There is so much that goes into the big day, and it can feel a little overwhelming at times. The food, the photographer, the DJ, the music, the dress – the planning seems like a never-ending to-do list. But as someone who’s been there, I can’t stress enough that it’s not worth the stress! The wedding day will be over within the blink of an eye, and tiny details that felt so important are things you won’t even remember looking back. Focus on the big things and the meaning beyond the day, and it will all come together.
Here are the 10 most important things to keep in mind while wedding planning:
1. Establish Your Budget
You can’t really plan anything until you set a budget. You will definitely spend way more money than you intended if you don’t give yourself a limit. There is no “right” amount you should be spending on the wedding, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Find a wedding planning budget spreadsheet (there are plenty of fantastic free ones online), spend some time figuring out what’s realistic for you and your fiancé, and go from there.
2. Figure Out Your Priorities
If you’ve pictured your wedding day since you were a little girl, then maybe there are certain aspects of the wedding you’ve imagined being a specific way, and those should be your priorities. Don’t overspend on things that don’t matter all that much to you. This is how you can sort out your budget. Talk it over with your fiancé, and see what things you want to spend more money on, and how you want things to look.
An important wedding aspect for me was the pictures. Those will be my memories to look back on, and I wanted them to be really nice. So I invested in a photographer whose work I really liked. The flowers were very unimportant to me, so I used fake flowers to save money. It’s things like this that you have to think about. What kind of food do you want? And is that realistic to spend per head if you have X number of guests? Take it all into consideration.
Don’t overspend on things that don’t matter all that much to you.
3. Don’t Be Overly Swayed by Other People’s Expectations
Everyone and their mother will have an opinion on your wedding day, but you can’t let it overshadow what you want the day to be. If you take everyone’s opinion into play, the wedding day will be a circus. Just be classy about it, thank them for their input, and use what opinions made sense to you.
4. Don’t Forget Your Future Husband’s Opinion
Some of us get so into wedding planning that we forget it’s also our husband’s wedding day. As you’re booking things and making decisions, try to get your fiancé’s input. Guys won’t always admit it, but they often dream a little about the wedding day too. I suggested eloping when we got engaged, and to my surprise, my husband was completely against it, and said he’d always pictured his friends and family at his wedding. The wedding day meant a lot to him, even if he acted nonchalant.
Typically, the girl plans out most of the day, because we just know more about wedding planning than men do and are better with detail-oriented tasks. But try to sit down with your man and ask him what parts of the wedding mean the most to him and get his opinions.
5. Ask for Help
I was pleasantly surprised to see how many people were willing to help me plan for the wedding. Several members of my family jumped in and started helping me plan. Make sure not to overburden the people you ask though, because you don’t want to be looked at as a bridezilla. Spread out the tasks among different people so that not all the stress falls on one person. Your bridesmaids and close family members would probably be the go-to people for this, unless you also hire a coordinator who can create a game plan for you.
6. Manage Stress
Speaking of stress, there may be times when you feel overwhelmed with the planning process. For me, it wasn’t necessarily planning for the day, it was stress over my guest list. I wanted a small wedding, but I have a huge family (and that’s an understatement). I ended up only inviting very immediate family and I had a few uninvited family members who quit speaking to me, and this literally made me sick from stress.
There are so many little things you can stress over with the wedding, but there’s no point in letting it get to you. Your wedding will come and go, and it will all work out how it’s supposed to. Make sure that during this time of planning, you’re taking care of your emotional and physical health.
7. Follow Up with Your Vendors before the Big Day
There are so many things you will schedule up until the wedding day. Keep your receipts and vendor information, and as the wedding day gets closer, contact each vendor to make sure everything is still as planned. It’s easy to miscommunicate when you have so much to plan, so it’s good to make sure everything is on track for the big day as you get closer. Some vendors to follow up with would be the photographer, hairstylist, makeup artist, DJ, caterer, and florist.
Follow up with the photographer, hairstylist, makeup artist, DJ, caterer, and florist.
8. Set a Timeline for the Day To Stay on Track
The wedding day itself will be a whirlwind of a day, so make sure to have somewhat of a timeline. A good idea would be to write down an ideal timeline for everything and print it out for the person who will be coordinating the day. They can help keep you on schedule. Make sure someone is keeping the groomsmen on time because they can get sidetracked easily. Ask your hair and makeup ladies what time you need to start to be ready in time for the wedding ceremony and photographer. A written timeline will help keep everyone on schedule and it will make it easier to move the day along. Here is an example of how you could write it out:
8 am-12 pm: hair and makeup
10 am: photographer arrives
12 pm-1 pm: groomsmen group photos
1 pm- 2 pm: bridesmaid group photos
2:30 pm: guests start to arrive
3 pm: ceremony starts
4 pm: etc.
9. As Long As You Both Say I Do, Nothing Else Matters
Ultimately your wedding day is about the commitment you make with your husband. It’s not about the aesthetic, the food, or the guest list. At the end of the day, if you both said ‘I do,’ then nothing else should matter. There will inevitably be things that go wrong or not as planned, but at the end of the night, you accomplished what you set out to do – get married. So let that be an encouragement – it doesn’t matter if the day went exactly according to plan, because you married your best friend.
10. Try To Enjoy the Wedding Day
My favorite advice – enjoy your day. During premarital counseling, my pastor gave us some good advice. He said, “Make sure when you are walking down the aisle you are taking everything in. Meet eyes with your future spouse, take a deep breath, and take a look around at all the people who are witnessing this big moment.” The day is going to fly by. All the hard work of planning will feel like it’s over in an instant, so try to take it all in and have fun. You’ve planned every part of the day, so just let it happen and relax. You don’t want to look back on the wedding day and think about how stressed out you felt or barely remember the big moments of the day.
It’s easy to think about everything that needs to be done and to get overwhelmed, but just remember that your wedding day is about you and your husband. Do your best to manage your stress during the planning process, and focus on the main things. As long as you end the day as husband and wife, then it was a success. Remember to enjoy the big day and take it all in for the memories. Because before you know it, you’ll be looking back at photos and reminiscing over the day that you said “I do” to your best friend.
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