Wedding Planning Is Over – My Advice for Future Brides

List of wedding planning random thoughts in no particular order. These are my thoughts alone and every bride and every wedding is different. Just some honest reflection that will hopefully benefit some bride like me (not high strung, hung on details or overly sentimental).

Don’t be pressured to conform to a certain theme. Just because everyone is into country and boho weddings right now doesn’t mean that is the only way to make it look awesome. I kind of got sick looking at pinterest weddings with all of the mason jars and chalkboards. Just not my thing.

Ditch the tacky engagement photos (unless you are into that). I am not a fan of writing on the bottom of shoes, holding signs of any kind, using scrabble pieces or blocks to spell things and especially making a heart with your hands. You can do better than that! Be creative! 

Don’t bother looking at those “Who pays for what” charts. Sometimes family circumstance requires something to be less traditional. We didn’t want our bridal party to be pressured financially for being in our wedding so we payed for their attire because we could afford it. We tried to not rely on our families for too much but payed as much as we possibly could. 

Ugh Pinterest. I would just ditch it in retrospect. Too much of a time-suck.

Don’t try and DIY everything…Let me just be honest…half of the DIY wedding stuff is very obviously handmade and I’m just not into tacky looking things. Sometimes it is worth paying the little bit of extra money instead of working on something for hours and only having it look half as good as a purchased thing. Professionals are professionals for a reason.

Buy your invitations at Costco! Simple elegant card for cheap.

Have people RSVP online. This saves paying for the RSVP card. If people can’t figure it out then they can call and tell a family member that they are coming.

We like the freedom of unassigned seating. We did it this way so people could mingle and sit with whomever they wanted.

Programs didn’t happen for us and we didn’t even miss them.
 
We didn’t do a Father/Daughter or Mother/Son dance. We were both like..um NO, let’s just make it about us. We loved that it was just a special time for us.

Really spend some time with your pastor inputting on content for the ceremony. We wanted a traditional ceremony and loved getting time to really help make it our own. 

Use Excel to create an address matrix for the invite list. Way easier than having everything handwritten and you will need it all again for thank-you cards.

Ditch the party favors! Nobody really cares about the monogrammed mints or the baggie of something sitting on their plates. You will end up with them on the venue floor and left on the table to get thrown away.

Pick your wedding colors based on how easy you can find things that work with them. If you pick some obnoxious or specialized color you will spend way more on everything. If you do pick an obnoxious color, at least don’t put it on the cake…odd colors don’t look great on the teeth/tongue for pictures.

Don’t spend a load of money on a gift for your soon to be spouse before the wedding. Use the money to treat yourself to a dinner or something else on the honeymoon.

If you find the dress after visiting store number 1, do not proceed to go to other stores and compare. Trust your gut and get the dress that made you happy. I had a miserable experience at store number 3 because I had already found my dress (on sale 🙂 ) at store number 2 and I don’t like wasting time after I have made up my mind. Also I would recommend avoiding David’s Bridal completely and just going to boutiques not chains (They have more unique dresses and care for you more personally).

Don’t get hung up on everything being matching. Things can be coordinating and be alot cheaper than perfectly matching.

Pay well for the things that will be seen in the pictures (those will last forever). Ditch paying more for things that will not matter in a few years.

Hire my awesome family to make food for the wedding because everyone thought it was catered. Just kidding, but do consider ditching the full meal and save money by serving hors d’oeuvres instead. It is classy elegant food and cheaper than a full meal.

If decorations don’t matter to you then don’t shell out hundreds on them! Pay for the things that matter to you. For me those things were honeymoon, photos, dress cake and food (in that order).

Come up with a photography shotlist well in advance and have your photographer stick to it! This ensures that during the craziness of the day that everything is captured. Also get as many shots done before the wedding as possible.

If photos matter to you then make sure you are choosing locations that work the best for the lighting and don’t expect your photographer to perform miracles. I could write a whole post on this as a photographer….

Pay for someone to do makeup and hair. My skin never looked so flawless.

Ditch the bachelorette party the night before the wedding. I just enjoyed a quiet dinner and it was fabulous. There is no need for a last hurrah party in my opinion, this can only cause problems.

Get a workout in the day before the wedding even if it is a quickie. Helps get out some of the nerves and makes your muscles feel tight and awesome in your dress the next morning.

Eat. The night before the wedding, the week before the wedding, the day of the wedding. Just eat.

Journal your thoughts the night before the wedding, you will thank yourself later. I am a consistent journal person and have been for years but even if you are not, these are the kind of things you want to read and relive someday.

Don’t be late. I hate going to weddings where the wedding starts 30 minutes late. Stick to your schedule!

Stay local the night of the wedding and don’t try to fly/drive out to the honeymoon destination that night. Way more relaxed that way.

Get someone else to help handle returning of rented tuxes and other rental items, you should not worry about that while honeymooning.

Don’t use a flower girl and ring bearer if you don’t want to! We didn’t have any particularly close kids to us so we didn’t bother.

The bridesmaids and groomsman do not have to equal out in number. We had a total of 4 groomsmen and 3 bridesmaids and the matching number doesn’t even matter! It just meant Chris has more friends than me haha!

Sign the wedding certificate immediately after the ceremony (you don’t want to forget this part), that way your pastor can leave if he wants to and you you won’t have to hunt people down to do it later.

Sell all of your wedding stuff post-wedding if you aren’t sentimental (ME), you can make a lot of money and get rid of the clutter fast. 

Wash your car quickly after the wedding if people painted on your windows. People will honk and yell at you when driving as a congratulations thing but in our case we waited a couple weeks (after the honeymoon and moving craziness) and then spent time confused as to why all these rude people were honking at us.

And most of all, remember that the wedding is a day and the marriage is a lifetime. Don’t do anything for a day that would hurt your lifetime. The wedding day is about the two of you and as much as people say “it’s your day” it can sometimes feel like not yours as the planning progresses. Make it yours and and your spouses day. Consult about everything and be on the same page as a team so that every decision is collective and final. Let the little things go and try not to stress out because after a couple hours you will be driving away hand in hand and will realize that you just closed a chapter and opened a new one all in one moment. It’s a wonderful rush.