Hey there! This blog is a little bit different from my normal “look at these beautiful images”. After doing my own research, talking with some of my wedding couples, and reminiscing on my own wedding day I figured it would be good to throw out into the internet. It’s kinda sad that there are barely any resources out there for neurodivergent individuals planning a wedding. Wedding planning is hard enough, not very intuitive, expensive, and can be down right overwhelming. Hopefully these tips and my own personal experience as someone who has lived with crippling ADHD for 25 years will put your mind at ease juuuuuust a bit while you go through this process. Stay tuned because I’ll also have a post about tips + tricks for your wedding day! Alrighty, let’s jump in.
I know it can get easy to get sucked in and hyper-fixate on wedding planning. Looking at all of the incredible wedding blogs, gorgeous floral installations, champagne towers… you name it. At the end of the day remember that this is your wedding, and you don’t need to do anything just because “that’s what happens at weddings”. The thought of inviting your entire family making you shake from nerves? Don’t invite them. Can’t imagine getting ready comfortably in a full silk robe? You don’t have to. Don’t like loud noises and would rather chew off your own foot than have a long night of dancing with a loud DJ? Boy, do I have news for you.
And I totally know that this is all way easier said than done. Every person and their situation is different, and I respect that entirely. But, don’t feel trapped into having your wedding be a certain way because of the expectations or pressures that others put on you. If you want to have a massive rager with everyone you’ve ever met – that’s sick. If you want to elope together in a peaceful cottage without telling a soul – frickin’ do it.
As someone who has gone through this myself, and helped quite a few people throughout the process I can genuinely say this is one of my biggest pieces of advice. Wedding planning can be really fun and beautiful, but it can also be VERY easy to hype fixate on and you can end up wanting to plan the whole thing in one go. This can cause a lot of unnecessary stress on you, as well as stress between you and your partner.
Setting aside a planned time and day can make it easy to turn it “on” and “off”! For folks that struggle with time blindness, setting a timer and saying “Okay! We are going to wedding plan for 2 hours every Sunday and Thursday” will help it feel a little more manageable.
What does this mean? This means making sure you set aside to talk to and/or essentially interview your vendors, or at the least take some time to learn about them! You don’t want to be stressed out on your big day because you heard your caterer mis-gender someone or your photographer doesn’t understand the boundaries you need. It can be as simple as getting on a quick phone call to see what their personality is like. You may be spending a lot of time and money on your wedding, so it’s important that you are hiring people that make you feel comfortable and relaxed!
How do you feel in large groups? Does it overwhelm you or make you anxious? How do you feel about saying your vows in front of other people? Will it make you feel more nervous the more people you have there? It may sound silly, but Marie Kondo your guest list. Do they bring you joy? Do you want them to be there? If YES, then send them that invite!! If you have to think about it, do they really need to be at your wedding? Will this individual cause more stress than anything? Will they make you or your partner uncomfortable? What are the pros and cons of inviting this person? It seems incredibly daunting, but I promise it’ll make you feel better in the long run!
If you are planning on going the more “traditional” wedding route – i.e. big party with over 100 of your family and friends, lots of florals, more than 5 vendors, etc. (nothing wrong with that! weddings are beautiful no matter what), I will HIGHLY recommend investing in a wedding planner. It is totally doable to plan a wedding on your own, but this is their entire livelihood and they know the ins and outs of weddings better than most. A good wedding planner will save you a lot of stress, communicate FOR you (yep, no phone calls if you don’t want), and help build a timeline that makes sense for what you and your partner want and need. And, if you need any good recommendations – I’ve got ya covered!
I think this is another REALLY big one. While you’re still in the planning process take a moment to talk with your partner if you get sensory overload. Understand your triggers and think about how they may unintentionally be present in your wedding day. Loud noises are a huge one for me, so I always bring a pair of high-quality earplugs to every wedding I photograph! Investing in these early if you’re wanting to party the night away will make it a LOT easier to enjoy the dancefloor.
If you’re sensitive to touch really be intentional when picking your wedding attire (and what goes under it!). Consider letting folks know whether it’s okay to smother you in hugs or not. If you’re getting hair and makeup done, talk to the artist first to work out boundaries or safe words!
Pick food that you know you’ll be okay with eating! For our elopement Joel actually made our dinner. We had vegan vodka penne! I’m lactose intolerant so knowing that I didn’t need to worry about if I was going to be sick to my stomach later made me feel better, and I know I love his cooking. So, it was going to be tasty and it took the uncertainty out of the meal. If you have texture issues, certain foods just generally disgust you, or if you have any allergies talk to a caterer about your concerns to make sure you’re on the same page come wedding day.
For starters, I want to let you know that you’re doing great! Getting overwhelmed is easy because chances are you may not have planned a wedding before. Wedding planning isn’t exactly an intuitive process, and unfortunately, there are a lot of vendors out there that use that to their advantage and can put on the pressure and make you feel in a time crunch (looking @ you vendors that say “book with me in the next week and get off $1,000!!!).
It’s okay to take a break if you’re feeling overwhelmed or not think about wedding planning for a couple weeks. If you’re wanting a more detail-oriented wedding then this is really where I’m going to emphasize point number 5 again. There are plenty of vendors to go around, and just because you don’t have them all booked in the first month doesn’t mean that you won’t have an amazing wedding.
In fact, MOST of my couples only book me about 3-6 months in advance. So, we work together to figure out the rest in a way that works with them and their schedules. I planned my entire wedding in just 2 months (including getting a wedding dress and alterations), and I’m here to tell you that it’s totally possible to go at your own pace. No matter how fast or slow that may be.
Thanks so much for reading my tips for folks that are neurodivergent and wedding planning! I wanted to share a few links to resources that could also be helpful and give some insight to folks that are in the thick of wedding planning as well. While the pickings are slim, I highly recommend checking out these sites for even more info and tips:
Keep an eye out if you enjoyed this blog post! Soon I’ll be posting some tips and tricks to integrate in your actual wedding day for folks that are neurodivergent.
Like what you read and are in need of a wedding photographer? Contact me and let’s talk!!