Photo Cred: Kindel Works Photography
I must start of by saying that I am NOT a wedding expert. Or a planning expert, for that matter. But I am planning my own wedding and it is a lot of work. Wedding ideas are endless these days as people move away from tradition. Now a days, anything goes. A bride in a jumpsuit? Why Not! Make it your own, not a Pinterest wedding. These are a few of my tips to 'I survived Planning my own Wedding'. Back up here, we want to do more than survive. These are my tips that helped me stay on track with my vision, my budget, my relationship, and my sanity.
Don't Let Pinterest Pin You- the first thing you will probably want to do immediately after you get engaged is to spend hours on end on Pinterest. Creating boards, getting ideas, looking at wedding dresses. The truth is, when you see something you like STICK TO IT and move on. Go with your gut.
Create a Realistic Budget- I had no idea where to start here. So I did some research to find out the average cost of weddings in my state. This will vary drastically depending on where you live. So when I talk to my friend in FL about the cost of her venue, I won't feel like i'm getting ripped off in WA.
Find unique ways to cut your budget in certain areas. It starts with determining what is most important to you and where you want to spend your resources. This was my approach:
Top Down Approach- start with researching the biggest items and funneling down to the smaller tasks. This seems like a no brainer but start with the Venue first. They will have recommendations and sometimes a preferred list of vendors for you to work with. But don't pick the first thing you like with out either negotiating or doing a cost comparison with several other vendors! Their bottom line by be cheaper but you have to focus on the value of what you are paying for.
Another tip- be open to Friday or Sunday weddings. Not only will you save money on the venue but it will be less competitive to book the rest of your vendors. This allows for more negotiating plus you have time on your side.
DIY isn't always cheaper- before deciding to tackle on a task on your own, do a cost analysis. It may not be cheaper!
The Head and The Heart Conflict- Trust your instincts when it comes to making big decisions. Interview and negotiate with every single vendor. Who do you see yourself working with over the next year? Who seems trustworthy? Who is willing to work with your budget? If my fiancé had his way, he would book the first vendor we talked to and call it a day. Come to an agreement with how may vendors you want to approach then listen to your gut when it tells you time to choose one.
This also rings true for everything else when planning your wedding. After searching for my wedding dress at several stores, I increasingly became disgruntled by the process. I went alone to several stores, to be asked "who are you here with?" I was too shy at another dress store to come out on the main floor to see my dress in the full length mirror because another bride had taken over the small store with over 10 of her girls. Not sure why we are expected to have an entourage with us while we try on a dress?
I also didn't care for the special treatment. The constant "We strive to make the bride feel beautiful on her special day" yeah yeah…we get it, you want our business. But I just need to find a dress and fast!
So end of story here….I searched at several stores. Disliked the process. And grugingly walked to a consignment store down the street from where I live. Still nothing! As I am about to leave the store, I see a dress misplaced and I think that this could be the one. It fit like a glove, it was under my budget, never worn, and absolutely perfect. Done and Done.
But wait….I tried on more dresses shortly after while on a trip back home to CA. This was mostly for my mom, grandma and bridesmaids to see me try on dresses. They all had their own opinion about which one they liked on me. And I found myself loving some of the dresses. Now I was confused! But my gut still led me back to the original dress that I fell in love with at the consignment store. I didn't want to get drawn to the same boring wedding dress style that everyone else wanted me to be in. And besides, it was well over my budget.
So thats how you stick to your budget, you listen to your gut and hold your ground when your flooded with several opinions, clouding your instincts.
They call this a wedding dress??
Create Boundaries- Have a specific time dedicated to focus on wedding planning. Don't do it every single day. Its not who you are, its not your life, its one event that will take place on one day. It just takes a really long time to plan :) I spent hours each night browsing Pinterest for the perfect wedding dress. It wasn't until I started having dreams every night about me in an awful dress that I began to realize that I needed to create boundaries.
What works well for us is we recap every Sunday night about what we want to accomplish for the week. And we deligate tasks to one another so we each have autonomy to make a decision and complete a task.
What Is Important To You- photography? venue? etc. Our goal is to create a fun and memorable atmosphere for our loved ones. So that is the focus with every decision we make.
I have been given a lot of advice from people through out this process from previous brides, wedding vendors, friends. I have been told that videography is just as important as photography. And that wedding invites are a keepsake and should reflect the style of your wedding. And that every wedding dress should have a train, and to not use friends as wedding vendors, but stick to the professionals.
Much like this blog post is my opinion. Everyone has their own. Formulate your own opinion of what is important and right for you. It is unfortunate that we start to create our ideal wedding from such a young age because most people don't have the means to create a 'dream'. We are told what a wedding should look like, feel like, how much it should cost. If you don't want to do a bouquet toss, or a first dance, or better yet, you want to serve Indian food at a Puerto Rican wedding just because its your favorite food, then do it!
But make it personal to your relationship. No one wants to go to another wedding that feels the same as the last.
Photo Credit: Kelly Lemon Photography
Please Help!- I haven't been so good at this, but learn to lean on others. I am used to being the only one planning an event, and besides, I want to make sure that my vision turns out the way I imagined. But you simply can't do it on your own. Even if that help is small like bouncing off ideas to a bridesmaid, or getting an opinion from your parents. But the best person to lean on for help is yours truly- your fiancé.
Its true- most men don't care to be involved. But find some way to involve them, its their day too after all. Which brings me to my next thought…Brides, its not just your day. Sorry to crush your dreams but that is simply selfish to think. Why is it OUR day? Last time I checked, a wedding was to commemorate your love for one another and share YOUR life long commitment to each other in front of your closest family and friends. So there you have it.
Stay True To Your Vision- You will want to steer off course ALOT. But the best way is to write it down or talk with your fiancé about what you are trying to create and how you will accomplish this. Revisit your vision when you start to lose track.
I really want a videographer but its not within our budget. I recently opted to make it work, even though its a big chunk of our total wedding funds. I found myself wanting that magical video recapping our wedding day. After some doubt ensued, my fiancé asked me why I wanted a videographer. I was able to realize that it wasn't the fancy editing that I needed but simply the raw footage of our day to watch as my memory of our wedding fades over the years. And that is how we got back on track. Stay true to the vision you have created together and help each other walk down the same path.
Be Realistic- this goes back to rules 1-8. Stay true to your vision, listen to your gut and stay on track with your budget. But be realistic. Do you really want to spend $4k on gigantic floral bouquets? Sure they will be beautiful, for all of 3 hours to shortly wither away while you jet off to Maui for your honeymoon. An alternative would be to pick up flowers at your local farmers market and ask family to help make arrangements.
Again- ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish? If you want to create an over the top environment to impress your guests, then spend that $4k on flowers. I choose my focus to be on the overall experience my guests have. I doubt anyone will leave the wedding wishing the floral arrangements were taller. But guests will remember if they danced, with a libation in hand, to the cupid shuffle.
Dessert- my love! But again, its too often you go to a wedding to see cake slices on the table, untouched because everyone is having too much fun on the dance floor. Make your own cutting cake and ask family members to each bake their own dessert. You get a diverse finger food dessert bar. Now Grandpa can have his cupcake and eat it too.
Stop and breath- Enjoy this time of your life. It happens once and shouldn't turn into a memory full of stress and anxiety. Do your wedding planning with a dirty martini in hand and enjoy the ride.
Hello! I'm Candice and I love baking. This blog is dedicated to all things sweet, exploring your passion, staying inspired and encouraging you to Eat More Cake!