Jumping in to planning the biggest day of your life soon after getting engaged can be so exciting! And… a bit overwhelming, to say the least. While Pinterest and Wedding Wire are filled with helpful checklists and suggestions, there are some things that are rarely mentioned when it comes to wedding planning. So, from one real bride to another, here are ten things I discovered while wedding planning that I wish I would have known from the start.
10 Things I Wish I Knew About Wedding Planning
The moment you begin to plan your wedding, everyone around you will suddenly have an opinion to share. Whether it is your mother, your soon to be mother in law, your grandmother who lives across the country, or a distant friend on Facebook, please remember that nothing is too tacky, too expensive, too cheap, or too silly on YOUR day – no matter what anyone says.
When we mentioned we were doing a steampunk wedding, several people said they hate themed weddings, they were tacky, etc. Neither of us cared what anyone else thought when it came to our wedding dream: we both love steampunk and may be a bit over the top with it but we have no regrets!
Exhibit A: Our steampunk wrapped Slingshot, above. 🙂
Quality over quantity. If your future husband was blessed to have six friends and two brothers who he considers to be groomsmen material, but you have three close friends and no sisters… don’t feel like you must rent a maid or send a bridesmaid proposal to your elementary school best friend just to have an even numbered wedding party. At the end of your big day, you will want your truest and best friends standing by your side.
At our wedding, we had 3 groomsmen, 3 bridesmaid, and a flower girl (Sapphire!) and that was perfect. We only invited about 15-20 people to our wedding in the first place, so a large wedding party would've looked silly.
Referring back to quality over quantity, when making your wedding guest list, remember that this is your wedding and not a reunion. Your weird Uncle Kenny and your mother’s boss (who you have never met) do not necessarily need invitations.
In fact, I didn't invite my own mother to my wedding. We weren't speaking, still aren't, and have no intention of speaking in the future. With that being said, I know a lot of brides that invite shitty or even abusive family members out of guilt. DON'T DO THIS. You don't owe a wedding invite to ANYONE. Period. If they have questions about why they weren't invited, send them to me. I'll write them a letter about all the reasons why they didn't deserve an invite. 😉
This is the BEST time to remember that you and your partner are on the same team. When discussing wedding finances, making important future decisions together, and being celebrated as a couple, try to remember to take some time to really be excited about the person you are marrying. This union is between the two of you, not outside parties that feel the need to throw their two cents in.
If you are a bride on a budget, save your pennies for what you will remember most once your wedding season is over. For us, this was photography. Thankfully we hired two photographers because one of them showed up, took pics, and NEVER DELIVERED THEM. That was our wedding NIGHTMARE. We are so thankful we had a photographer who delivered our photos, but we only have about 1/3 of the amount of photos we wanted.
The photography, maybe videography, the music that was played, the food you ate will stick with you forever. You will, most likely, not be thinking of the tablecloths and flowers that you chose years following. Keep that in mind when deciding what to spend money on.
Wedding Day Photography:
The first time you go to try on a wedding dress is not supposed to be overwhelming or stressful, it should be magical! Of course, there is no pressure if you don’t feel this way but try to make it as easy on yourself as possible.
You have several options when trying on dresses. Traditionally, brides will bring one or two friends who will make the day FUN. Avoid inviting your mom or future mother-in-law unless you actually like them. Yes, I'm serious.
Trying wedding dresses on at a dress store was fun but awkward for me. Kevin made it amazing, he said how awesome I looked in every single dress. We found a few we liked but none that were THE dress. After obsessively looking online, I ordered two dresses to try on. We figured we'd send the one back that we didn't love. Of course we loved them both, and I actually wore both on my wedding day!
Tips for your dress day:
- Try things you wouldn’t usually see yourself in. See my dress try ons.
- DON’T try anything on that is over your budget.
- Listen to yourself and your friends, not necessarily the sales person.
- Keep your bridesmaids on a budget: Bridesmaid Dresses Under $100
Make a list of “must have” photos and give it to your photographer prior to your big day. By doing this, your photographer will be able to get through the photos quickly and know which shots are most important to you. (And you don’t have to remember that your groom needs a picture with Aunt Beth and Uncle Johnny.)
There are countless wedding traditions, but it is important to remember that it is YOUR day and you don’t have to do anything just for tradition’s sake. Do you feel like a first look is not for you? Is your groom embarrassed about getting the garter from under your dress? You don’t like cake? SKIP IT.
Don’t allow your DJ to take song requests from your guests. Trust me on this. Just don’t.
The number one thing I wish I would have known while planning my wedding was that it's okay to elope. While we both truly enjoyed our wedding, we could've eloped with the same guests and saved quite a bit of money.
Remember that you are planning one of the best days of your life. There is so much to look forward to. The big day will be here before you know it! Have as much fun as possible in as many moments as you can before you put on the white (or any color) dress. Happy planning!!