Before I start this blog, I want to make sure I don’t offend anyone during a sensitive time. My heart goes out to all the brides that had to change their wedding plans due to the coronavirus. I look forward to the time when our schedules are full of celebrations again.
Main thing to remember: IT'S ONLY ONE DAY.
Yes, it will be one of the BEST day's of your entire life. But, it is only one day. Things will go wrong.
Being someone that was in the middle of planning a wedding a year ago, I am speaking to you from experience. I also am the daughter of a wedding planner & florist. I have had the full experience of wedding planning. I'm definitely not an expert but I have been around weddings and all they entail, my entire life. I wanted to give any advice that I could to someone that is, or soon will be planning a wedding.
First off, Congratulations! You're engaged! Soak in all of those moments & enjoy your new fiancé!
Things to remember & do throughout the planning process:
-Focus on your marriage and not just the wedding day.
-In regards to the planning process, try to book your venues and vendors ASAP. If you have your dream location in mind make sure they have your best date options available. In the middle of our wedding planning, the day before the save the dates we being printed, we had to change our wedding date. The three most important vendors to me where our venues, my hair and makeup artist and our DJ. When picking a new date those were the vendors I wanted to make sure were available for our new date.
-Your wedding does not have to be on a Saturday. Consider a Friday or Sunday as wedding celebrations are actually more affordable on these days rather than a Saturday. We originally had planned to have a Friday wedding before we changed out date. We then ended up with a Sunday wedding. We started celebrating on Thursday with a small get together with the wedding party. Friday morning was the rehearsal at the church then that evening was the rehearsal dinner. Saturday I had a bridal luncheon and the groomsmen had an adventure day. That evening we had a snow cone welcome party for all of our out of town guests and then Sunday was the wedding day! By the end we were exhausted, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
-I know you're excited, but I encourage you to not make the mistake of walking around telling everyone when your wedding will be and that they're invited. It usually isn't logistically or financially possible to invite every single person you know. You don't want someone to think they are invited and have to break the news to them that you don't have room on your guest list.
-Choose your wedding party wisely. The friends and family that you ask to join your wedding party are there for support throughout the wedding planning process. Make sure these are people you can rely on to love on you and get the job done. Also make sure it isn't anyone that is going to cause you additional stress.
-Feel free to delegate jobs for your bridesmaids, groomsmen, friends and family members. Everyone wants to bless you through this time, so take advantage of the offers of their help!
-In regards to your wedding day attire; As I said earlier, this is only one day. I wore my wedding dress for a total of 5 hours max. I then changed into a reception dress that I wore for 3 more hours. I loved my dresses SO much! My wedding dress was so me. It was the first dress that I tried on and picked out. It was the last dress available of it's kind and we got a discount on it because we bought it off the showroom floor. Then came my shoes. I picked them out in New York City on a girls trip. The store didn't have my size and I found the same exact pair for one eighth of the price online. They had only been worn once before in a fashion show, so they were perfect, even being used! I wore those heels for max two hours in photos and then I changed into Kate Spade's sequin wedding tennis shoes. Make sure you are happy and comfortable with your shoe choice. You don't have to spend thousands of dollars on a dress and shoes for it to be perfect for you.
-Invitations. You don't have to spend a fortune on wedding invitations. In the end that piece of paper goes in the trash anyways. If you find an invitation that you love but it just isn't in your price range, remember Etsy! I had found a design of invitations that I loved and an Etsy designer was able to recreate my vision for a much more reasonable price.
-Speak of invitations...as much as you would like to have control of how your guest's respond to your invitation, it is an impossible thing. In the end we still had 14 people not show up to the wedding that RSVP'd that they were coming. Life happens. Show people grace.
-Have a plan for your weekend events. Have a detailed timeline and "where & when" for your wedding party. They will so appreciate the details of a schedule for your wedding weekend and what time they need to be places. Also include the dress code for each event. You will want your wedding party to feel confident and comfortable. This will be much appreciated as you will thank yourself later when you aren't being asked a million questions on your busiest days leading up to your wedding.
-FYI for your gift registry. Put those"farfetched" items on your registry. You will have some people that want to bless you with those items that are somethings you never dreamed of owning. There might even be multiple people going in on gifts together.
-Try on everything prior to the day you're going to wear those outfits. Go for a test run with all of your outfits beyond just your wedding dress. Make sure all seams, zippers, buttons, etc are all in tact and every detail is to your liking. I made this mistake and hadn’t put on my rehearsal dinner dress since the initial try on in the store. (not the brightest idea). So, the night before the rehearsal dinner, I tried on my dress and shoes to discover that the bow on the dress was massive and that it looked like I had "Tinker Bell wings." Thankfully, my mom stitched the bow in just a tad and I was very please with how it turned out, after my little freakout moment.
-Another tip with test running outfits. If you are doing a hair or makeup test run, maybe try to time out your wedding dress fitting for the same day so you can see the entire look put together. Also try to break in your shoes, the last thing you want are blisters rubbed on your wedding day.
-I didn't know this wasn't a definite thing that brides do, but my mom runs into this issue often being a wedding planner. Make sure you have a seating chart for your reception. Yes, a seating chart is one of the most complicated parts of the wedding planning process, but having open seating can be a major issue for your guests. Think of those that may come single or when there are an odd number in a party. You want your guests to feel comfortable and welcome. A seating chart shows you have put much thought into your day. This attention to detail makes for a much smoother transition from ceremony to reception and will be a great help to those manning the "behind the scenes."
-You don’t have to have a wedding favor. How many wedding favor koozie have you thrown in the trash? We actually did Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
-Invest in a photographer. After everything is over and the music stops all you really have left are the photos and the memories. You will cherish those photos forever.
-Final Shot List - Make sure you have all the photos that you want taken written out and given to your photographer prior to your wedding day. It will be impossible to take photos with every single guest even though you'd love too but make sure your most important photos are taken. Also, designate someone to help your photographer the day of your wedding. Your photographer isn't going to know who Uncle Joe is or your friends from middle school, so it is best to have someone close who is either a relative or a friend that can regularly check-in with the photographer.
-Pack for your honeymoon. I pack probably too far in advance but my husband is the opposite. He packed the day that we were leaving for the honeymoon.
-Sleep! Make sure to get sleep the night before your wedding day. There are so many nerves and so many things to do but make sure to sleep. The last thing you want is to be tired on your wedding day.
Things to make sure are done on your wedding day (not all of these tasks are your responsibility)
-First, make sure you eat. I'm not talking about just during the reception. Make sure you eat while you're getting ready. It is a very easy thing to skip over but you will be glad you did. Right before our first look I almost passed out and got really shaky and weak because I hadn't eaten anything. That wasn't because I didnt have food though, we had the bridal suite catered for lunch and my sweet bridesmaids brought me all my favorite açaí bowls and drinks but I felt too nervous to eat anything.
-First Look - This is something that people have different opinions about but I cannot not stress enough how thankful we were that we did a first look. After the first look our nerves were calmed and we were able to enjoy each other and our wedding party before we even walked down the isle. Not to mention we did get some picture out of the way before hand.
-If you decide against a first look, still take picture prior to walking down the isle. Have photos taken with your family, bridesmaids and groomsmen. Anything photos that can be taken to shorten the amount of photos after the ceremony.
-Record EVERYTHING. Every toast during your rehearsal dinner. Your entire ceremony. The reception. The toasts at your reception. All of the dancing. - You will be the only one to really care about these recordings but you will be so happy that you did. After our wedding weekend had come and gone all I wanted to do was rewatch everything. I rewatched all the snaps and videos that people had recorded throughout the weekend and all I wanted was more. It doesn't have to be a professional recording, it can be a camera set up in the back of the church/reception but you won't fully understand why I am suggesting this until after the weekend is over. We had a videographer at our wedding and it was one of the best investments but it also didn't include everything. Being the bride you're the busiest most popular person of the weekend so you miss out on a few things that you will love to watch later.
-Hire a wedding coordinator. As much as you feel like you can have control of your wedding day and stay on track, it is impossible with being pulled in so many different ways. We were at least 45 minutes late to our wedding reception and I still could have taken more photos. This person will be vital to keeping your day running smoothly. Your are paying them to make sure all the details are kept in check so you don't have to.
-Sign your marriage certificate. LOL. We made this mistake and were not legally married until the day after the wedding. Oops.
-A tip my mom gives as a wedding coordinator. Tip your vendors prior to the event. Not that your vendors won't work hard for your event but you are just another event that weekend. So a tip will help encourage them to work even harder.
-Take a few minutes to yourself during the reception. Sit with your husband, enjoy your meal. This doesn't have to be in private. If you are at the head table just have someone keep guests away from congratulating you for just a few minutes.
-Get all the "must do's" out of the way at the reception before you start to walk around and talk to people. By "must do's" I am referring to, the first dance, father daughter & mother son dances, toasts, the bouquet & garter toss, and the cake cutting. It will be almost impossible to have all of your guests sit back down after they are up and walking around. Get these things done before you really start dancing and eating cake.
-Eat cake. I don't mean the little piece you fed each other and take pictures. One thing I am so sad about from our wedding is neither my husband or I got any dessert and we had a bomb dessert table.
-Ask your caterers to box up "to go" boxes for you with your wedding food and dessert. After the craziest best day you will be so thankful to have food to truly enjoy once the evening is over.
-Make sure to thank everyone. Your guests, your vendors, your family and friends that have traveled near and far and made your wedding day possible.
-Step back and soak everything in. After all the planning and preparations the day goes by in a blink. There is really not another time in your life that you will have all the people that love you from every stage of your life in one room. It really is the most amazing feeling.
After the wedding weekend is over it is so easy to look back and see what didn't go perfectly but focus on the lifetime memories you have. Know the things that went wrong can't be changed, and that's okay. Cherish the planning process, it all isn't tedious work, enjoy it.