Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wedding Tips and Advice, a recent bride's perspective

Well, it's been a little over a month since our Big Day. As I reflect on the whole process of planning my dream wedding I have learned an awful lot about event planning, friendships and my general sense of self.  Wishing only someone had told me these tips before I set about the whole journey, my hope is that you will take something away from this to help benefit you when planning your special day.

Quote, quote, quote.  The importance of getting quotes, comparing prices, services and making sure ALL costs are upfront cannot be emphasized enough!  I made the mistake of going with the same caterer as my friend had used for her wedding the year previous. The food was amazing, so I said no quote needed!  Oops. And it wasn't the cost of the food which was ginormous, it was the cost of the extras which I assumed were free. NOTHING IS FREE! lol.  Lesson learned quick!

Have friends which were recently married?  Talk to them about their wedding.  No better advice will come from someone who just went thru the same thing.

On a budget? Weigh the option of doing it yourself. After being quoted $900 for decorating (a BBQ tent wedding I may add) for some simple lights and table skirting, I threw that quote to the wind, sought out some friends, went to Lens Mill bought the material for under $100, borrowed lighting from family members and ba-boom ba-bing... over $700 back in my pocket. Remember though, time is money, there are simply some things you cannot do for the sake of your time.  My finance and I took off a week of holidays before the wedding to prep the farm and a week off after the wedding to wind down and enjoy the first week of married life relaxing at the cottage.

Get a general theme for your wedding. There are soooo many options for decorating out there. Find a theme and stick to it, and it will make your planning go much easier.

No matter who is in your bridal party, who you invite, how you plan your wedding you WILL end up offending someone, some how, some way.  Don't let that get the best of you.  Remember this is YOUR special day, not theirs.  For once it is ALL ABOUT YOU.  Anyone who doesn't respect that has issues (LOL).

Planning your wedding you will find out who your real friends are.  I heard this tip on TV right after I was engaged and I cannot emphasize enough how true this is. Choose your wedding party carefully with people you can turn to for support, advice and assistance, people who will not get jealous (remember this is YOUR special day, not theirs), people who will gel together well as an entire party and people who's friendship means the most to you. 

For you emotional people out there - you WILL cry at some point in the planning stage.  Planning can be very overwhelming and it will get the best of you. Let yourself cry at home. A good cry is sometimes all it takes to get your composure and regroup. Don't hold it all in, because it will get the best of you and you will have an emotional breakdown somewhere out in public over the slightest little thing and everyone will be looking at you like you are some frantic, emotional, uncomposed bride who can't keep it together when the littlest thing goes wrong.

Keep the wedding party small. The larger the party, the more drama, the harder it is to keep everyone happy and the more money you have to shovel out. Remember - you have to buy gifts for all your attendants, including the flower girls and ring bearer.

Sending out invitations is more work than what you will realize, especially if your wedding has  100+ guests. Finding all those addresses is harder than you think.

Don't tell people they are invited until you finalize the guest list!

Assess and re-assess your invite list. You do not have to invite everyone you know. You may have a big family or a large social group, but remember, each guest you invite extends the budget even more.

Want to make your wedding memorable?  Insure good food, good music, good atmosphere and the rest will follow by itself. Don't worry about the finicky things, like an extravagant cake or excessive decorations.  Keep in mind - guests don't like to be waiting around for pictures to be taken or listening to hours of speeches before they can get their next drink.

Plan a stag and doe.  They are a lot of work, but you will get first hand experience behind event planning and it will help prepare you for your big day in more ways than one.

Don't let people back you into a corner on pricing because you are the bride. Many companies here the word "wedding" and jack up their prices. They take advantage of the fact that there are only so many options a bride has for pricing on catering, decorating, reception venues and apparel. Hook line and sinker, I was a sinker when it came to my dress fitting. I paid $500 for the dress and got ripped on the fitting at a bridal shop where I paid $200 for the simple fitting (I didn't even get it taken in the sides!) Had I taken it to a taylor, it would have been $50.  Buyer beware!

Don't procrastinate. There is so much involved in planning a wedding if you leave it to the last minute, you will be overwhelmed!

When ordering your dress/bridesmaid dresses from bridal shop tell them your wedding is a month or two ahead of the actual date. We ordered early and told the bridal shop our actual date. We were promised the dress would be in within 3-4 months of wedding date but didn't see them until 7 weeks before wedding - it took a total of 7.5 months to come in. We had a late summer wedding so our order got pushed back so that earlier weddings could be accommodated! grrrrr

Borrow, borrow, borrow.  Borrowing means SAVING!!!  But, may I add as the oldest of three girls, sometimes I BOUGHT because it meant it could be re-used... (ie: white twinkle lights, tulle fabric, bird cage etc)

Not hung up on the traditional wedding stuff? Then don't bother! If you don't like the idea of it, but are doing it just because it's a wedding tradition, scrap it! Make your own tradition.  Don't spend hundreds of dollars on (for example) a wedding cake if you can't stand fondant icing. 

Last but not least... enjoy your big day. You were in the driving seat for the past x-months, but now it's up to everyone else to pull everything together for you. Go out there, and have fun!  Don't be worrying about every little detail as the day passes, instead soak in every moment, reflect on your perfect day and make it out to be everything you dreamed of! Alas, you only have "one" big day! Make the most of it :) cheers