It’s engagement season around here (almost wedding season again) and I couldn’t help but think what would be super helpful for other couples getting started with their wedding planning? It dawned on me that I have a large group of past couples that might be able to shed some insight into wedding planning and give a little bit of their own advice from their very real and not so distant experiences. My friend Jade got married this past November. She and Matt had a gorgeous wedding at the Island House in Charleston, SC. Their wedding was nothing short of spectacular. In fact, I am currently working on a blog post about it. Stay tuned for that. In the mean-time when I asked her for advice she would give to newly engaged couples that are just getting started with wedding planning, she had a lot to say. Jade had so many great things to say that I’m letting her just continue this post. She was pretty much reading my mind with some of her answers and wrote a few things that I had not thought of. She’s ridiculously smart. I have more advice coming from other brides, but for now this will be part one of two blog posts with advice from real brides.
Keep on scrolling for some really great advice on wedding planning!
When I asked Jade for tips/advice for couples planning their wedding, the following is what she had to say:
“Have a very candid conversation with your future spouse about what you both want in a wedding, what you could do without and how much you’re wanting or not wanting to spend. Create a budget at the beginning and think of the top things that matter (food? entertainment? photos? honeymoon?) and put larger parts of the budget towards that. Download an app or create a spreadsheet to help keep track of what you’ve spent and what is left. Without fail, the original budget will usually be less than what you actually spend, but it’s good to know where you are at.”
I love what Jade had to say about money and including your fiance. Budgeting is super important in all aspects of life but prioritizing where your money will go helps you make sure that the most important things are fully covered. It’s so important to include your future spouse in on the wedding planning. After all this is a wedding for the two of you, not you and your mom/sister/brother/dad/whoever. It needs to be a day that is special for both of you, whatever that looks like.
Your wedding is important but so is the person you are marrying! I love what Jade had to say about remembering why you’re getting married.
“Remember that the whole reason you’re planning a wedding is to celebrate your spouse and the life you’re planning together….even after the wedding. Yes, there is life after a wedding! The last thing you want to do is to get married finally and then have no idea what to talk about or how to be with your spouse without the “wedding planning” third wheel. Plan nights where there is no wedding talk, or dates that don’t involve anything wedding related. The wedding really is only one part of your future life, spend as much time and dedication to your partner even during this time.”
I’ll add to that—spend as much time with your partner doing non-wedding related things, especially during this time. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in planning this huge party that one can easily forget to take time for each other as a couple. Your marriage (and your photos) will last outside of this huge one day event, so make time for your relationship!
Some great advice on actual planning, talking about wedding planning, and everyone else’s ideas for your big day:
“Get your main ideas down first, have only a very select few friends and then the professionals be your sounding board. It’s tempting to wanna gush all your details and planning progress to anyone who will listen. It’s the most exciting day you’ve planned so far, but that’s not the best for a few reasons. 1) Not everyone you talk to—no matter how much you love them—and would love to have them at your wedding will be invited. You know that, they don’t. Don’t be an insensitive jerk. If they ask how it’s going, of course state that it’s always a process and you’re getting by. Tell them maybe one or two details but don’t gush over how awesome it’s going to be. It is going to be awesome, but they won’t know since they may not be there. 2) The more you talk about it, the more ideas you get from other people—this isn’t always the best. They might have some awesome things to say, and it could get you to start changing your mind again, or your head might just explode because there really is that much to talk about and plan. Does that mean that you don’t talk to people? Of course not. But do have your intimate group of friends/family as your sounding board to talk things out. When it comes to the professionals…use them and their expert opinions! Have you been to 100 weddings or saw 50 things go wrong before? Nope, they have though!! They know what works, what could be improved and what awesome other vendors or ideas are out there. In a world of pinterest, and about 100 wedding websites, it’s crucial to get a first hand, trusted recommendation. Even with your select people that are helping you create your vision for the wedding, know that there are no rules ever, so if someone is telling you to change something that you feel works for you, don’t do it.”
“The worst thing that can happen after the wedding is not having done something you wanted, all because you wanted to please someone else. No one’s got time for that!!”
Her advice on choosing vendors:
“Well, then how do you choose your vendors to even start with? Word of mouth and recommendations is key, but in the event you’re having to meet with someone and then make a decision, trust your gut. If you throw an idea out there and they are having trouble seeing your vision, but not asking more probing questions, or even try to totally convince you of something else from the beginning…heck no!! Luckily this never happened to me, but I’ve been with friends where this happened before. Look for someone who has done a variety of projects and is up for the challenge of making your wedding super fun, but possible.”
On making decisions:
“Once you’ve made a big decision, (your wedding dress, a vendor, your location…) and especially after you’ve secured it or made any payments, STOP LOOKING! Actually coming to a final decision is hard enough, the last thing you want to do is second guess or get new ideas now. There will be many many choices and many decisions you’ll make, don’t multiply it by changing your mind. Trust your instincts, and remind yourself why you chose it in the beginning. Don’t let the wedding planning process be your life. Yes, planning a wedding is a huge time commitment and can be stressful, so that’s even more of a reason to literally block it out of your life for a few hours or even a few days. Your friends will thank you also for talking about something other than “blush vs. rose” or some other small detail that can eat away at your soul for days. That mental clarity makes it easier to make decisions later.”
One last thing she had to share:
“Create a wedding email address for everything wedding related. Your personal email will get buried and crushed with the weight of all the emails you’ll get. It’s easier to organize, keep up with and save things if they are all in one spot. We then shared that email address with a very select few people, to help us with keeping up with stuff too.”
So much good from Jade. Thanks so much for being willing to write a few things from your experiences to share with others. You rock!