I've imagined my dream wedding many times. It usually involves Zac Efron (as the groom, or, occasionally, as a guest, because even if things don't work out between us, I'd like us to stay friends). Still, sometimes when I'm doing this, I wonder if it's a good idea — I don't have a partner or the money for a wedding right now, so maybe it's not healthy to think through my big day. (Plus, what if Zac's abroad on June 15th, 2023?) If you've been in this situation, you may be asking yourself if it's normal to plan your dream wedding when you're single and broke. To find out the answers, I spoke with an expert.
It's OK to plan a dream wedding when you're single, as long as you're open to changing things if your future partner wants to. "A wedding is a shared experience between two people," sex therapist and sexologist Dr. Stefani Threadgill tells Elite Daily. "It can be helpful to have a vision before you have a partner; however, it is important that you plan it together as a couple." It's normal to come up with what you want ahead of time, but be willing to take your partner's opinions into account. Other experts echo her sentiment.
"It can become a problem when one fantasizes about the experience without having an idea of what their fiancé would expect or envision for a wedding," founder of Bravo Productions, Greg Jenkins, tells Elite Daily. If you're open to changing your dream plans if your potential partner wants something different, then it can be totally healthy to fantasize about a dream wedding when you're single. It's also important to remember that life sometimes happens in the ways we don't plan for, so if you don't end up getting married, that doesn't mean your life won't be fulfilling and wonderful. As long as you can adjust your dreams to the circumstances of your life, planning a dream wedding is OK.
It's also totally normal to plan a wedding when you're strapped for cash, as long as you're realistic about what you can afford. If your dream wedding costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, then you might be let down when the planning process begins. However, your dream wedding might be a dream for reasons other than the cost. "If the planning process fits within one's budgetary parameters, there's nothing wrong with planning a wedding," Jenkins says. "The wedding can take place at a friend's house, with just a few close family members and/or friends. It could take the form of a potluck reception planned as a picnic or informal gathering."
It's also important to make sure you're not stressing yourself out with funding the wedding, especially so far in advance. "An important question to consider if you do not have the funds is if you want to begin your marriage with financial stress," Dr. Threadgill says. "Sex and money are among the most common reasons couples divorce." If you'd like to get married on a private island in Hawaii, and you don't think you can afford it, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. That's not to say it's bad to have dreams, but it's important to keep in mind what's realistic and what's not.
Planning a dream wedding even if you're single and broke can actually be helpful in some ways. It might help you set a goal for the future and allow you to take steps in order to get there. "It could be helpful to have a plan for a dream wedding, which might help a person save accordingly, even before having a partner," Jenkins says. "The key is developing savings. If the plan should change due to other forces which could include health issues or an emergency situation, a desire to invest in a business or home, take a vacation — or just evolving as a human being where one's perspectives and priorities will likely change, there are funds that can be used for these things."
There's no reason to not set goals. Knowing how to save money can be helpful for a variety of reasons. So don't worry — having dreams is a good thing.
It's always helpful to try to live in the moment, dream wedding or not. With wedding planning, try not to ignore the life you're currently living in order to jump into the future. "Wedding planning can be stressful," Jenkins says. "Why would someone want to take on this stress early or when it can be avoided? Stay in the present, try to be your personal best, and appreciate the day you have." Staying in the present can make you happier and more open to opportunities that present themselves to you. (Maybe that dream partner, or dream job that would help you afford your dream wedding, for example). It's fun to have dreams, but remember to keep living and loving this current moment.
Envisioning my dream wedding is fun for me, and not knowing who I'll be marrying is half the excitement. Still, I don't want to get carried away in case I'm disappointed when it actually comes time to wedding plan. (Or if I don't get married, which is something I'm also fine with.) It's OK to plan your wedding before you have a partner or the money to afford it, but again, do try to stay in the present and enjoy the life you have now. After all, maybe today's not your wedding day, but by staying present and enjoying life just as it is, any day could be the best day of your life!