I have five daughters and two of them are married. This means I still have three more weddings to plan, execute and survive. I learned a lot the first time, and more the second time through.
How about you? What did you love about your wedding? What would you change? In this week’s blog post I will share some of what I learned while wedding planning and ask that you share what you learned as well. In fact, I will send you a $25 coupon for your wedding gown cleaning/preservation services if you share your suggestions on our blog.
My Wedding Planning Survival Tips
- Delegate to willing and capable assistants. Bridesmaids, mothers, sisters, friends? Lots of people offer to help. Let them. Ask one to research florists, another photographers. Let them know your budget and have them put together their recommendations and then you can choose. It really can be a lot of fun for everyone involved.
- Reign in creative people. If you are lucky enough to have creative friends they can be a big asset. That being said, you are the one who will pay the bills and do a lot of the work (or pay someone else to do it.) So go ahead and get the great ideas but be realistic about what you can afford and how much time you (or your delegated helpers) really have and don’t be afraid to say, “No, we don’t have the resources to do that.”
- Divide the big, stressful items into sections and tackle only one per week to minimize the work and mistakes. In my busy, multi-tasking mode, I actually booked a hotel for out of town guests for the week AFTER the wedding! Of course it was an non-refundable booking, and we had to find a new hotel for the correct date very last minute. Not fun.
- Give yourself a time limit (2 weeks?) to find a bridesmaid dress that everyone likes. Selecting the bridesmaid dresses for both our weddings was one of the most difficult projects and seemed to go on forever distracting us from other necessary tasks. With four sisters with varying style preferences and figures, it was difficult to find a dress in the right color, with the “right” style that everyone liked. So my advice is to set a time limit and after that time if you haven’t found the perfect dress that everyone likes consider one of these options:
- Select your favorite
- Let bridesmaids select their own dress with a color swatch
- Have the dress custom made with the same fabric – different styles (some bridal shops offer different styles with same fabric)
- Don’t rely on online RSVP – send RSVP cards instead. I was really excited to try the online RSVP with our wedding website. But not everyone used the online respond service which means you will be either making a lot of phone calls or do your best guess for number count. This is what we did and we had a lot of food left over.
- Get a good DJ. To save money on our first event we used an ipod with speakers for our dance music. The sound was fine but the enthusiasm was lacking. For our second wedding we hired a good DJ. He was awesome and the extra expense was worth it. Not only did he announce the dances, but he also announced the whole program and helped to keep the event flowing as planned.
- Have a short program at your wedding. We had the father of the bride, the maid of honor and the best man each speak for just a few minutes followed by a slide show of both the bride and groom (from baby pictures to current day.) Having a slide show does add one more thing to your to do list (see first suggestion) but the program made the event. After all the hustle and bustle of the day, it was awesome to sit back and watch.
So, now it’s your turn. What would did you love about your wedding and what would you do differently? Remember I will send you a $25 coupon code for your comments (good towards wedding gown cleaning,restoration and preservation services.)
I was so focused on making sure the bridesmaid’s outfits were all done, that I did not choose my jewelry until the day before. Unfortunately, my necklace is super awkward in many of the pictures and I wish I had tested out the jewelry before and just wore it around.
Hello – These are fantastic tips! I made a month to month checklist of the things I needed to take care of when my wedding was far out and then as it got closer I made a week to week checklist. Now, it’s 9 days before my wedding and I have a daily checklist. However, because I was so organized, this stuff is very little like set-up and clean-up lists for my awesome helpers and coordinator!!!! 🙂 Now, all I need is to get this dress preservation thing under wraps. It’s my last “big” thing to mark off my list.
I love how casual my wedding was. We couldn’t afford much, so we hired a justice of the peace who came to the gazebo in the park where we planned to have the ceremony. We didn’t even have to reserve the gazebo, it was first-come, first-serve, so my husband went out really early and claimed it that day. Our reception was in my parents’ carport, a nice potluck meal with all our family and friends there. The only thing I would have done differently would be to lay out my clothes the night before. The morning of the wedding, I could not for the life of me locate my strapless bra, so I had to go without!
My wedding was in a rented venue and everything went wonderfully with the exception of the day after a few items were unable to be located that should have been taken from the venue. So I would advise brides make a checklist of the items that you want friends and family to hold on to for you after your grand exit (make a spot on that list for who has it…in case things get split between helpers). It will save you time locating things the day after.
Unless your designated photographer gives you a expansive checklist, search the internet for “Wedding Photo Checklist” ideas. I used a well-known photographer, and assumed he’d get the ‘standard’ shots, but when I saw my photos after the wedding, it turns out our definitions of what is ‘standard’ were not the same.
Do you want “table shots” to make sure you get at least one photo of all who attended? Request it in writing, in advance. Do you want each side of the family to have a group photo? Request it in writing, in advance. Maybe even give the list to a friend who can double check with the photographer the day of the wedding that all the requested items have been captured before he leaves the reception.
When I tried to put my album together, I didn’t always have parallel photos on each side of the family to create a balanced feel in the album. We were just “lucky” to get a group photo of my immediate family and their spouses at the last minute as the photographer was starting to pack up. He had taken a group shot of my husband’s immediate and extended family, but none of mine. Ooops! 🙁