Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Only 7 Wedding Planning Tips That Matter

So you just got engaged? Congratulations. Now take a seat. Some friends have requested that I write a wedding planning post to impart my new knowledge to future brides-to-be. Probably because my wedding was almost fully planned within two months of being engaged with zero drama.

So first thing's first...

1. Chill out

No really, chill the hell out. All 1,267 of your Facebook friends know how excited you are and that you've probably been dreaming of this moment for a long time. They have acknowledged it with a solid 48-72 hours of nonstop social media engagement and, frankly, are ready to move on. Even members of your family or bridal party, believe it or not, haven't penciled 24/7 wedding planning with you for the next 12 months into their calendars.

So realize you do have time to plan (assuming you've given yourself a standard 8-16 month engagement), craft a vision and be flexible in order to...

2. Keep your eye on the prize

What's your vision for your wedding? Is it to have small, intimate celebration of your new marriage? Is it to throw a giant party for your friends and family? Have it? Good. Now put that vision in the context of your budget and tell me how those particular exotic orchids you're demanding fit into it. For us, we decided that no one was going to leave our celebration and say "great party, but they forgot the chair covers." So we saved that expense and put it towards late night Lou Malnatis pizza, which was cheaper than chair covers and fit better with our vision.

This becomes much easier when you accept that fact that...

3. "The one" doesn't exist

Take a deep breath, you may not like this. There is no such thing as "the one" of anything. I promise, there is not the perfect flower that's going to make your wedding. There is not a single venue that you just have to have under all circumstances. And, contrary to what TLC will have you believe (yes, I'm going to say it) there is not just one wedding dress in the entire world that will look stunning on you walking down the aisle. "The one" only applies to the person you've chosen to marry. And at the end of the wedding, you will be married and have celebrated with those important to you, which is all that matters.

So, like I said, chill out and...

4. Be objective and flexible

Where does all of the money you're throwing into a wedding go? To creative people who are providing a service. From the caterer, to the florist, to planners, to DJs, their job is to understand your vision and deliver on it within budget. Plain and simple. By hiring them, you have put trust in their ability to deliver. So for goodness sake, let them. Instead of many specific requests, use adjectives that describe the tone you're trying to set like vintage, modern, fresh, classic, colorful. If you can force yourself to be flexible within your vision, you will avoid much stress and be able to plan more quickly.

This doesn't mean you can't have any specific requests. But make sure you know the implications on your bottom line and at least listen to recommendations from your vendors - They do this for a living. But at the end of the day...

5. It's your goddamn wedding

The best advice I received personally is that "Everyone will have an opinion, and they'll all suck." Yes, that's a little dramatic, but it's easy to forget that generally the only opinion that matters is your own. Everyone on The Knot thinks that honeymoon registries are tacky and viciously attacks those considering them in forums? (Seriously, those bitches are mean). Your Facebook "friend" thinks electronic RSVPs will reduce your event to that of a "backyard BBQ" (hmph.) People think your wedding party is too large or too small? Screw 'em. When they get married, they can do it however they want. This is your time and it should be however you want it.

But beware, bridezilla, because even though it is your goddamn wedding...

6. It's not actually all about you

I mean this specifically for the portion of planning that affects your wedding party. Don't cram their schedules so full that they can't enjoy your wedding experience. Let your bridesmaids provide input on the dress selections and give them options to discuss. For my bridesmaids, we went with my second favorite option, because it was their clear favorite and both ultimately fit with my vision. Be flexible and considerate.

But no matter how flexible you are during planning, it's extremely likely that...

7. Something will go wrong

When this happens, simply apply the previous six principles. There is no problem you won't be able to tackle if you exercise calmness, flexibility and courtesy, and remember the only thing that matters is celebrating with those you care about. At my cousin's wedding, someone forgot to set out the place cards, which we later learned really stressed out the newlyweds. But none of the guests caught the mishap, assumed it was open seating, and seated themselves for a lovely reception.

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