Our production assistant, Patrice, is recently engaged and taking you along on her wedding planning journey. Check back for more real-life wedding planning insights – or follow along here!
When you get engaged, you will immediately be inundated with advice. From family and friends, blogs, and vendors. However, throughout my wedding planning journey, I found that there were a few key things that no one told me! But I’m here today to share the love and lessons that I learned in hopes that it will save you some agony throughout the process.
1. You have to make a million different versions of your guest list
Is it weird that this was the most mind-blowing aspect of wedding planning for me? Seriously you have to work and re-work your guest list SO many different times. For ordering invitations, for uploading to your wedding website, for keeping track of RSVPS, for finalizing attendees, for doing the seating chart for figuring out how many adults vs. children. And you’ll have to do it in dozens of different formats: groups, couples, individual names, plus ones. Seriously, it was insane. I have no advice for this other than to just brace yourself.
2. Your spouse-to-be might want some input on certain things
Some grooms are more involved than others, this is a fact of life. So, it can be really easy to assume that your guy won’t care about the details of your big day. But don’t overlook the things he may be interested in! I was extremely surprised at the couple of things my fiance decided to chime in on! It was so rare and he was so subtle about it, I made sure to take these few preferences into account. In my case, he wanted to choose the beer (duh), but he also wanted to write personalized vows and choose our first dance song. If your fiance has a couple of opinions, please listen! I am so glad I did because his input on our wedding day will make it so much more memorable and special.
3. The little stuff adds up… FAST
Yes, we all know that weddings are expensive, but do you know what is REALLY expensive? Wedding party gifts, parent gifts, and the real kicker – those cute bathroom baskets you see on Pinterest. That little stuff adds up so fast and it’s often not considered in your initial overall budget. Decide what’s really essential and stick to the basics to save some extra cash.
4. Registering is kind of awkward
I was so surprised at how awkward registering was. I had been looking forward to this for a long time but when it came down to it, it was definitely uncomfortable. To me it felt like you are putting your style and taste out there and just yelling “BUY ME STUFF!” to all the people who love you most. But as awkward as it was, I knew it was still super important. People want to have a guide when buying you a gift and they really aren’t going to judge you because you chose gray pot holders instead of red.
5. Everyone has an opinion
Literally everyone has thoughts about weddings. But here’s the kicker, some of it is actually helpful! Believe it or not, most people sharing advice have good intentions – it’s just a matter or what you take to heart. I had some friends tell me about how they planned their daughter’s backyard wedding for under $5,000 and how they would love to help me plan mine. And while I’m sure that their daughter’s wedding was perfect for her, I knew we had totally different styles so that was a “thanks but no thanks.” But on the other hand, I had some close friends divulge things they wish they had done on their wedding or the best ways to enjoy it while it was happening. THOSE were the tidbits I held close!
6. Something will go wrong
I’m pretty sure I heard people say this but I totally didn’t believe it – not MY wedding. Well, trust me as I stand here with my foot in my mouth. There are plenty of things that are way beyond your control, the control of your vendors, the control of your family and friends… that will go haywire at some point or another. The best way to deal with it? Just roll with the punches. Fully expect something to go wrong and consider how you’ll still have a great time anyway.
7. The true MVP of your wedding is your mailman
I did probably 80% of shopping for my wedding online. (Thank you Amazon Prime!) And on top of that, more and more guests are sending gifts through the mail prior to the wedding, especially if they’re traveling to the event (which most of ours were!) So, needless to say our mailman is seeing a lot of action. Because of this, we made sure to add him to our gift list to get him a little something to say thank you!
8. You will tell “your love story” a billion different times in a dozen different ways
This is more fun than anything but we had to submit or tell official love stories for multiple vendors, and of course your friends and family want to hear the whole thing since your engagement and wedding are for celebrating the two of you! The best way you can prepare for this is to just have your story down pat. There will be some details that you might not want to share (like how you pestered him about proposing for months) and others that you want to make sure you include every time (like the moment you knew you he/she was the one). Once you have shared it a few times, it will almost become a fun routine!
9. The last month is filled with a lot of logistics
Logistics are the WORST. Who has to be where when, which items are going where, we can’t seat so-and-so by so-and-so… and in the last month of planning these tedious logistics seem endless. The best thing you can do is just make quick and assertive decisions on everything as quickly as possible and move on!
10. It’s only as much work as you make it
This one is the giant elephant in the room. Your wedding can be as much or as little work as you choose. You are 100% in control. Whether or not you hire a planner, or delegate tasks, or add a million little DIY tasks, you decide all of it. So whatever choices you make, own them! Don’t become a bride or groom-zilla just because you find yourself buried in glitter and hot glue.
Has there been any unexpected lessons you learned while planning your wedding? Share your experience in the comments!