Weddings are strange things. You can prepare and prepare, but, until you actually do it yourself, you’re never quite sure how it’s going to be. Before my own wedding, I tried to equip myself with as much knowledge as possible. I read blogs, frequented online forums, and perused magazines until I was probably insufferable to be around for anyone who wasn’t planning a wedding. And yet, even with all of that work, there were still a number of important lessons about weddings that I didn’t learn until I actually lived through mine. Ironically, these lessons are no longer particularly useful to me, as I’m not planning on having another wedding anytime soon. In order for them not to completely go to waste, I’m now sharing my hard-won knowledge with you, gentle readers. Please benefit from my blood, sweat, and tears. (OK, this is wedding planning, not Game of Thrones, so there wasn’t much blood involved. There were definitely a few tears, though.)
1. You won’t get everything you want
Unless you have an unlimited budget, you’re not going to get every single thing you want at your wedding. So take some time to really think about the elements that matter the most to you, put your money behind them, and let the other details go. I promise, you won’t miss the linen napkins you thought you wanted so badly—but you might always regret all the wasted energy you spent pining after them.
2. Plan to have time alone with your new spouse at the wedding
The wedding will be a whirlwind of emotions, and guests, and toasts, and music, and it’s going to be both wonderful and overwhelming. Be sure to schedule some time—even if its just a few minutes—for you and your new spouse to be alone after the ceremony. You’ll be glad to be able to take a breath and absorb about what you’ve just done as a couple.
3. Have someone there to coordinate things on the Big Day
I get it: Wedding coordinators can be really expensive. When you’re desperately struggling to figure out how to pay for your guests to eat, hiring someone to put together the wedding can seem like an unnecessary expense. Some brides are total badasses who manage to organize their weddings with unshakable calm and nerves of steel. I, however, was not one of those people—and it's perfectly okay if you aren't either. Hiring a coordinator was one of the best decisions I made, even if it did take a huge chunk out of my budget. My advice to other brides is to have someone there who can at least run everything on the wedding day itself. That day, you are going to be overwhelmed and emotional, and the very last thing you’ll want to do is deal with behind-the-scenes issues. There are many coordinators out there who offer their services for only the week or day of the wedding, at a much lower cost than what you’d pay for full service. Being able to hand the reigns over to someone else while you go enjoy your wedding will be worth every penny.
4. Delegate as much as possible
Don’t be afraid to enlist help from others. When I was planning my wedding, for some reason I felt like I had to handle all of the calling and emailing and spreadsheeting and crafting myself. It was really overwhelming. Only after the wedding did I realize that there were lots of people—my mom, my sisters, my friends—who would have been happy to help, if I had only asked.
5. Decide what photos you want
Well in advance of the wedding, sit down with your fiancé(e), make a list of the photos you want, and give it to your photographer. Everything will be crazy on the day of, but you won’t need to worry about making sure you get a picture with your Great Aunt Mildred—your photographer will do it for you. Conversely, also be sure to think about the photos you don’t want. If you don’t like a lot of posed family pictures, let your photographer know; that way, he or she will know to skip straight to the types of pictures you like best.
6. Don’t take on too many DIY projects
I promised myself before the wedding that I wouldn’t take on too many craft projects, and yet I still found myself rushing to make custom signage the day before my wedding. I know that it’s really easy to just say, “Hey, I could make that myself,” but be really careful about how you commit your time. Yes, homemade place cards made of vintage photos would be super cute and personal, but they are not worth your sanity. Give yourself one fun project to work on, and resist all the rest.
Images: Fotolia; Giphy (3)