Prioritize what YOU want
This tip is multi-faceted. Both for your budget and sanity, it’s essential to sit down as a couple and decide your must-haves at the wedding. Is live vs. recorded music a non-negotiable for one of you? Or perhaps splurging on a more expensive photographer is something you’re willing to mull over because you consider being able to look back on pictures of the day fondly as a must. Once you’ve prioritized your big-ticket items, the remaining wiggle room in the budget and how small details will work with the main idea suddenly become a lot more clear. You may have been dreaming of this day well before you got engaged, but the same is probably true of your partner, too, so communication is key! Share the weight of planning as a team – you’re not alone!
Don’t Let the Details Get You Down
Following our first tip, it’s important not to get overwhelmed by all the tiny details that go along with a wedding. Once you’ve decided on your essentials, it’s easier for other things to fall into place. For example, if you or your partner desperately want an outdoor wedding, then voila, you’ve saved yourself an enormous amount of time not even having to consider touring indoor-only venues (but don’t forget a rain plan!).
We can also guarantee your guests won’t remember if your napkins were beige vs. off-white, so try to keep your eye on the big picture (you’re marrying the love of your life!), and don’t let small things steal your joy on the big day.
Invest in Non-Wedding Time
Maybe you plan on being engaged for six months or five years. Either way, it’s important not to let the wedding planning be the only thing you and your partner talk about and to still take the time to do the things you enjoy that bring you together as a couple. Maybe you go on a hike together or have a no-shop talk dinner periodically, but investing in yourselves as a couple will help keep the planning stress and tension at bay.
Get Tips from a Professional
Bringing in a professional can take a lot of stress off your plate. You’ll, of course, still have a heavy role in being involved, but a wedding planner knows the business and can ask questions of vendors and venues you might not even know to ask. They’ll also handle a lot of day-of communication between parties so that you can focus on getting married and not whether the head table got set up at the reception.
Host Your Ceremony and Reception at the Same Venue
Holding your ceremony and reception in the same venue can save travel time and minimize the breakdown/set-up routine between events, making for a smooth transition for guests and one less thing to worry about for the happy couple. Some venues can flip a single space while guests move to a cocktail area, and some have multiple event rooms so that you can pre-set everything. Don’t forget to ask about the ability to hold both parts of the wedding during those early venue tours.
Organization is Your Best Friend
Sending a hundred emails can be stressful enough. Don’t make it more stressful by having to sort through your whole inbox when you can’t remember a keyword that pulls up that one email you need from your caterer. Create a “Wedding” folder in your inbox to which you can add all related inquiries and contracts as you receive them or print everything out and keep it in a binder. If you sign up for a wedding website on The Knot, they’ll create a weekly to-do list to help you stay organized and on track with planning.
Communicate with Vendors
Talk with your vendors about what they need at the venue and what your expectations are for the day to run smoothly ahead of time. Do they need extension cords for food warmers? Is that the responsibility of the caterer or the venue? A wedding planner can come in handy here because, as industry professionals, they know what questions to ask. Another great question is whether set-up and breakdown of tables, chairs, décor, etc., is the responsibility of the venue or the bridal party (for a helpful checklist of questions to ask during venue tours, see Part I of our Summer Wedding Series blogs). Either way, a smooth day is absolutely doable (see our next tip), but you just don’t want to figure it out on the wedding day when you’re trying to get sent off to your honeymoon. Usually, if you rent equipment from a venue, their staff breaks it down and puts it away, but you’ll still need to grab (or have someone else grab) your décor or anything you brought from home.
Being asked to be in a bridal party is an honor, but don’t forget that your friends and family are there for more than taking pictures. They’re your team, and they want to help you! Host a DIY party for bridesmaids to help put together bouquets (mimosas and music can relieve the stress level stay low) and see if your groomsmen are up for helping bring centerpieces in from cars and putting them on tables the day of since they usually require less prep-time to get ready than the bridesmaids who are sitting with hair and makeup artists.
Don’t forget to delegate a few other important items – who is bringing the dress, rings, and tuxes to the venue? If you’re heading straight off to your honeymoon from the venue, make sure you’ve tagged someone in, like a parent or bridal party member, to take the bride’s dress home so that you don’t have to try to pack it and to return the groom’s suit or tux on time if the rental is due before the honeymoon is over.
Have an Info Hub (Wedding Website)
No one wants to answer the same question twelve times, even if it comes from a place of being excited about your wedding. Put your registry link, wedding timeline, accommodation options, and venue parking information on a wedding website that your guests can visit to find all the necessary details.
Remember – You’re Getting Married!
Rain or shine, missing appetizer, or wrong colored napkin, you will be married! Don’t let the stress of planning rob you of this monumental moment. While it’s easy to get swept away in the details, it’s not worth it. Remember, you have a fiancé by your side, a bridal party that loves you, and a list of guests excited to celebrate with you. If you’re glowing with happiness and love on the day, that’s all they’ll remember.