Things I Wish I Knew Before My Wedding
There were probably at least a few things you didn’t think about before planning your wedding, and you find yourself thinking: “I hate wedding planning. And I wish someone had told me that before.”
It feels like everyone expects you to do something monumental, and you don’t even know where to start.
Take a deep breath!
There are some things all brides wish they knew before planning their wedding.
Here are just a few of them.
Sometimes, You Feel Lost And Uncertain
It is common to feel lost and confused at times.
To plan a wedding doesn’t just fall into anyone’s lap.
Yes, you have attended weddings. You imagined you knew enough about flowers and their lifespan; selecting a cake sounded easy as picking a dress and inviting guests to parties. However, now you are facing reality on a scale you never imagined.
You are basically responsible for the outcome of what is probably one of the most important days in your life, and there are so many decisions to make!
It can be overwhelming negotiating and dealing with multiple vendors, the venue’s rules and regulations, meeting deadlines, and making sure everyone is on schedule.
After a while, you start to feel like your head might explode. So many things have to be done!!
The truth is: It’s ok to blank out, not knowing how everything is coming together on the big day.
So, take a deep breath and relax! You will be fine.
You are new at this and cannot know all the ins and outs of wedding planning, know all the different sizes of dinner tables, how many guests can fit at each size, what flowers are in season and their cost, and how long it takes to serve the main course for 150 guests when creating a timeline for your dinner.
It is ok not to know everything from the get-go with so many moving parts.
You Don’t Have To Follow All The Traditions At Your Wedding
Wedding traditions are not set in stone any longer.
You can weave them into the fabric of your event, but you don’t have to follow them if you do not want to!
If you want to customize your wedding day, then go ahead and make it happen.
A fun way is to change up traditional roles.
How about a grown-up in the role of your flower girl and ring bearer?
Instead of a bridesmaid, you can have a bridesman.
Pick pink for your wedding dress instead of white.
Rather than showing yourself for the first time when you’re walking down the aisle, do a First Look.
Skip the cake-cutting ceremony in front of all your guests and instead do it privately to allow your guests to dance uninterrupted.
It is your wedding day, so feel free to make it about what feels naturally right to you.
Create A Personal Style For Your Wedding To Make It Unique
Creating your style and a color theme early on is especially important when planning most design elements yourself.
What if you bought a bunch of whimsical crystal flower stands or nautical lanterns for decoration but then found that you didn’t use them? You are now stuck with boxes full of items you didn’t need.
Don’t make the mistake of buying things impulsively before asking yourself if they will fit into your color palette, style, or go with any other element in play at your wedding.
This way, you can get rid of impulse buys and avoid spending money on items that won’t be useful to you.
Make Sure Your Vendors Review Your Timeline for the Big Day
Don’t assume that the day-of timeline you created works for the venue, caterer, band or DJ, florist, and photographer.
It is critical that you involve your vendors when building your timeline and ensure everyone is on board with it.
This is especially important if you have a destination wedding or an event over more than one day.
Involve everyone so they can give you feedback and let you know how long things will take (i.e., setting up flowers, setting up band, plating and serving a course during dinner, moving guests from one room to another, and many other little details).
Small Communication Problems Can Quickly Turn Into Big Ones
Make sure you communicate with your vendors regularly, especially if something changes.
Assume nothing. It is better to ask too many questions.
The devil is in the details.
Did you forget to tell the venue that you rented candelabras?
And who is assigned to put the candlesticks into their nozzle and ensure they are securely fit? Will the air conditioning in the ballroom blow out the taper candles or drastically shorten their lifespan?
Naturally, most brides wouldn’t think about these particular details, but it can have a dramatic negative impact, and only an experienced vendor could have pointed this out in advance.
DIY Elements Require A Lot Of Set-Up And Tear-Down Time
If, for any reason, you are providing your own centerpieces for your dinner tables, make sure you built-in plenty of time for setting these up.
It’s better to err on the side of too much time for the job rather than not enough.
Even if you need to hire help for the set-up and tear down or ask one of your bridesmaids or groomsmen to pitch in (and get them involved early on), the chances are that you have never done a project on this scale and don’t understand what could go wrong when time is not on your side.
- What time can you access the room?
- Are the table cloths on the tables when you arrive?
- Is there a water source nearby?
- Are there any spare table cloths in case you spill something?
- When does the waitstaff arrive to set up the silver and glasses? (you don’t want to be in their way)
At the backend, the tear-down time is as crucial as the set-up time.
Again, if you are doing it yourself, make sure you build in plenty of time for both – and that you have help!
Pick The Type Of Music You Want Throughout The Day Ahead Of Time
When picking your music, try to think about the whole day.
Don’t just pick your favorite songs for the dance floor – you’ll want music that will create a mood and memories for all your guests.
Including everyone is especially important if you have a diverse group of friends and family.
What about any songs that need to be played or sung during the ceremony? (such as music played as guests arrive, during the processional, the bride’s entrance, during the recessional)
Do you have a bridal party introduction song?
Which song will you pick for your big entrance and first dance?
Do you have special dances planned with your father or mother, best friend, or significant other?
What background music would you be playing while dinner is being served? Of course, you don’t want there to be awkward gaps between each song… so keep this in mind when picking out music for all parts of your day.
Do you want a band or DJ for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and dinner? Or will recorded music be enough?
Stay Focused on Yourself & Your Fiance
With all that planning for your guests, don’t forget that the most important thing is that you are getting married to the love of your life!
Remember, this day isn’t about everyone else – it’s about you.
You’re not alone in planning a wedding, but it can be overwhelming when everything seems to depend on you, and no one else wants to step up or help out.
It’s been said that your guests come first, but if you really think about it, you and your partner need to come first.
This could, for example, be done by doing a sweetheart table instead of being seated together with your wedding party.
Establish A “Must-Have List” For Your Wedding Early On
Each couple should figure out what matters to them from the get-go. Establish a must-have list that considers your respective design visions, music tastes, food & beverage preferences, and personal style.
Having these items on hand will not only help you avoid future misconceptions but also put your vendors at ease as they can devise a more solid wedding plan.
Don’t Expect Your Better Half To Be Into Wedding Planning
Be prepared that your fiance is not at all into wedding planning and all the details that go into it.
In this case, the best thing you can do is give them something they are comfortable with and go from there.
Most of the wedding planning to date is still done by the bride. It may be due to the notion that the bride is the center of this day.
But in reality, both partners are equally important, and planning a wedding involves a monumental amount of work, solving logistics, and cooperation.
Reinforce that you are equally involved and should be included in all the planning decisions.
Plan A Few “Alone Moments” On Your Wedding Day
It is important to pace out your day to take it all in. So include some “alone time” on your wedding day.
However, you do not have to be removed entirely from the crowd for a long time. But leave some pockets of time for your first look (your traditions permitting), make time for your first dance, parents dances, a few “alone” minutes of seclusion after the ceremony (like the yichud in Jewish weddings), and a short break during the reception.
This way, you can enjoy your day and take a few steps back in between to take it all in.
Plus, this will give your photographer some time to capture great photos of just you!
Eat Your Dinner!
Yes, it’s important to take a photoshoot of the food and all, but don’t forget actually to eat it!
We’ve all seen too many brides & grooms who are so busy chatting with guests or having their photos taken that they barely get a chance to taste any of the delicious food they selected for their wedding.
Remember, you worked hard at putting your event together, and you should enjoy every minute of it, including eating the food. So make time to sit down, relax, and savor your meal.
Hire A Day-Of-Coordinator Budget Permitting
If it is in the budget, hiring a day-of coordinator will lift off a lot of pressure from you as a couple and any other family members who are helping out on your wedding day.
A good coordinator will know the wedding industry inside & out, have backup plans if something goes wrong, handle vendor emergencies or guest cancellations if necessary, keep track of important things like timing, and make sure you get to eat and drink during the reception.
It is often the regret of couples who did not hire a coordinator to spend the money. So please keep that in mind early on.
Wedding Favors Are Not Necessary
When it comes to wedding favors, they are often purely decorative rather than something anyone would want.
So consider whether you really need them or not. If they are significant to your vision, then go for it! But if you can do without them, don’t feel like you have to get favors just because everyone else does.
It is all about keeping things simple and making choices that work best with who you are as a couple.
Donating to your favorite non-profit organization instead of giving wedding favors could be a fantastic alternative idea so you can still ‘give back’ on your wedding day.
Do A Wedding Rehearsal
With all the heavy-duty focus on the wedding reception, the ceremony all too often becomes an afterthought. It can turn into a stressful whirlwind on your big day where everyone is trying to get on the same page before you say “I do”!
So make sure your ceremony gets its due attention with an actual wedding rehearsal, ideally the day before the wedding.
It’s essential to do a wedding rehearsal so everyone knows when they are supposed to arrive, what order they are walking down the aisle, where their seats are, or where they stand, and how it will all go down.
One thing you absolutely cannot afford to mess up is your wedding ceremony since it’s how everyone will remember what they were most excited about seeing that day!
Your Budget Will Have To Grow
Many couples are surprised, but your initial budget often will have to increase, especially if you are looking for a more elaborate event and gain more knowledge of the actual costs of things as you go along.
This is especially true if you are having an event with an ever-increasing guest count, which will require more food and drinks, and if you rent equipment, more chairs, tables, linens, silverware, glasses, centerpieces, etc.
Remember, weddings can still be beautiful even if they don’t break the bank. It all depends on what images and level of service you strive for.
So make sure to factor in some ‘wiggle room’ when you first start putting your budget together – or better yet, overestimate what you think everything will cost, so you’re not caught off-guard down the road.
Pinterest Photos Are Gorgeous But Recreating The Look Costs A Lot
Pinterest photos are stunning, but unless you’re working with a designer, plus a wedding planner, professional photographer, and a considerable team on site who is experienced at making the magic happen on your wedding day, then trying to recreate that look can lead to disappointment.
Creating a magazine-worthy look will cost you thousands of dollars, and it’s often tough to find the same high-quality products and services you see in those photos.
You Have To Make Lots And Lots Of Decisions For Your Wedding
Weddings are not for procrastinators. If you’re the type who likes to put things off until the last minute, then weddings are not for you!
There are just so many decisions that have to be made – from what kind of flowers to choose, what your wedding colors will be, to figuring out where everyone will sit and what they will eat. The list is endless.
So make sure to set aside plenty of time and budget for your wedding planning – or better yet, hire experts earlier on so they can help you make decisions and take care of everything!
Happy Vendors, Happy Party
You don’t have to become close friends with your florist, wedding planner, or catering manager. But it would help if you were on good terms with them, and they should feel like they are working with you and not for you to make your wedding dreams come true.
If something goes wrong or there is a misunderstanding, it can quickly become stressful. So do yourself a favor and make sure all of your vendors feel appreciated rather than taken for granted.
If vendors are as excited about your wedding as you are, they will go the extra mile for you to make sure your wedding day is as perfect as possible!
Wedding Registry: Only Choose What You Want
Don’t feel obligated to register for everything. Instead, pick only what you want and need so it doesn’t end up in the basement.
If you’re not interested in receiving a blender or an electric skillet, don’t add them to your registry! You can always ask family and friends for gift cards so that you can buy what you want later on – whether it’s a new set of dishes or that camping tent you’ve been eyeing.
Take an inventory of what you already have or need replacement or an upgrade. Then, give some thought to how your lifestyle might change in the future, and choose the items accordingly.
For example, if you entertain a lot and like to cook, registering for pots and pans might make more sense than registering for a set of sheets.
Avoid Dieting Yourself Into The Wedding Gown
Hungry and Happy don’t go together.
You deserve to look the best at your wedding, but that doesn’t mean you need to go on a crash diet to achieve a look that won’t reflect who you are.
There is no need to torture yourself in the months leading up to your wedding – just make healthy choices and enjoy your favorite foods in moderation.
Plus, if you’re feeling stressed or deprived, it’s only going to show in your photos! Years later, you won’t recognize the person you were when you looked so gaunt in your wedding pictures.
Wedding planning is hard enough without adding unnecessary stress to the mix!
Don’t Overdo It With The Makeovers
Refrain from any last-minute excessive makeovers (i.e., spray tans, fake eyelashes, etc.) unless you have tested the look before and know that you will be happy with it.
While you might love the way a certain makeover makes you look, sometimes they can be very unflattering – and there’s no fixing them once they’re taken.
If you’re going for a natural look, make sure to have it professionally done by someone who knows what they are doing – or at least practice with the products yourself a few weeks before your wedding day!
Getting a facial too close to your wedding day can also be detrimental because your skin might not be used to the products and will end up looking red or irritated.
Just remember that sometimes less is more when it comes to beauty looks on your big day.
Do You Really Need A Second Dress?
A big ballgown-like wedding dress is still a favorite for many brides. After all of the thoughtfulness and fittings that went into the original gown, it would almost be a waste if you changed into another one later.
Generally, a second dress would be a less formal version of the one you would wear for the ceremony, and it could detract from the symbolic meaning of being and looking like a bride.
However, it is, of course, entirely up to you and your vision for your wedding day – but think about budget and timing and have fun with it!
If you are, for example, planning on hosting an afterparty, a second party dress now becomes a valuable item to have.
Prepare Your Thank You Notes Ahead of Time
This is more of an organizational tip, but it’s still important to mention as something you may have wished you knew before planning your wedding.
When everything is said and done and you had a fantastic wedding weekend and honeymoon, it’s time to sit down and write thank-you notes.
Try to not put this task off – it will only make it harder on yourself in the long run.
If you write your thank you cards ahead of time, you won’t have to scramble to get back on track later when the balloon has deflated.
As a result, having all of your cards ready and stamped before the big day, and you’ll find it much simpler to catch up.
Weddings Feel Incomplete Without Flowers
Undoubtedly, flowers are expensive, but any social event, especially weddings without florals, feels incomplete.
It’s like spring would be without flowers. Flowers symbolize new life, passion, beauty, and perfection, all things you want a wedding to have.
If you are planning inanimate centerpieces for the most part try to add a few blooms here and there – it will make all the difference and soften the look.
Your Seating Chart Will Test Your Patience
Your final seating chart can take hours, days, and weeks to finalize.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the thought of mapping out where everyone will sit, focus on immediate family and wedding party first. Then chart out the other tables later.
As you are collecting your RSVPs, you will have to juggle cancellations, plus ones, and appropriate tables for children, the elderly, and guests with special needs for their best and appropriate seating.
You’ll also want to take into account who you would like to sit near (or far away from).
You can’t know everything before planning your wedding. Many details will reveal themselves as you move along, and that’s ok!
The most important thing is to stay organized and start with your first steps to plan your wedding, have a vision for your day, and try not to get overwhelmed by the long list of to-dos.