Friday, May 15, 2015

9 Wedding Planning Tips for a Stress-Free Wedding

My wedding was almost a year and a half ago, which seems crazy to me. It doesn't feel like that long ago! It was everything I wanted and such a blessing. Once your wedding is over and the planning is finally done, there's a mixture of emotions. I was relieved to not be stressing over the cost of the wedding and planning the details, but I felt sad that this wonderful day that I had spent months looking forward to was suddenly over. I felt so happy to be a Mrs., but I felt a little like Monica from "Friends". After her wedding to Chandler, she said despondently, "I'm not a bride anymore; now I'm just a wife." Being a bride is such a fun, magical time, but being a wife is much more rewarding.

So, for those of you who are planning a wedding, congrats! I hope you have a great time planning your wedding. It is so fun to dream about your day. Remember not to let it stress you out too much. To help make your planning smoother, I've made a list of tips for planning that I learned while planning my wedding.

1. Don't try to DIY everything...just certain things.
When I first started planning, I wanted to DIY as much as possible. Keep in mind that DIYing is a great way to save money, but can also cause a lot of stress and put a lot of pressure on you. Try to estimate what is reasonable for you to DIY in the amount of time you have. Certain things are often better to be done by professionals. I know that it can be frustrating to hear that and it's tempting to just try to do everything on your own, but it will probably end up causing unneeded stress. Here are some examples of DIYs that we did for our wedding:
   -Kyle and I had his uncle make our invitations with a computer program. We sent him a picture of an invitation we found online that we liked, and he made it with the details of our wedding. He put it on a USB and we took it to Office Depot and had it printed. Then, we cut them up ourselves. They were pretty and simple, and saved us so much money. We did the same with our programs. I designed them in Word on my computer with cute fonts that I downloaded online. Then, we had them printed and stamped them with little leaf stamps from Michaels. Stamping our invitations together became a fun memory for Kyle and I.
   -Decorations are also a great detail to DIY. I wrapped a wooden letter "S" with twine and put it on our head table during the reception. I also framed a few sayings, such as "with my whole heart for my whole life" and put it on a table with the escort cards. They were fun to make, and they didn't cost much or take long to do.

2. Find a venue that includes more than just the space.
My venue had a list of vendors it worked with that the owners of the venue hooked us up with. I was able to find great vendors who had already been cleared by the venue as giving legit, quality services. This made my planning so much easier. It can also be a lot cheaper and less time consuming to use a venue that includes more than just the space.

3. Find a venue with a back up plan.
If the weather doesn't behave as predicted, it's important to have a venue that can quickly accommodate the change and move the ceremony.

4. Make sure you LOVE your vendors, especially your photographer.
Kyle and I had to interview a few photographers before we found the perfect one. It's important to find vendors who understand your vision. Sometimes one vendor will just click with you, even if the other vendors you interviewed were great as well. Keep searching until you find the vendor that fits you and your fiance. You'll feel much more at peace about it.

5. Be prepared to change your mind.
I started out wanting a mint and gray wedding color scheme, and changed to red and charcoal later in my planning. I also changed my date a few times before finalizing it. It's okay to play around with different ideas, and it will cause you less stress if you go into your planning knowing that there may be some changes down the road. It's also good to keep in mind that you may need to be flexible on the day of the wedding as well. I couldn't find my cake topper soon before my wedding day, so we had the florist put some flowers on top instead. It turned out beautifully and no one knew the difference.

6. Find fun alternatives to tradition.
For our guestbook, I made a Shutterfly book with our engagement pictures, as well as older pictures of us throughout the years. I added white text boxes on the pages with questions such as "What will you remember the most from our wedding?" and "What should we name our kids?". I also included a couple of simple pages at the end for people to sign their names. Our guests had fun answering the questions in our book. Kyle and I love looking at our guestbook at our old pictures, and we have a lot of fun reading the answers people wrote to the questions in the book. I found the questions online by searching for fun wedding guestbook questions. I loved having a personalized guestbook.
   Additionally, we did a sand ceremony with our wedding colors instead of a candle lighting ceremony. Now, we have the vase of sand from our ceremony as a great memento. The sand ceremony also has a very cool meaning. Basically, it means that once the two vases of sand are poured together into one vase, you can't separate them. This symbolizes the union of marriage.
   Kyle and I also saved some money by having our caterer make a dessert bar. We had a small one-tier cake for a ceremonial cake cutting and pictures, but no one actually ate the cake. We were glad to still do the cake cutting and have the photos, and we saved money in the process.

7. Accommodate family without letting them take over the planning
Certain things aren't worth fighting over. If it's important to a relative that you invite their siblings or friends who you don't know well, you may want to go ahead and invite them to keep the peace. It won't make much of a difference on the day (though I understand that it will increase the cost of the day some). It's important to keep a balance between pleasing your family and remembering that it's your wedding day. 

8. Look forward to marriage as well as your wedding day.
It's so easy get so wrapped up in the planning that you forget the whole point is to be married to the one you love. Remembering that the wedding is just one day and that soon, you'll be married to someone wonderful is a good way to de-stress from the planning. Getting pre-marital counseling is great for preparing for marriage. Even if you don't feel like you and your guy need counseling, I highly recommend it. Kyle and I had a lot of fun setting aside time to talk about our relationship. Our counselors became great mentors to us. Getting counseling before marriage also helped us know what areas of our relationship may become difficult during marriage. That way, we can prepare and it won't be a surprise if we run into a hard time. For a fun but related distraction from planning, look at Pinterest for great date ideas and marriage articles.

9. Keep some perspective.
Remember to relax and do fun things totally unrelated to the wedding. Sometimes, your wedding day seems so important it clouds out other things, but it's just one day.

What tips have you heard that have helped save you stress while wedding planning?

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