1. Be prepared for the Spanish Inquisition within the first 24 hours
The minute the first ring pic is uploaded and the facebook relationship status changes, you will be FLOODED with well-wishes- which is both heartwarming and overwhelming. You can barely get used to the huge sparkly reminder on your finger when the questions start. Congratulations….but WHERE? WHEN? HOW MANY BRIDESMAIDS? WHAT KIND OF VENUE? HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT A DRESS? ARE YOU TAKING HIS NAME? HOW MANY KIDS ARE YOU HAVING?
I mean, I hadn’t really thought about what I’m having for dinner tonight – but thanks for initiating a full on PANIC ATTACK.
2. Kiss your wedding pinterest board expectations goodbye!
Sure, you may have had a secret (or not so secret) pinterest wedding board prepared for the day your Prince Charming arrived to sweep you off your feet. However, there’s one thing that your pristine pinterest board did not take into account- reality. Realizing the floor-to-ceiling wall of flowers at the alter will run you 10 grand will bring you back down to Earth REAL QUICK. Also, “DIY” is much easier said than done. Do you really want to leave your wedding decor at the mercy of your arts and crafts skill level?
3. Take how much you think everything will cost, and multiply it by two or three
We’ve all heard that weddings are expensive, but they’re like, really expensive. If you want to get married in a city- it’s even more expensive. When making a decision about venue and location- think big picture. Will most attending be local, or traveling? Will your guests need to rent a car, get a hotel, book a flight? Do you want to accommodate as many invitees as possible, or are you okay if people skip out because they can’t foot the bill, as long as it’s the ideal setting? How important of a role is the ambiance, landscape, and venue in the big scheme of your special day?
If you have generous contributors in your life, show your eternal thankfulness. If not, there’s no need to spend your first year as a newlywed in debt just to throw an epic party ever for your family and friends. Small destination weddings can be a fun alternative, and WAY more affordable- just sayin’.
4. If you splurge on one thing, let it be an accomplished wedding planner!
The last thing you want to have on your wedding day is a meltdown. At bare minimum, hire a day-of-coordinator to make sure the day runs smoothly. With a dozen-plus vendors and moving parts, the potential for disaster is quite high. You don’t need your cell phone to be blowing up when the florist is running late, the cake is melting from the sun, and your drunk uncle is causing a scene before the ceremony has even started. The money is worth your sanity. Trust me on this one.
If you can spring for the full coordination- DO IT. While seemingly expensive upfront, you will save so much time and money working with an experienced professional with quality connections every step of the way. Rather than blindly searching and paying five to ten vendors for trials, tastings, and whatnot, pay someone to give you two great options where you can’t go wrong. Any Joe, Sam, or Nancy, can pick up a camera and call themselves a wedding photographer, so having someone else to show you the lay of the land takes a huge weight off the planning burden. A coordinator can help manage expectations, create and stick to a budget, and get real with you when your expectations may exceed reality. Forming a relationship with someone for months leading up to the event will only lend for a more magical and stress-free wedding day.
5. You can’t please everyone
For my fellow people-pleasers, this is a tough one. One of the biggest surprises to me after getting engaged was the lack of consideration others had in sharing their opinion. Whether it be a close family member, a co-worker, or barely an acquaintance, everyone seemed to take this opportunity to convey their own wedding preferences at the expense of mine.
“You know, small weddings are much more personal.”
“Don’t do short bridesmaid dresses in the fall.”
“You’re really choosing a DJ over a band?”
“Doing a “first look”photo shoot saves way more time and is much more convenient for everyone involved.”
I was so overwhelmed and frankly unhappy my first month of engagement. I took everyone else’s opinion way too personally. I never realized getting engaged meant growing tougher skin. Once I made a conscious decision to:
a. not ask the opinion’s of others and b. brush off the unwarranted opinions I got anyway, the wedding planning process became a lot more fun.
If you put so much pressure on yourself thinking- well this person said this, and that person said that- your own desires can quickly get lost in the shuffle. Your wedding should be what you and your significant other want it to be. If that’s in casual attire, with a rowdy DJ, short dresses even though it’s cold, and going cheap on save-the-dates SO BE IT. Stop worrying about what everyone else thinks, because they will have the chance to plan their own wedding (or they already have), but this is your time.
6. But remember, this is a big deal for your loved ones too
Not to discredit my sentiment above, but compromising for Mom and Dad is inevitably the right thing to do. In many cases, they are the ones footing the bill, so if for no other reason than that, put the queen crown down. This is a big deal to them too. Try to take their opinions into consideration, even if that means doing thing differently, or inviting people you’d rather not invite. In the big scheme of things, this is a huge milestone for them just as it is for you. It is a time of heightened emotions in both directions, so while some aspects may prove to be frustrating and confusing, try to take the high road and choose your battles wisely.
7. Remember your priorities
Ya can’t have it all! Focus on a handful of aspects that you are set in stone about mastering. Other than that, let go and LET GOD! If you plan your entire day in your head with an inflexible expectation, you are 100% going to be let down come your wedding day. Do your due diligence, and get the right things in place, but then make a conscious decision to be okay and cherish the day when inevitably things don’t go as planned. Otherwise, you’re just wasting all the blood, sweat, and tears of planning a beautiful day due to a mid-ceremony meltdown when the flowers aren’t right. More importantly, take time to enjoy your special day with your new spouse, and celebrate with those who traveled near and far to be there. This will likely be the only time all of these people are in the same room together, so don’t take that for granted!
8. “Traditional” is a thing of the past
If you have no need to register for fine china, and no room for place setting upon place setting- DON’T REGISTER FOR IT. All of these silly traditional “rules” of wedding and engagement best practices are a thing of the past. Don’t want to get married in a church? Don’t. I wanted to have two of my guy besties as my bridesmaids, so I made them, “bridesmen.” No gender discrimination here! I think my grandmother will be much less horrified with male bridesmaids than with the awkward yet semi-traditional lingerie gifts at the shower, ya know? My point is, do what you want to do, but don’t do it because you feel like you “have” to. If you can’t afford/don’t want to feed everyone a full meal, just do heavy appetizers. Listen, people will be happy to be included no matter what you give them. Plus, going against the grain will make your wedding stand out and be perhaps more memorable than the cookie-cutter weddings your guests have attended in the past. I bet you can’t remember how many cheesy photo booths you’ve been in, but you’d remember a “Sister Act” singing gospel choir….oops did I just say that?!
9. A wedding isn’t really THAT scary of a thing
I jokingly said to my fiance, “How nervous are you going to be standing up at that alter?!” After I saw what a mess he was leading up to the proposal, I could already picture the beads of sweat pouring down his face. He responded with the simple observation that the stress was over for him after the whole engagement process.
What is there really to be nervous about if you are marrying the right person? This is essentially a huge celebration with your loved ones in honor of finding and spending the rest of your life with your best friend. It’s like, “Look at us! We’re awesome, we know it, we love each other, this is going to be the best life, EVER!”
Knowing me, I will probably hop down the aisle, squeak through my vows, and throw my arms around my soon-to-be hubby, just like I do every single day. Yes, the planning process is a big deal, and a wedding is a once in a lifetime thing, but at the end of the day this is not the main event, but rather just the prelude. However, there is nothing wrong with starting this journey with your partner for life, throwing the wedding of both of your dreams.