You’re engaged – congrats! – and you’ve started planning the big day. You're really hitting it out of the park; you’ve got your venue, caterer, and band booked, you’re scheduled to taste cakes and go dress shopping, and you have a solid Pinterest board full of gorgeous DIY décor that you know you and your girls will crank out easy-peasy. Clink your glass for me and enjoy the next few weeks of engagement bliss; soon enough you’ll be entrenched in the planning process and all the highs (and lows) that come with!
Not to be the bearer of bad news, but wedding pros exist for a reason! You didn’t think it would all be this easy, did you? Wedding planning is hard. I’m talking invest in a personal masseuse, pour a big(ger) glass of wine, and start buying waterproof mascara hard. Everyone’s a friend in the beginning while you sign on those dotted lines! Never fear, sweet, sweet bride! Let a seasoned pro give you some tips to streamline the planning process so you can focus on your true love.
1. Get organized –There’s no substitute for a planner who will take all the burden off you and your fiancé (I mean mom, let’s get real), but you can ease some of your pains by channeling your inner Claus and making lists. The world we live in today is magical. Every answer you could ever need can be found on the internet! You can find all sorts of planning timelines, checklists, and to-dos that will generally point you in the right direction and keep your planning hours productive.
2. Buy a binder – I know, it seems a little clichéd, but there’s nothing that will rodeo your contracts, ideas, magazine clippings and samples better than an old-school trapper keeper. Whether it’s blinged-out bridal style or uber-utilitarian, pockets and clear page protectors are a must. Lisa Frank would be proud!
3. Pinterest it up, baby – Yaaaas, queen! I’m giving you permission, nay, encouragement, to pin. Create multiple boards and title each with a heading that keeps things clear and easy to find. Make a board for flowers, dresses, décor, arbors, hair and makeup - you name it! If you want to be super weird like I was, keep them secret and save your ideas for the wedding day when you can surprise all your giddy followers (and claim the ideas as your own)!
4. Go Legally Blonde – On a serious note, you have got to read those contracts. Many wedding vendors are the sweetest, nicest people you’ll meet. They will go above and beyond to ensure your day is smooth sailing. What they will NOT do is ignore their own interests. Hey, that’s business, doll. Read every word of that contract; a good contract is designed to protect both the client and the vendor by clearly outlining expectations of both parties and in the event of a dispute. Need some clarity on when final payment is due, or how many hours they’re obligated to fufill? Ask, and get it in writing.
5. K.I.S.S – or as my dad always said, keep it simple, stupid. Yes, there’s a plethora of info, guides, apps, and software available to those of us planning weddings. Do you need all that crap? Not likely. Remember that a wedding is really just a big party. So, when figuring out what you need, think about this – you need a place to have the party, a place for people to sit, food, and (generally) drink, and music. The three most important people are you, your fiancé, and the officiant!
Speaking of the three most important people, my number one tip for staying sane during the wedding planning process is to remember the why. As a wedding planner, I find it much easier to stay stress free than my clients because I have perspective. I know that an amazing wedding is a wonderful thing, but the goal is a happily married couple. When you’re about to utter lifelong curses on your cousin for choosing the wrong color bridesmaid dress, step back and take a breath. Your relationship is your why, and all the other planning stress? That’s just background noise that can be turned down.