I am so excited to be celebrating my three-year anniversary with my husband today! I remember our wedding like it was yesterday: The cake. The flowers. The music. The dress. The endless e-mails. The weekly emotional breakdown followed by “let’s just forget the wedding and get married today.” But do you want to know what my favorite part was? Well, aside from becoming “Mrs. Horton,” my favorite part of the whole experience was the planner! *swoon*
Weddings are a pretty big deal. Even if you’re planning to have a “small” wedding… there is still a BIG amount of planning that goes into it (unless, of course, you are planning to do it Carrie Bradshaw style at the Courthouse)! You need checklists, timelines, a place to save receipts, contact info, scheduling, and of course, a patient fiancé to talk you down off the ledge every night while you plan it all! Even though I would never want to do it again, I do (occasionally) miss all of that organization and planning!
As my florist (slash therapist for nine months) told me, planning a wedding is “fun stress”. Even though I’m pretty sure I immediately burst into tears at the time, I now realize that he was right. It is fun stress! And at the end of it, you get a totally fantastic party! YAY!
…oh, and a lifetime commitment to your favorite person ever 🙂
Visit Barnes & Noble and browse through their selection of wedding planners (right next to the “self-help” section. Convenient, right?). There are big ones, little ones, simple ones, giant binders… just all kinds of crazy choices! Y’all, there is even a book that is only made up of checklists! Look through all of them until you find one that looks like it can help you accomplish exactly what you want!
Here is the one I used: The Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner. I chose it because it was small and light enough that I could carry it around in my purse (because believe me, you will NOT want to leave the house without it)! But it was also detailed enough that I could keep everything in one place!
This planner was such a huge help to me because it provided several checklists (yay!), notes pages, places for inspiration, etiquette, worksheets, and budget trackers! It really guided me and helped me envision exactly what I wanted the wedding to look like. PLUS, there was a timeline-style checklist (which was the inspiration for my Semester Assignment Spreadsheet, btw)! Yes, please!
In addition to this planner, I kept ONE “wedding folder”, where I kept all of my contracts and receipts. My florist/wedding therapist also told me about this idea. Take a regular two-pocket folder (like, $1 at Target), write “to-do” on the left side, and “done” on the right side. Put all of your contracts/bills on the left side until they are paid, then move them to the right side. This way, they’re all always together. (Does that system sound familiar? It’s the one I now use for organizing my class folders!)
I also created a “wedding” folder in my e-mail inbox to save all correspondence with different vendors or potential vendors. This is VERY helpful because it allows you to look back over details discussed, prices negotiated, dates/times, etc. Remember that, while this is your big, special day, it is also a business for your vendors, so you need to stay on top of things at all times!
When should you splurge? PHOTOGRAPHY! Next to catering, photography was our most expensive thing. Our original photographer got pregnant (and had twins on our wedding day)! So we actually had to go outside of Memphis to find a photographer that was less than, like $6,000. We found the MOST amazing team (yes, team) of photographers who did an absolutely amazing job!
The other reason photography is so important is because you want to find someone who will really capture your personality as a couple. The photographers that we used felt like they had been our friends forever, which kept us from being stiff or awkward in the photos. Even better? They were just so much fun and blended right in at the wedding, so they were able to get a ton of great candid shots of the reception!
Another place to splurge? Your dress. I never really had a plan for a “dream wedding” when I was little. I never really cared about what my hair or makeup or dress would look like. I thought I would just be happy with whatever. UNTIL I started trying on dresses! I literally fell in LOVE with one of the first ones I tried on. And even though it was crazy expensive, I never even thought about regretting it!
Reception location is another big, big deal… but it doesn’t necessarily have to cost a lot of money. The thing about the reception is that the location just has to fit the look/needs of the wedding! A good friend of mine recently had a private wedding ceremony in an art gallery of a local Memphis museum. We are going to a backyard wedding in a few weeks. Two summers ago, I attended the cutest and quaint wedding on a rooftop of some condos downtown. Use your creativity and make this exactly what you want!
The Ceremony. Kind of a big deal. Stick to the basics. I cannot even imagine how stressful it would have been for me to write my own vows on top of everything else. Also, choose an officiant who knows you personally, if possible! It will just make everything seem more relaxed. Last but not least, have you ever been to one of those weddings where there are as many people on stage as there are in the “audience”? Did you know that there actually is a rule about how many wedding party attendants there should be? Yep. It’s 1 per every 50 guests! This keeps a good balance of attendants and guests!
Just like everything else in life, the better planned out your wedding is, the more you will be able to ENJOY it on the day that it actually happens! And even if things go wrong (like the groom forgetting to the rings or the bride forgetting to eat… two examples I toootally just made up. *wink wink*), at the end of the day, you’ll be married to the person that you love the most in this whole world!