i’ve been lacking creative juices, for it’s been sucked out of me and all been put in to wedding planning.. and work.
at first, wedding planning is a land of fantasy, imagination, and pinterest boards. the initial “that’d be fun!” “this would be so cute!” “i’m going to do that!” eventually started transforming in to “maybe that’s too expensive..” “do i need it, though?” and “how much is the deposit, again?”
i have 7 tips, if you will, for to-be brides and those who plan to be engaged (i see your pinterest boards, ladies) in the near future. hopefully one of these things can apply to you!
1. early bird gets the worm
we got engaged in april and booked our wedding venue a week later.
“already?!” people said.
we’re getting married in june, which turns out to be the most popular month to get married. we knew booking ahead of time would secure the date and cross off one of the biggest expenses. when we toured the venue and said, “we’ll take it!” the owner gave us kudos for our style and quick decision-making.
we also booked our caterers, DJ, photographer, ordered our cake, and sent out out save the dates well ahead of time. it was better for us to book and get finances in order instead of scrambling and paying for all of it at once.
2. choose your venue & date wisely
hey, try not booking on a saturday.
pros: cheaper, less requested
cons: friends and families who need to take time off work, wrapping up the wedding early (example: sunday wedding)
venues tend to be 100s, if not 1000s of dollars cheaper when you book on a weekday or sunday. ours was $500 cheaper just for booking on a friday! that $500 can now be spent elsewhere, like for the honeymoon or on more alcohol.
also, keep in mind if you have guests who are traveling from afar for your weekend, that they may want to explore the area. with saturday weddings, the wedding takes up the bulk of the day. then guests generally leave sunday so they make it to work on monday morning. no time to be a tourist!
the benefit of having a wedding on a friday/sunday is that free time is left over for out-of-town guests to relax. they may have to take a day off of work (perhaps they have to anyway if there are any activities the day before the wedding) – but it may be worth it if they get somewhat of a vacation out of the trip. not saying your wedding is a burden, especially with that open bar. am i right?
the idea crossed my mind to have a sunday afternoon wedding. it would’ve been $1,000 cheaper AND we could have had a brunch theme! yet, with so many out-of-town guests and not doing it over a holiday weekend, we opted for friday evening.
just sayin’ – you don’t have to be limited to saturday!
3. solidify your guest list
think about this early. who and how many people are you inviting?
if it’s out-of-town for most guests, did you send out save the dates?
can you imagine x, y, z person not being there on your big day?
example: we’re opting for a child-free wedding and made sure to get the word out so people knew way ahead of time.
also – have your families met? what about your friends? to ease the awkwardness that may sometimes occur at a wedding, have your loved ones meet ahead of time to avoid any clashing. (thank goodness the election is over)
or, have a get-together with friends to make mingling easier. we had an engagement party to make sure people recognize at least one face. we’re serving alcohol so it should be fine either way, but never a bad idea to have at least close friends and family members meet and to celebrate your initial engagement before the big day!
ETIQUETTE ALERT: do not invite people to your engagement party who are not invited to your wedding.. you can do it the other way around, but for the love of pizza, feelings will be hurt and it’s
tacky super confusing if someone is invited to the engagement party but not the wedding.
4. note flexibility
seek venues that leave you wiggle room. our venue has flexibility to choose our own caterer, bartender, DJ.. actually, we can choose to have or do anything. a lot of venues make you book through their caterers, use their photographer, book with their florist, or other pre-selected businesses which can really add up. basically we have to pay you $5,000 for the venue plus a $2,000 minimum from your preferred caterer and $500 minimum from your friend’s floral shop? no thanks.
this ideology of flexibility may not be for everyone; especially if you want and CAN spend $30 per plate. but this is something to watch out for if you have an idea in mind for food or a cool DJ at your dream venue, but you have to choose from their pre-selected list.
if you’re having the oddly popular “wedding in an old barn”, you’re probably fine on all of this.
5. don’t stress the dress
(if you’re buying online or don’t want to hear about my wedding dress adventure, skip this section)
oh, the dress! what a doozy.
a magical experience that may turn in to an episode of “say yes to the dress” with thousands of other women and their posse of fifteen other estrogen-welding loved ones. depending on your budget and style, there are some GREAT shops that have that private feel that focuses on you.. glasses of champagne and a personal stylist.
BUT if you’re like me, and don’t want to spend $2,000 on a dress you’re going to wear once… a lot of these wedding dress shops are absolutely fabulous but have a $1,500 minimum
not including alterations or accessories and don’t allow you to look through the dresses. your stylist pulls them for you while you and your posse waits. i’m not hating, though. felt like a princess during this experience when i went to A&Be in minneapolis.. but the prices made my eyes equivalent to an owl’s. i was already feeling guilty thinking about lewis asking me, “how much was it?”
truly, it all depends on the experience you want. i also went to the wedding shoppe in saint paul (on a saturday).
it. was. crazy.
there were so many women there squished from shoulder to shoulder at the entrance. literally, it was like a college bar on game day. when i finally got in 30 minutes after my scheduled appointment time, i was rushed to try on dresses the stylist was pulling for me. i awkwardly stood their naked as she dressed me in the next one: a model off the runway, quickly switching to the next outfit before getting pushed out on stage again. the lady next to me (literally, right next to me) was trying on dresses with her mom who was giving all sorts of opinionated feedback. i was lucky my girls and i were basically on the same page, but less of a posse is definitely more when you’re trying on dresses. feelings will likely get hurt.
not to mention is was annoying to squeeze by everybody else’s cliques.
another annoying thing was that the stylist kept asking, “are you saying yes?” when i gave the slightest curve of a smile. or blinked. overall, i tried on a total of 10 to 15 dresses between the two places.
don’t let this scare you!
after trying on styles i originally wouldn’t have, thinking wisely about budget, and a good night’s sleep.. i came back again on a MONDAY, ready to give the wedding shoppe another chance. frankly, i truly enjoyed their variety and reasonable prices.
hey! this time it was dead quiet, you could probably hear a mouse eating a crumb. a different stylist from the one i had before pulled styles i liked and a few of the originals i tried on, all within budget. she took her time AND gave me privacy. it also wasn’t overflowing with five other brides and seventeen of their closest family members.
i ended up saying yes to the dress. well, actually two. that’s a different story.
i was lucky that my dress delivered 4 months earlier than expected from the designer, so i have more than enough time for alternations (and still get to my ideal weight). it’s smart to order your dress at least 8 months before the wedding so they have time to order it for you, ship it, and for alterations.
SUMMARY: watch your budget, try not to have too many options, avoid saturday’s, don’t bring 10 people with you – they’ll see you wearing it when you walk down the aisle
P.S. order your dress a size up so when it comes time to alterations, it will fit you like a glove
6. SAVE! $
short and sweet: make sure you have enough time to save up for your wedding and all that surrounds it. the average wedding costs $26,645.. not including the honeymoon. don’t go in to debt! have a budget!
there are little things when planning a wedding you may not think about: tipping, transportation to and from the wedding venue, gifts for groomsmen/bridesmaids, cake delivery, insurance.. just to name a few.
7. don’t sweat the small stuff, bitch
it’s smart to have a day-of wedding coordinator or wedding planner if you’re like me and do, generally, sweat the small stuff. (i definitely have a wedding coordinator)
if you’re worried about invites, music, decorations, flowers, or a miscellaneous category.. remember there are plenty of things you can do yourself. you don’t necessarily need a DJ or a $3,000 photo package. reach out to friends, family, or use pinterest (like i know you have) for some help/DIY tips.
lastly, don’t be a bitch. we get it, it’s your wedding – but it’s also your future husband’s day and a time to celebrate with your loved ones. be nice to your bridesmaids and don’t expect them to spend a million dollars. high five that maid of honor for planning a bachelorette party and putting up with your shit. in the end, it’s a giant party that you want everybody to remember for the good times they had, right?
when it boils down to it, people will remember the fun they did or did not have. they won’t care about the center pieces, the color scheme, or what kind of silverware you used.
if you’re going to remember anything, remember this: make your wedding a kick-ass first day as husband and wife.
201 days until mr. & mrs!