Connections Between Wedding Planning and Student Affairs

by Amanda Stewart

All along when we talked about getting engaged I would firmly claim that I did not want to be planning our wedding while finishing graduate school. I was thrilled for him to propose but I was sure that I would not start planning until after graduation.

As always, things didn’t exactly turn out that way. We got engaged in January 2014 and I was so excited I couldn’t wait to start planning. The planning was seamless, energizing, and fun. The entire process felt meant to be and everything fell into place beautifully! We set a date for June 2014. I completed my last semester of graduate school while planning our wedding, exactly what I said I would not do. In our field, we become experts at balancing multiple priorities and that is just what I did.

My partner and I are both in student affairs which made me think a lot about how our process showed me a lot of parallels in our field and in wedding planning. What did I learn? I learned that there are a lot more similarities in wedding planning and student affairs than I thought. Here are some connections I made.

  1. It should be co-constructed.
Try and plan together. You are planning your wedding day. Even if your partner is letting you make all of the decisions, don’t stop including them. Just as we need to include our students in the decisions we make on our campuses so that they feel valued and appreciated, do the same for your partner!

  1. Don’t forget to keep the main thing the main thing.
You are getting married! You are starting your lives together! The tiny details don’t matter anymore when you take a step back and look at the big picture. Don’t forget that. Just like in higher education, sometimes I notice people forgetting about the students. Remember what it is all about.

  1. Take a deep breath.
Practice self care. Take it easy. Relax. Everything will be okay. Sometimes the days are crazy and nothing seems to go right - whether in wedding planning or student affairs - but keep a good attitude and trust in the bigger picture.

  1. Ask for help.
You don’t have to do it all alone! Do you have an awesome team of friends ready to help? Let them! In my life, both personally and professionally, I am getting better at asking for help. It is not a sign of weakness! Use your resources: family, friends, colleagues, etc.

  1. Yay, organization!
Lists and spreadsheets are great. In student affairs and wedding planning. Enough said.

  1. Don’t try to do student development on your family.
My partner and I both joke about this, but it is true. Sometimes it is appropriate to have these types of conversations but other times it is best to just let them rest. Family is a whole different ball game.

  1. Know your skills!
Think about what you’re good at, and what your skill set is. Ironically, my partner and I were both working in student activities while we were planning our wedding. 2 event planners planning a wedding made things go pretty smoothly! He is great at sound and lightening so he took charge of all of the music. I am more detail oriented. Our strengths work well together - both in planning the wedding and in our marriage!

Student Affairs - the First Years

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