How to plan a wedding while having a career, fitness routine, spiritual practice and life? It’s possible! Planning a wedding is a super exciting and stressful time in any brides life and in this episode, I break down the five tips I wish I had known before planning this wedding! Whether you are engaged or far from it, you’ll gain lots of wedding planning wisdom in this episode!
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Episode 194 – 5 Tips for Wedding Planning with Sahara Rose
By Sahara Rose
Namaste. It’s Sahara Rose and welcome back to the “Highest Self” podcast. A place where we discuss what makes you your soul’s highest evolvement.
What’s your dosha? Well if you want to find out, I invite you to take my quick little quiz over on iamsahararose.com, and in a couple questions, I will let you know the exact percentages of the doshas in your mind and in your body and email you a free three-day mini course on how to include Ayurveda into your modern lifestyle. So head over to my website, iamsahararose.com, to discover your dosha today.
Welcome to the “Highest Self” podcast. If it’s your first time here, welcome. And if you’re here every single week, what up, what it do, and I’m really excited to have you here again. Well, I’m getting married in six days, guys, if you’re listening to this live. I’m getting married on June 2nd! I recorded this a little bit before, so no, I’m not working three days before my wedding. I’m not cray cray.
But I’m about to get married, and this whole real year has had a lot of focus on wedding planning. You know, I really had no idea that it would be this much work. I had heard from many people, of course, everyone knows, “Oh, you’re planning a wedding, you must have so much work.” But I was like, “You know, I plan events all the time, I write books, like I come out with two podcast episodes a week. Like I do a lot of work, so how hard could a wedding be? I mean you just like pick some flowers and order some food and like call it a day.”
No, but definitely, is a lot of work, definitely has become my full-time job this month, and I wanted to do a little episode for those of you who are getting married, or want to get married one day just a little bit about the wedding planning process. Because it’s something that I really had no idea about before, and I’m sure a lot of listeners want to get married one day, or just want to know more about the behind the scenes. Whether you maybe want to help a friend with a wedding, or maybe you were married once before and maybe you want to get remarried, who knows. But weddings are a huge part of our lives, right? They’re a huge part of so many peoples’ upbringings.
I mean, in India, you save up your entire life for your child’s wedding. That is how essential these weddings are, people you know, go into debt for paying for the most beautiful over the top wedding because, for them, it’s the thing that they’re the most proud of, it’s like why you’re here, you’re here to have an awesome wedding.
And while I don’t think the meaning of your life should be your wedding, I do think that they are a lot of fun, with a lot of stress, but it’s totally worth it, in my opinion, and in not everyone’s opinion, and weddings are not for everyone. So this episode is not to say that everyone should have a wedding because totally you should not have one if you are not 100% excited about it because it’s like having a kid, right? It’s a lot of work, there’s a lot of beauty to it, but you have to really, really want it.
So if you are thinking about being a bride- or groom-to-be, congratulations, and let’s talk about the stuff that people don’t talk about. So I’m gonna give you five pieces of advice that I think are the most, you know, things that I wish I had known, and they may be things that you kind of intuitively know, but I’m just gonna speak it out to you just as someone who’s totally in the process right now.
So the first one is to hire a wedding planner. Now, when I first started to look into wedding places, I was like, “I don’t really think I need a wedding planner. You know, I’m pretty decisive, I’m good with email, I’m you know, we’ll just pick out a venue, pick out a caterer, pick out the florist, like I can just do it all myself.” What a huge mistake that would have been. Thank God I hired a wedding planner, and it’s still a lot of work, even with a wedding planner.
Because that wedding planner, first of all, is going to most likely save you money. Even though the wedding planner costs money, which a lot of people upfront are afraid of, it can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $12,000. Some could be anywhere in that range, depending on where your wedding is in the world. Some wedding planners do a flat fee, some people do it on commission. I recommend working with someone who does a flat fee. Because if it’s on a commission, or a percentage, then that person’s gonna obviously have you choose the most expensive things because then you’re gonna get paid that way.
And I know a lot of wedding planners say, “Well, you know, you’re putting in a lot of work, but I just wouldn’t want to incentivize someone to make my wedding as expensive as possible because they’re getting paid a percentage of it. So I would go with someone who does a flat fee, that’s what my wedding planner does, and that way you’re aware like what the cost is going to be because a lot of costs add up in a wedding.
Like I thought a wedding was, you know, I just wanted a simple wedding, can’t be that much, but weddings can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Truly, I mean, $10,000 being a very, very basic wedding, and over $100,000 being a lot of the weddings that you see on these wedding, you know, online blogs et cetera that you’re like, “Oh my God, that wedding sounds great, I would love that.” And then when you actually do it, it’s like, “Oh, that’s over $100,000,” and that’s very normal. And I mean there are some weddings out there that are a million dollars, et cetera. But if you’re having a million-dollar wedding, then you’re for-sure gonna hire a wedding planner.
So it is worth every single penny, and they’re probably gonna help you save money because they’re aware of the vendors. They are aware of, “Okay, who does the person who does the best cake for the lowest price? Who do I have relationships with for decorations, flowers, et cetera?” Most of them, you know, they do these deals with these people every single week, so they’re able to get percentage discounts. I know my planner we were able to get like 10% off discounts at different places, and they just knew what’s up because they work in this field with these people on a daily basis.
So it would actually end up saving you money, not to mention a lot of time, and a lot of stress. Because coordinating with all of these different people is a full-time job. It’s like putting together a theatrical performance, truly. And if you ever put on an event, you’d know that event-planning is a very time extensive thing. And on top of that, you have all of your family’s stuff to deal with, things that I’ll talk about that end up taking a lot of time, like table seating arrangements, this, that.
And also, you’re still gonna be the one who has to make the decision. So it’s not like your wedding planner’s just gonna decide everything for you. I mean, you could hire a wedding planner and say, “I don’t care what my wedding looks like, I just want to show up, you just pick everything for me.” You could do that, but most likely you want, you know, things to be your way, how you like it. You want the personal touches, and the more and more you go in the process, the more and more you see how many opportunities for personal touches there are that really make the difference between a basic wedding and a super beautiful, intimate, meaningful wedding, and those things that take time.
And I’ll share some examples of little things that I’m gonna be doing, but you’re still gonna have to put in a lot of time and a lot of work, even with a wedding planner, so without one, I can’t even imagine. It is possible, tons of people plan weddings themselves, but just be prepared for it to be a lot of your time. And if you’re someone that works, like I work like two jobs, I write books, I do this podcast, I speak, do a lot of things, and emailing a bajillion people on more than I already am was not what I wanted to do, and that was worth a couple thousand dollars for me.
So if you’re thinking about it, you’re not sure if it’s worth it, it is 100% worth it, hire a wedding planner. And also, make sure it’s a wedding planner that you jive with. You know, the first wedding planner I found online, her picture seemed really cool, and I really liked her work, but when we came to go to the venue, she said, “Oh, well let me know how it goes.” She wasn’t going to come to the venue with us. So you don’t want a wedding planner that’s like, “Okay, well you go check out the venues and everything, and call me later.”
Like you really want someone who’s gonna be with you throughout the process. So the wedding planner that I ended up going with totally was. She came and met with us at the venue even before we signed with her just to get to know us, and just so we could feel her vibe, and you definitely want someone who’s really gracious with their time, and someone who, you know, if they feel like, “Oh, I don’t have time to like go meet up with you about this stupid thing,” or if that person doesn’t live where your wedding is, that could be a big issue, too.
The first wedding planner that I was speaking to did not live on the same Hawaiian island as the one that my wedding’s going to be on, so even though they may kind of know, they may be able to email, but they’re not actually there. So you really want to get a planner who is there. If you’re having a wedding in Yosemite, go with the planner who has weekends in Yosemite every weekend. If you’re having a wedding in Mexico, go with the local Mexican planner, go with the person who knows that place inside and out, and go for someone who’s had a wedding at your venue multiple times. Because each venue has its whole other little intricacies and things that you would only know if you’ve hosted a party there before.
So there are wedding planners that travel and they can put a wedding together anywhere, and I’m sure they do amazing jobs, but personally, I wanted someone who really, really knew my venue, and has done a ton of weddings there, knew the vendors. Vendors, guys, just means like florist, caterer, et cetera. I didn’t know what vendor meant either, but knew the vendors, really knew, “Okay, well, sometimes the waiter staff don’t do well if there’s long tables here. Or sometimes it gets a little muddy, or sometimes there’s a long line for the toilets.” Like she just knew all of these little things that you would only know from experience, so hire a planner who has done work where you want to get married.
Now, what if you don’t know where you want to get married? Well, this was actually the hardest part for me, because it’s really like the world is your oyster, right? When you get engaged, you’re like, “Holy shit, now it’s time for me to plan the wedding of my dreams, and I don’t really know what that is,” you know? So the first place that I thought I was going to get married was in Tulum, Mexico cause I always loved Tulum, I loved the water there, but there was a seaweed epidemic happening that all of the beaches are totally covered in seaweed. And they don’t know if it’s going to be fixed, I’m still not sure if it has been figured out yet, and a lot of brides had to cancel their weddings because of the seaweed issue. I know it’s an ongoing thing, so I just didn’t want to risk that.
Then I planned a totally different wedding in Mexico, which I talked about the podcast, in Central Mexico, San Miguel de Allende, and I had this vision of this beautiful like cobblestoned street wedding with piñatas, and donkeys, and all of the super Mexican things. Like I just fell in love with it, it was so romantic, and we’d play flamenco guitar, and salsa dance. And then I got there, and I got super fucking sick, and I projectile vomited at the wedding venue, and like universe just blocked it in every which way. There was a cartel scare, none of the venues worked, it just wasn’t working in my favor.
So you may think you know where your dream wedding destination is, but it’s not until you get married, and you’re actually like going through the process that you’re like, “Wait, this actually isn’t going to work.” One of the hardest parts for me, and I know for a lot of my friends who are getting married, is finding a venue that you love that can hold your guest count. Because when it comes to getting married, there are a certain amount of people that you just have to invite.
Now you can elope, that’s gonna make things way simpler, you can have a really small wedding with ten people, that’s gonna make things simpler. You could get married anywhere, you could get married in a cave, on top of a waterfall, like anything. And I would have loved to get married on top of a waterfall, but I had like a 300-person list between my fiancé and I of people that we needed to invite. These are people who are like first cousins, you know, both of us have really big families, and friends that we work with, and you know, just family friends that we’ve known our whole lives. So we had all these people, 300 people, that we had to invite.
Luckily, over half of them are not coming, because the wedding is in Hawaii, and it’s far, a lot of my family lives in the Middle East, and in France, and his in Australia and Lebanon, so we knew because it was a destination wedding a lot of people would be nixed off, and we actually wanted that. We didn’t want a huge wedding, we just wanted to be able to invite those people so they would feel part of our special day.
But if it is important for you to have all of your family members at your wedding, then I would have the wedding somewhere central. Like if you live in New York, and most of your family’s there, have the wedding in New York. For us, we rather have had a really cool destination than have all of like our distant family members there, so that’s what we chose. But choosing your wedding venue is probably the hardest decision you’re ever going to make in this process, not in your life.
But because the really, really cool venues have a limited capacity, and then when it comes down to making your list, you don’t know who’s going to say yes or no. So you have to plan as if everyone pretty much is going to say yes unless you’re sure that some people are going to say no. Because what if you rent a space that has like a hard cap of 120 people? And then suddenly 130 people RSVP yes, well, what are you going to do if that place is really, really strict?
So this is why it’s important for you to choose a place that could potentially fit everyone that could show up because people are very, very slow with RSVPing, you’re going to see that. I mean, my wedding right at this point right now that I’m recording this was three weeks away, and I still have people who are like, “Mm, I’m not sure if I’m coming. I think so, but I’m not sure, I haven’t booked yet.” It’s like how have you not booked your Hawaii trip in three weeks? But some people are just really, really last minute. So and you have to be, at a certain point, kind of okay with that because you have to know that your venue’s still going to work in case those people show up because there’s always going to be those stragglers. And if you’re a straggler, please, give the bride some peace of mind and RSVP in time because it really makes a load of a difference.
So choosing a wedding venue, you know, it’s hard. I went through so many different venue options, all like online. I literally went through after Mexico didn’t work out, I was so just like confused of, “Oh my God, where is this wedding going to be? I have no idea.” And I looked all of the Caribbean islands, and you know, for me I didn’t want like an all-inclusive resort hotel vibe. I wanted something that was really like rural, and rustic, and nature and… So for I could bring my own decoration and give it my own feel I didn’t want it to already be in a hotel. But that added on the hard part, which is that I have to figure everything out on my own.
So where we’re getting married is a national park. So because it’s a national park, it’s super beautiful, it’s super lush, jungly, mountains, beach, all the nature, and there’s also no electricity, you know, we have to bring everything ourselves. From the cooking supplies for the caterers, to all of the lights, everything. So it’s like a Burning Man wedding, pretty much, but for me I wanted that because I wanted it to be this like Boho, Middle Eastern, eclectic vibe, on a beach, in a jungle.
So you have to know what matters to you, right? It’s like when you buy a house, or you move into an apartment, you can’t have everything on your list. You have to think what are the things that are the most important to me. So, for some people, it’s just ease. Like they just don’t want to spend a lot of work on the wedding, they just want something super, super easy. Well then I actually recommend doing a hotel, or a wedding package, something like that.
I would have saved a lot of time, and a lot of money for sure, had I gone to like Sandals Beach Resort and chose one of their wedding packages, which I’m sure is awesome, lots of people do it. But the other side of that is I didn’t want to choose like between package one, two, and three the red, white, or blue options, which one do you want? I wanted it to be 100% my own, but that comes with doing the work, right? So you have to think what is important to you, how much time do you want to invest in it.
And hotels you’re also very limited to the vendors that you can work with. Most hotels will not let you bring food and beverage from outside. So if you have a form of cultural food, like Indian food, Persian food, Japanese food, et cetera, if that hotel does not offer that, you can’t have that at your wedding. Or if you want to do like special vegan desserts, or whatever else—I mean, most of them will let you bring a wedding cake, but they’re not going to let you bring your chef and your dinner from outside.
And the other thing about having a wedding at a hotel is you often have to pay the open bar prices. So if you want your wedding to be open bar, wedding open bar costs are like often $80 per person. And even though like I obviously I don’t drink, and a lot of my friends—most of my friends—don’t drink, well, I would have still had to pay for each of our open bars just because they make you count the number of people who are above 21, whether they drink or not. Because of them, they don’t know, they can’t keep track of who’s drinking or who’s not, so they just want to make sure that they’re getting everyone taken care of. So that’s a huge add-on too, if you’re gonna do a hotel wedding, you’re gonna have to pay those hotel open bars. Oftentimes hotel food is super, super expensive, and you don’t have another option, so you’re kind of locked in there.
So there’s pros and cons of everything, where we’re doing it in the national park, we chose our own caterer, we’re having some sugar-free monk fruit-sweetened desserts, and vegan options, and all those things. And also we have to pay for their kitchen supplies to be brought out there, and because it’s a national park, we have to literally rent the tables, the chairs, the forks, knives, plating, all of these things that a hotel or restaurant would have provided. So with everything there’s pros and cons, and it just depends on how involved you want to get, how much money you want to spend, et cetera, what you want the vibe of it to be.
So your wedding venue is probably gonna take you the longest because there’s just so many options out there. But I do recommend just staying true to your heart. When I was super confused about what to do, I was like, “Screw it, I don’t even want to plan a wedding anymore, I can’t even think about it,” it took me like two months to kind of get to what it is that I really wanted.
And I was at this retreat called “This is 50,” and it’s for women transitioning in their 50s. It was freaking awesome, I was there interviewing Deepak Chopra when I interviewed him for this podcast I was there. And I was like, “You know, I’m just gonna like participate in this retreat.” And in it, one of the exercises that they brought us through was like, “Imagine like what’s your greatest dream?” And most of them are probably like, “Oh, I like go to Soul Cycle in the mornings, and my kids and me are on great terms,” and I was using the opportunity to dream about what would my dream wedding be. And I just really just let myself dream, and for me, I was like, “I want a lush jungle and beach. I want that combination somehow of like greens, and vines, and also my feet wet in the sand when I’m walking down that aisle. I want to be barefoot.”
So that was really hard because there’s jungly places, and there are beaches, but it’s really hard to find a combination of both. But once I had that vision in mind, then it hit me, “Okay, well Hawaii, but I had a very big block in my head that I can’t afford a wedding in Hawaii, Hawaii’s so expensive, like every move you make here is gonna cost you bajillion dollars.” But then I had to step up into like my worthiness, and I think a lot of us getting married, we have to do that.
Because, you know, yes, a wedding is gonna cost you a ridiculous amount, and you’re gonna be like, “Oh my God, why did I just pay that all for one day?” And it’s your only wedding, hopefully, in your life, and it’s not something that comes around every year like your birthday, and it is a day you’re going to remember for the rest of your life. It’s a day that you’re going to talk about with your kids, and your grandkids. I mean, think about when you were a kid asking your parents, “What was your wedding like? Can I see your wedding photos? What was Grandma’s wedding like?” Like it’s such an iconic moment in your lifetime that it’s worth it, and it’s worth making it totally your own.
And some people don’t mind, for some people it’s not really important for them, but I mean if you’re listening to this episode, you clearly care about weddings. So it’s probably important to you, at least to a certain extent—and again, it doesn’t mean it has to be a big wedding or an expensive wedding, but it means valuing yourself, and valuing what it is that you really want.
Because there are many, many times in this wedding process that I’m like, “Oh my God, things are too hard, I don’t even care, let’s just go somewhere and just get this over with.” But I was like what kind of energy is bringing marriage into? Let’s get over with, let’s just do the cheapest option? Like that’s not the energy I want to bring my marriage into. You know, I want my marriage to be celebrated, and enjoyed, and something that I look forward to, and put time, and effort, and details into.
And there’s nothing more worth it to me, I mean why work, why do all of these things that we’re doing if when these moments come into our lies we just skip right through them? Instead of really celebrating them, and giving them ourselves that full time to enjoy the process and be a part of the process. You know, I know some brides, they just don’t care, they just have the wedding planner set everything up, and they pretty much show up. But I wanted to, you know, DIY this, I wanted to be a part of it, I wanted to have my essence infused in every single detail of the wedding. I did not want it to just be a generic wedding number three.
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So you have to think about these things and think about what’s important for you. And if it is important for you, it’s going to cost money, it’s going to spend time, but it’s worth it because you’re worth it, and your love is worth it. So hire a wedding planner, and give yourself that time to find the venue, and allow yourself to dream. And yes, every venue is going to have its shitty side. You know, there’s always going to be some stuff that you don’t like just about, you know, whether it’s, “Oh, well I wish they had better lighting, or I wish it could have stayed open later.”
For example, at our venue, it can only stay open until 10:00 PM because it’s outside, and there’s just a law that you can’t have music playing outside past 10:00 PM in Hawaii. So that was like a really big thing for us because we wanted the music to go longer, and people to dance more, and we weren’t even sure if we should do it there, but for me, just being able to be in that national park and be surrounded by that lush, beautiful environment was 100% worth it for me. And I don’t even like staying up past 10:00 PM, So I shouldn’t really care that much. I was like, “Great, I get to sleep earlier.”
But if you’re someone that wants to party all night, then that’s not gonna be the right place for you. So you have to make a list of your priorities and what really, really matters to you. Whether it’s being on the beach, or being in the forest, or being close to family, or having music all night, or having really good food with a specific chef, or being in this place that you and your partner first met. Or whatever it is, what is the most important thing to you and make the list in order of the things that you really need, and that way, when you’re looking at the venues, you’re like, “Okay, it hit this list, but it didn’t hit that,” and you’re able to see and evaluate that way.
And then you’re gonna feel it. When you go to that place that’s right, you’re going to feel it. You’re going to be there and you’re going to be like, “Oh my God, this is it. This is where I see myself walking down the aisle and marrying my sacred love here.” And it may not even fit the exact vision you thought of. Maybe you thought you would have a desert wedding and you ended up by the ocean, or maybe you thought you’d have a fall autumn leaf wedding, and you’ve ended up falling in love with the snow. Who knows, but you’re going to feel that it feels really right.
And I also do recommend, you know, looking at off-seasons for weddings because you can oftentimes get the venue for a lot cheaper because a lot of people want a summer wedding, but what about doing a beautiful fall wedding, or a winter wedding? I mean, go on Pinterest, look up fall and winter weddings, they are so beautiful. You could be in the foliage, you could be in the snow. So it doesn’t have to be a generic summer wedding, you can oftentimes get really good deals, not just on venue, but also on all of the vendors because they’re looking for more business in those quieter times, so think about that too.
Now, my second piece of advice—that was a very long first one—is to do everything way in advance. So you may think it’s weird, or your partner may be like, “Why are you thinking about this so early when like eight months before you’re like trying to finalize the menu, and the flowers, and all of that stuff?” You’ll be really happy that you did because there’s so many more things that are going to show up for you, things that you could have never imagined, and things take a lot longer than you think.
Like I thought, “Oh, florist, like I don’t know, you just pick a florist.” No, there’s tons of florists, you have to have meetings with them, they all have different minimums, oftentimes their minimums are a couple thousand dollars that you have to meet because they’re not willing to set up the flowers if you don’t match those minimums. So flowers were the things that ended up being way more expensive than I thought. Like I thought especially in Hawaii flowers would not cost that much because there’s so many local, beautiful flowers, but not the case, they’re super expensive.
And I wanted to do a lot of local Hawaiian flowers, but even those oftentimes are exported and reimported back in, so crazy stuff happened in Hawaii with the export/import laws. But just know that flowers are one of those things that you need in a wedding, I mean you can’t have a flowerless wedding. You can do a lot with leaves, like I’m doing a lot of leaves centerpieces, et cetera, but you do need some flowers. Most people want some flowers at their wedding, and that’s that one thing that there’s gonna be a minimum, and flowers are super expensive, so just be prepared for that because that was one thing I had no idea about.
So think about these things in advance, like as far as possible away. Because as you get closer to the wedding there’s going to be more and more little details like the music, and the table arrangements, and the procession, and all of these little things that are gonna take up your time and energy. So if you had those things down, packages, it’s just less to worry about the closer you get to the day.
I also want to note that a lot of wedding dresses take three months just to arrive. And this is not a custom wedding dress, this is just if you go to like the bridal shop, I don’t know why, but for some reason they’re like, “Oh, it takes three months to like get to you.” No, it was going to take even longer, I had to pay extra for the like more speedy deliver, which was three months, and this was not a custom-made dress at all.
So I don’t know why this happens, they say they make it to order, which I don’t really believe, but just keep that in mind because I thought I would buy my wedding dress three months before, but it takes another two months two alter. Because these wedding alteration places you have to go back like three, four times, try on the dress, they alter something else, try on the dress. It’s a whole process, and I’m not like a fashionista who got some like Vera Wang dress, like this is just for like a normal dress.
So you’re going to be very, very surprised by how long that takes, plus you shopping and finding the dress could take a long time too. One piece of advice that I have is honestly, try to go by yourself. I went wedding dress shopping alone, and it was the best decision I ever made because I was able to go in there, try on the dresses that I liked, not that my mom wanted me to try on, not what my future mother-in-law would want me to wear, not what my friends thought was cool, but what I wanted to wear.
And then I could feel my own feedback, I could feel I feel beautiful in this, I don’t feel good in this, et cetera. So I only ended up going to three wedding dress shops in total, the third one I found my wedding dress in. And I’m so glad that I did the process alone because I was able to feel what felt right to me, what I really wanted to walk down the aisle in, and I felt the most beautiful in. And then once I chose it, then I took a picture of myself, and I text it to my mom, and my friends, and I asked them for their opinions, and they all loved it, but I didn’t let their opinions get in the way of me loving it first.
So I know a lot of people, they make a whole thing about buying a wedding dress, they go with their friends, and they drink champagne, and it’s like a whole social event. And maybe you want to do that, but I’m really, really glad that I was bale to just get in and out of there, choose my dress, and listen to my own intuition, and I absolutely love the dress that I wore, and I can’t wait to show it to you guys on my Instagram @iamsahararose, where I’ll be sharing all my wedding photos. And I’ve been sharing lots of photos of my bachelorette, and all sorts of behind-the-scenes wedding stuff. So if you want to put a picture to all of this, pull out your phones, follow me on Instagram @iamsahararose—sahara like the desert.
So advice number three is don’t forget about the details. So there are so many little things like what’s the music that people are going to be hearing when they’re sitting down for the ceremony? What’s the music for the procession? What order do you want the procession to be in? Because there’s lots of different options, there’s the Christian way, and the Jewish way, but like different kinds of Christian ways, and all sorts of things. What do you want the first kiss to be? Do you want to do any other kinds of ceremonies?
Like we’re having three ceremonies at our wedding, we’re doing a Christian one because my fiancé is Christian, we’re doing a Hawaiian one because I wanted to honor the local land, and we’re bringing a local Hawaiian kahu, which is a Hawaiian priest, to do the traditional Hawaiian chanting, and the aloha, and passing of the leis. And we’re doing a Persian ceremony by my dad, which is an ancient Zoroastrian tradition with this table called a sofreh aghd, that has different elements that represent love. From rosewater for a sweet life, to sugarcane, and a mirror to see each other’s reflection, and a bowl of water with an orange symbolizing the earth spinning around, and all of these different very, very beautiful traditions.
Maybe I’ll do another podcast episode all about Persian wedding ceremony, but it’s very, very just meaningful, and there’s lots of details to, and that has been something that has taken me a lot of time. Because every act, every table is very different, and the bride is supposed to bring her own touches to it. So you know, it’s really, really hard from you being in L.A., and the place being somewhere else, that’s another thing with destination wedding is you’re not there, so I’m having to figure out everything online, Etsy has become my best friend, I get a lot of things from Etsy. But there’s so many little details like that, so the ceremony, the first dance, you know.
Like we just started training for the first dance and the wedding is there weeks way. I recommend you should start training for your first dance three months before so you could do weekly classes so you don’t feel super rushed. And, you know, for me dance is really important so I wanted to have a beautiful dance, but I think it’s whether you’re a dancer or not, what an amazing moment to celebrate that you’ll remember forever, and it’s so worth taking some dance classes. Because everyone’s watching you, so yeah, you could just do a little slow dance, but why not do some spins and dips and make it really fun?
So the first dance, you know, personal touches on the table, you know, the sign-in book, the guest book, maybe you want a Polaroid there, like I’m going to do a Polaroid in stickers, and a photo booth with the little booklet that they can stick the photo booth pictures in, or the wedding gifts—especially if you’re in a destination wedding—what are you going to leave in all their rooms? Are you going to have a wedding gift at the wedding itself? Are you going to do any meaningful rituals, traditions, family traditions? We’re using a tree that we’re tying around with like a little wire pictures of all of the weddings of our parents and grandparents, and to honor the ancestors. So that was a little something that I found on Pinterest that I loved doing.
And you know, there’s all these little personal touches that you can add. There’s so many things like, you know, a hanger that says, “Mrs. [insert your new last name],” which is a really, really cute thing that I found. Or for your rings, when you walk down the aisle, instead of just doing it on a pillow I got this really cool like sacred geometry box that has our names on it. I mean if you go on Etsy you’ll find so much stuff, but these things take time, they take time to find, they take time to order, they take time to be made.
So you need to give yourself that time and not save everything for the week before because, yeah, you could do a wedding without those personal touches, but they’re really gonna feel good for you, for your guests, they’re gonna look good in your pictures, and it’s what’s gonna make your wedding your own.
So go through family traditions, traditions that you want to add, and you’ll just be so surprised by how many opportunities there are for personal touches, and also the time that it takes to make each of those. For example, I didn’t want to do a bouquet toss. You know, I thought it’s a little barbaric, like the women are like fighting each other for a bouquet of who’s next? Like that felt really dated and desperate to me. Like we’re queens, we should not be fighting each other for some dudes, and I don’t think anyone feels good about fighting for a bouquet either.
So what I’ve decided to do is to have all of the women who are interested in looking for someone potentially to stand around a circle, and I will be blindfolded, and I will spin in a circle as the music goes, and then intuitively I will stop, and the person that I stop in front of I will hand her the bouquet. So that was a little personal touch that I wanted to do for the wedding instead of a bouquet toss—feel free to steal it.
But there’s all these little fun things that you can do, you can go on YouTube, watch what other people did in their wedding. For example, for our father and daughter dance, I didn’t not want to do like a slow dance of like, “Isn’t she lovely, isn’t she wonderful,” like those are so boring to watch, and I’m always like, “Oh God,” hate being at the weddings where it’s like five-hour long speech. “So in college, I remember Sally was quite the drinker.” Like I did not want any of that boring shit. So for me and my Dad’s first dance, we’re actually doing like a Persian song, which is like a dancing song, and we’re like getting down, and inviting people to come on the dance floor and join us.
And for speeches I’m telling like my brother, and my friend who’s doing it, like keep it two minutes tops, and make it relatable. And I’m actually having one of my friend for her speech do an intention-setting sun culpa ritual for all of the people to set their own intentions and connect their own heart. Because I also want to bring in just ceremony into the reception as well because I feel like a lot of times it’s like, “Okay, the ceremony’s like super spiritual, and then the reception is just lots of drinking.” And I don’t want that, I want to keep the sacred vibe going throughout the night, so I’m actually having her use her speech to also make it a spiritual moment for everyone to just take a breath, and meditate, and set their intention, and connect back to their hearts, and what we’re really celebrating this about.
So all of these little details will come to you in the wedding planning process, so that’s why give yourself that time because the month before, that’s when you’re gonna be like, “Oh, I actually wanna do this, I actually want to do that.” And you’re probably not going to think about that stuff when you’re like you’re not even sure where the wedding is, it’s these are things that can only come once you’ve hit those benchmarks, and then you’re thinking about it deeper. So definitely don’t forget about the details.
Tip number four is have a sober bachelorette party. So I just had my bachelorette party this past weekend, and it was honestly, the best weekend of my entire life. I’m not even just saying it, I hope my wedding tops it, but honestly, may not. Because it was such an epic weekend, I mean there’s no pressure, I feel like the wedding is like a lot of pressure, and there’s like all your family, and you have to say hi to a lot of people, whereas this was just fun.
So I rented a house here in L.A., and I didn’t want people to feel like they have to travel and go somewhere else because the wedding already is a destination wedding. So I just rented a house here, and had each of us share our own gifts. So one of my friends is a yoga teacher, Rosie Acosta, who’s been on this podcast so she taught us morning yoga, one of my other friends, Christine, teaches cacao ceremony, so we did a cacao ceremony. Then my twerk teacher came, and we did a twerk class, which was so much fun and epic, I posted videos on my Instagram.
If you go on my Instagram Highlight called “My Bachelorette,” on my Insta Stories, you’ll watch me and all my bridesmaids twerking, which was epic. And we did prayer circles, which I mean, that was definitely the first time that this party rock mansion has ever seen a prayer circle, but we would sit in circles, and we would have one person sit in the middle and share what she would like us to pray for her for. So whether it’s fertility, or a specific career goal, or more ease, or helping with a family member, or dealing with ancestral pain, or finding a home, whatever it is.
So she would come in the circle and say, “Please pray for me to help me with my fertility journey, blah blah blah blah blah, whatever it is.” And then we would all close our eyes, and we would pray for her, and we would meditate and send her healing energy, and imagine that her prayer had come to life. And it was so beautiful, and so healing for all of us, not only to be prayed for, but also to pray for others, and to really hold that space for the other person to be their highest selves and envision them, you know, healthy, or with a baby, or having a “New York Times” best-selling book, or healing their relationship with their mother, or gaining immunity, or whatever it is that they needed at that time. And, you know, prayer circles are something that have been going on for a really long time, but I wanted that to be part of my bachelorette.
And we also did—it was the new moon—so we did new moon manifestations that we all sat in the circle, and we said what we’re trying to manifest in this moon, and we all channeled what we believe that this moon was about. It was a tourist new moon, so it was very chill, and a friend of mine, Cassandra, she’s awesome with all of the moon stuff, and she was kind of channeling for us what it is that you’re trying to bring forth, and how the tourist moon is all about structure, and building, and thinking long-term, and what’s your five, 10, 20-year plan, and thinking like that.
So it was beautiful, we did not drink, we went to sleep by 11:00 PM, it was awesome. The next day we went to brunch, and then we went to this epic place called Wisdome in L.A., which is this place that there’s these 360-degree domes, and they have these really cool projections with beautiful sacred geometry, goddesses, all sorts of very conscious and spiritual things. So that was my bachelorette party, it was the best weekend ever. I also recommend bringing a photographer too for just an hour because the pictures that I’ve got for my bachelorette, I’ve been sharing them on my Instagram @iamsahararose. But they are pictures that I will honor and cherish for lifetimes to come.
So I really recommend doing that, a weekend is such a beautiful experience. You can do it at a friend’s house, spiritual slumber party, it’ll be so fun, doesn’t need to be anything fancy. And just between you and all your friends sharing your gifts, you would have the most amazing time, and also get to know each other in that new way. Because often with our friends, we know them like what’s going on in our lives, but we don’t get to see the work that they put into the world and whether they’re professional healers or not, all of our friends have things that they can teach us. Whether your friend is an artist, or another friend is a musician, or whatever else, just allow yourselves to share with one another, and that’s all the entertainment that you need.
You don’t need to go to a bar, you don’t need to go to a club, you don’t need to go out to an expensive dinner, or wear high heels and get all dressed up, and take pictures, and like come home right after. Like no, be comfy, have fun, and it’s all about sisterhood and community. So would really, really recommend having that experience, a spiritual slumber party.
Now tip number five: talk about things besides your wedding to your future spouse. You see, it is all too easy to make every single conversation that you have go back to the wedding. You know, you might be sitting, “Oh, how was your day? By the way, did Auntie Jo RSVP? By the way, where are we going to sit Fred next to? By the way, did you pay that invoice to the planner?” Because, you know, most of us work, and we’re not with our future spouses all the time, so when you see them, you’re like, “Blah blah blah,” like all this wedding planning stuff. Especially if you’re the one who’s taken on more of the responsibility, oftentimes it is the woman who is doing it, but there are some men that really love wedding planning.
And unfortunately, my man is not one of those, but so it’s been me doing most of the wedding planning stuff. So when I see him I’m like, “Blah blah blah,” and I have to stop myself, and be like, “Okay, not every conversation needs to go back to the wedding because you’re going to end up dreading it, you’re going to end up like not being able to connect, and you have to remember, you know, what is this wedding all about? And it’s about celebrating your love with this person. You know, it’s not about the wedding, it’s about the love.
So I recommend having wedding meetings, like you can literally put them in the Google Cal, like okay, at 8:30 PM, we’re gonna have a wedding meeting, and run through all the wedding details, and all the stuff there, and then keep your dinner conversations around all of the other things happening in your life. You know, what are you looking forward to? What’s happening with work? Like how is your friend? All of the other things because it’s so easy to spend that year before the wedding only talking about the wedding, and then you miss out on each other’s lives, and before you know it, it’s all gonna be over and you don’t want to miss out on a year of potential meaningful conversation because you were talking about photographer choices.
So don’t forget, and at the same time you know, it is important to be in dialogue and communication with the wedding. So if you can keep it to meetings, that’s a really good way to keep it clean and keep it separate from your personal life, and your love life, and all of that good stuff.
So I would love to know what was your experience planning your wedding? Are you planning a wedding any time soon? Head over to my Facebook group, “Mind Body Balancers Highest Self Podcast” Facebook group. Let me know what your wedding journey has been all about, and send me lots of good vibes as I am preparing to walk down the aisle in just a few days. If you’re listening to this after June 2nd, then I’m already a wifey, and I’m heading to Fiji for my honeymoon. I’m super, super excited, you know, cause also amongst all this wedding planning you’re gonna have to plan your honeymoon too.
And what a lot of people I know do is they end up not having time planning the honeymoon because they’ve been focusing so much on the wedding, and then they end up planning the honeymoon later, which is totally fine, but I wanted to go from my wedding to my honeymoon. Because I wanted to just like have a break from all of this wedding planning stuff, and the stress involved, so we’re going straight after from Hawaii to Fiji, I’m going to be offline, off Instagram, of all the things, which I’m super excited about, have not done that in like years.
And I just want to like pretty much treat it like vipassana except for there’s another person and we’re probably going to be having sex—sexpassana. But I just want to not be on the internet, not be working, not be stressing, and really just connect to Mother Gaia, and the ocean, and the dolphins, and all of the beautiful, you know, essence of the Fijian islands. And you know, when in your life do you get that opportunity to really unplug, so I really want to take it. And also, where we’re staying, is right next to castaway island where the “Castaway” movie was shot. You know, the Tom Hanks movie, “Wilson! Wilson!” So if I come back crazy, looking for my Wilson, you’ll know why.
So I would love to know all the things wedding related, head over to my Instagram, @iamsahararose, head over to the Facebook group, “Mind Body Balancers” Facebook group. Send me lots and lots of love, can’t wait to share with you all the pictures. And if you want to keep up behind the scenes, be sure to head over to my Instagram, @iamsahararose. And we will chat soon after the fact that I’m a bride, yay!
So if you loved this episode, I would love if you could leave me a review in the iTunes store. And as a free gift, I will share with you the first half of my unreleased book, “Eat Right For Your Mind Body Type.” Simply email a screenshot of your review over to firstname.lastname@example.org-- again, sahara, S-A-H-A-R-A, @eatfeelfresh.com and I will send you over the first half of my unreleased book, “Eat Right For Your Mind Body Type.” Thank you and Namaste.
Episode 194 – 5 Tips for Wedding Planning with Sahara Rose