They say hindsight is 20/20 – whoever said this must have been talking about planning a wedding. When you’re in the fog of planning your big day, it’s easy to miss a simple solution to a problem, feel overwhelmed, or have difficulty making a decision. Fear not, brides, this is completely normal.
Now that my wedding is over (stay tuned: it will be featured on Something Turquoise shortly!) and my nuptial chaos has settled down, I want to share my post-wedding clarity with you. I’m absolutely thrilled with how my big day came together, but there are some valuable lessons and tips that I learned from friends, firsthand, and even by making a mistake or two. We’re in this together, so if you’re currently in that thick wedding fog, allow me to clear the air for you.
10 Lessons I Learned from Planning My Own DIY Wedding
1. Join Bridal Swap Groups Before You Get Married – This is one of those lessons that I learned the hard way. After our wedding, I joined numerous bridal swap groups on Facebook to sell all of our very gently used wedding décor. As I scrolled through the posts, I was shocked at the variety, quality, and affordable prices for items that I paid much more for. Local wedding swap groups are a great way to meet other brides and are an easy way to score wedding décor at very fair prices. To find a group near you, enter your city name and “bridal swap” or “brides” in a Facebook search, a bridal forum, or a search engine.
2. Day-Of Wedding Planners Are Worth Every Penny – Up until five months before our wedding, I was adamant that I didn’t want or need a wedding planner – then I started working on my wedding spreadsheet (see tip #6). As soon as I started to break down the days before, during, and after our wedding, I realized that without a day-of coordinator, I literally would have to be in two places at once. In addition to this impossible feat, I had myself doing things like setting up balloons and placing name cards. As the bride, I didn’t have time for these tasks and I wanted to enjoy my wedding, so I decided to hire a day-of wedding coordinator. This was honestly one of the best decisions I made during my wedding planning process; it allowed me to be a guest at my own wedding and let someone else worry about the details.
3. Request Multiple Quotes – If you’re a budget-conscious bride, this is a must. We had a very strict budget for our wedding, so when I was sourcing a service, I contacted multiple vendors, gave them the information they needed, and requested a quote. While searching for a florist, I sent the exact same information to seven vendors and I received quotes ranging from $900 to $2,500. To request an accurate quote, reach out to the vendor via email (it’s easier to track this way) and provide them with the date of your wedding, number of guests, any specific requests you have, and examples (menus, photos, etc.) to help them understand your vision.
4. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff Because It Won’t Matter Later – The best advice I was given prior to my wedding was this: “No one out there knows exactly what your wedding is supposed to look like but you two [the bride and groom], so if something goes wrong, just go with it”. This advice really took the pressure off of me and allowed me to let the little things go. People may have a rough idea what your wedding will be like, but no one will notice that the banner wasn’t hung in the right location or that your bouquet is missing pink peonies. Don’t sweat the small stuff and move on with your dream day.
5. Take Time To Breathe – Sneak away by yourself or with your bride/groom to take a deep breath, be in the present moment, and take it all in. Even if you have to do this in a bathroom stall, do it. This will not only ground you, it will slow the day down (even if only for 30 seconds). Your entire day will fly by, so do this every so often to absorb a few sacred moments.
6. Start A Spreadsheet – Repeat after me: spreadsheets are a bride’s best friend. As a writer, I’m not particularly fond of them (numbers aren’t my thing), but I started one massive spreadsheet that tracked everything from deposit amounts to food allergies. It quickly became my wedding bible and my day-of coordinator loved that all the information she needed was in one place. Pro tip: don’t forget to save it electronically in multiple places just in case.
7. Decide What’s Important To You – Unless you’re working with an unlimited budget, you’ll need to make sacrifices somewhere. Before you start wedding planning (or during if you haven’t done this yet – it’s not too late), decide what’s important to you both and keep these things in mind when you’re making decisions. For us, food and décor were two of the factors that we valued the most, so we chose to put more money and effort into these details than other things we didn’t care about as much.
8. Know When To DIY And When To Buy – My wedding was full of DIY; we’re talking 300 handmade tissue paper tassels, custom name cards, homemade granola favors, this diamond cardbox, and handmade table numbers – but I also chose to buy some items. Sometimes the time and money you need to invest in making it just doesn’t make sense (note: for some tips on how to keep your DIY costs down, click here). I chose to purchase our silver mercury vases because this was a detail that I really wanted at our wedding but we didn’t have the time or space to make them ourselves.
Found on: Local Milk.
9. Listen To Others, But Also Speak Your Mind – When it comes to your wedding, everyone will have an opinion. Stop, listen, and consider their points of view, but don’t be afraid to speak your mind and stick to your vision. If you don’t value or want something at your wedding, don’t let yourself get bullied into doing it for other people. We didn’t value transportation at all (i.e. a limo or vintage car), so we decided to skip this common wedding practice. We spotted a few raised eyebrows when we announced this decision, but we were so happy that we didn’t cave. We ended up using the money we saved to create a vintage lounge complete with outdoor carpets, and it was a big hit with all of our guests.
10. Remind Yourself Why You’re Doing This – When you’re having nightmares about a bird pooping on your wedding dress or you’ve allowed your thoughts to be consumed by the predicament of whether you should go with white or cream napkins, take a moment to put things into perspective. Yes, this is an extremely important day in your life, but it truly is only one day. The whole point of a wedding is to celebrate your love with your friends and family, so keep this in mind as you get into the nitty-gritty wedding planning details and marry the person of your dreams.
Table runner: mrsfreund Romantic Chiffon Table Runner.
Photographer: Anne Oyton.
Kendra Hagerman is fashion, beauty, and lifestyle writer that is DIY-ing her way to a dreamy backyard brunch wedding on July 16th, 2016. She enjoys pugs and pancakes, both of which will be found at her out-of-the-box wedding. Find and follow her on the social channels below for design, wedding, and fashion inspiration!