I sat at my parent’s kitchen table with a large checklist in front of me and the list of people we were inviting to our wedding. Emotions and events from the week had snuck up and weighed me down. It really overwhelmed me. And since my then fiancé was too far away to give me a hug, it was just harder than it needed to be.
Wedding planning can go a little like that. Emotions. And it doesn’t help even more when outside stresses push on you as well.
When I was planning my wedding I worked at a company that wanted ALL MY TIME and didn’t care about making me feel bad. The people on my team were extremely narcissistic and always were micromanaging. That had a HUGE affect on me as well. But I could get into all that more, and will do so in another blog post. But in this one I want to focus on you. Maybe you are about to get married, or you’ll get married in the near future. Or maybe you aren’t close to getting married, but you want to know how to plan a wedding to help a friend. Whatever the situation, this post will help you. While writing this post, I thought of all the best tips and ideas that I’d tell my sister when she plans her wedding.
There is no need to stress when your wedding is just one day out of your life. Yes, it’s a super important day, but it is only one day. You are getting ready to build a marriage, which takes a life time. So if one thing is out of place don’t let that stress you out. If you think of it this way, in ten years will you think back on how the plates that your aunt and uncle ate on had a chip? No probably not.
That’s something I kept near and dear to my heart. And something that caused me to just choose a meal for the reception that was on the easy and fun side. I had artisan pizzas served and we had picnic silverware and plates. And I’m totally fine I had paper plates at my wedding.
In the long run, people aren’t going to remember whether your utensils were fine silver or plastic.
You are never prepared for the amount of time and energy that will go into planning a wedding and you are definitely never taught or prepared for what all will go into planning a wedding (or even a long-distance relationship wedding.)
On top of wedding planning, you’ve got real life, a full-time job, and maybe even other factors that add into the craziness of it all.
When You Are Asked All Of The Questions
There are going to be times when you are asked by a coworker, family member, or someone else:
“What are your table decorations going to look like?” “What time is the ceremony and the dinner going to take place?” Or even things like “Who is your emcee going to be?”
People are going to ask you a ton of questions and mostly only because they want to help you, even though that’s hard when you don’t have any answers. And it stresses you out more at that point than anything else.
During the who process of planning our wedding, Johan and I, came across our own little misunderstandings and quibbles, but in the end, it pulled us closer together so we could continue getting the plans out and ready. That’s what I meant earlier about making sure you plan for marriage, and not just your wedding which is only one day.
When Planning My Wedding, I Did Some Things Wrong:
- I started planning way later than I should have. (They say you should start planning about 16-9 months before your day. I was more like around the 6-month mark.)
- I miscounted my save the dates and ordered too many. (In the future I’d just recommend that you put someone in charge of ordering the literature [being the save the dates, invites, programs, and more.] Give them the guest list and let them do the ordering.)
- I had un-needed fights with people about aspects of the wedding. They are probably fights I didn’t need to have.
- I let people stress me out. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my friends and family. But everyone has their own ideas of how the wedding will go. Looking back, I’d say know that everyone cares and wants your wedding to turn out. Just know, they also have emotions. They’ve known for 20-some years this day would be coming and even though you’d think they had enough time to prepare for it, they didn’t exactly have enough time to prepare for it, just as you the “Bride” didn’t.
What we paid the most for at our wedding:
- The dress – because, isn’t the dress something we have a vision of in or mind since we were little girls?
- The venue – we had ours out at a little venue in the Minnesota countryside, where there was a white little church with a steeple, and a whitewashed barn. It was gorgeous!
- The photography – We wanted amazing photos to remember the day by. We also wanted to get a professional videographer, but that really would have made it expensive, so instead we dabbled in some DIY. We asked a cousin, if he could run the video camera. That worked perfectly. My husband even rigged up a mic to capture and record our voices.
Things you definitely need:
The most important part of your wedding is you and your partner.
That’s really it. That’s what is most important, right?
Things you don’t need:
Really, anything could be added to this list.
For us this was:
- Elaborate rented silverware and plates. Like I said earlier, we just had picnic wear. Because my thoughts were, will we really ever think back and say “I wish I’d had white dishes and silver wear at my wedding. Nope. I wouldn’t. I’m not that kind of person. I’m more so for natural, simplistic, and easy. And you know what? I am so happy we did that. It made it different! Plus, we didn’t have any of the annoying clanging on the cups with silverware. See our plan there?
What I Would Have Done Differently
- I would have communicated more clearly with the venue/event planner lady on where we wanted people to sit. She put “Seat reserved” signs on the front two tables next to my parent’s table for the family and never told family, (besides our parents) that those rows were for them, so that whole row of tables sat empty. Leaving us feeling a bit excluded from our guests. We still had a blast though, but that would have been nicer.
- We would have had our photographer make edits and changes to the photos closer to when we got the pictures back. I didn’t know this before, but most photographers have dates written into their contracts on when it’s okay to request edits by. So make sure you check that and get your edits in. We missed this, because of the busyness of life after marriage and had to pay for those edits. We are glad to have gotten those edits made, but it’s a bummer to have had to pay for it especially since we paid a huge chunk for the photos already.
- Check in with the alterations lady earlier. She made a mistake and forgot to do something to my dress. I came in THE DAY BEFORE the wedding and it wasn’t changed. She’d forgotten to do that change. So it caused unneeded stress for me and my mom. OVER COMMUNICATE when it comes to the venders you are using. They only know what you tell them and don’t know what you are thinking. Over communicate with them. Over check in with them. I didn’t want to be a bridezilla, but when venders can’t do the one job they are doing, that got me. So, do the same… don’t let them step all over you. You are the bride. You are paying them for their services.
- I wouldn’t have worked myself up and stressed out about the father-daughter dance. I was so nervous about that. I still want my parents to know, I am their little girl, even though I’ve grown up. I get really emotional around things like that, so getting up in front of others to show that in a dance form was a bit difficult for me. Nerve-wise. But after the dance, I was totally fine!
- I wouldn’t have spent the week before the wedding so focused on the stupid work, for a passive aggressive, team lead. If I were in that situation right now, I wouldn’t have taken it on. Then instead, I would have spent that time with my family and Johan’s family since they were here for the wedding.
- I would have either done my own makeup OR let a cousin or my sister do it. It just didn’t feel exactly like me with fake lashes and airbrush makeup.
What we would have done the same
- We asked family to help us with things. A cousin’s husband ran the video recorder for us. A couple of my little cousins operated the wedding photo booth. They did a wonderful job at it. And it was fun! Another cousin and friend did readings. An old music teacher of mine and one of her daughters sang. It was nice.
- At a lot of weddings some people do that game where they auction off the bride’s garter or do a money dance to dance with the bride and groom. I felt like this was tacky and I’ve always thought that. We didn’t do this. I am grateful we didn’t. If we had, I felt like I would have been stealing from them. I didn’t want their money. Sure money helps, but I didn’t want it from them like that.
- We had a wooden xylophone at the front of the table where we were sitting while eating. People could come play a tune for us. And then we’d kiss. I’ve always hated the clanging of knifes on the glasses. *Clears throat* This is also another reason for the picnic wear. Crafty, I know!*
- I got my hair dresser booked and had my hair trial.
How To Deal With The Emotions
For me, I got really emotional with the wedding. It’s a big step in a girl’s life. (And I’m sure in a guy’s life as well!) You are no longer a little girl. You are an adult. And you are getting married.
Recommendations For My Sister’s Wedding When She Gets Married:
- Think simple.
- What do you absolutely want to be in your wedding? And then go after those things.
- Let others help you.
- Give certain things to other people to do for you. I wish I’d taken advantage of this more. I know I stressed myself out, trying to do everything that it caused more stress for me.
- Find shoes you can stand in all day and not cry over. Don’t go for those super, intricate, amazing, stylish shoes that are so gorgeous — just because they are gorgeous! Go for some beautiful shoes that are also comfortable. I thought my shoes were gorgeous, but man, did I wish I’d worn my other pair of shoes. They were way more comfortable, but just as pretty.
- Do your look before the wedding with your husband to be. Why not see each other before saying “I do” and get precious photos of that together. I used to always think I wouldn’t see Johan before, because of that stupid tradition, but do you know where that tradition comes from? Honestly, it’s sad and yet hilarious. That whole “Don’t see the bride before the wedding,” comes from way back in the olden times when the family was afraid that the groom would see the bride before the wedding and see how ugly she was forcing him to want out of the wedding. That’s also why the veil covered her face.
- Do things for yourself to help yourself relax.
- Plan to not talk about the wedding on certain days. Sometimes that really helps.
The thing that really helped me is to remember how fast this day is going to go. And is it really going to matter if you did your own video or served people on paper plates? Nope. Take the day to fully embrace all the blessings. Enjoy the people around you and celebrate life.