Planning a wedding is both an overwhelming and extraordinary experience, and no matter what anyone tells you, nothing actually prepares you for what planning a wedding really entails! The best part about it, is that it is unique for every couple – because weddings are such personal endeavors, and every person’s “dream” wedding is different. After recently planning my own wedding, I definitely learned a thing or two. So, while I can’t write a list of advice that will plan your wedding for you, I do have some tips that are sure to help any couple in love achieve a wedding that suits them perfectly!
Organization is key.
My #1 tip is to be as organized as humanly possible! Google sheets is your friend! When you are juggling vendors, tasks, and family, it’s easy for even the most organized person to become forgetful. My favorite part about sheets was that I could access it from both my computer and my phone. Which means when you’re standing in line at the market, and that thing you have to add to the to-do list pops in your head, you can do it right there before you forget, because… #BrideBrain. I had a spreadsheet for pretty much everything: vendor contacts, budget, guest list, to- do lists, etc. It might seem like overkill, but you will thank yourself when it’s crunch time, and you can stay calm, cool and collected!
You Do You.
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but its 2017 y’all, and wedding “traditions” are pretty much a thing of the past. Donuts instead of a wedding cake? Sure! A heartfelt song instead of vows, yes! A floral print wedding dress? #yaskween. Using your dog as a ring bearer? SO cute! The list goes on… but what I’m trying to say is, don’t let someone else’s idea of what a wedding should be sway you.
If you and your fiancé love Star Wars, and you want to carry a lightsaber instead of a bouquet, do it! After all, it is YOUR wedding, and as long as you and your partner are happy, that’s all that matters. Your guests will love that you made it personal! For example, my husband and I didn’t care about the bouquet or garter toss, so we didn’t do it, and we had lawn games instead of a dance floor. Everyone loved it!
Choose Your Squad Wisely.
Everyone is different, but in my experience, less is more when it comes to bridal parties. Don’t get me wrong, if you have 10 besties that HAVE to be in your wedding, by all means, do YOU! But if you’re on the fence, remember that the people you choose to stand by your side can make or break your big day. We all have that friend who has a tendency to drink too much, or the one who seems to find drama wherever they go. You don’t need that on your big day, so it’s best to just have them as a guest, and not part of your bridal party. (We don’t want any rogue wedding toasts, or bridesmaid quarrels.) They will understand and you’ll be much happier at the end of the day.
Having a big bridal party also means more body types to fit for wedding day attire, and a bunch of gifts for all those people, which can get expensive and stressful! This advice also applies to the other activities, like dress shopping. Invite a couple of people who you know have your best interest at heart and will actually help you find YOUR dream dress. Too many cooks in the kitchen will leave you confused and it will make it harder to say yes to your dress! Pro-Tip: If your bridesmaids want to see the dress, invite them to one of your fittings instead of the actual dress shopping!
C’est La Vie.
I don’t think there’s a single wedding in history that has gone by without a hitch. Not to be a Debbie downer, but things can go wrong, and they will. Mentally prepare yourself for the fact that even though you may have thought of EVERYTHING, when 100+ guests and a handful of vendors, weather, and timing are working together, something is bound to go wrong. When that happens, it’s time to embrace your inner Elsa, and “Let It Go.” At my wedding, the shuttle driver got lost, it was colder than we expected, and our camera for the guest book broke, but guess what? My guests probably didn’t realize what was happening, and if they did, I don’t think they cared. Your guests will remember how amazing and in love you and your partner looked, how much fun they had on the dance floor, your killer signature cocktails, and your touching ceremony.
Head in The Clouds=Budget Out The Window.
Even though your wedding day is sure to be one of the most memorable days of your life, you must remember, it’s just that- ONE DAY! There are so many things that go into the planning and preparation, that sometimes it’s hard not to become obsessed with the details. Remember that every little thing you ADD has to come OUT of the budget somewhere. We know you want your big day to be perfect, but there is no sense in going broke over the little things that your guests might not even notice. Trust me, I know it’s hard to stay realistic when you’re surrounded by wedding magazines and styled shoots on Pinterest… But you should know that these picture perfect details aren’t even usually real weddings, and if they are they were probably VERY expensive.
Since everyone has different taste, my best advice would be to talk over the budget with your fiancé and pick a couple of details that are most important to you both. Allocate a little extra budget so you can splurge on those items, and those items only. This will help ensure that you feel like you’re getting the most out of your budget on the things that you’ll never forget. For example, location and wardrobe were really important to my husband and I, so when we planned our wedding we spent a little more than we bargained for on the venue, my dress, and his suit. However, because we stretched the budget in those areas, we made up for it by using artificial flowers, choosing a budget-friendly DJ, and forgoing a videographer.
Timing. Timing. Timing.
One thing that is important across the board, no matter what style wedding you are planning, is timing. The timeline is the holy grail of the wedding. No matter how beautiful your decor is, how stellar your playlist is and how amazing your food is, if the timeline is not planned well, it can send your party off the rails. There are so many aspects to consider, and everyone’s plan is different, but I would suggest spending some extra time planning, and make sure everyone is on the same page. Your vendors are a great resource here, because they execute weddings for a living! Run your timeline by your photographer, DJ, caterer, and/or coordinator and ask if they have any suggestions. A good timeline will help your big day run smoothly, which will keep you and your guests happy and having fun!
Find Time for Self-Care.
Planning-related stress and late nights are basically inevitable while planning a wedding, and it can wreak havoc on your body and your health. It’s important to carve out a little time for YOU in the midst of all the craziness. If that means a Sunday night bubble bath and face mask ritual, a monthly massage, or 10 minutes a day of meditation, your body will thank you! Staying happy and healthy should be at the top of your seemingly never-ending to do list!
And let’s be real, I’ve never met a bride or groom who doesn’t want to do a little beautification before the big day. Even models need a little TLC to achieve that glow. Whether you want to lose a few pounds, whiten your teeth, or tan your skin, getting a head start on it will relieve some of the last minute stress. Even if you don’t want to lose weight, eating healthy and exercising the months leading up to your wedding can also play a big role in your health and appearance. Clear skin, and an endorphin-fueled good mood will give you that bridal glow on your big day, and in your photos!
And finally, this is decidedly the most important part of planning a wedding and being engaged. Once the big day is over, it’s over. And it is 100% true what everyone has undoubtedly been telling you: THE WEDDING DAY. WILL. FLY. Being engaged is such a fun, exciting time to just be in the moment and enjoy everything that is happening. Try not to let any tension, family conflict, or stressful decisions get in the way of enjoying such a special experience! And when it comes time for the big day, make a conscious effort to finish or pass off all responsibilities to family or vendors so that you can relax and have fun.
Take a few moments in between the hugs, greetings, and photos to just take a deep breath and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Pay attention to the details you put so much time and effort into and enjoy having all of the people you love and care about in one place, celebrating YOU! Your centerpieces will be gone, and your dress will get dirty, but your memories will last a lifetime.
Previously written for and posted on Robbins Brothers Blog.