Friday, September 5, 2014

What I've Learned About Wedding Planning (So Far)

Soooo...doing a post on wedding planning today! Not sure how you guys feel about it so I'd love some feedback-let me know if you'd like to see more of this kind of stuff (such as tips on picking particular vendors? etc.!) I just figured I have learned a ton from this wedding planning, and a lot of people have told me I seem really good at it so. Yeah. Gonna lay some knowledge on ya, here we go!:

1. ORGANIZATION!!! 
What I've Learned About Wedding Planning (So Far)
Totally key. Michael and I are already pretty Type A, so we've had spreadsheets and lists galore for wedding planning since before we were even officially engaged. I have a file on my computer filled with free printables (found on pinterest and bridal blogs), a guest list spreadsheet, a playlist spreadsheet for the reception, a file full of various potential vendors for each category (photographer, venues, florist, etc.-with notes about each one, such as investment info., reviews, etc.), a photo list (all the shots I'll want our photographer to take on the day), gift ideas for the wedding party, etc. Also, utilize pinterest for inspiration or future info (the search function on pinterest that allows you to search only your pins has been a Godsend during this whole process)--bridesmaid dresses, wedding gowns, hair/makeup ideas, photo ideas for engagement/wedding photos, reception decor, and ridiculous amounts of info! (Feel free to check out my pinterest board to see if you find anything useful! I do periodically go through and delete things I no longer need but I'm trying to save particularly useful links on there). And finally, my #1 buddy and savior during this whole thing has been my wedding planner (book)! I have The Brides Essential Wedding Planner by Amy Nebens  (there appears to be a newer version available now)-my brother gave it to me for Christmas and I AM OBSESSED WITH IT! It has pretty much any and all information I could possibly need. Everyone teases me but it has been crazy helpful with interviewing vendors and collecting info and keeping me organized.

Organization is the #1 thing that has kept me calm and sane and in control with this whole thing. And that keeps it fun (for me, anyway!)

2. Planning Ahead
What I've Learned About Wedding Planning (So Far)
I know not everyone has this luxury but having time definitely makes it a lot easier. I don't feel rushed and, even though everyone keeps laughing at me for getting so much planning done earlier on, it means I've been able to take my time, pick the best people (and have plenty of options) before they get booked, and it means that when it gets closer to the wedding I will be able to stay calmer and not have to get all stressed and frazzled. I always say future me will thank me for everything I'm getting done now! Plus...not gonna lie...this is helpful with the budget, too.

3. Bridal Blogs/Wedding Websites

I have gained tons of knowledge, inspiration, and tools from wedding websites such as theknot and wedding.com (I also use weddingwire for most vendor reviews!). PLUS I've gained all of that and I've even won a couple giveaways (or been introduced to some amazing, inexpensive, products) from these bridal blogs (there are tons more but these are the ones I follow):
Ooh! And I don't know if this should be under this header or not but I highly suggest attending at least 1 bridal show near you! You'll gain a ton of info. and might even win some free stuff or discounts!

5. Firm Vision
What I've Learned About Wedding Planning (So Far)
Source:Occasions Party Centre
I don't know if this is necessary, but it helps. Michael and I have very firm ideas about what we want for most details of the wedding and this has made it easier to cut to the chase with a lot of our options. It keeps us focused and makes it harder for us to be swayed by petty squabbles, or vendors who are trying to upsell.

6. Flexibility
What I've Learned About Wedding Planning (So Far)
I realize this sounds like it contradicts the last rule but stay with me on this! Although it's good to have a firm vision-you can't be rigid! There have been SO many times during this process where I felt so sure I wanted one thing but then was shown a better or different option. Recent example: I was sure I wanted red vests and ties for the groomsmen until our consultant at American Commodore showed us what it would look like with a black vest. MUCH better! I also had been so sure that I wanted a sit down dinner, but when we looked at venues and I fell in love with mine and I saw the difference of prices and the fact that I was pretty much the only person who cared (plus we get to keep leftovers if we go with buffet)...I went with the flow and am doing a buffet dinner! (Although note: the head table is getting served so I still don't have to stand in line :P) The gist is: stuff happens. And sometimes other people know better. Be open to this. You might end up with something even better than your initial vision!

7. Budget
What I've Learned About Wedding Planning (So Far)
Source--couldn't find?
This is something that is going to vary A LOT between different people. The point here is: know your general budget, and work within it. Michael and I have no set number because...no matter what we weren't going to be able to afford this wedding. But our main thing has been to keep costs as low as possible without sacrificing quality, and I feel like we've been doing really well! When making a list of possible vendors I would get an idea of the prices out there, cross reference it with the quality, and then look into the ones that fell in just the right cross section (anything too high in price was a NO, anything with poor quality was also a NO) --and whenever we would have to make decisions, price was also one of the biggest factors (not the ONLY factor, but a large one.) In general, be wary of using friends or family as vendors in the wedding but do NOT rule them out! Weigh all the factors-what exactly they'd be doing, how close they are to you, how capable they are, etc. We're actually using Michael's uncle for our wedding invites (he owns a printing company so will give them to us at cost) and Michael's brother is our DJ! Since he's a groomsman I was really unsure but he reassured us and now I'm super excited to give him more experience (he has a growing DJ company) and save a little money on our end! Budget is something that is also going to be very affected by where you live. A wedding in Massillon, OH is WAY less expensive than one in NYC! So, keep that in mind.

8. Teamwork
What I've Learned About Wedding Planning (So Far)
WITH YOUR FIANCE'. Whether he (or she) wants to be super involved (like Michael) or completely does not care--you are a team and you need to respect his/her wishes. Various family members are going to try to assert their own opinions or ideas. This isn't necessarily bad. I'm not even saying to not accept their help or input--but make sure you and your partner are on the same page about it. If you're a team everything will go MUCH easier. Whenever someone from my or Michael's families does something annoying or controlling etc. in terms of the wedding we don't turn on each other. It's the 2 of us. In this. TOGETHER. This is good advice for marriage too, methinks.

9. A Sense of Humor
What I've Learned About Wedding Planning (So Far)
This is something you just need for life. Stuff is gonna get stressful, someone's family is gonna annoy you, fights are gonna erupt. But try your best to keep light hearted about things, have a sense of humor about it all, and realize that this wedding (while a super big deal---at least, to me!) is NOT life or death. It's all gonna be ok. And try to enjoy it! I'm having a blast wedding planning and I think everyone should be able to enjoy planning their wedding too :).

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