Wedding Planning Lessons

It’s six weeks and two days until what’s supposed to be probably the biggest day of my life so far. Am I done planning it? Heck no. Have I done things wrong? Yes. Am I excited? Duh. These are some of the things I’ve found during my 6 months as a self-wedding-planner.

1. Be Organized
And check your organized stuff regularly! My final payments for the venue and photographer are getting sent at the very last minute, and while both of them are very laid back and would be fine if the check was a day late, I hate that I let things get to that point.

2. Be Adaptable
My original organization systems involved a pre-made spreadsheet for budgeting, using wedding timelines like the one on theknot.com, and having a “wedding binder” with checklists and folders for paperwork. This didn’t work at all. Our budgeting spreadsheet went out the window after a week when we found out that my parents would be helping us out with money very generously, and that his parents would contribute also. The binder is nice, but I’m buying an accordion folder next week because things fall out of the binder a lot, and I don’t want to show up on my wedding day missing major paperwork.

3. My Wedding is Different
Not in an “I’m a special snowflake” kind of way, but in a “this list of what/when to do things for my wedding won’t work” kind of way. Send out save the dates 10 months in advance? Buy a wedding dress 10 months before the wedding? I got engaged 8 months before the date we set for the wedding, I can’t really keep that timeline. Hire a calligrapher? Nope. Get alterations? Actually, my dress is seriously magical and fits perfectly off the rack. All of that is okay, but it’s hard to think you’re not doing something wrong when your idea of a wedding isn’t perfectly aligned with what seems to be the norm.

4. Ignore 60% of the Internet
This ties in with number 3. I’ve spent way too much time on bridal message boards, and I know exactly what kinds of negative comments I could get about my wedding if I posted all the details:
(reception food is going to be heavy appetizers, enough that people can fill plates, because it seemed more fun and cheaper that way)
“You’re not having a sit down meal?? You’re a terrible hostess, I would probably leave.”

(we’re not hiring a DJ, but having a friend who knows his way around a sound board run playlists for us, because of cost and not wanting to risk hiring a super cheesy DJ that plays music we don’t want)
“DJs can read the crowd and know what’s best to play. Lots more people will dance with a DJ.”

(we’re having lawn games and board games and a fire pit/s’mores at the reception so people have lots of stuff to do)
“Playing lawn games in nice clothes is so hard, nobody will want to play croquet.”

(some people/family will be asked ahead of time to help move chairs the 30 feet between the ceremony and reception, with hopes that other guests will join in, because the venue has 175 chairs and we’re expecting 150 guests)
“You should just rent more chairs, guests should not be expected to carry a chair, that’s terrible etiquaette.”

You get the idea. But internet strangers apparently come from very different social circles. 90% of them appear to be much farther along in planning, and many of them seem to have very wealthy friends if cash bars/no bar and no sit down meal would be a terrible situation (hey, at least we have an open bar!). Friends that I’ve asked are excited about lots of appetizers. They’re looking forward to hummus and meatballs and little sandwiches and fruit trays. They think strawberries and cake will be a great dessert. They love that there will be mad libs and jenga and croquet and frisbees, and they won’t be dressed so fancy that they feel like they can’t play.

This last bit is what I really need to focus on now. Just because I don’t 100% have food figured out, or know exactly where we’re getting the flowers for our DIY bouquets, doesn’t mean I’m failing at being a bride planning her wedding. Deep breaths. Calm. It’s going to only get better from here.

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