Your wedding day is a big deal, it’s arguably one of the most important days of your entire life. So how do you manage all of the insanity that comes with wedding planning and surviving your big day? As someone who just had their first wedding anniversary, I am here to share where I went right, where I went wrong, and how I made it through my wedding day with minimal stress. One year later, I change a thing or do it over again because I look back on the entire experience with a smile because it really was the best day ever.
Determine Your Top Three Priorities
Unless you are a Kardashian, or you’re living that trust fund life, chances are that you have a wedding budget. Do you know what that means? That you will have to make some sacrifices for your big day in order to stay within your budget. And that’s okay! My fiance and I sat down at the beginning of our wedding planning and decided together what the three most important things were to us for our wedding day and those would be the items we’d splurge on. Everything else we focused on cutting back and staying within the budget. For us, our three most important things were photography, champagne, and food.
Photography was very important to me because my Mom was very sick with stage 4 cancer during my wedding. I knew that she likely wouldn’t be around much longer and I wanted to be able to look back on one of the best days of my life, but more importantly look back at beautiful portraits of my Mom. Shout out to Amanda DuMouchelle and her team for capturing our day so perfectly and giving me the best keepsakes to remember my Mom and our wedding day.
Photos, champs and good food all come with a high price tag, so we knew we had to cut back in other areas. I opted to not have flowers on the tables and did small succulents instead so that I could have a floral installation for our alter. We also didn’t do a cake! We were able to get a really great deal on bite-size desserts through our caterer.
Pick what’s important to you and don’t skimp (within reason) and cut back in other areas that are less important to you!
Put Your Guests First!
I cannot stress this enough. Yes, this day is ALL about you. But you have to remember that you are planning a party for a large group of people. No matter how gorgeous your wedding is, if it’s a logistical nightmare or you don’t feed people enough, that is all that your guests will remember. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you be annoyed if you had to drive an hour between the ceremony and reception sites? Or if they ran out of your drink of choice for the evening? Probably. Don’t be that bride that puts her over-the-top wishes in front of the 200+ people spending a lot of time and money coming to your wedding.
Whatever You Do, DON’T Skip Breakfast
So, this isn’t really a wedding planning tip, but it’s crucial. If I didn’t eat my full plate of pancakes and breakfast potatoes at 830 AM I would have never survived my wedding day. It’s a marathon. You need to fuel up and get a good base. I was barely able to touch my dinner due to the number of people that came to our sweetheart table to congratulate us. The line for the food stations happened to run right by our table (poor planning on my part). So, we were bombarded by people from the second the speeches were over.
P.s. if you’re a wedding guest, don’t try to talk to the bride and groom if they’re eating. They need this time with each other and honestly, they’re probably starving. Plus, you pay a shit ton of money for everyone else to eat. The worst thing is not being able to enjoy the food that you paid so much for.
Take Five Minutes During Your Reception to Have a Moment to Yourselves
Someone gave me this advice and it was the best advice I received leading up to our wedding day. This might be the only time that all of the people that you love are in the same room at the same time (in this quantity anyway). Take five minutes with your new spouse and go to the corner of the room and take it all in. It was such a special moment for us to watch all of the people we loved mingling and having a great time. It’s a really cool memory to look back on.
Remember, It’s Only One Day
Guess what? Shit will go wrong. I don’t care how type A you are, something will go wrong. But you know what else? It’s one. Freakin’. Day. Someone forgetting to put the sparklers out by 11 PM sharp will not define your wedding day or your marriage. You may notice that those centerpieces were off, but no one else will. The things that went “wrong” don’t even feel like missteps for my husband and me now. We look back and laugh at them. Don’t stress yourself out making sure everything is absolutely perfect because then you’ll miss precious moments of a day that goes by so darn fast.
Get the Damn Video
I went back and forth on this so much! Everyone who I spoke to who was already married had said that was their biggest regret from their wedding day and I refused to listen. I had a final check-in with the photographer to go over the timeline and day-of details and she said, “listen, you guys put so many personal details into planning this entire wedding yourselves and making it not just about you, but your family. I am telling you this as a friend, you should get the video.” She convinced me.
At first, I was like damn it! I am a sucker, I was sold on this video and I really was not sure if I would love it. I have seen some pretty awful wedding videos out there and I stressed to her that I was paranoid that the video would feel inauthentic and cheesy. The final product could not have been farther from that! I am so in love with our video, even more than our photos. Our vows, speeches and special moments with my Mom, who is no longer with us, are all captured on film. I love watching it and hearing my Mom’s voice and seeing the joy of everyone in the room. It’s worth it. Spend the extra money.
Whether you’re just starting out on your wedding planning journey or you’re getting close to the big day, remember that at the end of the day it’s about you and your future husband and the love you share for each other. It’s not about your flowers for centerpieces or the awkward best man speech. It’s about commitment and love and celebrating the one thing that humans from all walks of life and cultures share, our capacity to love another being so much that we commit to a lifetime of ups and downs and joys and sorrows.
Happy wedding planning!