That sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? Stress-free wedding? Okay, so it’s probably not possible to completely avoid all stress during the wedding planning process, but from one bride to another, take my advice, it can be so much better than you think.
My wedding planning process personally was hard. There were long, grueling nights, almost panic attack levels of stress and drama (which is the worst). People tried to warn me, but having been a past event planner I figured I had this one in the bag.
I’m only about two months removed from the whole hysteria that wedding planning can induce, but I am seeing things a whole lot clearer now. That being said, here are a few tips to help you out along the way.
1.Don’t allow too many cooks in the kitchen.
Everyone wants to help out with your wedding. Similarly, everyone has an opinion. It can be hard and feelings might get hurt, but you don’t need to invite everyone to everything. There’s no need for your mom, your sisters, your aunt, all of your bridesmaids, your grandma, your mother-in-law, etc. to come when you try on dresses. Chances are picking out your dress won’t be this fairy tale “I tried on the first one and cried because I knew it was the one” experience. Not to say some brides don’t have this luck (there are ones out there) and I kind of hate you for it. If you’re like me, you’ll have to go from shop to shop trying on dress after dress wondering how the heck you’re going to be able to pick one dress that will be your only wedding dress. You’ll feel overwhelmed and if you have a ton of people there, all of their opinions will impact you, possibly pushing you to choose the wrong dress or making you feel bad about a dress you truly love. This also goes for florist meetings, make-up trials, venue visits, etc. I suggest picking three people or less that fit each outing. If you know your maid of honor is a fashion guru, your sister is your go-to girl and your mom keeps you level headed, they should probably accompany you to your dress shopping trials. You can always invite everyone else once you’ve picked out your dress and are trying it on for the first time.
2. Pick a good group of bridesmaids.
Here, I got really lucky. I chose my three sisters, my best friend from college, my best friend from the real world, two of my favorite people from my past job and three of my good friends from my college sorority. They had me covered! From planning bridal showers to delivering work pick me ups filled with a cute new hat, gift card to my fave boutique and alcohol, to planning a kick-ass weekend in Nashville for my bachelorette party, they really made sure my engagement was one for the books. Although they may have gotten tired of hearing me talk about wedding stuff, they never acted like it. They were just as excited as I was to hear about decorations, honeymoon plans and how much weight I was losing. They were my support system and I can’t thank them enough.
3. Choose a venue that’s credible and more than just a venue.
The worst part of my wedding planning process was the venue. Where I live there are not a ton of options for weddings and everywhere that’s worth booking has been used by every other person I know. Therefore, I spent weeks upon weeks looking in a one hour radius of my hometown for the perfect wedding venue. I found a beautiful outdoor/indoor venue exactly an hour away on the way to Atlanta, which was perfect since I still had friends in Atlanta and Athens. I went to visit and instantly fell in love. I told myself it was a good deal because it came with tables, chairs and linens, plus overnight housing for the wedding party. Not to mention, I didn’t know anyone in the world who had had their wedding there. It wasn’t until after I booked my venue and put down my deposit that I started to see bad reviews. People complaining about lack of communication, the facility being in bad shape, etc. I spoke with the owners and they assured me that my wedding would be just fine. Over the next few months, I could never get in touch with them and to make a long story short, the venue was in complete disarray when we arrived. The groomsmen had to do landscaping the day of the wedding, they forgot we booked the rehearsal area so there was no power or lighting and after it all, they wrongly withheld our deposit. I swear I got ulcers just dealing with this place and had I picked a reputable venue that was tried and true, that came with a wedding coordinator, tables, linens, set up, preferred vendors, etc. my life would have been ten times easier.
4. Spend money on a good photographer.
This was something I knew was going to be a priority for me from day one. She was
actually the first vendor I picked. For me, if you don’t take pictures at an event, it never happened, so I was determined to have the most beautiful pictures I could imagine. A good photographer knows how to direct you, which pictures to get ensuring they don’t miss any important moments, how not to over-edit and over-filter and also how to make you look your best. They know how to work within a timeline and keep everyone on track. I know too many brides who skimped here and will forever regret it. This is a once in a lifetime moment and you spend so much time, energy and money on it… you might as well have killer pictures to remember it by!
5. Set boundaries from day one.
This tip is SO important. I’ve never really been a pushover, but for some reason your wedding makes you feel like a bug constantly being squashed. All your life, you’ve imagined what you want this day to look like and feel like, but no one else knows your vision. If you don’t (politely) set boundaries from the beginning with overly opinionated friends, your wedding planner, your mother-in-law, even your mom, they can often overstep without realizing. In an attempt not to be a bridezilla or hurt anyone’s feelings, you’ll often concede and end up being unhappy about the end result. If you’re like me, you’ll allow it to bottle up and right before the wedding it will all come out in a big mess. Not only does it put a damper on your day and the way you remember your wedding and engagement, but also, it taints that relationship and forces the person you blow up on to remember the wedding in a bad light as well. Plus, after the wedding it definitely leaves for some awkwardness.
There are a million other tips I could give you from choosing a good band, to finding a way to relax on your big day and pushing yourself to do a boudoir shoot, but these are definitely my top 5. After all is said and done, I look back on my engagement and have such great memories. I spent so much time with my mom and my sisters that I hadn’t while away at school. I reconnected with my best friends, some of which I hadn’t seen in a while and for one whole day, I felt like the most special person in the world; getting to celebrate with the man I find to be the most special person in the world.
Enjoy it. It goes by way quicker than you think. But hey, you’ll only have every night slumber parties, movie dates, cooking together and marital bliss to look forward to after, right? 🙂
C’est la vie,
In case you need wedding inspiration, I’ll dish to you the vendors I used.
Venue: Bridge View Barn (not that I would recommend it)
Photography: Amber Phinisee
Hair: Kristen Troxel & the team at Studio 285
Makeup: Intensify by Patience
Cake: Lil’ Dutch Bakery
Florals: Christy Cozart
Dresses: Elegant Bridals
Tuxes: Simon’s Formal Wear Augusta
Vintage Furniture: Southern Vintage
Lighting & Event Rentals: Goodwin Events