It’s June and wedding season is in full effect! I still cannot believe that I got married last year. So many things happened during the wedding planning process and I would like to share some real advice with brides and grooms who are going to tie the knot in the future. I want to tell you the real stuff that cute bridal magazines and blogs don’t really care to talk about.
Not only did I get married last year, but three of my friends and one family member got married as well. My sister is also getting married this month (yay!) So we all got a little bit of boot camp in wedding planning and learned lessons on how they should go.
Below I have listed some things that I’ve learned from research and from firsthand experience. I hope that they can help anyone that is planning a wedding.
1) Your relationship is going to change so lean in and create boundaries
I felt like I depended on Jerry, my now husband, more than ever in wedding planning season. If you live at home, or you are younger in age, you are probably used to getting opinions concerning life decisions primarily from your parents, your family, and your friends. But this is a season where this dynamic has to change a bit. You are leaning into marriage and developing the foundation of your new family unit.
I was always dependent on my family and their counsel and I realized that there were ways my family couldn’t help me during my engagement. I needed to be on the same team with Jerry in making our dream become a reality. You also have to have many serious conversations concerning money, sex, goals, needs and wants in marriage. So it’s time to create boundaries and respect your future husband and his opinions more than others. Doing this effectively will help your wedding start off on the right foot.
2) Don’t lie to yourselves; focus on what matters
I have seen this firsthand. Couples put down a lot of money that they do not have for a few hours and then they are left picking up the pieces. With any event, you have to work within your means and create a realistic budget. And most importantly remember that this is just an event! The best thing you can do is have a real vision of what you can spend and what your day can look like. Forget traditions and superficial expectations. We live in an age where there are no rules in weddings! Creative weddings, not expensive weddings are the ones that receive all the recognition.
There’s really no excuses today to act irresponsibly because you want a good Instagram picture. The worst you can do is begin a marriage thousands of dollars in debt and not be able to live comfortably after the wedding. Focus on up to five things that matter to you and your fiance concerning the wedding day and don’t stress about the rest.
3) Choose your inner circle wisely & delegate tasks
I think what I should have done sooner is get help from the people within my circle. This is especially necessary if your wedding is happening in a limited amount of time. My wedding was planned in about 5 months! Whether it’s a year or five months, you will need people that you can delegate tasks to or can give you ideas. Do not attempt to do things on your own. There might be times where you have your mind set on something and a loved one’s opinions can save you some time. If you are a control freak try to delegate at least one or two tasks. I find when you do that you also make memories while relieving some of the stress.
I’m glad I delegated tasks because I was able to get things done in such a limited time. I made a checklist for my family of what they were expected to do. Everyone that was given a task to complete came through and we appreciated it a lot.
4) Take breaks and trust God
The reality is that things will happen the way that they do and you will have to just let it be. We care about the details because they mean a lot to us, but they are just details! So whatever you can do, do it. And then resolve to take care of yourself and spend time away from the planner. Even within the crazy last few weeks, trust God and make the best of your engagement. This is especially hard for perfectionist people but the worst thing is to be emotionally or physically spent on your wedding day. Everything needs a balance in life. Taking time away from planning helps you to get perspective on things and what truly matters.
5) What matters most is your attitude
If you don’t take away anything else from this list, remember that you set the tone of your wedding. You will be tempted to be emotional and act irrationally with valid reasons. But you need to brush things off and focus on what matters. If you are unhappy, your groom will feel the same way. Your bridal party won’t feel happy as well and your wedding won’t reflect joy. You cannot expect for anyone or anything to make you joyful, you must choose that for yourself. In a marriage, you set the tone of the home and in an engagement you set the tone of a wedding. So commit to joy not matter what comes and commit to reflecting a thankful heart to those around you, even when you don’t feel it.
6) Get a wedding planner or a day-of coordinator if possible
If you are going to get a venue where they have a wedding planner it probably a good to still have an extra person that you know can work on your behalf that day. This role can go to a reliable friend or family member who is not in the bridal party and can update you on everything or help with damage control if necessary. While I did have some people on behalf of catering and my family looking out for me, I wish I had one person outside of the bridal party to ensure that things were going smoothly.
7) Know your vendors
It is important to know your vendors and how they would work together. I had some vendors that did not work well together so they all had different agendas. There were some vendors who were very structured and detailed while others were laid back. So what I learned is you have to structure your vendors according to the way that they operate. Then they are able to do a better job and work well together. I was pleased with all of our vendors and they were all professional but I wish I would have paid attention more to their ways of operating.
8) Vendor communication is key
I would have also liked to have communicated more with our vendors about updates to be on the same page. The bride should be more involved in this factor and I wasn’t as involved as my husband was. So if I could go back, I would have communicated more with our vendors before the wedding.
9) Things will go wrong, make the best of it, dismiss the drama!
Another thing I learned from attending and planning a wedding is that no matter what happens, you must wake up the morning of your wedding day and resolve that the most important thing about the day is that you are getting married. From experience, it is very hard to come back from a bad attitude on your wedding day. Don’t be fooled, your guests can see and feel your bad vibes. And to top it off your foul mood loses time and time is money! So whether it’s raining or there’s a snowstorm or something happened the night before, commit to putting your invisible big girl pants on that day and having fun! Focus on marrying you best friend. Reflect on how happy you are to marry this person.
Your view of how your wedding went will be more about your perspective and how you felt more than anything else. Our DJ announced my husband’s name wrong at the beginning of the reception and we just chose to laugh it off because what else could I do? I just had to commit to having fun anyways.
10) Be unique!
Who cares about what’s in this wedding season? Put down those wedding magazines and focus on what you like. What is one thing that reflects your relationship with your fiance? That will be the thing that will stand out on your wedding day. Jerry and I love music and we got the idea to have a live band playing while Jerry and I had our first dance. My youngest sister coordinated a group of musician friends and family to make it happen. I had never seen that done at a wedding and many people said it stood out to them.
All photos were taken by Justin Michau! Funny story we didn’t know he was Christian before we booked him. He such a great photographer and made the experience such a great one. Check out his website and his Instagrampage!
Let me know of any tips that have helped you or ask questions. And for the married folks, have any tips on what you learned wedding planning? Leave them in a comment below!