8 Wedding Do’s
When I got engaged, I really wasn’t a girl who had planned out my dream wedding. Yes, I had the pinterest board, but aside from that I really had no clue when it came to planning my wedding (which I did on a very limited budget, more on that later). I had some great advice along the way, and also learned a few things too. I wanted to share some of the things that I am so glad I did during my 11 month engagement!
1.) DO list out the MOST important things for you during your engagement season and your wedding day. As much as you want to you CANNOT make every tiny piece of the engagement or wedding a priority; at least without losing your mind. Pick 5 things that will make you so happy and work on making those happen. Please keep in mind though even if they don’t happen, you’re still going to have a wonderful wedding and marriage. Prime example, I really wanted Hubby and I to leave our reception by horse and carriage. I just imagined this magical exit with friends cheering, feeling like Cinderella. However, I kept having road blocks (due to my location downtown it wasn’t really a normal spot they go to, which made the cost really high). When I really looked at the cost within my budget, it just didn’t make sense. It really didn’t matter by the end though. A family friend lent us an amazing vintage car to leave our ceremony instead (which was such a perfect time to have a moment by ourselves, plus I adore the pictures with it). We were also so exhausted by the end of the night we were just ready to GO and not have a big getaway.
2.) DO take bridal photos. I was really on the fence about bridals, as I felt like it was an added expense, and kind of silly. I mean, I would take pictures on the day of, right? Thankfully I had some advice from my wedding hair stylist who told me it was a great way to do a “run through” of hair, makeup, clothes, and accessories. Also from my hubby-to-be who said “You should do it!”. This turned out to be one of my favorite wedding experiences.
I loved having my hair done (even though I had already done a run through), and getting to wear my wedding dress with shoes, bra, undies, and jewelry. It really helps you understand how you are going to move around in your dress. Mine was a ballgown, and I really wanted to wear my cowgirl boots with it! I did get some super adorable photos in them, but I realized that the wedges I got were alot easier to wear and gave me more of the classic look I really wanted. Having my run through took away so much stress and anxiety as well, because I was happy with how everything came together. I knew I was ready for wedding day.
Let’s talk photos. I am so incredibly thankful I took these photos. I don’t know how everyone else’s wedding days go, but mine was a busy/amazing/crazy/spectacular blur that barely included time to take a posed picture with my groom let alone by myself. With this time I got to suggest poses, take some great non-candid photos, and really just feel like a princess. It was a perfect time to bask in being a bride, and I think every girl deserves this. Even if you just grab a friend with a camera and go to the park PLEASE consider taking some bridals.
3.) DO hire a photographer. When everything is said and done, you have three things after your wedding. Your marriage, your memories, and your photos. I am a photo-aholic anyway, but even if you aren’t, having nice, professional, clear photos to remember your day is just so important. Please know you can find a great photographer for your budget, or one that makes payment arrangements. Or ask for payment towards that as a wedding gift from close friends and family.
4.) DO a lot of research. I will probably say this a million times over on this blog, but while planning your wedding do your research. Especially if you are on a budget. Even if you aren’t on a strict budget, not settle for a price you are uncomfortable with. Do not settle for a service you are not happy with. I had two incidents (one large and one small) in which I did not do enough research on the product/service I was using. Remember there are a lot of very talented people out there who may not be well known but have amazing services and would love to help with your wedding. It may take some googling and asking around, but it is worth it (and your wallet will thank you).
5.) DO have high and clear expectations for vendors. Most professional vendors will already have this covered, so start looking for professionalism right away. Do they have you sign a contract? Do they provide you with clear dates and products? Most of my wedding was DIY or gifted (God is good!), but I did pay for my photographer and cake baker (even though they are both friends of mine as well). Even when it is a friend, if there is money involved, make sure you know what you’re signing up for. I had a really rough experience with my original photographer I hired. I have nothing against her personally (even though she has since deleted and blocked me on social media…), but I had such a terrible professional experience with her. She was late to the engagement shoot, pushed her locations on me (aren’t these my photos?), and took longer than she told me to get them (by weeks). The quality was not what I was looking for. I asked for her to brighten a few and also for us to meet up and discuss moving forward. She did not attempt to plan a meeting, took forever to get back to me, and edited the wrong photos (after telling me that was a luxury, because SHE is the artist). To top all of this off, when I let her know that I would pay her for the engagements but no longer the wedding (I had already paid $500 just because I didn’t expect any problems), she refused to refund the money. We had never called it a deposit, it had just been a trust payment towards the wedding.
Long story short, SIGN A CONTRACT. If they don’t want to, there’s something questionable. My next photographer (who was absolutely amazing and professional) had us sign a contract, with clear dates, payments, and what we would receive from him. Lesson learned.
6.) DO have low(er) expectations for friends and family. Don’t get me wrong, friends and family should/hopefully are there for you in every way possible during your special time. This is to help protect your relationships and friendships, and also yourself. It is easy for brides to forget that people still have their own stresses going on. It is easy to forget that how you see it isn’t how others do. I think some of my biggest disappointment in the wedding planning process came from others not handling things the way I had expected them too. Whether they are right or wrong, or you’re right or wrong, it doesn’t matter. Friends may be going through personal things that keep them from fulfilling their best duties to you. While I am not advocating this in anyway (I’ve been there, it really stinks), it helps you to survive the wedding time with all relationships in tact.
7.) DO reach out for help. If you know me in real life, Hubby and I are not ones that like to reach out for help. We don’t like to trouble people. During your wedding season, however, do not be afraid to reach out to anyone and everyone with questions and requests. Our budget wedding was a lot of DIY and a lot of friend and family help. We are actually so happy it turned out that way, it felt like so many people we love had such special involvement in our wedding. That is a really neat feeling. My adopted dad was our officiant. Friends were our baker, photographer, and DJ. I got so many amazing referrals for services and ideas by just talking to people and asking who they knew or if they had any ideas. That’s how we came about our family friend who drove us away from the ceremony. Shane’s parents were a huge help and made our food and a lot of our wood decorations.
Your friends and family really do listen when you talk about what you need. Think about other people’s strengths and reach out!
8.) Have fun along the way. Planning a wedding is stressful and costly no matter how you go about it. Remember that you get this time of your life once, so enjoy it! I know there were times I cried over some really tough things I was dealing with involving the wedding. I am so glad that I chose to let the positive times outweigh those. I had so much fun and bonded so much with my hubby, friends, and family during this time. In the end, what really matters is that you marry the person you love, and make beautiful memories along the way.
I hope this helps. Please share your wedding do’s with me! What made your planning experience absolutely amazing?