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Monday, June 25, 2012

30 Wedding Lessons Learned From Planning My Own Wedding

30 Wedding Lessons Learned

I learned so much from planning my wedding! There were a lot of laughs and honestly a lot of tears and stress. Here is a list of 30 lessons I learned from planning my own wedding!
  1. In my case my wedding brought up a lot of sadness. My Mother died when I was 12 and planning a wedding was extremely hard for me to do without her. I was completely taken off guard with the overwhelming sadness I felt and how much I missed her. I always miss her but the wedding triggered so much unanticipated pain. The way I dealt with my feelings was to make things that added personal touches to the wedding. It was my way for her to be there although I know she is always looking down on me. I added a pinned picture of her to my bouquet so I could carry her picture all night. I wore her garter from her wedding. I framed a photo of her in her wedding dress and took a photo with it and I mentioned a favorite memory of her in my vows. Including a passed loved one in a wedding can be very tricky because you don’t want to bring down the happy occasion but for me it was extremely important to have her presence felt….at least by me.
  2. You are never ever ever ever (I could write ever about a thousand more times) going to please everyone. Even people you don’t think you are going offend you probably will! Try to keep this in mind while planning every part of your wedding. I don’t know if it is the stress of trying to create a magical perfect day or trying to bring so many people together. In the end traditional WEDDINGS ARE STRESSFUL!  No matter how you slice it there will probably be a melt down at some point….be prepared! My favorite saying is “it’s your day do what you want” that maybe true but is totally not how it is going to end up with families involved!
  3.  Let some things slide. Pick your battles! If there is something you are really firm on try to reason and try to keep your cool.
  4. Give people deadlines to get back to you. If you have firm deadlines with plenty of time for people to make decisions they will have a harder time going back on those decisions.
  5. Plan in advanced. Even if people are calling you crazy book or make decisions earlier rather than later! You will be surprised how many brides will already have you beat. Dates fill up fast at popular wedding venues and if you want a special day plan it right away.
  6. Don’t buy super cheap bridesmaids dresses. I bought my dresses online from China and the hems were all wavy and the craftsmanship was pretty bad. In the end it cost 3x more to fix them then I paid for the dresses! Avoid buying dresses online unless you have already seen them in person.
  7. Hand making things for your wedding can be an amazing way to create personal touches on your special day BUT if you don’t have time it is better to just spend the money. Don’t over extend yourself!
  8. Choose vendors with good repetitions.  Make a list of a few vendors you like for each category of your wedding such as the cater. Call each of them and get a feel for them. If you don’t like them off the bat but they are the least expensive option….don’t go with them! These are people that you are going to have to work with….choose wisely.  People that you are paying for a service they be nice at least to your face!
  9. Only show your wedding dress to people you know will be supportive to you. If you love it then why do you need to know others opinions? I was asked by a "friend" to see a picture of my dress and she told me it looked like a bunch of napkins! Hater! Don't be shocked if others are not supportive and excited for you.....they might be jealous! 
  10. Think long and hard about your bridal party. Don’t just ask someone for the sake of being nice. It is much better for someone to be mad at you for not being asked in the beginning then to have an out of control bridesmaid on your hands. These are the people that are there to support you so make sure that you pick supportive people! It will make your life so much easier! In the end you never know how a friend will act as a bridesmaid until you are in that situation. All you can hope is that a true friend will be there for you no matter what wedding drama comes up and she will smile ever step of the way! 
  11. Make sure your registry is clearly written on your invitation! I thought mine was some people didn't see it. 
  12. Take care of your skin and do something nice for youself! I actually made an appointment with a beauty adviser at Sephora. There is a minimum of $125 purchase but it is totally worth it! If you’re going to spend that much anyway you mind as well get great advice from a trained skin professional.
  13.  Think positive! Focus on the fact that you are going to marry the love of your life. Don’t lose track of that because of negativity surrounding your wedding. It is hard to see the positive if everything around you seems to be going wrong but no matter what stay positive!
  14.  If you are paying for the wedding you should in theory invite who you want. Give your families a cap on who they can invite. This can be a huge issue for young couples that want to keep their wedding budget friendly! Make sure you and your FH are on the same page with this issue. You need to stand as a united front!
  15.  Exercise! This is not just good for your body but it is also a great stress releaser. Join a cardio kickboxing class and take it out a punching bag! I also found swimming to be a great way to release stress. You will feel better and it will help you stay calm in tough situations and of course loosing a few LBs is always nice when your wearing all white!
  16. A wedding is the one time that a bride can be completely selfish! Don’t become a bridezilla but do what feels right to you. You should always listen to your heart. You did when you said yes to your FH why not do it while planning your wedding!
  17.  Some people will not RSVP! Even when you try to contact them to ask they may not respond to you. If that is the case….you probably want to send the cops to their house to see if they are alright or you don’t want them at your wedding anyway. If people can’t even bother to RSVP in any form then forget about it. 
  18.  Expect people to blow your minds! When planning a wedding people will do the rudest things! Such as RSVP yes and then not show up. I honestly can’t think of anything ruder than saying you will be at a wedding when you know your dinner is already been paid for and then don’t show up. You may as well erase that person from your contacts! RUDE! Also on the other hand there might be some last minute people who will just show up. It is annoying but somehow it all just works out. Just let it play out and hopefully you have an understanding cater! 
  19. If you decide not to give everyone a plus 1 that is fine! It is totally up to you if you’re going to give a person a plus 1. But be prepared for people to be mad about it. For some reason people feel that they have the right to get mad at you even if you have invited them to your wedding. Keep in mind you are paying for them to come and not a stranger.
  20. I invited 150 people to my wedding knowing that it was too many. I thought that maybe 120 would come which was a perfect number but in the end only 80 came! Wedding guest lists are a crap shoot! People you think will come will not and people you never even thought would show up will (even uninvited people) lol! You never know but don’t invite more people than your venue/chapel can hold. In the end you maybe regretting that you didn't invite enough people but less is more.
  21. Even if you can’t afford it go on a honeymoon! It doesn't have to be crazy or super luxurious but you will need some time to regroup. Planning some time to spend alone with your new husband will be great for you both. I was not planning to go on a honeymoon but when ½ of my invited guests RSVPed NO we decided to go! I am so happy that we did because I was so stress and the vacation from life was amazing! I highly recommend it!
  22. Make lists! I don’t know if you are a list maker but I am a list junky!  It is very hard to keep track of everything you will need to do while planning a wedding. I printed a calendar and made sure to write down specific dates I needed to have things done by. As it got closer to my wedding checking things off my to do list was so gratifying!
  23. Look at wedding blogs and diy wedding blogs. People are so creative and you never know what is going to inspire your wedding.
  24. Save photos, magazine clippings, and any inspirational images in one place. When you go through them you will get great ideas for your wedding!
  25. Do a makeup and hair trail! I went with a very reasonable hair and makeup artist and loved the way she did my hair but really didn’t like how she did my makeup. Make up is so personal because it is your face! Make sure you and your makeup artist is on the same page and the only way to do this is to do a trail!
  26. Even if you think your day-of-schedule it right on the money....give yourself at least 1 hour extra. It is much better to have more time to take photos before the wedding then to be in a rush! I thought I had plenty of time starting hair and makeup for 3 bridesmaids plus me (the bride) at 11am for a 3pm wedding. But I was still a little late! I wish I had given myself at least 1 more hour! 
  27. If you can buy your own alcohol and provide it to your cater or venue it is going to save you a ton of money! I went with a cater and venue that didn't have a bottle opening fee, which also saved us a lot of money. One great thing about Massachusetts is that there is no tax on alcohol and we went to a place that had discounted liquors. I had 80 people at my wedding and we ended up paying $360 for alcohol. I had budgeted $1,000.00 and we bought almost $700 worth of alcohol and returned what was not opened. In the end paying only $360 for alcohol was totally worth the 2 trips to the package store! 
  28. Things will be forgotten! I had made program fans for my ceremony and my husband forgot them at our apartment! Such is life! You want everything to be perfect but that is just not going to got to roll with it! 
  29. Find a wedding officiant that suites you! I was so lucky that our Priest was amazing. We had only met him the week before the ceremony because our first option was unavailable and the Priest that ended up doing the ceremony as a favor was out of the country. In the end he was great but the stress of trying to reach him and deal with the ceremony via email was hard. I totally lucked out. I thought the ceremony was not a big deal but in the end it was my most favorite part of the wedding. The right officiant makes all the difference! I would suggest to find someone that suites you as a couple early on. It was so hard for me to find a Priest because my husband's family is from El Salvador and I wanted to find a bilingual Catholic Priest that was willing to do our ceremony in our chapel. It was difficult but being able to have everyone understand and be part of the mass was great and made me feel really happy. 
  30. For wedding transportation I ended up getting a stretch cadillac escalade. Which was actually a great idea because 90% of my guests were out of state or even country. But I wish I had gotten a shuttle van instead. The escalade only had 2 doors at the very end and it was hard for the older people to get in and out. If I were to do it over again I would have gone with the more unattractive shuttle for my older guests. 
Remember at the end of the day all you really want is to be married to your husband and have a great time doing it. The disagreements on stupid things will start to fade away and you will hopefully be in wedded bless. Don’t let negative energy over power your day or your life. Smiling and truly feeling happy on your wedding day is what matters most…..don’t let the wedding haters get you down! :) 

xo Danielle 

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