A couple of weeks ago I shared a post with you guys with some of the lessons I learned while wedding planning. When I shared it, I told you it would be Part 1 of 2. The post was written before the wedding (though shared after). I knew even then that there would be lessons I learned about planning at or after the wedding that I would want to share as well. Now the wedding and honeymoon have passed, Dave and I have been married more than three weeks, and I’m ready to share some more lessons!
1. Hire vendors you trust.
I can’t even tell you how amazing our vendors were on the wedding day. When we were looking for vendors to 1.5-2 years ago, the personality was so important to us. It wasn’t enough that they be an awesome DJ or an awesome photographer. We wanted to make sure we were hiring vendors who’s personalities truly meshed with ours and who I would feel perfectly comfortable relinquishing control to on the big day. I could not have chosen better vendors for this, because they all did a fantastic job! Our coordinator, DJ and photographer coordinated fantastically among themselves and helped our day to run seamlessly. I honestly didn’t have to worry about a thing all day because they were so proactive and solved every hurdle before I even knew about it.
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
I spent weeks agonizing over what the weather would be like on our wedding day. It was Memorial Day weekend, which is notorious for unpredictable weather in Wisconsin. Some years it’s 90 degrees without a cloud in the sky. Some years we’re lucky if it reaches the 50’s. And did I mention we had planned an outdoor wedding for a famously rainy weekend? I started checking the extended weather forecast a month in advance (I would not recommend this), and of course it said rain. I told myself not to worry about it because the weather forecast was sure to change as we got closer to the wedding. And it did. As we got closer to the wedding, the chance of rain got higher and higher. By the day of the wedding, weather.com was predicting a 100% chance of rain at 4:30, the time of our wedding. Not even really a prediction at that point! I’ve never seen the weathermen so sure it was going to storm. I can’t tell you how many times I almost cried about this on the days leading up to the wedding.
Guess what. On the wedding day, I hardly noticed the rain. Our coordinator moved the ceremony into the reception tent, and it was absolutely perfect. The rain reached it’s absolute peak, pouring down on the tent as we said our vows. If anything, it created a little extra ambiance. We were able to have enough breaks in the rain to take some amazing outdoor pictures, and the venue provided umbrellas. I could have easily let the all-day storms ruin my day. I could have cried and let it put a damper on amazing memories. But I didn’t. Because my wedding day and the vows Dave and I exchanged (and the awesome dance party afterward) were way too awesome to let something so small as some rain ruin it. Was my dress soaking wet at the end of the night? Abso-freaking-lutely. Did I care? Not a bit.
3. Have a first look.
Those of you who have read previous wedding posts might be thinking, “Um Erin, you said you weren’t having a first look”, and you would be right. Dave and I finally decided the week before the wedding that we really did want a first look. It was take some stress off of our timeline, and us as well. This was such a great decision. Having those minutes alone with Dave to see each other for the first time was amazing. I wouldn’t have changed it at all. In fact, I can’t imagine walking down the aisle without having seen him and not being able to have those moments to ourselves. On top of that, it made the rest of the day 100% stress-free. I wasn’t remotely stressed or nervous leading up the ceremony or for the rest of the night. It didn’t ruin the ceremony at all, because we were still just as happy to see each other when I walked down the aisle!
4. The decorations aren’t that important.
The entire time I was going through the planning process, I knew I didn’t care about having a ton of decorations. I’m not a huge decor person in general (you should see how bare my walls are). When it comes to weddings I’ve attended as a guest, the decor was always the thing I noticed least. I never remember the centerpieces or the aisle decor, so I certainly wasn’t going to spend a ton of money on mine. I’m so glad we chose that route, because I can tell you I didn’t even notice the decor on the wedding day.
5. Leave wiggle room in your timeline.
I know I said this in Part 1, but it’s worth repeating! Everything takes longer than you think it’s going to! This is especially true for pictures. Finally there came a point where we just had to be done with the pictures because we were already running late for the grand march. Build in that extra wiggle room. You’ll be very glad you did.
6. Slow down and enjoy.
While I was planning my wedding, I had so many people tell me that the wedding day goes so incredibly fast. People always tell you to enjoy it, because it’s over in a flash. I can’t even begin to describe how incredibly true this is. Seriously, there are parts of the day that I barely remember because they just went by SO FAST. Throughout the entire day, I made sure to slow down and just look around at everything that was going on. It was the absolute best day of my life to date, but it went by dang fast.
7. Think past the wedding.
The wedding might be the best day of your life so far. It might be the best day of your life ever. It might be the first day of your marriage, but it’s not the most important part of your marriage. For the year or two leading up to your wedding, you’re going to be so focused on planning the big day. You’re going to spend so much time talking about dresses, decor, etc. During that time, make sure to focus some of that energy on thinking about and discussing the marriage itself.
The nondenominational church we hired our officiant through required 5-6 sessions of premarital counseling before the wedding. Dave and I weren’t entirely sold on it at first, but I’m so glad we did it. It gave us a really awesome chance to talk through some of the challenges and changes we would go through in our marriage and allowed us to improve our communication. Even if your officiant doesn’t require premarital, I totally recommend it either way!
Those are all the lessons I’ve got for you today. I hope these can be helpful to those of you who are planning weddings right now or in the future. It truly is an awesome experience, so I hope you enjoy it. I’ll be continuing to feature wedding planning posts on Very Erin, at least for awhile!
For those who are married, what wedding planning tip would you offer to brides today?
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