After 11 months of planning, I can't believe our wedding is actually over. I wish I could relive it at least once a month and have big celebrations with our friends and family over and over.
I've had quite a bit of time to reflect and I wanted to share several important tips for all of you brides to be.
- Plan as much as you can, as early as you can. Sometimes I felt like I was doing things way too early, but honestly wedding week came so quickly and I am glad I had done as much as possible ahead of time. Make monthly to do lists for yourself and stick to it.
- Make a timeline. Start working on your timeline as soon as you can. I started working on ours in February when I had an idea of what time I wanted things to start. Send this timeline to anyone involved in the wedding: family, friends, bridal party, DJ, photographer, venues, etc.
- Spread out your payments and make a budget. It seems like almost everything is due the last month before the wedding. If you plan ahead, you'll be able to really spread out your payments. Make sure to create a budget and stick to it.
- Remember it is a day about the two of you. Your family and friends will all have an opinion on various aspects of the wedding. Remember it is YOUR day and at the end of it, it is about your marriage and starting the next chapter together.
- If you are doing an outdoor wedding, have a plan b. The weather is so unpredictable and you won't want to be worried about the weather on your big day. Have a good back up plan that will still be beautiful.
- Do a first look. We went back and forth on this for a while, but that moment with just us and our photographers was so sacred. I am so thankful we had that time for just the two of us. Plus then we could do a lot of pictures beforehand and we weren't trying to hide from each other all day.
- At least one thing will not go the way you had envisioned. Try not to let this bother you too much because no matter how much you plan, something is not going to go your way. Stay focused on what the day is really about.
- Find a friend who can do calligraphy. One of my bridesmaids is incredibly creative and has beautiful handwriting. She did so many of the signs and all of our place cards. This gave our wedding a personal touch and it was beautiful. Check her out @handmadehoosier on Instagram.
- Selecting a maid of honor is so important. My maid of honor was seriously amazing. She brought decorations, thought of things to bring that I didn't, and she gave the perfect, heartfelt speech. Give this duty to someone you love, but also someone that you know will keep you calm.
- Hire a hair and make up team. This might have been one of the best decisions I made throughout the process, but I was also a bit particular. If you are going to hire both, maybe offer to pay for one or the other for your bridesmaids as a gift.
- Have appetizers and cocktails for your guests when they arrive at the reception venue. No matter how many pictures you take before, more than likely you will want a few after the ceremony. If you do this, make sure your guests are entertained and fed.
- Splurge and get a videographer. Your wedding day will seriously be a blur so capturing the moments is critical. A photographer is a given, but sometimes people skip the videographer. I am so thankful we hired one so we will be able to relive our day, hear the words that were spoken, see our first dance, and so on.
- Find a venue that makes your life easy. Our church and our reception venue truly could not have been better. Both venues helped our day flow so smoothly.
- If you are calm, it will help everyone else be calm. I had so many people tell me I was such a calm bride. Here's the thing: I had no reservations about who I was marrying, I had planned everything as much as I could, and I was just ready to walk down that aisle. I really think it helped everyone else relax and have a good time.
- Remember to celebrate. This day is about starting a life together as a couple and creating a family together. I truly felt like all of our friends and family had such a wonderful time and loved celebrating with us. Dance the night away, take a million pictures, and remember to thank everyone who has helped you.
No matter what, try not to let the stress of wedding planning dominate your life or your conversations with your significant other. I wish you the best of luck and congratulations on your engagement.