Today marks my two month wedding anniversary. Two months ago, eight months of planning and worry and stress all came together, for better or for worse. I have to tell you, I had a lot of fun planning the wedding and a lot of fun at the wedding, even if all the details didn’t exactly fit my vision. That’s okay, I’ve learned from my experience.
Want to know how I got through it all, the pitfalls and the peaks? When my fiancée and I started planning, we said one thing to one another:
It isn’t about the wedding, it’s about our marriage.
Our wedding day was going to be fun, but our marriage was going to last much longer. Knowing that, it was easier to give and take on certain items. One day wasn’t going to be the end all and be all.
You should remember that too.
I have some other advice, if anyone wants it. Weddings- being in, planning one, attending- can be a lot of money and a lot of stress. My fiancée and I didn’t want a lot of stress and drama because we had other days to worry about beyond the one. So here are some of the items that we did to keep things under control.
- Have a Budget and Stick to It! Be aware that you will probably go over budget and it’s okay to go over a little. We even planned for it- our budget was $15,000 (not our actual numbers) but it was all right if we hit $17,000. But we tried to stick with the $15,000. And we kept an Excel Spreadsheet of all our expenses, from shopping trips to Michael’s to what we paid the Reception Venue. Keep track of everything!
- Decide which Line Items are the Most Important. These are the things that if they are messed up, you will feel that your whole wedding is ruined. For us, it was the food, the entertainment and the photographer/videographer. These three items were big ticket items and we were willing to pay more for good quality. Flowers and decorations were lower down on our priority list. Keep in mind, sometimes it’s cheaper to buy the supplies and have a little DIY.
- Always have a Plan B. Any time my fiancée and I walked into a venue or interviewed a vendor, there was always someone else that we had in mind. Just because your best friend used one vendor, doesn’t mean they are a good fit for you. You should like and get along with all your vendors. Plan B also meant that if I had one idea but if Plan A was too expensive, Plan B had a few things cut out.
- Work your connections. I found my photographer and DJ through my videographer and my videographer was a friend of the family, so I trusted their recommendations. My limo came from another friend of the family. Plus, you might even get a friends and family discount.
- Work the bridal sites. But not the featured vendors. Those vendors pay to advertise on sites like TheKnot.com. I used the community boards on TheKnot to find a florist in my area and that worked out great!
- Use other brides! Read reviews on WeddingWire.com and WeddingChannel.com. If a bride did or didn’t like her vendor, she probably said so in her review. By the way, when your wedding is done, review your own vendors and pass along your experience to other brides too.
- Don’t listen to other brides! A bit contradictory, I know. In those same community boards where I read reviews and found recommendations, there were some comments that tore apart one bride’s idea for her theme. Honey, do you like your theme? Yes? Then run with it! It’s your day and you should like it. This also applies to snarky guests who make the comment, “Oh, that’s the theme you’re going with? My friend/son/daughter/aunt/whatever did this theme.” Smile and say, “That sounds nice, but I also like what I’m doing.” Which brings me to…
- It’s your day! And you should enjoy it. Don’t let people, no matter their relation, rain on your wedding parade.
It’s also important to know your weakness; are you someone who overspends or impulse buys? Then stay focused on your budget. Are you someone who leaves things to the last minute? Make a to-do list every day/week/month and stick to it or have your fiancée or maid of honor help you with it. My weakness is that I’m a micromanager and I need to control every detail. I should have asked for more help for my wedding day and let other people know what my vision was, that way, I wasn’t to only one who knew what was supposed to be happening.
Another thing I learned is that if you have a vision, talk to your vendors and walk them through it. I had certain ideas for the set-up for my reception that were not executed the way I thought and I think that if I had gone into the ballroom and showed the wait staff what I wanted, it would have meshed better.
But, more important than anything else, my husband and I had a great time at our wedding and we’re looking forward to having a great time during our lifetime.