for your vows and wedding speech.
Writing a wedding speech, along with writing your own vows, can be one of the most challenging things for a bride or groom to do – it’s not as “easy” as making a decision, as most wedding planning requires.
However, if you’ve practised writing by keeping a wedding diary, not only will your skills quickly translate to the process of writing a wedding speech, but you’ll already have so much material to work with! Virginia Woolf herself said that writing for no audience – writing just to write – is great practice. “It loosens the ligaments.”
Make a note of funny anecdotes, a joke you think of, or something you admire and respect in your fiancé, will make writing your wedding vows and making a speech will be a breeze.
3. You can be truly, brutally honest, and no one will ever know.
Sick to death of wedding planning? Wish you’d just eloped in the first place? Don’t put that stuff on Facebook, but don’t bottle it up either. Reflecting by putting pen to paper can be incredibly therapeutic.
I even like looking back on my struggles, to see how far I’ve come, how I got through them, and know that what I’ve survived already will strengthen my future – “this too, shall pass”.
“In the diary you find proof that in situations which today would seem unbearable, you lived… admit the courage of our earlier striving in which we persisted even in sheer ignorance.” Franz Kafka
4. The months will fly by, before you’ve had a chance to stop and breathe…
Weren’t you supposed to book your florist sometime during the last 6-12 months…? You remember pinning your ideal bouquet onto your Pinterest board… and you’re pretty sure you sent a couple of emails to potential vendors, but you don’t actually recall whether you followed up in the end…A wedding diary helps keep your thoughts organized and comprehensible.
I tell my brides, as soon as they’ve set a wedding date, to work backwards in their yearly planners or diaries, and input the key bookings they need to have in place by those dates. As their wedding dates approach (or loom, in some cases…) they can’t miss the notes they made at the beginning, in big, bold letters “Book Florist”, “Choose Caterer”, “Finalise invitations” etc.
5. Winning ALL the arguments…
You can take the girl out of the law-firm, but you can’t take the lawyer-mindset out of the girl… and while I can’t recall verbatim any conversation we’ve had that’s more than a few days ago, frequently my diary can!
Where was it that we had that amazing meal in Sydney..? No… it wasn’t Madam Q’s, I’m certain of it! Or better yet “That’s not what you said on January 18 2016.”
6. A keepsake of your engagement
Taking notes about the milestones along your journey won’t just reward you now. One day, you can look back at your wedding diary and relive the excitement of planning your wedding day. Better still, you can pass it onto your children. I can’t tell you how much I would value being able to read my mother’s experience of getting married, especially as she died before we got engaged. It would be so interesting to compare what life (and weddings) were like in the 1980’s, to now.
“In a journal I do not just express myself more openly than I could to any person; I create myself.” Susan Sontag
7. A stress-saviour!
Writing down your feelings acts as a release and can be very cleansing. If you are able to put your anxieties, frustrations and pains on paper, then you are less likely to harbour them inside, which creates stress. Expressing yourself in a wedding diary is a positive way to free tension you may otherwise internalise.
Writing down lists of to-do’s is also amazing for stress, and your diary is the perfect place to keep them. Scraps of paper get lost, your ‘wedding planning book’, if it’s not also a diary, will end up unused and under the bed, as will your all important lists!
A journal skill I picked up recently is ‘bullet-journalling’ which is an ideal way of working with lists, easily transferring incomplete tasks to the next list to deal with in the following days. It’s a wedding-planning tool I recommend, and your wedding diary is a good spot to start.
8. Out of sight, out of mind…
If you were kindly gifted, or bought yourself a wedding planning book, or diary, as soon as you got engaged, filled in your groom-to-be’s name, together with your bridal party, and then tucked it into a drawer to update later when you’ve got a few bookings in place… that’s exactly where it will stay.
The benefit to keeping a wedding organizer and diary is that you’re literally using it every day, whether it’s for your day-to-day schedule, even your work meetings, as a point of reflection, or as a gratitude journal at the end of each day. What’s important is that you have a reason to write in it every day, as much or as little as you like, which actually keeps you on track with all the wedding planning logistics you’ve got to do too.
9. You don’t realize how much you’ll forget, until you begin to write it down.
To quote Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Regular journal keepers rave about the ability to relive their most wonderful of memories, and reflect on their regrets. Wedding planning is such an exciting time of your life, there’s so much to appreciate and enjoy – and hopefully later reflect on, because you took a few moments to write it down.
“People who keep journals have life twice.” Jessamyn West.
I was working as a lawyer, wedding planner and blogger while planning my wedding, so I know how busy you feel now, but you’ll never regret keeping a diary. You’ll only regret not doing it more often.
Images by The Official Photographers
Ms Chinoiserie Says: Keeping a diary is such a special keepsake of how you felt during the months, weeks and days leading up to your big day!
About Megan: Megan is the founder of She Said Yes and creator of the little white book. It’s a wedding organizer with a 12 month countdown diary designed to integrate wedding planning in your day-to-day life and ensure a stress-free engagement!