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So as you all know, I got engaged this past year! It’s been incredible knowing that the man I love is the one I am going to spend the rest of my life with. Getting engaged was one of the best days of my life, and I know my wedding day could easily top it. I am incredibly blessed and very grateful.
But, I’ve got to be honest with you: the in between stage has been a little stressful.
Girls, planning a wedding is no joke. It is full of unknowns and details and budget busters and confusion. And as much as I know it’s going to be totally worth it, I wish I would have known a few things before I got started so my life could have been easier. So that is what I would like to do for you!
If you are engaged, or perhaps on the cusp, bookmark this blog so you have it handy whenever it’s your time. Trust me on this – you will need all the tips and help you can get! Planning a wedding is a BLAST, but it has the ability to totally stress you out. Don’t let it. Use these tips to plan a wedding without stressing out so you can enjoy the process AND the final destination.
1. Don’t shy away from “inclusive packages.” They are such a blessing! I’m that person who suffers from FOMO on better deals, and I definitely get overwhelmed by researching the endless options. (Pinterest needs to go away.) So, having a small selection of vendors in the essential areas already lined up for me was like giving me a magic wand. All I had to do was point and choose. Done and done!
2. Keep the wedding party on the smaller side. Less is more. The more bridesmaids and groomsmen you have, the more organization you have to do. Plus, it gets expensive. Honor a few people you love in your life to be in your wedding party, and the rest can sit back and enjoy your wedding!
3. Don’t open up the door for opinions and suggestions if you’re not ready to filter through tons of conflicting views. Keep a few people whose opinion you value and trust and seek them when it comes to making some tougher decisions. The more people you ask, the more overwhelmed you are going to feel.
4. Focus more on the marriage than the actual wedding. The wedding is one day, the marriage is for a lifetime.
5. Try the smaller, non-chain wedding dress shops when choosing your wedding dress. The selections are often nicer (yes, I’m talking big names!) and the prices are even the same or cheaper than the chain stores.
6. There are plenty of websites for you to customize and/or print your own wedding invitations for low prices and good quality. If you have a specific idea in mind, these can work perfectly.
7. If your officiant is qualified to provide marriage counseling and you are both open to it, take advantage. It provides you with a safe space to discuss topics and scenarios that come up in marriage, and the chance to learn strategies to help conquer them.
8. Decide on your budget beforehand and stick to it. Ask yourself what you can do without. Find creative, less expensive alternatives where possible. But definitely don’t cut corners on the things most important to you! For example, I know that my photos will be hanging around my house for a lifetime, so I want them executed well.
9. Use the budget friendly websites for planning your honeymoon. Travel Pirates has become my best friend!
10. Know your guest list. We come from families of eaters who value good food, but they aren’t big drinkers. Therefore we decided to focus more on food and less on alcohol. If alcohol is important to your group and you don’t want your guests to pay, look into having an open bar for 3 hours over 5. Most venues told me guests don’t drink alcohol the entire 5 hours, unless everyone’s a heavy drinker.
11. Find options that can have multiple uses or be utilized after the wedding. For example, I found a beautiful bouquet of preserved flowers on Etsy. It’s absolutely gorgeous and it matched my colors! Plus, because it’s preserved, I can keep it for years as a keep sake or decorative piece in our home.
12. If your wedding dress won’t be comfortable to dance in, get another one to change into. You don’t want to feel constricted dancing at your wedding, and you can find inexpensive white dresses that provide you with a little more wiggle room.
13. Black Friday can be a great time to get some knick knacks for the wedding as lots of stores have deals. Lingerie, bath essentials, venue decorative pieces, wedding bands, plane tickets – if you need it, it will be on sale somewhere.
14. Keep in mind three day weekends when you are choosing your wedding date. Memorial day weekend and Labor day weekend are great because they’re national holidays, most people are off, and it provides you with me time to socialize, party, and spend quality time with your loved ones.
15. Create electronic save the dates for free to save on paper and postage.
16. When shopping online for various wedding things, Ebates has helped. I ordered my invitations online from Wedding Paper Divas and Ebates.com provided 2% cash back. Every little bit helps.
17. Make use of the free wedding websites and their cool features. TheKnot provides an option for your guests to RSVP, so I opted out of getting response cards (which by the way ARE NOT cheap despite being so small!). You end up having to call some guests anyway to get a response, so why pay for the extra postage?
18. If you and your significant other already have all the things you need for your home, opt to do a honeymoon registry instead of a traditional one. There are a few good free sites out there, just be sure to indicate somewhere that your guests have the option to bring their monetary gifts to the reception, as these sites charge a service fee to either the couple or the guests.
19. Use your network as much as possible. Friends who are great leaders can step in to be a wedding coordinator the day of. Family members might be great at graphic design or crafting. Your network is talented, so be sure to see if they can help contribute to your special day.
20. Remember to talk it out. Wedding planning, even with all of the tips in the world, can still be stressful. If you hold it inside or think you’re being silly for feeling so overwhelmed over something so exciting – you’re just going to make it worse. Be open about it. (That’s what I am here for!)
Remember what the wedding is ABOUT, and that will help you keep perspective. If you need guidance, advice, support, or just someone who “gets it” – you know where to find me! Trust me, it always helps to have an amazing support system guiding you along the way – especially people who have been through it before. I can help you de-stress, organize, plow through your to-do list, and feel completely under control along the way. Let’s pull this wedding off together.