With engagement season in full swing (and wedding season only 4 months away) I figured it is a perfect time to spread my wisdom to those bride-to-bes that want some advice from someone who has recently been through it all. I am not going to lie, after getting married, the last thing I want to do is look at another wedding Pinterest board or look at another flower arrangement but the truth of the matter is, I will always love weddings, it’s just a girl’s guilty pleasure.
DO give yourself enough time to comfortably plan
In all 100% honesty, if my engagement was even 3 months shorter…Nick and I would have eloped.
Nick and I had an engagement that lasted about 16 months, so a little over a year. This was ESSENTIAL to planning this wedding because I seem to love to do things in two’s — graduate & get married, get pregnant & move…whatever. ANYWAY, one thing is for sure, there was nothing more I wanted to do than get married and live with Nick happily ever after but without giving myself enough time, the wedding planning wouldn’t have gone as “smoothly” as it did (and that smoothly is used very lightly, btw).
If you have a dream wedding venue and you don’t want to get married anywhere else, it is important to give yourself enough time to secure both the venue and the date/season you want. It’s all fine and dandy if you get that beachfront location but if it is only in November wellllllllll, that’s not quite what you were looking for. This is the same for vendors who can only do one wedding a day, like the DJ and the photographer, so if you have your heart set on people for the job, you need to secure the date usually a year or so in advance.
DO make a budget but understand that things DO come up
This pill was really hard for Nick to swallow especially. Wedding budgets are funny because even all the cute little checklists on theknot.com don’t include things like caterers cancelling on you 6 months in advance or you forgetting you want a fresh floral garnish on your napkins (things slip through the cracks, you know). Your budget also doesn’t care that you planned an outdoor cocktail hour and mother nature wanted to rain so you need a tent.
DO buy your wedding shoes before your gown alterations
The hem on a wedding gown is the most expensive alteration on your dress. So if you make an alteration appointment before you have your shoes, cancel. Forcing yourself to find shoes to accommodate your hem, unwise. Trust me. And, if you’re perfect like me (LOL) you will have purchased a pair of shoes that make it so you don’t need a hem THEN you save yourself $140-200 *Nick smiles*.
DO regularly look at your beautiful hand with your beautiful ring on it
Luckily, even after 16 months of engagement, I was still staring at my hands because if NOT, I would have had my ring photographer missing a small stone out of the engagement ring band. Yes, you read that correctly, 5 days before my wedding, I noticed a gaping black hole in my engagement ring where one of the teeny stones were; riiiiiiiiight where my middle finger and ring finger meet, little booger. Luckily, frantically running into my jeweler worked and I got it fixed same day but none the less…don’t be that victim.
DO expect the unexpected and stay calm, it will all work out
So let’s lay out a hypothetical situation. Say you are getting married outside in June and there is this beautiful spot down a hill between two trees with a stream as the backdrop. And let’s say its a pretty fast moving stream in a valley. And let’s just say, the night before your wedding, while you’re at the Turning Stone casino having a fun bachelorette party, not looking out the windows of course, that it is pouring rain and flooding that little stream you planned your wedding in front of. When you wake up the next morning, your wedding day, the skies are blue and sunny, cloud free. But you didn’t see that storm last night…but the stream did…And your wedding coordinator gives you a little phone call and tells you not to panic but the stream completely flooded your little valley wedding space.
OKAY THIS ISN’T HYPOTHETICAL THIS HAPPENED TO ME RIGHT BEFORE MY FALSE EYELASHES WERE GLUED TO MY EYES LUCKILY
But when situations like that come up, there is always a back up. I would have had it that way rather than the storm on my day. We can’t control the weather unfortunately but if you’re marrying the person of your dreams, it will all be amazing anyway.
DO give your photographer a list of “family formals”
This is one of the most annoying things about my wedding to this day. Family formals are the formal photos the photographer takes of the whole family with with bride and groom, for example, bride, groom, bride’s mother, bride’s father, then bride, groom, bride’s mother, bride’s father and bride’s siblings etc., etc. This list is important because your photographer doesn’t know the components of both of your families and with a list, they can rattle off the combinations and it will make these photos easier so your cocktail hour doesn’t turn into cocktail hours. I, of course, forgot to make this list until the day before the rehearsal, when my photographer wanted the list. So I don’t have any photos of my immediate family with Nick and I (I am a dingus) or Nick and I with his whole immediate family (again…DINGUS). So make this list, talk to the fam, see what pictures grandma and Aunt Suzie want and make everyone, including your photographer, happy.
DON’T go for a caterer just because he’s cheap, there’s a reason he is.
*HORROR STORY ALERT* 6 months before my wedding, I received an email from my caterer, just trying to get things all sorted out and what not. I just wanted to go over what him and his staff were planning on doing about setting and bussing the tables. He then proceeded to tell me that he was not doing either………………When I asked him if we could arrange something so this gets done, he said that unfortunately, he will not be catering my wedding on June 9 (my wedding was June 6) and he was sorry.
UMMMMM IM SORRY WHAT
This was the caterer that we searched and searched for with a price cheaper than everyone else we spoke to. The caterer that was going to drop off boxes of 500+ pieces of china/silverware/glasses to just Beauty and the Beast themselves up on the table AND I was going to bus tables in my white wedding gown. OKAY. Just realize, in this business, you do get what you pay for.
DON’T get a spray tan!
I know, I know, “you have this place that is so good, you are never orange *zoom tan*” but when you are wearing a WHITE gown, you will always look orange. I made this mistake. I was a die hard fan of zoom tan spray tans. But wearing white never makes a spray tan look good, the splotches always stand out. I tried on my gown the night before…looked in the mirror, SWEET. So I loofah-ed and exfoliated and luckily, my dry skin saved me and the spray tan sloughed off (you can still see the spotty tan on my wrists in some of my photos UGH). Just please, get some natural rays and embrace your skin tone because it really isn’t worth it, I promise.
DON’T forget to tip your vendors
After spending thousands of dollars on a wedding/to various venders I know the last thing you want to do is give them more money that they didn’t charge you for. But it really is the right thing to do. Obviously the 20% rule that works for waiters/servers at restaurants or bars doesn’t really apply here because you are spending thousands, not $50. So usually $100-200 works for one man operations, like the photographer. If your catering staff is 6 people or so, that would be a little larger and split between people. BEFORE you decide to tip, check your contracts and make sure gratuities aren’t included. Sometimes service fees are also included so that would mean that is what they are using to pay their staff so check over your papers!
DON’T pay to get your wedding flowers preserved
My florist was the best money spent during the wedding process. She was the queen of my wedding. She made everything effortless. And I really loved the fact that she was so honest with me; especially when it came to talking to her about preserving my bouquet. I called her the morning after my wedding asking how the heck I could keep my bouquet looking as amazing as I did walking down the isle. She said she knows a woman who does preservation but she thinks she makes her work “look like s**t” which made me laugh. All you have to do is hang your bouquet upside down in a cool, dry area and it will preserve perfectly. I took an old wire hanger, bent it around the stems of the bouquet and hung it in the back of my closet and a month later, beauty.
DON’T feel like you have to rush away to your honeymoon the day after
Yes, the idea of being wicked away to paradise is fun but being able to go home, unwind and open/organize all your gifts felt really good to, PLUS flights are much cheaper on a Monday than a Sunday (if you’re having a Saturday wedding). We were able to come home, get organized and get a good night’s sleep before getting on the plane to Mexico. Make sure you do what is best for you, don’t feel the pressure to leave the morning after like in all the movies, sometimes it just isn’t the right time!
DON’T try to make everyone happy because, well, you can’t
One of the hardest things to do when planning a wedding is accommodate everyone involved. Don’t pay hundreds of dollars extra to have gluten-free food if you and your hubby (or wife) don’t want it OR there isn’t a large amount of guests who need that. Don’t feel pressured to spend thousands on an open bar if you don’t drink and don’t feel like you have to wear your mother’s gown if you don’t want to. When it all boils down, this is your day and the people that need to be happy are you and your love, that is it. There are going to be people that your family wants you to invite that you don’t want and that is okay. Making everyone happy will only make you un-happy.
So after all this, I just want everyone to know that regardless of what all the magazines and Pinterest posts tell you, weddings are one day, and that one day should be spent with your new spouse by your side and not a care in the world. I promise, when the day comes, you will not care that you couldn’t get peonies in your centerpieces or that your spray tan looks spotty because the day flies by, trust me. Enjoy your moment, laugh, dance, eat and be married. Remember that Pinterest weddings, they don’t happen to real life people, the bouquet you’re looking at is probably $450 and the ring is probably 4 carats, so not necessary and the dress is probably someone’s custom made gown ordered from Italy for over $10,000. When it is all over, I promise you will not know who that crazy person was that you were those past several months and you will never want to talk about weddings again (the ladder, I actually can’t promise because here I am).
Love you all ❤