Your wedding will be one of the most important days of your life and the planning is just as important. But when you are getting down to what's important during the planning process, I've learned from planning my clients weddings that there are some ground rules to try and follow and remember.
1. Don't be afraid to ask for help
I am the queen of taking on too much and trying to do everything myself. I think I can be like my mom who is a real life super woman and then realize I cannot. Weddings are overwhelming. There are tons of details and small things on top of the big things that have to be taken care of, making sure vendors are paid, calling anyone who didn't RSVP on time, picking out a menu and so on all while doing your everyday work, laundry, making dinner and taking care of yourself! If you have a wedding planner, they will help a lot but if you don't have one ask your family and friends for help! They can make a phone call for you, shoot an email or be the person to bounce ideas off of. You do not have to do everything yourself!
2. Be true to yourself and your vision.
While Pinterest has taken to being the place to get ideas, and yes it is awesome but lets be serious here, why would you want to copy someone else's wedding? Use the photos to help with you vision not someone elses. And you don't have to you don't have to go with the colors of the season or a beach theme because you are at the beach. Do what you have always wanted! You want your wedding to represent you!
3. You're family and friends are not professional wedding vendors.
Now there are some family and friends that do own their own businesses and that is awesome and they can help a lot, but for those who are using a friend to arrange flowers or make their cake but only doing it to save money it can be a little crazy. And your friends and family are there to enjoy your wedding and to celebrate with you. While it is nice that they are willing to help you and save you some money, just know that you may not be happy with what you get. Just because your aunt has a nice camera doesn't mean she is a photographer, or that you bff has put flowers in vase doesn't mean shes great at arranging them for centerpieces or making bouquets. There are just some things you should leave up to the professionals.
4. Sticking to your budget is harder than you thought.
Speaking from experience, there are things you thought you didn't care about and now you do. And everything that has to do with a wedding costs money and most are not negotiable. You have to determine what is important to you and that is where you spend the bulk of your money. Cut where you can without compromising your vision and making more work for yourself and be realistic with your budget and your guest count. There is a big difference between a 75 person wedding and a $30,000 budget and a 200 person wedding for the same budget.
5. DIYing is not always cheaper
Some people DIY because they love to craft and some DIY because they want to save money. I am with you and love a good DIY but if you and not crafty and don't have time, don't DIY. I have lots of brides who say they are going to DIY something for their wedding and then run out of time and have to buy it. Of they want to DIY their centerpieces and didn't realize that after the wedding they are stuck with 15 vases and lanterns and don't know what to do with them. Do what you can handle!
6. Read your contracts!!!!!!!!
Once again READ YOUR CONTRACTS! A lot of my clients book vendors but forget to read their contracts and what it does and doesn't include. You need to read them to be sure of what you are getting and things like cancellation policies, due dates for final payments, what the fees are if you needed to add more etc. Also respect those contracts and the vendors you hired. You hired them for their expertise, use them for that don't abuse it. Most vendors will go above and beyond what their contract states for you.
7. Your budget needs to reflect your guest count.
Speaking towards number 4, I have a lot of clients who want the world for their large guest count but no budget. While I am great at working magic and helping you stay true to that budget, I as well as other vendors can't make that money appear out of thin air. Your wedding doesn't have to cost you $100,000 just to have a great soiree for 150 people by any means but be realistic with your guest count and know that things cost money. Feeding your guests is more important than spending hundreds on your bridal party gifts. Weddings are not cheap and everything adds up. Just be aware.
8. Your likes and dislikes may change.
Know that your wants, needs and like may change and that is ok. Your vision a year ago may not be what it is 6 months before you walk down the aisle. Just be aware of when and what changes can be made in the contracts that you have signed. But don't stress, it happens a lot and often. It is all part of your vision. Of course changes with in reason!
You're excited, you just got engaged and you are planning the biggest, best party of your life! Remember that unless you're planning a wedding that is two weeks away, slow down and breath. Enjoy your engagement and planning. Take time to research and choose the vendors that best fit you and your vision, not someone you found on the internet this morning and then regret it later because you didn't look at anyone else. Your fiance isn't going anywhere, you are still going to get married so relax and enjoy!
10. You will upset, offend, and disagree with someone during the planning.
It could be your mom, friends, fiance, whoever. It is going to happen. Throwing such a large event and dealing with a budget will always be stressful. Someone may share an idea that you hate or you haven't included someone enough. The possibilities are endless. But it is going to happen and it will be ok. There is always a compromise or just take a second to think about it before you react.
11. You don't have follow traditions.
If you don't want to do something or don't like it, don't do it. What was tradition when your parents got married is not necessarily something you may want. You don't have to throw a bouquet and you don't have to have cake! It also helps to make your wedding different from others! You can also start your own traditions!!
12. Always, always, always have a rain plan!
If planned wedding where everything is outdoors, please, please, please understand that no vendor can keep it from raining, tornado, wind gusts etc. And the rain plan cannot wait until right before you walk down the aisle. You have to allow time for your vendors to move chairs, tables, linens, centerpieces, aisle markers, cake, food etc if everything has to be changed to plan b. You don't want to have spent all this money to only have it ruined by weather.
13. Take your venue into consideration.
It's like I said before about guest list fitting your budget, the venue needs to accommodate your guest count as well. You want to make sure there is ample room for a dance floor, food, tables and chairs. You don't want guests to be crammed. You also need to make sure of what your venue includes and what you need to bring in and if that will fit within your budget. Weigh your options before booking something that you have to bring everything in verses a banquet room or country club that already has half of what you need.
14. A seating chart is always a good idea.
While a lot of people think their guests will sit where ever, it never happens like that. You know when you go to the movies and you can't find seats together because there is one here and one there but never together? It's like people can't sit next to someone they don't know. That is how it ends up. A table for ten will turn into a table of crammed 12 people because they are all friends and those two extra people pulled their chairs over because they didn't want to sit at the other table. Seating charts are amazing and honestly your guests are thankful. Of course no guest has to sit in their seat all night and you hope they aren't once the dancing starts, but for dinner, having an assigned seat is needed.
15. Remember you day of vendors.
Those vendors working for you on our day might require to be fed as well and you need to take that into your catering budget. They do not need the filet and lobster but they will be hungry. Most have been working well before you started hair and make up and will be there well after your event ends. Your day of vendors should also be tipped. We have a past blog to help you determine what and who gets a tip on the day. Click here to check it out.
These are just a few things to help you through your wedding planning process. When all is said and done, you are still marrying the love of your life and it will be the best day ever!