While planning our wedding, we had time on our side. When you are engaged almost 22 months, you can pretty much coast through most of the planning. You do a little bit here, a little bit there. You take your time. But despite the fact that we had such a long engagement, there were things we learned along the way. Lessons learned, if you will.
Remember: no 2 weddings are the same, and everyone’s experience planning their wedding will be different too.
Your groom or the groom’s family will have opinions.
I was lucky with how involved Jeremy wanted to be in the planning. Yes, I picked the place, but it filled all of our criteria. He chose the cake, gave approval for every decision that was made, and was very present throughout the entire planning process. He picked out our photographer too.
This piece of advice doesn’t come from my personal experience. My in-laws are great and were throughout the whole planning process. But I know that isn’t always the case. Be upfront with them about what you and your groom want. Remember that it is your day…not theirs. Be respectful of them, but make sure they know your vision.
Figure out the money part first.
Weddings cost money. And usually it’s a good amount of money. Figure out your budget first. Be upfront about the things that are important to you and what you want to spend your funds on. Also figure out who is paying for what. More than likely it’s not going to be the bride’s family that pays for it. The bride and groom might pitch in, or both families pitch in. Have the conversation about that early on and stick with it.
Bonus piece of advice: If you can get a lump sum of money at the beginning, then you won’t have to keep asking for money. And you will be in control of all payments, ect.
Have a clear vision of what your day will look like.
This was key to having a successful wedding. We knew exactly what type of wedding we were having. There wasn’t really any question once we found our venue. I also had an idea of how the entire day would play out in my head while we were planning. Get ready, first look with dad, bridal portraits, first look with Jeremy, wedding party pictures, ceremony, family pictures, reception, send off.
Once I knew that Jeremy and I were having a first look and once I knew that my dad and I would have a moment to ourselves as well, it became clear what the timeline would look like. And speaking of timeline…
Create a timeline. Just do it.
I’m going to be honest. Our timeline wasn’t too detailed, but it showed everyone where to go and what time things were scheduled for. Just remember that if things don’t go according to plan (hello hour delay because of the weather), that it’s just fine. Everyone will be wanting to help make your dream wedding happen. Just trust them.
Have a backup plan.
Our wedding was completely outdoors. We didn’t have a tent, and while we had a backup space, we agreed we would only need it if it was ABSOLUTELY necessary. Luckily, the venue didn’t push us to take anything inside. They worked with us and we were able to get everything we wanted – we just had to wait an hour. Even though we didn’t use our backup space, I felt reassured knowing that we had one…and it would have been just as beautiful.
Know your vendors will work with you if things don’t go as planned.
When we were in our hour delay, our photographers came up to us to start family portraits. Jeremy and I already had our first look, so we could see each other while we were waiting. This was such a blessing. During that hour delay, we got all the family shots done and over with so that we didn’t have to wait until after the ceremony to do them. They used the time we were waiting to get these shots done, and I am so glad that they did that.
Things will go wrong. Just be prepared for it.
The day before you get married, the high is in the 90s. You are sweating bullets and dreading what the next day will bring. When you wake up on your wedding day with only a 20% chance of rain…and then a huge storm blows through. The rest of the day is overcast, but the rain holds off until the end of the day.
The main thing that happened to us was the weather and the delay. But, it all worked out in the end. We got great pictures under an umbrella and we still got married.
What were your lessons learned from your wedding?