So my husband Joshua and I recently got married (March 1st 2014) and it was a beautiful wedding that took an entire year to plan. Now I’m not going to lie, wedding planning is fun when you don’t have a deadline and you can just pin stuff on Pinterest, but when you have a date set wedding planning stops being fun and very quickly turns into a lot of work. Prices of everything will start to get real, there’s all of the crazy little details that you have to consider, everything just starts to bog you down bit by bit. I honestly got sick of dealing with it all just a few short months into planning. Some of these tips may be obvious or ones you’ve already heard, but I’m including them because I didn’t listen the first time and had to learn the hard way.
I, like most brides, wanted to make sure that there were special little touches all over the place handcrafted or picked out by Joshua and I. The inspiration for our wedding was Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, so it was outdoorsy and very rustic. In fact, we were married under a huge oak tree and had our reception in an adjacent barn. We just really wanted to make sure this was unlike any other wedding our guests had ever been to. We included tons of personal touches here and there. Everything from vintage camping postcards that we had selected from various antique stores, to our handmade yarn pom pom dandelions that were stuck into the floral arrangements. It was honestly the biggest compliment to us when people kept coming up to us to say, “Oh my goodness I have never been to a wedding like this before. It’s so y’all!” So that brings me to tip numero uno.
Make your wedding about you and your fiance. Don’t make it about the newest trend or whatever you saw in a magazine, unless it’s you of course. You aren’t cookie cutter, so your wedding shouldn’t be either. Joshua and I sat down together and talked about the theme one on one and came up with something that was a combination of the two of us, which really made our wedding unique and reflective of our personalities. That’s what it’s all about anyway; it’s not about how fancy you make it or how much money you spend. Joshua was actually really excited and had tons of ideas too, from decorations to what kind of music he wanted to play. It was really nice to have a groom that wanted to be so involved, and I think that’s mostly due to the fact that we settled on a theme that we both loved.
Do not be afraid to delegate! I learned this way too late and didn’t delegate until 2 to 3 weeks before the wedding, and realized that I honestly could have done it the entire time. I kept saying to myself, “No I’ll get around to it eventually. Eventually it’ll get done,” but I knew deep down I wasn’t going to do it. By delegating I was able to give my mother in law and mother some projects and they actually enlisted some of their coworkers too. Everyone loved being able to be a part of putting our wedding together, and it took a lot of the stress off of us to get everything done in time! All I did was send them emails of different ideas we found and were planning to do. For example, I wanted some paper pinwheels and flags to put outside as guests came in. I just sent the link of the project from Pinterest to my mother in law, and she and a friend sat down at work one day and knocked it out. They came out very nice and still had that personal touch we were looking for. The key is to delegate far enough out just in case something doesn’t quite come out to your liking. People will seriously tell you over and over, “Just let me know if there is anything I can do.” Next time they ask you should say, “As a matter of fact…”
Pinterest is your best friend. As if you weren’t already on Pinterest enough, get ready because planning a wedding will probably triple that. It’s ok though, because Pinterest will not only give you a ton of ideas — sometimes too many — but it will also help keep you organized and help you get your vision across better. Whenever you have a meeting with a vendor like the baker, florist, dress shop, caterer, photographer, or any vendor really, make a Pinterest board just for that meeting. Pin all those gorgeous bouquet inspirations on your “florist” board and they’ll have a much better idea of what you’re envisioning. Include a general board as well for the little things, but I would suggest boards like: flowers, cake, decor, dress, food, honeymoon, stationary, must have pictures, etc. The only thing with Pinterest is that you can’t get overwhelmed with all of the different ideas coming at you at once. Try to go through your boards and clean out any pins that may contradict one another as much as you can. For example, you have ribbon streamers, sparklers, and confetti all pinned for the going away. Sit down with that handsome man of yours and make a decision; just pick one already! Try to do this as you go so you don’t have 900 pins to go through every time you start another project or you’re looking for that one pin. Also, don’t forget to make notes on those pins.
Take your bridals after. Due to weather and a whole bunch of other stuff I didn’t quite get to my bridals in time for the wedding. It was fine though, because I wasn’t going to have a big ol portrait of me at our
wedding anyway. The bridals were a part of our package though, and I really wanted some pictures of our dog Stella and I, so I decided to just do them after. Best idea ever! I wasn’t worried about the dress getting dirty, I didn’t have any pre wedding stress, my mother, sister, and I were just able to make a day out of it and we had a blast! It turned into more of a photo shoot of the new Mrs. Frick instead of boring old bridals. It also didn’t hurt that I had an amazing photographer
. See my review of Lauren Carroll Photography here
#5 That gut feeling
Listen to any negative gut reactions you feel for vendors, even if they are way cheaper than the other guy. In fact, especially if they are cheaper! They might just be cheaper because they need your business due to some not so nice reasons. When we first got engaged we hired a “photographer” for the engagement shoot and had easily the worst customer service experience ever. I had a few hints in the beginning, but I ignored them because she was about $200 cheaper than everyone else and we were still in college. Huge mistake! She was a complete nightmare. She insulted my husband and I’s relationship, practically yelled at me via email for 9 months straight calling me names, ripped us off, and blackmailed us from getting our refund if we left a negative review of her on other sites. Needless to say, I had to get our lawyer involved. She was completely unprofessional, sneaky, and underhanded, and clearly just did this as a little side gig every now and then and didn’t take it seriously at all. Be super wary of vendors! You even need to make sure that they don’t have clauses now that prohibit you from leaving negative reviews (or you know, they could just blackmail you into it!). Vendors can be the best, but they can also easily be the worst.
Speaking of vendors you need to make sure you seriously talk to them. Don’t fall in love with them and just skim over your contracts. Sit down with them, read over it together, talk about points you aren’t comfortable with, things you don’t need, or things you may want to include. If you feel like you’re being rushed they may not be a good person to work with. You are paying these people lots and lots of your hard earned money, so make sure you are getting your money’s worth. If you have questions you have every right to ask them, so don’t be shy.
#7 Take a break!
When Joshua and I took that trip to Cloudland Canyon it was mostly a birthday trip for him, but partially an escape from wedding planning as well. Our advice would be to just get away for the weekend when things start bogging you down and start getting too crazy. Now, obviously don’t do this 2 weeks before the wedding, but just far enough out that you can recharge before getting back to the craziness. The nice thing about camping too is that you can physically get away without it cutting into your wedding budget hardly at all. We have a few very strict rules when we go camping: No cellphone usage of any kind unrelated to the trip (Those first few hours of not being able to check email are the hardest, but it gets easier I promise). No computers and no discussion of anything stressful going on in our lives. Like I said we have these rules for every trip we take and I’m sure this is one of the reasons we love camping so much. When you follow those few simple rules camping turns into the ultimate escape, and the only downside is that you don’t want to go back to real life. We were able to come back from that trip and really knock some stuff out all refreshed and ready to go.
Budget and discuss it with everyone. We had a pretty big wedding and it was right after we graduated college, but the majority of our guest list was our parents friends. So, we decided to split the big stuff (flowers, venue, photographer, etc.) into thirds, and then we paid for immediate family and our friends’ catering, while parents paid for their guests’ catering bill. This worked pretty well, but the thing was we never really sat down and had a one on one meeting with everyone. Honestly, it sounds uncomfortable, but that’s what you need to do if you are splitting the cost of your wedding with your parents. Then you need to send out a friendly email afterwards highlighting everything you talked about, including preliminary amounts and time frames for when money is due. Get it in writing. Again, sounds silly, but you’ll thank yourself later.
Now for a fun, not-so-serious tip. If you are having a vintage, outdoorsy, or rustic themed wedding think about putting a thin white border around some or all of your prints. We did this while ordering some of our prints from Shutterfly, and it took a few tries but they came out really beautiful and really complimented the actual images. You can place the border around your images on Shutterfly’s site, but we had trouble with them printing evenly the first couple of times which was a bit irritating. That could possibly be remedied by applying the border with a basic photo editing software on your computer and then uploading them to Shutterfly. I plan on trying it that way for future prints. Also, play around with your pictures and make some fun stuff. We made books, cards, luggage tags, magnets, all sorts of fun things. It sounds cheesy but I love drinking out of my wedding pictures coffee mug. Shutterfly does a great job on their actual products, and we never had any issues with them; it was just the prints we had issues with, believe it or not. Another great photo product site is Artifact Uprising
. They make beautiful stylized products that are excellent in quality.