Let’s face it. Planning a wedding is a lot of work. In fact, most weddings today take over 250 hours just to plan – that’s more than six 40-hour work-weeks! Throw merging families and the emotional aspects that accompany a major life change into the mix and it is easy to see why most brides are frazzled and end up alienating most of their friends and family at a time when they should be celebrating those very elements. The good news is that planning your wedding doesn’t have to be overwhelming – in fact it can be a surprisingly fun process. Here are some tips to keep in mind as the big day quickly approaches.
Hire quality vendors.
Six little words sum it all up: You get what you pay for. The wedding market is saturated with people who claim they can sing, design fabulous cakes, and alter your gown all for a fraction of the going rate. Unfortunately, what is delivered is often a far cry from what was promised. Quality vendors needn’t be expensive, but be aware of the difference between a good value and too cheap. Reputable vendors will not accept kickbacks or payments from other vendors for referring their services. Set up preliminary tastings with your top caterer and cake designer choices before you commit to their services. Listen to demos of your musicians, and if at all possible, see them perform live. Make sure the vendors handling presentation elements such as floral and cake decor can match your taste and style. In the end, it will be the vendors you hire who will make or break your event. Choose wisely.
Prioritize your Budget.
No matter if your budget is $10,000 or $100,000, deciding where your wedding dollars are going to be spent is an important task. As a couple, make a list of the wedding planning aspects you value most. For some, it’s photography and being able to share their memories with their grandchildren. For others, it’s about throwing a killer party that their guests will talk about for years. After choosing what you want to prioritize, do some research into what those vendors actually cost. Don’t forget to use your resources – budget development and assistance should be a part of your wedding consultant’s services.
Set-up “deal with it days”.
We’ve all heard of, and perhaps have known, the crazy bride who calls her florist, caterer, dress designer, and photographer upwards of twelve times a day – and usually all about the same thing. Avoid bridezilla status and maintain your sanity by setting up a day with your vendors when you will deal with everything. Write down your questions, concerns, and ideas as they come to you and then let them be. On your “deal with it days”, you and your vendors will be able to review all your updates in a focused and uninterrupted manner. This stress-management method will help you better organize your thoughts and leave you time to prioritize other areas in your life, not the least of which being enjoying your engagement.
Don’t dump unwanted responsibility on your guests.
You invited your guests to enjoy a celebration, not to work as free labor. Tending the gift table and the guestbook prior to the ceremony are roles that honored guests are typically eager to fill. By the time the reception rolls around, however, those guests are ready to kick up their heels, drink some champagne, and mingle with friends and relatives that they have not seen in years. They do not want to be obligated to track down the catering director to make sure he receives the final payment. Wedding details always end up multiplying to be more than the couple initially bargained for and guests get resentful when their wedding day tasks seem to never end. If you don’t have a wedding coordinator for the entire process, make sure to hire one for the day of the event. A quality-wedding consultant will meet with you about a month before the wedding and obtain all copies of your vendor contracts and go over all the details so that your day will go off without a hitch. Ensuring you have a flawless day and happy guests is priceless.
Develop a thick skin and sense of humor.
Planning a wedding means being able to roll with the punches with the style and grace of Jackie O. Well-meaning friends and family will bluntly shoot down your ideas, turn their noses at your color choices, and insist that Aunt Martha’s next-door neighbor’s veterinarian’s accountant be on the invite list. Learning how to laugh at yourself and the planning process, while standing your ground, is a must for keeping your cool during your engagement.
Don’t give up your day job.
Most brides get so caught up in wedding details that it consumes every aspect of their lives, leaving them little time for anything else. Continue to be involved with the organizations and commitments you had before a pretty ring was placed on your finger. Go on dates with your fiancé . . . and don’t talk about the wedding! Maintaining a sense of normalcy during the engagement process is important and will help you stay balanced.
Weddings are meant to be a time to celebrate love and commitment. Make sure you give yourself the opportunity to enjoy the process.