Friday, November 4, 2011

Wedding Tips for Brides

Shane and I are going to the first wedding tomorrow since our own and it got me to thinking about what that bride must be feeling. I remember how all over the place I was the day before my wedding and I was inspired to complete this post. I've been meaning to write this post for a while, but as a newly Mrs, former bride...I have some tricks of the trade to add to the pile of advice for future brides.

As a young bride, finishing college, and really the "first" of all of my friends to get married, the year and a half of our engagement was a whole new world for me. Nothing can fully prepare you for planning your own wedding. As a girl who pictured getting married since I was in my first wedding at the age of five, I thought wedding planning would be a breeze. But it's different when that ring is slipped on YOUR own hand and you begin making decisions. That first check I wrote as a down payment for my venue made it REAL, and with each item I crossed off my to-do list, it became more and more real that I was planning the biggest/best day of my life.

I did a lot of research while wedding planning. From traditions to budgets to issues most brides will face, I read countless articles, websites, and magazines for as much advice that I could take away. I discovered that every wedding is a learning process for brides and they all have something they took away from their wedding.

For any bride or someone who has not yet experienced their big day.... this is the advice I would offer from my own personal experience.

1. Know when to ask for advice and when to just make the decision on your own.
Between your mom, mother in law, aunts, friends, bridesmaids, sisters, etc. there are plenty of women who will be there to help you and guide you along the way. They mean well and want to help you and are there to offer support when needed. Take full advantage of this support and lean on them when you need it. With that being said, we're all human and we're all different. Mom's sometimes have a way of offering TOO much insight and not all of your friends will have the same opinion. And if you are like I was, you may have 6 completely different bridesmaids with completely different opinions. You have to know how to balance not offending your family or friends (and being referred to as "bridezilla") and making decisions of your own. Trust me, if you can find this balance, it will create a lot less stress.

2. In the end, the minor details won't matter....but do them anyways.
I'm pretty sure every bride will tell you after their big day is over that all the little things they stressed about didn't matter. And this is very true. Most of your guests will not remember if you had monogrammed cocktail napkins or striped straws in your wedding colors. With that being said, it's these little things that make planning your wedding fun and special to you and you will remember the pride you had in finding that perfect cocktail napkin that matched the color of your wedding shoes perfectly. Just keep in mind that some of these things are GOING TO GO WRONG...and that's what makes the difference. No one but you will know if the caterer missed a tier from your wedding cake (yes, that happened at our wedding)
So enjoy planning these little details. It makes planning more fun, and when things come together, it will make you smile. But know that when some of these things don't work out the way you wanted them to, it's ok, because your day is still going to be perfect.

3. Become BEST friends with your photographer.
I cannot stress this enough. My photographer was a Godsend and was there for us whenever we needed her. She was very open to do whatever we wanted and that made all the difference. Don't be afraid to pester your photographer either. Seriously, I had a folder specially designated for emails between us in my inbox. See a really cool wedding shot you found on Pinterest? it to your photographer and ask if you can capture that moment or something similar to it. Don't just save it and try to remember it on your wedding day. (you will not be yourself and 9 million other things will be running through your head)
My photographer had me do something (that at the time I thought was annoying, but thanked my lucky stars she asked me to do). She asked me to type out the list of family photos I wanted. (ex. olivia, dad, shane.... olivia, shane, brother...etc). I thought it was pointless, but it made perfect sense. She was able to "role call" these names and we got through family photos in about 20 minutes. Record time people.

4. Have something special you want to accomplish on your wedding day? Designate someone (outside of your wedding party) to make sure that happens.
Weddings are very sentimental and this is your one day to get a lot accomplished. But it's also a big day for other people too. Mommy and Daddy's little girl is about to get married, your 90 year old grandma is seeing her youngest grandchild get married. Do you want a second to spend with your future mother in law before you marry her son? Do you want to do the traditional guy and girl on either side of the door photo op? Is there someone who isn't in the wedding party that you want to make sure you get a photo with? Whatever "little/special" things you want to see happen on your big day, I can guarantee you will not remember them all yourself. Ask a cousin, friend, or someone not in the bridal party to make sure they help this happen. Tell them when to pull you aside for this. They will feel honored to help you do something on your big day and they will be a lot less distracted than you and your wedding party.

5. Map out your big day in advance.
If you are like I was, you will be doing some traveling on your wedding day. We all got ready at my cousin's hair salon, went to the church for the ceremony, then a different place for the reception. I thought long and hard about all of the items I would need at each place and how to have everything mapped out. I also did not have a wedding coordinator so in order to get the rest of my bridal party on board with my plan, I created itineraries that showed what time and where each thing would happen. I mailed these to them, and even though the majority of them lost it....they still all had a little bit of a clue of what was going on. :)
I also designated different bags that would be needed throughout the day. Since Shane and I were leaving the reception in his car, our overnight bag with everything we needed was put in his car the day before. Everything that was needed at the church was taken in a bag to the rehearsal (unity candle, programs, extra itineraries, etc). We also took all the extra decorations, parting gifts, and photos to our reception site the morning of the wedding. Then I had a carry all basket that I took with me to the hair salon. I packed extra makeup, hairspray, curling iron, deodorant, etc to take with me to the church and reception for me and the girls if we needed to freshen up.
Whatever you have planned for your wedding day, make sure you go over it with your coordinator, maid of honor, family, and other bridal party in advance so they are all on board.

One FINAL piece of advice. I found this on Pinterest and couldn't agree more.... Happy Planning Brides!

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