5 Tips for Low-Stress Wedding Planning
You're engaged! Congratulations. This is a huge time in your life and you should enjoy every moment. As a recently engaged person myself, I know that the many options you face when choosing wedding details can be a bit overwhelming. Okay, scratch that — a lot overwhelming. Luckily, there are many amazing resources for guys and gals like us looking to make our Pinterest dreams come alive. Let's jump right in to my 5 best tips to make wedding planning fun, not stressful!
1. Take a month to just be engaged without making any plans.
It goes without saying that this might not work for everyone. Maybe you've waited 7 years for the engagement or your significant other is being deployed or you're expecting a baby and want to have the wedding before he/she comes. In those cases, I totally understand your eagerness to plan, plan, plan and get the show on the road! If you can though, taking a month or so to celebrate with your love, to tell your family members and friends the big news and to simply enjoy a new season of your life can be so good for the soul. Take it from me, a wedding-obsessed chick who spends way too much time googly-eyed, scrolling through the hottest new wedding trends and sending them via Instagram DMs to my best friend. Even I am taking some time to let it sink in. Full disclosure: it's also busy season and I don't have time to think about my own wedding right now, but I think I would be doing this regardless. It's been fun to dream about marriage with my guy and talk about our hopes for the future after the wedding, not just what appetizers we are going to serve at cocktail hour (which is also a very important topic if you ask me)!
All of the romance from Emily & Brendan's engagement shoot with Alex Nardulli, Photographer
2. Discuss budget right away.
Once you've spent some time gushing over the engagement story, the ring, and the idea that you're going to be somebody's wife, it's time to plan! HOLD IT RIGHT THERE. I repeat: put down the dress catalog! Step AWAY from Martha Stewart Weddings! Before you reach out to even one vendor, book a venue tour or get your heart set on a Rolls-Royce to whisk you away into the sunset following the ceremony, discuss the budget with whoever's paying. Sit down with your fiancé/ée, parents, and/or whoever may be contributing. I promise, the last thing you want to do is start off on the wrong foot by making plans with monopoly money and finding out your total budget barely covers half of your dream wedding. End rant.
3. Hire a planner.
Is this a shameless plug? Yes. Is it a great idea for those with busy schedules, kids, an unorganized demeanor, a sense of anxiety about the project they're about to take on, who have an idea of what they want but don't know how to get from point A to point B, who travel a lot, who are saying "I Do" at a venue that requires lots of additional rentals, or who simply don't feel like planning a wedding on top of their normal day-to-day lives? Also yes. If it fits within your budget (see #2^), research Wedding Planners in your area and start jotting down questions you want to ask them. Check out their reviews, their social media pages and get a good idea of whether the vibe they're giving matches what you're looking for in a built-in Maid of Honor. What I mean is, stalk away! Ask friends who they've used and be sure to know the difference between a Wedding Planner and a Venue Coordinator: here's a link to a great write up that lists the differences by Confetti Daydreams! When you're ready to shop around, reach out to Planners via email and request pricing and a time to meet. It's so important to meet vendors in person (or Facetime if you're not local) to get to know them on a deeper level! Our contact info is listed at the end of this blog post. We'd love to get to know you over a cup of joe (or wine) and answer any questions you may have!
4. Remember this: There's a big difference between a wedding and a marriage.
Throughout the entire planning process, remember the reason for the season. Your love is what you're celebrating, and don't let anything get in the way of that: not disagreements about color choices, cake flavors, or even the guest list. Make sure you both stay patient and respectful with one another, listening to each other's wants and needs and providing feedback until you come to a conclusion. When possible, meet with vendors together or at least research and recap together in order to choose wedding details as a team. I always tell my couples (especially when they're feeling stressed) to take time at least once in a while to hang out together without talking about wedding details. Try out the new restaurant down the street, take a hike with the dogs, visit the farmer's market...just do what you do best when you need to unwind together. It's easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of it all, but make a point to remember that when the vows have been said, the party's over and the guests have all gone home, you still have each other to hold on to for life.
5. Be nice to your mama.
This one really goes for just about anyone in your family who is contributing not only financially but who is also providing their opinions. I'm not talking about your second cousin twice removed who keeps nagging you for a plus one and giving you unsolicited advice about the style and location of the wedding. I'm talking about your best friend, sister, mom, dad, etc who you're very close with and whose opinion you trust and respect. Again, it's easy to get stressed or lost when planning a big fancy event that is supposedly going to be "the best day of your life", but these people are those who love you dearly and most often just want to be heard. I wrote a blog about a sweet mom/daughter duo I worked with who were the epitome of the perfect planning team (here's the link if you're interested!). Even if you hate an idea that's being presented to you, try to hear them out, ponder it and if you still want to nix it, let them know politely that you're going in another direction but appreciate their input. Small conversations about food choices and decor options are when the magic happens and it should be fun for everyone involved!
Photo of Danielle and her Mom on wedding day by Cindy Lee Photography
Enough babbling from me. You're getting married! Now get out there and try some cake for goodness sakes.
XO, SGO firstname.lastname@example.org