Here are a few things I wish I would have known before the wedding planning process (I wish I wrote this list a year ago when everything was fresh, but here is what still sticks with me… 52 weeks later…):
- Go with the flow. Something is bound to go wrong (not in a pessimistic way… it just most likely will). So if there is a typo on your invites or a groomsmen gets sick the day of the wedding, just roll with it… because in a year you will forgot all of those life shattering “hiccups.”
- Don’t forget about tax and gratuity. When creating our budget Jeremy and I forgot about a little thing called gratuity and tax that they tack on to your bill. This number can be anywhere in the $100’s to $1000’s of dollars, so be aware when budgeting.
- There are no rules. Luckily our generation is figuring it out and learning that you don’t have to have your wedding “a certain way.” J and opted out of a first dance, throwing the garter or anything we weren’t excited about/comfortable with. Some people may look at you funny, but at the end of the day it’s your day!
- Hire a videographer. Every advice column I read said to hire one and I ignored their advice… and now I regret it. I would love to watch our vows again or listen to my dad and sister’s speeches… there are so many fun memories that a picture can’t fully capture.
- Keep an eye out for hidden fees. We had to negotiate our way out of fees for everything from bread rolls (vs. sliced bread) to extra heaters. Be aware of these ahead of time, so you are smacked with a giant bill when you get back from your honeymoon. Also, be aware of little things you may forget to put in your budget – postage for invites/thank yous/RSVP cards,
- Splurge on open bar. This obviously is down to personal preference/budget, but I would advise cutting in other areas to make this happen. It is a nice touch and ensures that everyone is having a blast on the dance floor 🙂
- Don’t forget other events. If you are having a destination wedding of any kind, don’t forget to include the rehearsal dinner, activities, brunch/lunch, etc. into your budget. Welcome bags are also a nice touch for out of town guests. We bought these cute bags (our last name is Beaver), and filled them with treats we bought of Amazon (sunscreen, Pop Chips, Fiji water, candy, Advil, etc.) as well as an itinerary and welcome letter.
- Timelines. Everyone says how fast the day goes (which is does), but we made sure to take in the little moments (all your loved ones sharing a meal with you, dancing to our favorite songs). I also made a timeline (ahead of time), to have a better idea of what needed to get accomplished when. I also made a chart with all vendors names and contact info, as well as the time they’d be arriving. It was helpful to know when and where someone would be should an issue arise.
- Pick your battles. No matter how close you are to a family member/friend, something will come up that will not have the easiest solution. Maybe it’s guest list additions, or your mom wants you to wear her (very 80’s) wedding dress. Take a deep breath, hear them out and pick your battles. It isn’t worth getting into a giant fight over a plus one.
- Enjoy your day! You just spent a huge chunk of your (and your parents, and your husbands, and your husbands family’s) savings, so make sure to try every appetizer, eat your dinner, dance with your family and laugh with your friends! This is your day!
For more of wedding tips/suggestions check out the following:
* Images by John Plus Louise Photography