I spent the better part of a year planning my wedding, and now that it is all over and I’ve hung up my Zilla crown, I want to share some of my learnings with all the bride-to-be’s out there. I sat down and thought about for a while all the things that I discovered that I wish I had known all along – and voila, found that a lot of them applied to my life after wedding as well. I hope this helps some of you, and please share some of your favorite lessons in the comments!
Google Docs – your best friend
1. Be organized. Start with just one central place where you store all your information – guest list, addresses, attending, not attending, etc, and then just continue to update it. Don’t have 5 different lists for food choices, thank you cards, etc, and then try to merge them all together at one point because you will tear out all of your hair, stress the eff out and then go start a fight with your fiance because he “looked at you in an unusual way that implied he thought you were getting fat.” I recommend Google Docs – that way you can always update it from any computer (and during lunch breaks at work).
I was able to write about ~half of these before the wedding!
2. Spread out the work. Even if you hire a wedding planner extraordinare like I did, who takes on a lot of the heavy lifting, there is still a ton of work associated with a wedding, especially in the last month or so preceding it, and in the week after. Spread it out. Don’t procrastinate, and do what you can now. An example of something I did to space out the work, was write thank you cards as soon as the gift came in – if a guest RSVP’d yes I cheated and included a note about “how great it was to see you at the wedding!” Shhh.
3. Eliminate stress and don’t look back. I’m going to tell you all a little dark secret from my wedding: I “fired” a bridesmaid. I know you are all into little gory details like I am but I’ll have to keep the reasons why private for now. It was a really emotional decision and it probably cost me the friendship (though I hope not) – but it was the right thing to do. The amount of stress, negative energy, and just time that it saved me was invaluable and so much better for my mental state, and probably the former bridesmaid’s as well. You will already spend so much time and stress on the regular wedding process – eliminate any other points of stress that you can along the process. Just do it now, seriously.
I personally knew I didn’t want a cake – these were two options I looked at, both cheaper too than a traditional wedding cake!
4. Follow your gut and save money. There were certain “traditional” wedding items that just didn’t speak to us – so we eliminated them and saved money. For me, it was details like the veil (didn’t wear one), getaway car (borrowed my stepfather’s fancier car), and cake (cupcakes are soo much cheaper!) I know that for some of you, veils are important and you may not have family members that you can steal from. But never let tradition stop you from finding creative ways to save some moola.
5. Take some time out for yourself. This is especially important during the last week before the wedding, when you will have out of town guests, a ton of bills due, and last minute wedding errands you’re finishing up. What Mr. Feather and I did was tell everybody that we had other dinner plans every night before the wedding – but in reality, we just stayed home and watched TV, and relaxed.
6. Spend money on the honeymoon. Let me put it bluntly – your wedding will be between 5-12 hours, and most of the money will be spent feeding all your hungry guests and displaying for them overpriced floral arrangements which half will not notice, and the other half will try to steal on the way home. It will fly by so fast and you won’t remember a lot of it. On the other hand, the honeymoon is likely going to be 2-3 weeks, you will be feeding yourselves, and it will be one of the longer vacations you will ever take with your new spouse. Spend some money on yourselves and never sacrifice the honeymoon for the wedding. Just my opinion.
Unfortunately due to stress – this little tool was very handy, and widely used before the wedding
7. Finally again – RELAX. I know I keep emphasizing this, but it’s because I definitely stressed myself OUT before the wedding. And it really wreaked havoc – not only on my personal life and balancng priorities, but also on my skin! Yes, for all you brides out there – if my pleas for your personal life were not compelling enough, hopefully my pleas targeting your vanity will be! I hadn’t broken out for three years or so, but the month before the wedding, I had the worst break outs of my LIFE. I directly blame at least two of those bad boys on a “guests bringing surprise child last minute to adult only wedding” situation. Even when things drive you up the wall…take a deep breath and calm down…and if you do get a zit, this Kate Sommerville formula worked wonders for me.
Okay all – I hope this helped some of you out there. I would love to hear some of your lessons learned while wedding planning – and I’m sure other ladies out there would love to as well!