Hi there. How are you doing today? Are you grinning through clenched teeth? Are you 2 seconds away from wrapping your house in tulle and setting it on fire? Are you about to call off your wedding because the stress of planning has made you so aggravated you're afraid of ending up on a True Crime Show? Take some deep breaths, I'm here to help.
Planning a wedding is a big undertaking and no matter how organized and put together you are or how laid-back and casual you are there is a lot of work to be done. As a wedding professional I spend literally hundreds of hours planning my clients big days, screaming at my inbox, rolling my eyes and then drinking heavily at night to help me cope with the frustration that can come along with it. That is me as someone who does this full-time without another professional obligation. Because even if you are ready to tackle everything yourself, you still have to deal with many variable factors such as timing, weather and the largest variable of all: other people. This is why I'm here to help you with a few tips on how to survive wedding planning and come out the other side bright and bushy tailed and not like a survivor of the Oregon Trail. Shall we begin?
1. Hire a (professional) Wedding Planner
Was this one totally unexpected? I mean look, you're on a wedding planners website so I would be remiss to not tell you to HIRE A PROFESSIONAL. But even if I wasn't biased, it would still be number 1 on my list. Do you dry clean your own clothes? Do you anesthetize yourself and do your own dental work? Wedding planning is just like any other service. If you have unlimited time and resources and money to spend maybe you think you don't need one. But just FYI it's very easy to tell when there is and isn't a wedding planner involved with a wedding. From the entire schedule running 2 hours behind, vendors getting lost and almost giving up, guests wandering aimlessly with no clue what to do or someone in the bridal party having a meltdown from what was once a minor emergency that evolved quickly into a major one it really does pay to have someone on the day of. I'm not even going into the amount of time and sanity I can save you before the wedding day (that's a blog post for another time). With all that being said, please hire a GOOD planner. A good planner will not 1. Get drunk at your wedding before your ceremony (it happened to someone I know who was a guest) 2. Accidentally double book and send someone you don't even know to plan your day (also happened) 3. Not have a backup plan in case a FREAKING HURRICANE COMES THROUGH BECAUSE IT'S HURRICANE SEASON (also happened if you didn't notice the trend). These are just a few of the countless stories people have told me about the disasters their big day turned into with the lack of a competent, insured, professional planer.
2. Identify What Is Important To You
One of the first things I ask my clients to do is to tell me what their dream day consists of, what they want their guests to feel and what the top 3 most important things are to them. This allows you to categorize your wedding day objectives in a neat, orderly fashion so you're tackling the big, important stuff first and not spending sleepless nights worrying about the frivolous details that you don't even care about. If you have always dreamed of having a herd of baby goats frolicking around you in lieu of a bridal party, let's go wrangle up some bouncy babies. If you've always wanted to have a food fight instead of a plated dinner, get that bottle of ketchup girl it's on like donkey kong, if you really feel like having DMX officiate your wedding is the most important detail, I'm pretty sure he's out on parole and has a relatively low fee. What I'm saying is don't be afraid to be yourself and include things that actually matter to you. Stop reading bridal magazines that tell you the "10 ten wedding trends you HAVE to have" because guess what? The person that wrote that article probably has awful taste and is NOT getting married, YOU are. Which brings me to my next point...
3. Remember You Aren't Alone
Unless you are reading this from within the walls of a padded cell and the person you're marrying doesn't actually exist you have another capable human being who is 50% of this whole thing and gets to reap the rewards of the big day and your life together. Don't be afraid to ask them for help! Maybe it's something as simple as asking for their opinion on a color or something as complicated as figuring out which cousin is least likely to get the cops called on them it's a decision you don't have to make alone. This is actually great practice for married life, you will have plenty of things you need opinions on in the future "Should I wear the black dress or the blue dress?" "Is it weird if we name our first child Beyonce?" "How many shots of espresso until my heart stops?" You don't have to suffer through these existential crisis alone. You have a partner and how you interact and plan your big day together is a great exercise in the promise of matrimony you're about to make. With that being said...
4. Don't Take Yourself So Seriously
Obviously I'm an incredibly stoic, very serious and graceful human being that the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly merely aspired to be like. But even me, the most poetic and certainly curse-word free lady out there needs to take it easy sometime. In fact, I would say not taking yourself too seriously is a mantra that can be extended from the wedding planning process to all aspects of life. It's not easy sometimes, because self-reflection doesn't come naturally and we must always be fighting our solipsistic thoughts. But I promise you that if the flowers aren't the exact shade of blush you ordered, if the honeymoon suite you booked is more of a glorified store room or if mother nature decides she's literally going to rain on your parade-everything will still be ok. Say it with me a few times "Everything will be ok"! Because at the end of the day you are here for one reason: to marry the love of your life. Plus, I'm sure the CAPABLE professional wedding planner you hired has got everything covered!
5. Get Organized & Plan Time to Plan
This is something that us wedding professionals discuss all the time: taking time for yourself. It's hard when you are a small business owner to turn off that switch and make some time for family, friends, sleep, eating food, remembering to breathe, shower, put real clothes on and so on and so forth. But for someone planning a wedding the same thing rings true. You cannot let wedding planning take over your life otherwise you risk being labeled by your friends and family the dreaded term "bridezilla". I will say, most people who are called "bridezillas" on tv or by their bridesmaids whispering to each other are really more just stressed out, overwhelmed and maybe a bit disorganized. That is why it's so key to schedule time to plan and then schedule time to walk away and enjoy being engaged. When you let wedding planning take over your life it can very easily and quickly take you from Sméagol to Gollum . (For non-LOTR fans I know you don't want to be either of those but just understand that one is worse than the other. )
I know it's easier sad than donem but I promise if you stick to these things throughout the process you will come out a happier wedded person on the other side! Other things I recommend are laughing a lot and drinking a ton of wine throughout the process aka how I like to conduct my planning meetings.