I just finished planning a wedding. Like most Brides, I spent the six months preceding the actual planning making Pinterest boards and reading wedding planning websites. I am here to tell you that their advice, while awesome, does not always ring true-to-form. And so for inquiring minds, here are some Wedding Planning truisms that I learned along the way while navigating the tricky waters of wedding planning.
1. I’m going to start this off somewhat ironically: Do Not Listen To Every Bit of Wedding Advice That You Hear. The moment either yourself or your significant other proposes, every single person that you’ve ever met is going to give you advice (They will also start making wholly inappropriate comments on your future child rearing, monetary investments, and sex life. Everyone from strangers to your coworkers to family members that haven’t seen you in fifteen years will do this. Just buck up and practice your fake smile and nod). Remember that every person is different. One woman’s 30k, deeply religious wedding does not have to be yours- and neither does the country hoe-down that your best friend threw complete with cowboy boots under her white dress. This also applies to your vendors. Your photographer, florist, caterer, facility manager, and DJ all have a very specific idea of how your Wedding should go. Don’t be afraid to (politely) shut down the ideas that you do not like, and to (again, politely!) steer them into the direction of something more “you.” Just keep in mind that their ideas exist because they’ve done weddings thousands of times, whereas you will probably only do it once (or twice. Whatevs). So they definitely “Get” the wedding thing- but they don’t know you or your significant other, and its YOUR day!
2. Sometimes it isn’t possible to have every person that you want to be in your party IN your party. Whether it’s because you’re trying to keep the wedding party small or because your friend can’t necessarily afford to be a bridesmaid/groomsman, sometimes people that you would love to have in your wedding party have to be on the sidelines. To make matters worse, they might be hurt that they don’t get to be included on the “extras” of the Wedding. But with weddings becoming increasingly DIY, your friends/cousins/whomever can be involved by having them take part in the fun miscellaneous bits; the bachelorette party, doing crafts (if they like that sort of thing), or even having them involved in the Wedding itself. Friends of mine who could not be bridesmaids did wedding readings, helped with music selection, and honestly kept me sane when I didn’t want to think about another wedding detail for the rest of forever. And I’ve found that if you’re just upfront and honest about the situation, they’ll understand. They’re supposed to be your friends, after all.
3. Save money- skip the “Save the Dates.” Seriously, between the invites and postage (double the postage- you have to pay for the invites to go out AND for them to come back!), adding a “Save the Date” to the mix just isn’t worth it unless your heart is really set on having them. “Save the Dates” are a trend from the last 5-10 years that stemmed from the increased popularity of expensive destination weddings. You really, really do not need one for an intimate, local affair. Honestly? most people will know that you’re getting married by the increase of Pinterest wedding pins and your panicked Facebook statuses anyway. Save the cash for the honeymoon.
4. Sneak Away the day before the wedding. My husband and I did this, and we don’t regret it one bit. We took off of work the day before the wedding and we went down to the beach with some friends. Our phones were off, we packed a lunch, and we went swimming and goofed around and just relaxed for a few hours until we trekked back home to get ready for the rehearsal dinner. Those last few hours of “pre-wedding” can become filled with planning and chaos and stress, and it kills what’s supposed to be the focus of your day; you and your partner-to-be! So plan ahead and set that day up so that you have the time to sneak away. Tell your wedding confidantes where you will be, that you will not be reachable, and enjoy your day with your lovie!
5. Ultimately, the little details don’t matter. Listen, you’re getting married, and that’s freaking huge. I promise you, you aren’t going to care about the exact orientation of the flowers or whether you walked down the aisle to the perfect song or what shoes the bridesmaids decided to wear. Most of these are details that you only pick up on in the photos afterwards anyway. None of my bridesmaids had matching shoes, hair, or jewelry and they all looked absolutely stunning. The recessional song was started 90 seconds late, and my husband and I stood at the top of the aisle waiting for it to start- and we didn’t care! Somehow we accidentally ended up in a receiving line when we were supposed to be taking pictures- these things happen. You will look sweaty in some photos, someone will get drunk, and an uncle will draw a penis on your car because he thinks it’s funny. Just let it go, and fill your day with people that you love (and who are willing to clean off your car for you while you are greeting guests).
6. Have your witnesses fill our the wedding certificates before they get drunk. We learned this one the hard way. The last thing we did before leaving was sign the marriage certificates, and it was a struggle to gather everyone to fill out the information, show everyone where exactly they need to sign, and make them stop dancing long enough to fill out the forms in triplicate. Do yourself a favor- pick a point earlier in the day’s events to do this. Whether it’s between pictures or before dinner or whatever- don’t leave it until the end!
7. And finally; Buck tradition and see your bride/groom the morning of the wedding. Jim and I decided to spend the night before the wedding and that morning together. In our minds, it was the most important day of our lives, and we wanted to wake up that morning next to each other and spend as much of it together as possible. We got up early and took care of some things, went to breakfast, settled some last-minute details (making sure the rings were where they needed to be, putting tissues in suit pockets, etc.), and then went about going our separate ways to get ready. Honestly, even though the wedding is about the two of you, you’ll spend the day being led to different places, posed, and in conversation with your guests. It’s an amazingly fun time, but you probably will not be able to sneak away to be with your new wife/husband privately until the wedding is over (I learned this after Jim and I did try to sneak away, and I found photos of us). So having that morning together will be nice quality time to add to the day, and it becomes a part of the memories.