Wedding Planning Tips

Wedding season is upon us!

Are you in the process of planning a wedding? Do you know someone who is getting married this year? Newly engaged? Soon-to-be-engaged?

I thought I would share 10 wedding planning tips for anyone who is in that season of life.

I have recently learned that some couples are on the fence about this. It is a newer phenomenon and can seem odd. I am personally #teamhashtag. It is such an easy way to keep up with any photos or videos of your special day that your guests share on social media. I also really enjoy coming up with fun and unique hashtags. In fact, I will even use them for other types of events. It’s a wonderful way to stay connected!

An easy way to share your hashtag is to include it on your invitations. You can also make sure to have signs up at your reception venue reminding your guests what the hashtag is. If you have a photo booth set up, make sure everyone knows to use the hashtag so you can see all the fun they had!

For me this is a no-brainer during the planning process. But I am a planner by nature (and by profession), so it comes easily to me. I realize not everyone is going to be Type A while planning – but it is helpful to come up with a system that works for you. When I was planning my own wedding, I had a three-ring binder filled with inspiration photos, vendor information, job charts, itineraries, and more. It was a great way to have everything together.

As an event planner, I get a lot of use out of traveler’s notebooks and my Happy Planner. If you aren’t naturally organized, don’t be afraid to ask for a little help. Hire a planner. Get your family and wedding party involved. The quicker you have an organizational system in place the easier the process will be!

This is a tip for the day of – don’t forget that you need fuel! I know that sometimes the wedding jitters cause you not to be hungry in the morning, but please make sure you’re keeping yourself hydrated and filled with some protein. While you are getting ready, have your bridesmaids help you nosh on some granola bars, nuts, or even small sandwiches.

It is very common for newlyweds to miss eating a meal on the day of their wedding. They take photos while their guests are being served at the reception, and once they show up there is dancing, cake cutting, and more. It’s easy to forget to eat. I would encourage you to ask your caterer (or whoever is in charge of the food that day) to set aside a couple of boxes for you and your spouse. That way you are guaranteed food before it’s gone. Or grab a plate as soon as you make it to the reception! This day is about you – your guests can wait to see all the cute rituals once you are full and happy. You do not want to be HANGRY on your wedding day.

I know that many of you reading this tip are thinking, “Well duh!” However, it is highly common for one person to be very excited and have their mind made up about many of the elements of the big day (and it isn’t always the bride!). My husband saw I was coming up with tips, and he suggested I add this one. And honestly, I hadn’t thought to add it, but I’m glad he suggested it!

You want to make sure that both individuals are a part of the planning process. Include your future spouse in decision making. Now, I make this suggestion with a caveat – include them as much as they are comfortable being included. This doesn’t mean nag them to make decisions or become upset if they don’t have a preference on the color of the charger plates.

Do not make big decisions without consulting one another (especially when it affects your budget) and keep communication open on appointment dates, consultations, and the like. Trust me, these communication skills will also be imperative in your marriage – practice now!

These tips are not in ranking order, and this one is one of the most important. Make sure that you take the time to relax during the process of planning your wedding. It can be stressful. There are so many details. You have family members giving you suggestions (both helpful and unhelpful) and you often have to make decisions quickly before a vendor books other clients. Oh, and you are preparing for marriage on top of it all!

It is important to remember to shoot for happiness over perfection. I guarantee something will go wrong or not be quite right on the day of your wedding. My wedding was wonderful and I loved every minute of it. There was a hiccup – I sent everyone on to the reception venue while my new hubby and I had photos done. The problem? I sent away the only 3 people who knew how to bustle my dress! And, it had taken two people every time I had practiced. My contact at the church we were married in stepped in and did it all herself, but it took a while. We were a bit late to the reception, but you know what? It’s a fun story to tell and at the end of the day, I was still married to my best friend!

Make sure you are taking time to pamper yourself and relax while you are working on all the little details. If you expect perfection, you will worry and you will be disappointed. If you expect a happy day with the person you love – anything extra will be a wonderful surprise.

I listen to a fun podcast called Wedding Confessionals. The hostesses Pam and Brooke talk all things wedding, and answer advice from listeners. They also interview wedding professionals. It’s a great podcast, but my favorite part is what they call the “Bridal Break”. In this segment, they talk about their favorite ways to relax as an encouragement for brides-to-be.

If you have a hard time letting go of control (I admit that I do) this one might be hard, but it will help to make your wedding day less stressful for you! It is a great idea to select people to take care of certain logistics. For example: If your florist does not deliver, it would be too much for you to have to run by to pick up your flowers while also getting your hair and makeup done. This task should be assigned to someone who is free at the time appointed.

Putting together job charts and itineraries for family members, vendors, the wedding party, and other helpers will make your day run smoother. I encourage you to be confident enough to give up your phone for the day and let everyone take care of their own tasks. The bride and groom ideally would not even be made aware of potential problems. This is an example of why a day-of coordinator is a good idea. We planners know the common problems that might come up, as well as ways to deal with them quickly and quietly.

Once you have set a date, think very carefully when choosing a venue and activities. You don’t want Mother Nature putting a damper on your day. I was married in April, and while I had often dreamed of a bohemian outdoor ceremony, we chose to get married indoors due to the possibility of rain. I’m glad that we did – the church was beautiful, and there was in fact a little bit of rain right before the ceremony.

This is not to say that you should never hold an outdoor event, but it is wise to have a contingency plan and be aware of seasonal weather concerns. You don’t want your reception for your winter wedding to be in an unheated venue, and you don’t want your outdoor summer nuptials interrupted by too much sun or mosquitoes. Be sure to ask questions about these possible nature disruptions with your venue contact.

There are so many layers to wedding planning, it is imperative that you take it slow and have a timeline in place so you don’t get overwhelmed toward the end. There are a number of wedding websites that have online checklists and timelines that you can consult.

You also want to work logically – don’t book your vendors before you have your venue and date secure. Have a guest list in place before you start talking to your caterer so that you have a rough idea of the number of people who will be celebrating with you. Don’t pick your flowers before you have a good idea of your color scheme and how many attendants you will have. Take it one step at a time, and you will be on top of everything!

When contacting vendors, make sure to ask questions about any restrictions. How much time are you allotted for the reception venue? Does this include set up and tear down? Is flash photography allowed? What about decor – can anything hang from the ceiling or the walls? Is glitter banned?

Find out if your outdoor venue allows any stakes pushed into the ground. Take note of any hidden costs and fees. You want things to run smoothly, and you don’t want to deal with unhappy vendors on your happy day.

Yes, your wedding day will be one of the best days of your life. You want it to be beautiful, you want everything to go well, and you want to celebrate with your loved ones. You will plan each detail and be excited to see them implemented. But don’t forget – your wedding is only one day. Your marriage is for life! The best part about getting married is that you are going to grow old with the person you love. Make certain that you aren’t only preparing for your wedding, but for your marriage too. Premarital counseling can be very beneficial. On those nights when you’re stressed out and in tears, take a break from planning. Make any wedding talk taboo for the evening, and go for a long walk. Share your hopes and dreams for your future together.

I loved my wedding day. It was lovely, it was fun, and everything (more or less) went as planned. But day-to-day, I’m just happy to be spending my life with my best friend.

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