I'm no wedding expert but now that we successfully pulled off our own wedding, I feel like I could share a couple tips. Some things I learned the hard way and some things just worked out. First, just score a really sweet, patient, amazing and talented fiancé who's also a graphic designer. If the graphic designer thing isn't in the cards, here are my words of wisdom. Note, all the wedding websites probably have similar advice but these are the things I learned firsthand or look back on and wish I knew. A friend of ours said it really well though, you can never know what it's like to plan a wedding until you've planned your own. Also, here are some gems from our wedding photo booth (lots more to be shared!). Enjoy and happy planning to all you brides-to-be!
Photo booth and photos provided by one of our amazing friends/groomsman, John H. Carlson.
1. The internet is your friend. Pinterest, Google Docs and G-mail were key players in my planning process. It was how I could communicate my visions and inspirations for the wedding and was the best way to keep in touch with all of my bridesmaids. There are a million websites created just for planning weddings but I found the basics were the most helpful.
2. Say yes to help. People in your lives will want to help because they care about you and want to be a part of your special day. They are being sincere so accept the help! We had people come over (or FaceTime while making stuff) and just hang out while we crafted and enjoyed the company. It helped relieve the stress and gave us a chance to spend time with our friends and family.
3. Come up with a plan and be realistic with budget and timeline. This is a lot harder than it sounds. I would look at wedding blogs all day and have a hundred ideas by the time I got home. Obviously we couldn't execute all of them (even though I tried) and ended up with a lot of supplies I never used. When it got closer to the wedding, we x-nayed some of the projects and focused our time and energy on just a few things. In the end, our wedding looked and felt perfect and we were really proud of the things we ended up making.
4. Enjoy the planning process. It's really easy to get caught up in the planning part of the wedding and some days we found ourselves talking endlessly about the not-so-enjoyable factors like money and logistics - which can easily turn into arguments. In hindsight, these were very important discussions but not worth fighting over. Set clear expectations for the wedding finances and for each other at the beginning of the engagement. Also, it can be hard to do this but spend some days intentionally avoiding any wedding talk and remember to make quality time for each other, not crunching numbers or hashing out a guest list. Chris and I took a few weekend getaways and had other weddings to go to before our wedding so we took full advantage enjoying ourselves, worry/wedding free.
5. Do things your way. Okay, it's true - you're pretty much planning a big party for all your friends and family. And yes, some things do revolve around them but be thoughtful because you want to and because you care. We just thought of what we wanted and tried to give that to our guests. Of course, we had to say no to some things and compromised on others but our wedding was exactly how we wanted it to be and we have absolutely no regrets about that. And even though some were doubtful, we pulled off having food trucks as our caterer, lining the aisle with 600 yarn pom-pom balls, having a friend and family members do our flower arrangements, building our own alter and designing and printing everything ourselves. All this while working an average of 50 hours a week. It works if you work it so work it, you're worth it!
6. Soak it all in. Seriously, soak.it.all.in. I still can't believe this whole wedding things has come to an end and I definitely have post-wedding blues. Everything from the planning to the bridal showers to the bachelorette leading up to the big day now seems like it happened so fast. I think my favorite part of the whole process was feeling how much Chris and I are loved by our friends and family and how genuinely happy people are simply because we were getting married. It's amazing and beautiful and while I know these feelings will last forever, I just want to feel those special moments a billion times over.