Putting together one of the most special days of your life sure is a lot of work!
My husband and I got married this past summer, and everything was exactly the way that we wanted it. Was it perfect? No. Was it what I had always dreamed of? No.
To be honest, I was never that girl that dreamed of my wedding when I was younger. Even when I got older, graduated from college, started dating! Never really thought about it! Then, I met my (now) husband, and BOOM! I’ve got three categorized (and secret) pinterest boards 😀 So while our wedding wasn’t what I had dreamed up since I was a kid, it was everything that I could have hoped for!
After we got engaged in May of 2016, the planning started! I knew that once my husband’s basketball season started and we moved to Michigan, everything would be put on hold. I wanted everything to go according to plan, and on schedule… or as much as possible! But, ladies, my first and most important tip of this ENTIRE process is the hardest to do.
I know, I know. The next few months are supposed to be jumping from cloud to cloud and fancy tastings. And it can be! But things are going to go wrong! Things are going to be delayed, maybe even cancelled, and your dream tables, lighting, or flowers, might not be available. But don’t let that discourage you. These days, there are so many ways to find your perfect vendors, so while you may be bummed because you can’t find exactly what you want. Keep looking! It’s out there, or something really close to it.
This will also help an INSANE amount in enjoying the planning process. I have heard so many horror stories of people fighting more than ever during this phase, or looking forward to their wedding being over just so they won’t have to plan anymore. It makes sense! Everything that goes into this day can become overwhelming. But if you are pragmatic about what you can achieve, and that things might go wrong, then it will make the whole process more enjoyable.
You are going to be married for the rest of your life. But you only get to plan one wedding (hopefully). Enjoy the process!
Now, this next part might give you nightmares. It certainly still haunts me.
I knew we were going to get married on the east coast, and that meant that since we lived in Michigan, I wasn’t going to be as hands-on. So I thought that hiring a wedding planner would be the right way to go! Someone to keep me on schedule, help find vendors that I wasn’t going to be able to meet in-person. Sounds great, right? Oye
I would never discourage anyone from getting a wedding planner because for many people, it’s a must! I’m a planner… literally, I used to plan major events in my old job, so it wasn’t quite a “necessity”. But other people just don’t want to deal with it so they hire a planner. Totally get it! And agree in many ways. But after my experience, I will always err on the side of caution.
Around March, four months prior to the big day, I have a call with my planner. I had in my notes to continue to ask for their copy of the budget since I hadn’t received it. I had asked several times in the previous months but was told that until they had estimates on the “big-ticket” items they wanted to wait to provide that info. Meaning, they were going to get estimates on rentals like: the tent, tables, chairs, flowers, the bar. Basically the most expensive things that go into wedding planning. Now, I had been keeping my own spreadsheet throughout the process, but since I had no idea what their plan was for those big items, I was leaning on them for that final number.
On that call, I find out that my planner had been working off of the wrong budget. And when I say wrong…. I mean DOUBLE! Now, here I could go into questioning a LOT about this person’s business practice and ethics, like I have in my head for the past year… but I’ll refrain. At this point, we had booked the venue, photographer, and music which couldn’t be changed since we were only four months away we wouldn’t get our deposits back. But what blew me away were the numbers!! I mean… did each person get to take home their chair after the ceremony? Are the tables made of gold??
The answers were ‘no’. But here comes my next and super important piece of advice
DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH
If a planner says they think you should use a certain vendor, or a certain kind of table, don’t just take their word for it and sign the dotted line. The night after we discovered the “error” I got online and found a vendor who had the EXACT kind of tables we wanted and had even done several weddings at our venue. And guess what?? Not even close to the price my planner was proposing.
One of the most beautiful things about wedding-planning these days is that you have so many resources at your fingertips. Whether you are searching for vendors on The Knot or inspiration on Style Me Pretty you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.
Are there certain things that you want to do on your own? Or don’t want to spend a ton of money on? Etsy was my life saver! I found some amazing vendors like Paper & Pine Co who did an amazing job finishing the details that are so important. Check the list at the end of the post for all the vendor details!
One of the best resources for information? Pinterest!! I kid you not, that is how I found our venue… a picture on Pinterest. Not only is it a great way to find ideas for the aesthetic of what you want, but it is a great resource for finding vendors! And since it is image-based, it’s a great way to see what kind of work they can do. Trust me! Pinterest boards will change your wedding planning!! For the better 🙂
This last bit of advice really hits home for me. My husband and I knew that we were going to get a ton of input from people. We knew that with it being pretty much a “destination” wedding for most people, that we would probably get a few comments here and there. And we did! But that did not change how we planned the day
PLAN THE DAY FOR YOU TWO
And nobody else. Because while you should do certain things for your guests and those attending your wedding, this day is for you two. It is in honor of you two. And it is you two that will remember it for decades to come.
I knew that our venue was a bit of a drive, but I made sure that it was close to an airport and plenty of hotels or inns for people to choose from. But once we confirmed that it was, I knew that we loved the venue so much that nothing else mattered. It was an inn so our immediate family and bridal party were able to stay on site. And since the inn was divided by houses within a mile or so from each other, we rented golf carts. Which… I have to say, made some of the best memories from the weekend.
Pretty sure that’s all my 5-year-old nephew is going to remember about the weekend. And I’m totally good with that!!
At the end of the day; things will go wrong, things will go perfectly, things will be different from what you imagined, and you probably won’t remember any of that! You’ll remember the way you felt, the hours you laughed, the exhausted feeling at the end of the day from dancing for hours on end. Take it all in and nothing else will matter.
But in the meantime… use these tips to keep yourself just a tad bit more sane 🙂
Venue Goodstone Inn | Tables by Something Vintage | Flowers by J.Morris Flowers | Tent and Tent Decor by Meghan Hansen | Rolls Royce by First Class Limos Service | Gown by Karen Willis Holmes | Veil from B.Loved Bridal | Veil Comb by Nordstrom | Ring Bearer Suits by Saks Off Fifth | Signage by Paper & Pine Co. | Photography by Jodi and Kurt Photography | Place Settings and day-of paper goods by Charlie Whiskey