Monday, September 16, 2013

Top Ten Tips for Having a Boss Wedding

I went through the "planning a wedding" process not too long ago, and let me tell you, it sucks.

Okay, that sounds awful. It does not suck always. There are many parts that are a lot of fun, such as dress shopping, cake tasting, and the actual day. But there are a lot of things that are very stressful, such as budget, details, and guest list.

While my wedding was not perfect, it was my dream wedding. I was so blessed to get the day I pictured since I was a little girl. I got to be a princess and marry my prince.
Yes, I rocked a tiara. What other time will I get to without being judged?
I still am unsure of how this was accomplished. I was on a budget, my fiance was living three hours away for the first half of our engagement, and then ten hours away for the last half. Plus I was going to school full time AND planning for my move to be in Pennsylvania with him, which included transferring to a new school. So it was stressful.

But I still accomplished my dream wedding! How did I do this?

Here are my master tips for planning your dream wedding:

I greatly stress this, as your whole planning will depend on how much money you have to devote to this day.

2. Go browsing the big things first. 
The most expensive parts of your wedding (or at least have a great potential to be) are usually venue, food, booze and the dress. So go price check things that you might be interested in. This is the fun browsing, just to see how much things cost.
WARNING: The pricing may shock you. I know I was shocked at how much things cost for even a fairly modest wedding. I had no idea that a photographer for under $1,000 was a steal. Or that invitations cost a few hundred dollars. Which brings me to my next point:

3. Reevaluate and finalize your budget.
After you price things out, you may realize that there is no way that your first budget will work for what you want in a wedding. Or maybe it will. Either way, I know what we thought was going to be A TON of money for a wedding slowly was seeming smaller and smaller the more we priced things out.

This is not to say that you can't have a wedding on a super small budget. But if you can figure out ways to tighten your money spending so you can afford some things that are important to you, this would be the time to figure this out and finalize it.

4. Pick your three top priorities. 
This is very important. Obviously if you have an infinite budget, skip this step. But if you are normal and have a budget to stick to, sit down with your fiance and figure out what the most important things are to you guys in a wedding.

For us, it was good food, fun dancing, and an open bar. So we decided to allocate more of our funds to those things and to go cheap on the rest. So that meant DIY and borrowed decor, DIY programs, cheaper invites and a cake made by a little old lady in her house.
The cake made by the little old lady...still tasted delicious on a budget! Also, we only had two tiers for the head table and had sheet cakes for the rest of the people. A GREAT money saver!
Our cheap favors: DONUTS! We happen to love donuts from Sweetwater's Donut Mill in Kalamzoo, so this wasn't giving up much, but it was definitely a great way to save money on favors!
Another DIY example: bought the candles and stand separately at Hobby Lobby (instead of in a Unity Candle Set), bought ribbon and wrapped it on myself, borrowed the mirror from a friend who was married previously, and had fake flower petals from Amazon. 
*One thing I wish we had done was to count GUEST LIST as a priority. Coming from a large Polish family, guest list was important to us, but it did jack up the cost a lot. If guest list is important to you (being able to invite a lot of people) I suggest counting that as one of your priorities. I didn't, and I wish we had. We made it work, but it might have taken a bit of the stress off.

5. Use The Knot!
What is The Knot? It is an amazing wedding planning tool! It has to do lists that really help you keep on track. When should you book a venue, send out invites, and buy a dress? This site will tell you! It also is in checklist form, so you can check off things as you do them, delete things they suggest you do but you don't want to do, and add other things you need to do. It was a huge help to me as I got very overwhelmed thinking about all that I needed to do.

6. Figure out and reserve your venues first. 
These are the things that will affect everything else, so it is very important to do these first. These will also be the items that will be very important to get a date reserved so that you can hire other people according to that date. Knowing the venue will let you know what other services you do need (do they have their own caterer, or do you need to find your own? How many people are seated at a table, so how many centerpieces will I need?)
Our wedding church
*If you are having a summer wedding, this is super important, as a lot of places will be reserved very early.

7. Remember that is it just a day.
While this seems like such a huge thing in your life (and it is in a ton of ways), it is such a day. Things will go wrong. (Hypothetically, your grandmother might show up twenty minutes late, pushing the ceremony back. But if that's the worst of it, your day was pretty darn amazing. Hypothetically :) ) But in the end, it is not a huge deal. Seriously. As long as you end up married to the love of your life, and people have a pretty good time, it will be a success.

8. Ask for help!
Now I can't speak for everybody, but I'd say for most people, your friends and family would love to help and be apart of your big day. Whether it's helping decorate, stuffing envelopes, or just listening to you vent (as long as it's not too much), your loved ones are usually more than happy to help. Ask them for help. You aren't a better person for taking on too much and stressing unnecessarily. :)
I don't know what I would have done without the help of my bridesmaids, AKA the A Team
9. Get someone to capture your grooms reaction!
I didn't ask anyone, but my friend Laura caught this shot for me:
The man when he saw me walk down the still my beating heart!
I am so glad she did! It is my favorite picture from the wedding! Seeing that teary face up close keeps reminding me of how much the man truly loves me. You'll be mad if you don't get this shot! Even if you ask a friend in the audience who is a decent photographer to get that shot, you'll be so glad you did!

Here is the best advice I got from my best friend's mom:
10. Take a moment during the reception to just look around and take everything in. The day will go by so fast, you'll blink and it will be done. All of your work, all of the stress, will be so worth it when you take those few minutes to really take in and enjoy your special day.

All of the planning was worth it for this :)
That is my list of wedding planning tips. It is a lot of work, and a lot of stress, but a lot of fun. It truly will be one of the best days of your life, because you are marrying your best friend.
My best friend and I :)
Love and Blessings,

Annmarie Faye

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