Sunday, June 3, 2012

Wedding Planning 101

With both wedding season and my wedding anniversary upon us, I figured I would devote a blog post to one of my favorite things. Let me start by saying I LOVE weddings. Which is funny because I was never the type to dream about my wedding as a little girl. Or even as I got older. It wasn't until I got engaged (almost 3 years ago) and I started my own planning process that I truly fell in love. Some may call me crazy, but I loved everything about the experience... even when it got a bit stressful. I'll admit, its easy to get caught up in the petty details, and before you know it you're $10k over budget, or you're having a crying fit to your mother over the seating arrangements. But if you can keep yourself in check throughout the process, planning a wedding is such a fulfilling and exciting time!  I am in NO way a wedding expert, but I was overly satisfied with both my planning and day-of wedding experience, so I've put together a list of my top 5 recommendations to any current or future bride-to-be:

photo courtesy of Pinterest
1) YOUR WEDDING IS YOUR WEDDING. Everything about it should satisfy, first and foremost, you and your future hubby. There is bound to be some sort of family and/or friend drama (it happens to the best of us!), but I think what is most important to remember is ultimately you need to decide what makes you happy. Sure, there may be things you need to compromise on, but you must pick your battles!  If you envision your ceremony barefoot on the beach, but your parents have always dreamed of seeing their little girl walk down the aisle of a church, you need to ask yourself- will I regret if I choose the latter?  If not, make your parents' dream come true and this may give you a "free pass" on something else.  With that said, if you have your heart set on your bridesmaids wearing black, but your grandmother is beside herself because black is NOT for weddings, take a step back and think- Do I know black will look beautiful regardless of what my grandmother says? Will she eventually get over it? Is this what I truly want?  If the answers are yes, then go for it!  Those that love you unconditionally, will be there to support you on your special day regardless, and still love you after all is said and done.

photo courtesy of The Knot
2) THE MAGIC IS IN THE DETAILS. While I believe it is SO important not to get too caught up in the details, I also believe the details can be what make the wedding.  I love that weddings are so personalized now-a-days, and really anything goes. Be creative. What can you incorporate into your wedding day that perfectly reflect who you and your future hubby are as a couple (and/or individually).  Focusing on the details doesn't have to mean spending excessive amounts of money making sure there are flowers at the end of each church pew. I am talking about the fun, unique details. Whether it be the color pallet, the music, the ceremony readings, the centerpieces, a signature cocktail.. whatever.. choose things that reflect you as a couple. And be unique. Your guests may not notice if you had chair covers or not, but they will remember the personal touches. You want them to leave your wedding with the feeling that it was SO you.

photo courtesy of
3) CASH IS KING.  Set a budget and stick to it. Although it may be awkward, make a point to sit down and have a conversation with anyone who will be contributing to the wedding. Be realistic. Encourage everyone involved to be honest about what they are able to contribute. From there, set estimates for all the big items (venues, food, photographer, band/DJ, dress, etc. etc.) Next, brainstorm all the little things that many people forget (i.e. centerpieces, favors, hair/makeup, shoes, wedding party gifts)  Trust me, things will add up quickly! It is important to include as many things as possible in your budget so there are no surprises or financial stresses when you get down to the wire. I would also recommend adding a contingency line to the budget (whether it be $500, $1,000, $5,000.. there will ALWAYS be something unplanned that pops up and having some wiggle room in the budget will be appreciated later on.)  The budget can be very overwhelming, but don't get discouraged. Try to take a step back and look at the big picture. Maybe you are willing to sacrifice a limo for that gorgeous Vera Wang dress you've always dreamed of. Or maybe you'd rather have an open bar than splurge on the dress. Compromise is key. Maybe the wedding planning process is designed to prepare you for married life. ;)

photo courtesy of TARA Photography
cake by Let Them Eat Cake
photo courtesy of TARA Photography
flowers by Blooms & Heirlooms
4) COMMUNICATE.  You know what you're envisioning for your big day, but you can't expect anyone else to unless you relay this to them. This includes your family, wedding party, and last but not least vendors. Be sure to let your bridesmaids and MOH know the whats, wheres and whens of what they're responsible for. Also make sure that your vendors know and understand what you want for your day. A good vendor will be a good listener and will want to know your thoughts. If they don't seem interested in what you want, you might want to reconsider selecting them. I can honestly say that I loved every single one of the vendors we chose- from our photographer, to our florist, to our reception coordinator- and I think the relationships I made with my vendors throughout the process contributed to everything running smoothly the day of. Keep an open communication throughout and if everyone is on the same page, you're bound to be satisfied!  (Shout out to my fabulous vendors whom I'd highly recommend- TARA Photography, The Coastal House, DJ Kevin Cain, Let Them Eat Cake, Ogunquit Trolley, Madeline's Daughter, Aria Bridesmaids' Dresses, Blooms & Heirlooms, and especially Michaels for all my DIY needs!)

photo courtesy of Pinterest
 5) KEEP CALM and CARRY ON.  With everything on your plate, it is easy to get overwhelmed and a little cranky at times, but remember, nobody likes a bridezilla!  Although your wedding day is about you (and your fiance, of course), it is also a special time to share with friends and family. I have the fondest memories of my wedding experience. Some of the tasks may be daunting, but be sure to add a little fun into the mix. Follow bridesmaids dress shopping with drinks. Add a lunch date in when you are dragging your fiance to meet the DJ. Enjoy every minute! And when it comes to the day of, remind yourself that at this point everything is out of your control. Relax, be happy and cherish the day. When else will you have every single person you love together in one room celebrating you?  If the flower girl doesn't make it all the way down the aisle- who cares!  If the DJ announces the cake cutting before you did the parent dances- life goes on!  Everything may not be "perfect", but remember that this is your one and only wedding day and nothing should get in the way of the happiness, joy and love you feel.

Happy wedding season everyone! <3

1 comment:

  1. Wedding planning should be your career! Your wedding was the absolute best!