Who better to talk about wedding planning than a wedding coordinator?! It's a no-brainer! I'm excited because today we have a guest blogger, Christine Landis, speaking wisdom and helping you remain stress-free as you begin your wedding preparations. She is a former art teacher, a mom of 2 wild boys, and the owner of Pretty Peony Weddings serving Louisville and Southern Indiana. If you are looking for a coordinator and love the advice below, make sure you connect with Christine here!!
Ahh, wedding planning, the joy, the laughter, the tears, the I-can’t-make-one-more-decision-or-I-will-freak-out moments… oh wait, was that just me? Let’s face it, wedding planning can be fun and magical and all the other wonderful things, but it also has all the makings of an uncontrollable stress tornado. Like, when your aunt insists that her hairdresser’s boyfriend’s aunt needs to be invited, and have a plus one. So for all of you who are in the midst of planning, beginning to plan, or planning to one day plan, this one is for you. Here are some tips for stress-free wedding planning:
1. Know What You Want
What are your absolute must-haves? You probably already know yours, so write them down. Next, talk to your fiancé and figure out his. Figuring this out early will help you make decisions throughout planning. Maybe there is a specific word or phrase that comes to mind when you think about your wedding. Filter all decisions through that word or phrase to make sure they fit with the style and feel you and your fiancé want for your wedding. You may find that there are some things that have to be a little different than you originally thought due to budget or any other number other things. Like, if peonies are out of season or out of your budget, English garden roses will do the job beautifully. If you have a word to filter everything through, you will still get the overall look you are dreaming of. When you know what you want most, you will be able to prioritize to make sure it happens.
2. Know What You Don’t Want
While you will spend most of your time planning what you do want, it’s important to take some time to think about what you don’t want. Just because something usually happens, does not mean it has to happen at your wedding. All you need to get married is yourselves, an officiant, witnesses for the license, and vows. That’s it. Everything else is extra and up to you if you do or don’t include it. Don’t want to have a flower girl or ring bearer? Don’t do it. Don’t want to use formal music? Say no. Don’t want to play the YMCA at the reception? Kick that song right out. Don’t want to invite kids so you can invite more adults? Totally ok! Your wedding needs to reflect you and your fiancé, no one else. Knowing what you don’t want really makes your wedding your own.
3. Decide Who Has a Say
When you start planning a wedding, everyone is going to give you input. Seriously, the floodgates open and everyone tells you all the things you “have to do”, according to them. You will help yourself greatly if you can decide early on what you want before everyone else tells you what they think. There are some people you will want to hear from. Decide who has a say then politely nod and say thanks to everyone else.
If your parents are involved, early on in the planning, ask what is important to them. Try to let your mom have the one thing that’s most important to her. She may have some incredible ideas but if they don’t reflect you and your fiancé, they aren’t going to work. Don’t let your mom, his mom, or anyone else, rule the wedding plans. Bonus: Just because someone is footing the bill, doesn’t mean it’s their way or the highway. And if that’s what they are telling you, you’re going to be a lot happier if you scale back and pay your own way. Have the conversation about who is paying for what before any money is spent so you can decide what you want to do. If someone pays a deposit for you before you have set up boundaries of what they have a say in, you may end up in an uncomfortable situation. Remember that whoever is contributing financially may expect a bigger say with the guest list, so make sure that is another conversation you have up front to keep expectations in check.
4. Decide on the Guest List Early
Lots of things will be dictated by how many people you chose to have at your wedding: venue, catering budget, invitations, etc. Get started on the guest list quickly so you know what you are working with. Maybe your dream venue can only hold 100 people; you’ll need to know how to narrow your list down fairly. If you want to follow tradition to keep it fair, the couple gets 50% of the list, and each side of the family gets 25% (divided in half if parents are no longer together). If the amount of people or the cost is not a factor, you will still need some parameters for who makes the list and who doesn’t. A friend of mine had a great idea: no one she wouldn’t immediately recognize of her parent’s friends makes the list. She simply stated that she doesn’t want to be at her own wedding and not be able to introduce her husband to someone because she doesn’t remember the name of one of her parents’ friends or business associates.
While many brides love to have their hands in every single detail, you will save yourself a HUGE amount of stress and time if you delegate tasks. Your bridesmaids are a great place to start with who to ask for help. Chances are you have one or two who are itching to get involved in helping. Think about prep and think about the wedding day. What can you delegate to other people? The goal is to take as much off your plate as physically possible. You do not need to be the one picking up the flowers, décor, etc. Let other people handle running the errands and menial tasks (I’m looking at you, individually wrapped favors) and please, for the love, do not do anything other than get yourself ready and get married on your wedding day.
6. Designate “Wedding Free” Times
There are a million things to think about when planning a wedding. So much so, that if we aren’t careful, wedding planning will leak into every waking moment of our lives. Do your fiancé and your future marriage a favor and designate specific times for planning AND have wedding free times. Maybe you decide that you can talk about wedding things Monday-Friday but the weekends are off-limits. Perhaps having just one day a week to talk about the wedding is more your thing. Whatever you choose, absolutely make it a priority to have time where you aren’t talking about the wedding. Weddings can bring out the inner crazy bride in all of us, and its totally ok to have some moments where you lose yourself in the wedding-obsession, but don’t let that be every moment. Or even most moments. Which brings me to the final tip…
7. Remember the End Goal.
You met, you fell in love, you said yes, and you are ready to share a day to begin a lifetime together. No matter what else happens, remember that the goal is to get married. This sounds silly, but we live in a wedding-obsessed culture that forgets about marriage. Marriage is an incredible thing. It’s sharing your life with another person who loves you unconditionally and wants to walk with you through the good, the bad, and the crazy. Don’t let planning your wedding take the place of planning for your marriage and loving your future spouse. At the end of the day, you are celebrating an incredible commitment to a lifetime together with the person who has your heart. When things don’t go exactly according to plan, and it will happen, remembering the end goal may save your wedding…and more importantly, your marriage.
So what do you think? Are there any other ways you are keeping your wedding plans stress-free? Any past brides have success stories of stress-free wedding planning? What worked for you? What didn’t? Let us know in a comment below!