Focusing on what’s REALLY important — and it’s not my toothbrush, apparently.

Here’s a tip, from one planner to another — do NOT try to pack for a week-long trip while also trying to “pack” for your engagement picture shoot. One or the other is bound to suffer and, if you’re like me, it’s probably going to be the week-long trip.

Here’s the scoop —  our photographers have moved to California so are only in Ohio sporadically. Therefore, we had a few limited options as to when to schedule our session (I’ve ceased to call it a shoot in an attempt to bring it all back down to reality!) and we happened to schedule it the night before I leave for a week-long business trip (ironically…in California. Hmmmm…)

Part of me wanted to tell the photographers that my two suitcases were actually my “wardrobe” for our photo session — I would have just loved to see their faces! But I was a little afraid that the immediate “Oh my god, what kind of high-maintenance-crazy-bridezilla have we gotten ourselves hooked up with?!” reaction might not have ever faded. So I settled for a small grocery bag of a few cute props, two outfits for each Mark and myself and a couple of bottles of wine (in case you’ve forgotten, we ARE getting married at a winery….I love a good theme!)

To carry the “we’re not alcoholics but we do love to drink” theme a little bit further, we did our photo session at a brewery that we both love and was actually the second choice for our wedding venue — Rockmill Brewery. (One of the biggest reasons I can’t wait to share the pics as soon as we have them is that the location is so adorable!!!)

Our photographers, Adam and Laura from A + L Photos are possibly two of the most amazing and adorable people on the planet (well, they’re both amazing but I’m pretty sure Adam would prefer not to be called adorable. But Laura definitely is!)

We had never met them in person before, sharing only emails, phone calls and a brief Skype chat where I knew they’d be perfect once I saw their Christmas tree twinkling in the background.

Almost immediately our choice to have them as part of our wedding showed itself to be brilliant!

I’ll wait to talk more about the shoot itself once I have pictures to share but I WILL get back to my initial commentary about over-scheduling your planning. See, not only did I have to leave for California bright and early the morning after the shoot — but we had also planned on staying at my mom’s that night as it’s much closer to the airport. So when we left the house for the photo session, I had left the house for over a week.

No big deal, right? I mean…I’m a project manager. A born planner. I’m sure that I’ll have it all together, right?

Nooooooot exactly.

Something about getting ready for the photo shoot (I mean, session. I mean….oh whatever) totally made me lose my mind a little bit (just a little bit….but you know I like to admit it when this happens). And somewhere in between pulling together my two dresses, straightening my hair and collecting my jewelry, I forgot to put my toiletries bag into my suitcase. So once we were getting ready for bed, I realized that I didn’t have my contact solution. Or deodorant. Or a toothbrush.

Oh. My. Heavens.

I mean, luckily my mom doesn’t live in a third world county — in fact, she lives quite close to several grocery and drug stores. So it’s not like it was a catastrophe. But it did make me think about what happens when we overload our plates a bit too much. And it’s a unique balancing act. It’s not like I can stop my real life — I would NEVER have cancelled this trip just because of the photo session. I mean, it’s a photo SESSION, not a photo SHOOT! I never would have done it but I’m not saying I never would have thought about it. 🙂

But it is also critically important to enjoy the whole process of planning a wedding. Because it’s also planning the beginning of a marriage. It’s okay to let it have some weight and importance because it IS important. It’s the start of possibly the most important relationship of your life and it is more than okay to treat it as such.

So, as I sit here in Tahoe getting ready for the work event I’ve been working on for a few months, I revel in the fact that I don’t have any BIG projects coming up in the next few weeks or even the next few months. I’m going to be honest, I’m really excited that I can let the wedding take more of center stage and I don’t have to feel the least bit guilty about it.

And before I sign another contract, I’m going to take a look at what wedding plans we have coming up and decide if I can fit anything else in around those. Because it’s clear that if I have to travel for work right before or after I have to travel for a wedding shower, I may show up with everything needed for a great night out with my favorite ladies — but perhaps without certain critical items needed to put my best foot forward in the boardroom.

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