Over several years of working in the wedding industry, Joe & I have gathered a plethora of knowledge for wedding planning. If you feel stressed out about planning a massive event, you’re not alone. Wedding planning is a big task, and the bigger your wedding is, the potentially more stressful it will be. It is no surprise that we are huge fans of having a smaller wedding, but these tips are helpful for any size wedding with any budget! I hope these tips can be helpful in simplifying and optimizing your wedding planning experience!
++ Having multiple locations.
More likely than not, you are booking your vendors on an hourly basis. Each place you ask your photographer to visit, the fewer photos the photographer will be able to take. If you aren’t doing a first look, the bride and groom are getting ready in two different hotels, having a ceremony at a church and the reception in a different location, you have a lot of room for mistakes. Guests get lost, traffic builds up, vendors will be rushing around thinking more about logistics /timing / light sources than serving you for what you hired them for. If your venue does not have a getting-ready space, book your getting-ready rooms at one location. Also, if your ceremony and reception location are different, you ought to keep them within 5 miles of each other.
++ Doing your Hair & makeup last.
This is the number one reason why 80% of all my weddings run late. The hair & makeup artist takes too long. They scheduled the bride last - likely so your makeup is freshest for photos - but then everything runs behind. Your entire ‘timeline’ of your wedding day starts with you finishing up your HMU and putting on your dress. You can’t get married (or do portraits) if all your bridesmaids are ready and you aren’t! Schedule your makeup and hair to be completed 30 minutes before you put on your dress, at the absolute latest. When in doubt (especially if you only have one artist for like 9 bridesmaids) get yourself ready in the middle of the lineup, and then stage the makeup photos with your photographer before you put on your dress.
++ Not hiring a Day-of-Coordinator.
Want to have a stress free wedding? Hire a day-of-coordinator. They are the glue to every wedding. Coordinators manage all the vendors, maintain the timeline, and keep you + your loved relaxed. If you don’t hire a coordinator, your other vendors will have to take over the coordinating role - which means they aren’t doing what you hired them to do. Your parents and bridesmaids should not have to worry about the execution of a five-hour event planned out for months when they would probably rather be present to celebrate you. Hire a day-of-coordinator who has experience coordinating weddings.
++ Asking too much of family & friends.
A great way to include people and save money is to have friends and family create items, organize all the vendors & details, and set up a wedding. However, it’s also a huge factor in adding extra stress to your wedding. If your family and friends are preoccupied setting up your wedding that means they aren’t relaxing with you. Most of your friends and family haven’t put on a massive event that requires months of planning and though it may seem like they should know the answer, more often than not, they won’t have the right answer. I’ve seen brides bombarded with multiple people asking her to make a decision about XYZ and the bride becomes overwhelmed with decision-making when she should be focused on preparing for marriage. This is why hiring professionals who do have experience running a large scale event is the best way to take care of you. Spend quality time with your family + friends = hire professionals to help you.
++ Not educating yourself on how to budget a wedding.
Ask your planner or trusted vendor to help you create a budget plan for your wedding. In addition, if you want a smaller budget for your wedding, you may have to lower your guest count. Think of it this way - each guest will cost approx. $80-$120 (a meal, a slice of dessert, a seat, silverware, linen, plates, a seat at the rented table, maybe more) and you haven’t even touched the cost of your dress, flowers, venue, photographer, DJ, coordinator, paper goods, and more. Weddings are SO expensive, and in order to save money, you need to optimize your wedding experience. To optimize your wedding, invite the same people to your wedding who you would invite over for dinner. Splurge on them. Treat them for the investment of helping, encouraging, and supporting you in your lives. Also, having fewer guests means a smaller/nicer venue at a better price, which means more money to ‘treat-yo-self’ on your wedding or honeymoon! Smaller quest count means a higher quality, more personal, & wiser wedding experience.
++ Pinterest isn’t helpful in the long run.
Pinterest is basically 20% a good idea, and 80% a bad idea. It is filled with an unbelievable amount of information on weddings, design, flowers, etc., but it also gives false representation of what an affordable wedding looks like. Vendors constantly comment on a brides showing them their inspiration that is 5x their budget. It’s unrealistic. Find only a handful of photos (no more than fifteen) that you want as your inspiration for your wedding and create a wedding day moodboard. Stick to that moodboard like your wedding vision depends on it (because it will!) and allow your vendors to help create something beautiful out of your moodboard.
++ Planning your Sunday wedding like it’s a Saturday.
Logistically, Saturday weddings are the ideal day for a wedding, but also the most expensive. Sundays are a great day to get married, but Sunday weddings should end before 9pm. Consider your guests and where they are traveling from. If the majority live out of town and have work the next day, plan an earlier wedding. Regardless of location, guests tend to leave early to get rested before their work week. The earlier your exit time, the more people will be around to dance & celebrate you during your exit. Too often than not, I see guests leave after dinner or desserts, so only a quarter of the guests are sticking around for the dance floor portion. Vendors want to optimize your experience, so if see guests leaving early, we push for an early exit time so the wedding ends at it’s peak.
In all of these tips, it’s important to remember that perfection is not possible. Something will go wrong on your wedding day, but preparing yourself for imperfection will allow you to have a more optimistic and positive outlook on the day you commit your life to your partner. Remember, it’s all about the marriage, not the extravagance of a wedding.