When planning your wedding, you try hard to think about every tiny detail, but considering that this may be your first time planning a wedding, there’s a lot you don’t know to look out for.
I’m sure everyone that you know that is already married is throwing tons of advice at you and it can be way too much to absorb, but I have put together a few Do’s, Don’ts, and I Don’t Think So’s to help guide your way.
Hire a wedding coordinator! I cannot ever stress this point enough. A lot of brides think a planner is a waste of money and that you can do-it-yourself, but a coordinator is a necessity! A wedding coordinator will come in the day of your wedding, or as early as the day of your rehearsal, and make sure that everything goes off without a hitch. A coordinator will deal with all of your vendors and ensure that your contracts and wishes are being carried out properly, the keep everyone on schedule, etc. This is NOT the bride’s job and you should not be worrying about any of this on your wedding day!
And no, I do not think that Cousin Suzy can do it or should do it. Hire a professional, whether it is me or another wonderful coordinator. You’ve invited your family and friends to your wedding to experience the joy of your marriage with you not to work for you. Plus, a professional coordinator knows exactly what to do and how to avoid any pitfalls or problems that may arise. (See our post about the Importance of a Wedding Planner, it has tons of great info about coordinators too!)
Have a potty plan. I know this sounds ridiculous, but think about it, once that big, beautiful wedding dress is on, how in the world are you going to use the bathroom? You will need help, whether that’s your maid of honor’s job or your new hubby is willing to help. Someone has to hold up all that dress so you can go. I always suggest that my brides go right before putting on the dress. That at least limits how many times you have to go with the dress on. Ok, enough potty talk.
Give a speech/toast. The bride & the groom should always give a toast. Whether you prefer to stand together and give one toast or each give one separately, this is a must, regardless of the length. At the very least, you need to thank your guests for coming. If you are shy or nervous about speaking in front of a crowd, perhaps your groom can give them speech while you stand with him. You don’t both have to speak, but it’s nice if you do. If you’re both shy, practice the speech with each other, your parents, or your bridal party. It may be best to write down the speech so you don’t have to remember it or make something up on the spot. This is also the perfect way to kick off toasts at your reception!
Assume. Everyone knows what happens when you assume, so I don’t see any reason to repeat a worn out old quote here. No one can see the visual inside your head of the wedding you’ve been dreaming of.
Make sure that everything is written down! I cannot stress this enough. People forget things and everyone makes mistakes. When you sign contracts with your vendors, make sure everything you want is included in the contract, don’t assume that they just know that you want something. Write it down! Please know, this is not an invitation to bring out the bridezilla, be polite but insist that everything be in writing.
Spend it all. If you’re sitting on a gold mine, by all means, spend away. However, most brides are working on some kind budget and spending thousands of dollars on a wedding is enough to give them a panic attack. The economy is rough right now and everyone needs to be thinking about their future.
While I love weddings, we all have to acknowledge that this really is only one day. This day is to celebrate the life you are going to create with this one person, so leave a little something in the bank to create this life.
Don’t create unrealistic expectations for your budget. I always ask my clients which 3 aspects of the wedding are most important to them. This could be an amazing dinner, or that fabulous photographer, or a rocking DJ. Everyone has different priorities and if you focus on the details that are most important, you achieve the wedding you’ve dreamed of without going bankrupt!
I Don’t Think So:
Getting the cheapest photographer. Not everyone puts this in their top 3 most important aspects of their wedding. However, I always tell my clients to reconsider. When your wedding day is over what will you have to remember it? That excellent cake? I don’t think so. The most sought after band? Nope. All you’ll have are the memories of that wonderful day. What better way to recall those memories than pictures?! A photographer and/or videographer may be the only tangible item you’re left with after your big day.
Even if you don’t think they’re worth the money now, how about in 20 years? These pictures will only increase in value over the years. They are worth every penny.
This does not mean that you need to choose the most expensive photographer either! Shop around, look at their portfolios, and choose the photographer whose style matches yours and you feel can truly capture the magic of this very special day.
Drinking dark drinks. This seems pretty obvious, but I’m guessing many of you hadn’t even thought of “restricting” your beverages at the reception. Think about it, you spent all this money on the perfect WHITE dress, do you really want to ruin it with a huge red wine stain? You’ll be nervous, people will bump into you, and you’re likely to spill. Do you really want to waste precious moments of your evening trying to salvage a ruined dress?
So, stick to light colored beverages or white wines and know that if you spill, a skilled wedding coordinator will have stain remover with them.