I am so excited about this blog post today because I have a special guest, my sister-in-law is here to talk about 5 things that she focused on to make her wedding day a success! This post is for all my brides who get a little overwhelmed when planning their wedding. Remember this time should be exciting, glorious, and all about you!
The day after I got engaged (actually, let’s be honest, it was less than twelve hours after) I opened my laptop, made a list of everyone in the world my fiance and I knew, googled all things wedding, and began planning. Fifteen months later, when our wedding day finally arrived, we had surprisingly deterred very little from my original Google-fest. I was one of the last of my college friends to get married, my little sister had been wed, I was a bridesmaid several times, and attended tons more. So, by the time I was engaged I felt ready for the planning process. My fiance and I had a blast doing it and our wedding turned out great. Here are a few reasons I believe why 🙂
1. We did it on our own time, on our own schedule.
One of the most obvious differences from actual wedding events versus initial planning was time of the year. I was accustomed to relatively shorter engagements (6-9 months) within my circle of friends. This was primarily because many of my friends come from faith-based backgrounds and were saving themselves for their wedding night. Since my fiance and I had recently moved in together, we weren’t in such a rush. But I thought you had to get married fairly soon after becoming engaged (I mean, that’s the point, right?). We were engaged February 13th and I was looking to October 17th. Quickly we learned that weddings costs money and take time to plan well, so we let go of the tradition we thought we had to follow and comfortably set on May 21st of the following year. It still came up much more quickly than you’d expect! And that’s not to say short engagements are wrong either. Do what’s right for you, on your own time, with your own schedule. Trust me.
2. We accepted really good advice and ignored unnecessary opinion.
I’m sure you’re aware of this by now, but everyone seems to have an opinion when it comes to any aspect of your day….and I seriously mean ANY part of your day. I once had someone tell me that the colors we selected weren’t going to ‘look good at the venue.’ I chose to ignore them. And guess what? Our colors looked amazing at the venue. Others told me we spent too much on catering (but guests are still raving about the food to this day). At the end of the day, the opinions won’t matter but the really good advice and wisdom from others who have been there, done that, will be extremely helpful. Luckily, we knew plenty of people who’ve gotten married and planned large events, so we listened carefully when they suggested we keep every single email and text from vendors (it was helpful when they tried to overcharge us later), create a wedding registry even though we thought we wanted just a honeymoon one (we got all of our dream cookware!), and be present as much as we could on the big day (it goes by so quickly).
3. We did our own research instead of taking everyone’s word for it.
When we first got engaged, a close friend recommended a venue that I knew others had gotten married at and I turned my nose up at the idea. Others had told me, “everyone gets married there,” and “it’s really small,” so I didn’t even consider it on the list of possible places to tour. After looking at a few places, we found nothing quite fit what we wanted. After much hesitation, we decided to tour the venue. Much to our surprise, it was everything we wanted! Unbeknownst to me, the coordinator at the venue is a family friend of my fiance’s, which meant discounts on rental and her recommended vendors. We were able to have a beautiful wedding, with flowers, music, dinner, and dancing on the edge of the Tahoe forest on a snowy day in May on a budget we never dreamed of because we decided to explore all options.
There’s no doubt that wedding planning will take a lot of your own time. But you would be surprised how many people enjoy this kind of thing. Of course, our bridal party was amazing at planning our showers, bachelorette parties, and being our voices of reason when we wanted to cry, but our friends and family outside of that were absolutely pivotal in making our day beautiful. Our dear friend officiated our ceremony. Another made our wedding cake. My sister purchased my wedding dress. My in-laws contributed significantly to food and catering. My parents paid for the DJs. My fiance’s aunt and uncle purchased the wine for the reception. My friend made our beer menu sign and her husband custom-brewed all the beer for the reception. My friends helped address our wedding invitations (see below). My sister’s boyfriend at the time built our wedding arbor. My fiance’s good friend helped tirelessly peel the labels and spray paint the 100+ wine bottles for our centerpieces. My mom hired a seamstress for my nieces’ custom-made flower girl tulle skirts. My sister-in-law and her boyfriend helped clean up after the reception and haul it all into their truck so we didn’t have to worry about it. My friends made sure we had food to eat and champagne to drink while getting ready. I could go on and on. And if I do, I may cry big snotty tears on my keyboard. It takes a village, but our village made 0ur fairy tale dreams come true. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and please always say yes to offers.
5. We learned details can be stressful, but details can be fun, too.
I am a ‘big picture’ person and my fiance is good at details. Which meant, I took the lead in setting up venue tours, interviews with potential photographers, scheduling meetings with DJs, meeting the florist, and email communication with vendors in the beginning of the process. When the date got closer, my fiance paid attention to details, like how to get all the centerpieces and alcohol to the venue. Details stress me out and weddings seem to have an endless list of them. While some details made me want to rip my hair out, I decided (with really advice from others who have gone before me, see previous) to celebrate them! We got a group of our friends, guests, and family to pitch in for a party bus to pick us up from the venue and take us back into town after the reception. I hosted a wine and dinner night for friends who helped address, stuff, and lick envelopes for our wedding invitations. Because we decided to celebrate some details, I have long-lasting happy memories of planning.