Top Ten Tips for Wedding Planning
Rachael and Billy had an absolutely gorgeous wedding day
at the Shawnee Inn
. She planned what is considered to be a destination wedding all by herself and rocked the planning process. She’s incredibly detail focused which allowed for her wedding day to run incredibly smooth. I asked her to throw together her list of her top ten tips for wedding planning and being the amazing bride that she is, she did just that! So here are Rachael’s top ten tips for wedding planning!
I absolutely loved (most of) wedding planning and these are the tips I would give to myself if I could travel back in time to the start of our engagement. You’ll see that #2 is basically to disregard anything and everything on my list that doesn’t feel like it works for you… this is YOUR day!
1. Include your Significant Other
Remember that the day is about both you and your partner. While this may seem obvious, I found there were moments where it was easy to get swept away in the excitement of wedding planning and forget to check in with my husband to ensure that he was excited about those plans, too. I found that there are many things I assumed he wouldn’t have an opinion on, and sometimes he didn’t until I asked.
2. Find your Advice Filter
Everyone has opinions and you’ll probably get to hear a lot of them during wedding planning. We had friends tell us that long engagements were better, and others who said short was ideal. People who felt like favors were essential, and others who said they were a waste of money. I felt like at every turn there was conflicting advice from 50 people we love dearly. Determine how you want to filter advice and what sources are most important to you.
3. Get Organized
I loved wedding planning, but couldn’t manage the stress of so many deadlines and things to research. My biggest organization needs came out of moments of necessity. I found that my organization style resonated with how I organize professionally- filled with bullet point lists and spreadsheets. I also used the Knot app and the Wedding Wire budget tool to track payment schedules, upcoming deadlines, and to-do lists. My favorite organization hack was at the very start when I was researching venues. I found myself in a deep hole on The Knot and sometimes I would be 30 pictures into a venue before I realized I’d already looked at it. I created a spreadsheet that tracked a variety of information for each venue (website, capacity, location, etc.) and listed every venue I looked at. I had columns where I could check off it it included my ‘must haves’ and it made it easy to email each vendor my specific questions based on the information I couldn’t find on their website. While my list grew to over 50 venues (excessive, I know), I was able to easily filter to the 5-7 I wanted to contact for more information. While organization looks different for everyone, I think it’s essential to find some way to keep everything in an order that makes sense to you.
4. Throw Out the Rule Book
Or, go through it with a highlighter and a black marker. I really believe that there is no one way to do any part of a wedding and that traditions can often be adapted. The day should feel custom made for you and your significant other!
5. Hire Vendors You Love
I’ve planned a lot of events and nothing was quite like planning my own wedding. I’m used to being the ‘fixer’ on site…. running around to make sure that everything is going well and adjusting things that aren’t. I didn’t want my wedding day to feel like that. I’m here writing on Meghan’s blog for a reason. And, it’s because we adore her and the work that she did for us. I feel fortunate to have found Meghan and other vendors who were an amazing support team throughout wedding planning. Take your time to research (Wedding Wire, Facebook, Instagram, The Knot) but then also get on a video call and really get to know them. Get to know their sense of humor, the type of support they provide in advance of the wedding, and how their former couples talk about them. Find people that you love and trust– and then allow them to do what they’re an expert at. It is, by far, the #1 thing that allowed me to relax on our wedding day and to know that it was all going to play out how we had imagined it.
6. Curate an Experience
Your wedding day is about more than the two of you, and I realize this goes against some of the other things I wrote. Unless you’re eloping, your wedding day is about creating an experience that your family and friends will also enjoy and cherish. Try and put yourself in the shoes of one of your guests. Will they feel like you made an effort to make them comfortable? To be considerate of their time? To appreciate their presence?
7. Determine your ‘Screw It’ Moment
I tried to balance and control a lot during the wedding planning process– the budget, my work schedule, ensuring everyone felt involved, and my sanity. I reached a point about a month before the wedding when I decided I needed to value the later more than the former. It wasn’t that I threw the budget out of the window… but I decided that I valued time with my fiance and family more than I valued saving $20 by crafting something instead of buying it. If I could back in time I would cut my craft list in half. While I love crafting, having burnt fingers and frustration from failed projects wasn’t worth it.
8. Let Your Friends and Family In
I guess I’ve always known I’m bad at delegating. I know that I can see a vision so clearly in my head that it often feels easier to run with it on my own than to allow others to contribute (see #1). We’re blessed to have amazing friends and family that wanted to contribute to the wedding day and planning process. So my job was to determine how everyone could pitch-in in ways that were meaningful for them. I tried to lean in to what people are naturally excited about– for some people it was talking through vendor options while others were queens of fashion advice. About a month before our wedding we went to another wedding where they had incredible bathroom baskets at the venue. I had literally never considered creating bathroom baskets, but my husband loved the idea. It was (see #1) something he got so excited about I knew we had to have them but I had no creative brain space to take it on. Fortunately, my parents stepped in and made the most incredible bathroom baskets filled with all kinds of necessities, including our favorite candies! It was such a huge help for me and they had a ton of fun doing it. (P.S. My husband took 1 picture on his phone on our wedding day, it was of the bathroom basket.)
9. Take Someone To Fittings
It makes my appointments much more fun! There were a lot of fitting decisions I was torn on and having a second pair of eyes was a tremendous help.
10. Find Moments For Surprises
I’m so thankful that our officiant encouraged us to keep some of the ceremony a surprise for the day of. It really helped me to listen carefully for every word and laugh at jokes I hadn’t heard. We chose to keep our vows a secret until the big day. My husband surprised me by engraving the inside of my wedding band and with sweet presents. I had our baker add a special little baseball player to the back of our cake without my husband knowing!