Tuesday marked my first month anniversary with my husband.
Planning a wedding is hard, but I was very lucky. My mother and sister, both married, are the most organized people I know. They gladly took on major roles in the wedding planning, leaving less for me to worry about while I attended classes.
To those of you getting married: I have absolutely no sound marriage advice for you yet, but I have learned a few things about weddings.
Everything revolves around the dress- I made the mistake of coming up with an entire wedding plan overview before I found my dress. I had it in my mind that it was going to be a simple wedding with good friends. I happened upon my wedding dress completely by accident in a dress shop I didn’t know existed. My mother and I were going to coffee and decided to stop in. I was drawn to this dress and after walking past it ten times, I gave in and tried it. I don’t see myself as a showy person, but this dress made me into one. It was sexy, yet modest. Simple, yet dramatic. Modern, yet classic. It was a conundrum of a dress, and I had to have it.
Unfortunately, this altered the theme of my wedding completely. It was no longer a simple wedding. My flowers changed. My bridesmaids’ dresses changed. Everything was different.
Budget– (If your family can afford your dream wedding, please continue onto the next topic.)
I would say that budgeting is equally as important as the dress. Without the budget, you wouldn’t know what dress you could afford.
For my sister, the guest list was the hardest part of planning. For me, it was budgeting.
One thing you quickly learn in wedding planning is that you can’t have everything you want. You have to decide what will make or break your wedding. If photography is most important to you, don’t skimp out. Find the perfect photographer and work the rest of the wedding cost around their rates.
If you can’t see yourself getting married unless you’re in that one special venue, then work around that cost. This is the biggest day of your life, and it needs to be right.
The hardest part is letting go of the smaller things you thought you wanted. But once you get past that, it’s easier.
Guest list- It’s safe to assume that 85% of your guest list will RSVP yes to the wedding. But even if they say yes, that doesn’t mean they will actually attend. I would know. I am guilty of staying in on the night of a distant friend’s wedding.
It’s hard to know exactly how many people will be there, but it’s safer to expect more than less.
Luck was on my side for the guest list. Sure, my husband and I have a lot of family and family friends, but we both have just a few close friends. The guest list wasn’t that stressful for me.
If you are involved in Greek life or any large organization, it will be harder.
I’ll end this topic with some advice from my mother: “Only invite those you cannot imagine getting married without.”
Colors- To some, this topic is easy. They’ve known since they were five. For me, it was a big hurdle to jump. I don’t have a favorite color, and I didn’t want my winter wedding to be the typical red roses and navy blue dresses.
Since I was so indecisive, I chose jewel tones. I think it’s safe to assume that it was the most insanely colorful wedding in history. To me, it was incredible. To others, I’m sure it was over the top.
Bottom line: if you love it, that’s what matters.
Bridesmaids dresses- Out of everything in the beginning stages of planning, this was the most aggravating. I wanted my bridesmaids to wear their dresses again, so I decided they could pick them as long as they coordinated.
All of my bridesmaids had different body types. Any time I would suggest a dress, they wouldn’t like it because of how it would fit. I eventually gave up and made them wear a specific dress.
After all, it is your day and you have every right to choose. If they won’t ever wear it again, either pick something affordable or offer to pay a portion of it.
Flowers- My sister is a florist, and a good one at that. All I knew was that I wanted colorful flowers. I didn’t care about the type of the flower. I knew my sister would make it look incredible no matter what.
As the florist, my sister was very particular. We sat down three separate times for a total of four hours. Four hours of flower talk. I didn’t even know that was possible.
You can probably expect to have a much shorter meeting if you don’t know your florist, but make sure to have ideas in mind before you talk to them. It makes the process flow much faster and you’ll be thankful you did.
Keeping it all organized- The only thing harder than planning a wedding is keeping it organized throughout the process. My sister and I both used The Wedding Planner & Organizer by Mindy Weiss, which can be found on Amazon. It is incredible. It has everything from budgets to photographer shot lists to questions to ask your caterer. The most useful part is that it has a monthly checklist to make sure you get everything done.
If you aren’t hiring a wedding planner, you need a major organizing tool.
On that note: If you can afford a wedding planner, don’t think twice.
The cake- You can expect for your cake to cost $3 per person. If you have 200 guests, that means you will be spending around $600 on a cake.
The cake wasn’t that important to me, so I opted for the easier and funner version. I ordered a variety of donuts and paid half as much.
Ordering everything and I mean everything.- Say hello to countless dates with your computer. You have to order napkins, tablecloths, decorations, bow ties, dresses, tealight candles and jewelry. And those are just the main things. Until I planned a wedding of my own, I had no idea just how much time, money and knick knacks go into it.
The marriage license- This is something that slipped my mind for a long time. All of the planning is for nothing if you don’t have a marriage license!
All it takes is your driver’s licenses and $60 in cash. Take them to the courthouse within 60 days of your wedding, find the right office and fill out some forms. You have to return it signed or unsigned within 60 days, otherwise you will have to pay a fee of $100.
Day of coordinator- I’ve been to weddings without a day of coordinator, and they are chaos. Even if you can’t afford a wedding planner, you should still find someone to run the wedding on the day of.
Pick someone who is not close to you or your significant other, who has great organizational skills and an authoritative attitude. Give them a very detailed outline of the day and leave the rest to them. You will never regret it. They take the stress out of your day so you can relax and enjoy.
The little details were my least favorite part. I didn’t care about what kinds of flowers I had, I just cared about the colors. I didn’t care what the ushers wore. I didn’t care about the napkins or the cake topper. I just wanted to be married.
I let the craziness of the wedding get to me. I dreaded talking about planning and let my attitude get the best of me.
Everyone gets to the point where they don’t care anymore. And honestly, it won’t go away until the wedding day is here. But in those moments, it will all be worth it.
Besides, even if the caterer forgets the drinks, the florist kills your flowers, the photographer’s camera dies and your hair doesn’t look as great as you’d imagined, you’ll still be married by the end of that day. And that is all that really matters.