The Soon-To-Be-Bride Survival Guide
‘Tis the season, and no, not Christmas. It’s that time of year when lovely ladies are getting engaged, wedding planning is in the air, and Pinterest has bulked up their servers to withstand the onslaught of DIY centerpieces being pinned.
With my own wedding just recently behind me*, I wanted to share some things I learned from the experience – some of these I figured out the hard way, some were passed on to me from wiser women. May your wedding day be everything you dreamed! And I hope these tips help.
- Decide what really matters. This is a great one to figure out with your fiance. As I was planning my own wedding, my husband and I realized that a lot of wedding traditions didn’t mean anything special to us. Keep the things that are important to you both (and anyone who’s helping foot the bill) and don’t sweat the rest of it.
- Don’t DIY everything. Be kind to yourself with this one. Take a look at all the things you’re planning to make for your wedding and then figure out what you can actually do. There are some irresistably cute ideas out there but don’t overbook yourself. Planning a wedding and all the other activities that go with it is stressful enough. And if you have narrowed down what you can really DIY, make it a party and ask some good friends or family to help you. It’ll make it much more fun and you’ll get to create some wonderful memories with the ones you love.
- This day is NOT about you. This goes against the grain of everything you see and read on bridal sites and in magazines. Your guy is a key part of your wedding day and it’s a major milestone in his life too, so make it about “us”. Try to include him in some of the decision making, consider his opinions, and let this day reflect who you two are as a couple. He may not want to be involved with every detail, but I’d bet he has some ideas and wants to help.
- This may not be the best day of your life. Sometimes it feels like everything hinges on this one day. Don’t let the hype of your wedding day overwhelm you. You have so many precious and priceless memories behind you and there are so many incredible moments ahead of you. The “perfection” of this day does not set the tone for your relationship or your future, so take a deep breath. It will be beautiful, memorable, and will springboard you into so many other spectacular life moments – the birth of a child, an epic adventure, a timeless love – your future is bright!
- Don’t break the bank. I know that gorgeous, designer dress is tempting, and who wouldn’t love to have that sweet, live band for their reception. But going into massive debt is a rough way to start out your married life together. Make a budget and stick to it. Your future self will thank you.
- Get a day-of coordinator. Hiring a wedding coordinator might be out of your budget but a day-of coordinator is critical. If money is an issue, find a trusted and competent friend to help you on your wedding day. Have her (or him) help keep you on schedule, hang on to the important documents (read: marriage license, vendor contracts, etc.), and run interference with any difficult guests or vendors. This will free you to enjoy the day, your hubby, and your guests. Give a gift as a “thank you”.
- Let go. Realize right now some of your perfect planning will come to naught on your wedding day. It’s just the nature of a large event that involves lots of people and details (take it from someone who has professionally planned large events). Things may not all go as you envisioned, something will slip through the cracks, so take a deep breath and choose to enjoy yourself anyway. Besides, no one else will notice that one tiny detail that was out of place. Soak up this day, treasure the memories, and have fun!
- Three Things to Remember: All you really and truly need on your wedding day is your man, your marriage license, and the rings. Everything else is an awesome bonus, so celebrate! And congrats!!!
Any other married folks out there have words of wisdom for future brides?
* J and I were married on Friday morning, November 15th, 2013 in a small chapel in downtown Las Vegas with 25 of our family and friends in attendance. We had our reception at the Hard Rock Cafe and spent all weekend celebrating our nuptials and J’s 30th birthday with our guests before roadtripping through Nevada, Utah, and Arizona for our honeymoon.