W.P. 101: 2021 Wedding Goals

Okay, I’m just going to say it. 2020 has been rough y’all. And meeting any kind of wedding goals was met with more challenges than ever before.

When I think about wedding planning and making wedding goals, there’s always the background thought of: “But the pandemic…” and all that comes with that.

Even looking into 2021, so many brides are rethinking their original plans and 2020 brides are planning their second wedding celebrations.

Y’all it can be straight up overwhelming.

However, I think the most important thing I’ve realized is that it’s okay to not be okay. Take time to grieve dashed plans and reflect on what your key goals are for moving forward.

And we’re also using this transition to the New Year to celebrate lots of things – including our engagement (and peep this ridiculously cute ornament from KY Designs @kydesigns_ on Instagram)!

The “Done” List

Recently I’ve started making “Done Lists”. Essentially, a list of things I’ve done throughout the day and I’m proud of myself for completing throughout the day.

Honestly I’ve always been terrible at sticking to todo lists. Every time I make one, it never ends up actually being completed. Plus, it takes more motivation than it should to complete one.

Though “todo” lists work for many, both Brendan and I find that putting emphasis on the things we accomplish is more personally effective. And, as an added bonus, has had a great positive impact on my personal mental health.

Second Shot for Jennifer Monaghan Photography

We’ve even switched our chore chart list to a “Done List”! With the addition of rewarding ourselves for completing daily and weekly chores with a dinner out or fun activity!

This has also made wedding planning more fun and less intimidating.

I know once we set a date we’ll need to move a little quicker when it comes to planning. But giving ourselves the time and space to pace ourselves has been so freeing for us.

Every time I look at a “Wedding ToDo” list I feel overwhelmed and anxious. As we slowly add to our “Wedding Done” list is quite freeing as we see things we add make all the difference!

Wedding Goal Priority List

One of the biggest things I am finding with arranging our wedding goals is what we are considering priorities.

The biggest thing we agreed upon was that we don’t want to take out a loan to pay for our wedding. Of course, with covid things have gone a bit awry with work and finances, nailing down some of the bigger financial final decisions has been a challenge.

Most of what deciding on our priorities has to do with is identifying what is important to us. For Brendan and I, that is the experience of getting married and celebrating with friends but with the biggest emphasis on starting our lives together.

Here’s the advice given to me and what I’m finding more and more important every day.

Ask yourself this question:

What do you want for your wedding day?

So many times it’s tempting to make decisions based on other’s comments and questions, be it family, friends, bridal party or strangers. But ultimately it’s YOUR day.

It’s your celebration and you can party however you want to!

To start, think about all the things that are important to you and to your partner when it comes to weddings.

For us, I really want beautiful photographs and Brendan wants our day to be full of surprises for our guests (if you’ve been following along, you know the word “spicy” has been thrown around fairly frequently).

Everything else falls into place after we’ve set our main priority.

Setting Wedding Goals

Who here as ever heard of “SMART” goal setting? Raise your hand, come on!

For those who haven’t, SMART goals stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.

When you look at what you want for your wedding, take into account how you’re going to make your overall vision for your wedding come true (Specific).

Think about how you’re going to tell you’ve accomplished it (Measurable).

Also, take into account if it is something you can do and set the expectation that not everything is possible – no, Brendan. I’m sorry but we’re not riding into our wedding on elephants (Attainable).

Write out any hurdles you know will meet you along the way to accomplishing your vision and how you can meet them to the best you can (Realistic).

And put a time-frame to it (Time-Bound)! More specifically, when does your venue/photographer/planner/caterer need certain things in place so they can meet you in your vision!

Our 2021 Wedding Goals

Obviously, number one goal is to prioritize us. Okay, maybe not so obvious.

More than anything, I don’t want our lives and time together to constantly revolve around wedding planning. Well, I know I would be fine with that but Brendan isn’t what one would call “the planning type”.

So approaching wedding planning with ease and fun worked in is important. In addition, we have plans on things we want to do to work on building our relationship further as we head towards committing our whole lives together and knitting our hearts as one.

For this, we’re starting out by prioritizing our time together – we have a nightly tea time to just spend time together and not talk about anything wedding related. Just spending time as us.

We’re also going through learning about ourselves and each others enneagrams and how our personalities potentially work together and clash when it comes to marriage (more on that later!).

Secondary to that, setting an official wedding date is high up on the goal list. We want to make our date official when we’re ready. The goal is to finalize our budget and put a deposit down on our venue by the end of January!

Part of this is that there are SO many questions and those who want to start making plans to celebrate with us. But also to have the peace of mind that it’s not just another decision hanging over our heads – I’m ready to put it on the Done List!


Work towards your dream wedding! But remember that being stiff to stick to a “todo list” can rob you of some of the joy and fun of wedding planning. Stay flexible – we can do this!

Also, peep our family Christmas photo from this year because I think we’re cute!

The Wedding Planning 101 Journey

Keep up with all of our Wedding Wednesday blog posts as I journey through planning my own wedding using my experience as a wedding photographer!

Part 1| We're All In This Together
Part 2 | The Wedding Planner
Part 3 | Wedding Venue Open House
Part 4 |The Wedding Officiant 
Part 5 | Wedding Color Palette
Bonus | Our Proposal Story

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