Having seven sets of friends get married this year, I was called on fairly often for advice. It makes sense; I have been in the ‘wedding biz’ for over a decade, and I did my fair share of the planning for my own wedding last year. I am happy to give advice, whether it be to friends or my own clients (or both).
I would like to take this time to give you five things to keep in mind when you are planning your wedding that will help you maintain your sanity and hopefully make things run a little smoother.
So let’s get into the swing of things…
1. Plan on Going Over Your Budget
I know, you have all the wedding expenses mapped out on an intricate spreadsheet down to every bloom in every bouquet. Unfortunately, the thing about unexpected expenses is that they are, well, UNEXPECTED. Usually they crop up just when you are getting into the home stretch (“All of the RSVP’s are back, now we can do the escort cards…
wait, we need to buy those!”), but some come earlier on (“What do you mean the caterer didn’t include tax when he quoted us the price?” <– Seriously, make sure you check your quotes.) Other expenses come up at the very last minute (“The venue wants us to pay how much for going half an hour over?”).
My suggestion is to create a ‘slush fund’ for yourselves. Throw a little money into it every now and then over the course of the planning process so that you have it available. If you end up being under or on budget, use it to enjoy yourself a little more on your honeymoon or just add it to your savings and pat yourselves on the back. But if you need it, it will be there.
2. Be Nice To People, and They Will Probably Do Nice Things for You
Last week, Gawker posted an article titled Reasons Why You Cannot Be a Bridesmaid, featuring a rather, shall we say, demanding email from a bride. I’m not saying you have to be perfect or that you can never freak out, but remember that it is just human nature that we are more likely to go above and beyond for people who are not demanding of us.
This goes for your bridal party, your family, and your vendors. Smile, thank people when they do something for you, and understand that they have a life outside of your wedding, and they will probably go the extra mile without having to be asked! Think about it — would you rather do something you have to do for someone who is nice to you or someone who snaps their fingers at you?
3. DIY Does Not Necessarily Mean Easier, Faster, or Less Expensive
One of my clients recently said, “A DIY wedding is less ‘Do It Yourself’ and more ‘Do It Yourself with the help of everyone you’ve ever met.’” DIY takes time! I photographed several DIY-heavy weddings this year, and each of those couples spent close to a year putting together all of those personal elements. Just remember to budget enough time for all those projects and start them far enough in advance that you can hire a professional if it doesn’t work out the way you wanted it to.
4. Have a Back-Up Plan
Just having an idea what you will do if something goes wrong helps alleviate the fear of that thing happening. It is the reasoning behind people planning for a zombie apocalypse. Is it likely to happen? No. But having a plan in case the worst does occur helps prevent us from focusing on the mind-numbing terror of possible mishaps. Which brings me to my final point…
5. You Can Not Control The Weather, So Stop Worrying About It!
Unless you have a direct line to Mother Nature or Sir August de Wynter, there is no amount of fretting that is going to change the weather on your special day. Plan for it. Have an indoor or covered location on hand for your ceremony in case it rains.
Get umbrellas and rain boots for your bridal party (they make for fun photos if it does rain; if it doesn’t, they’re nice gifts!). What about if it might be cold, and you are going to be outside? Have something warm to put over you! It is all going to be okay. Just take a deep breath and realize you have to go with whatever happens.