Man, if I had known what I know now! That is the phrase that always comes to mind when I think about my wedding. I married my soulmate in 2008 and had NO IDEA what I was doing when it came to planning a wedding! So, let’s get into what I would have done differently now that I have been in the wedding industry and seen a TON of weddings come together beautifully.
This is a big one folks. Knowing where you want to spend the bulk of your money for your wedding is super important (refer to “You’re engaged – Now what?” blog). Right after getting engaged I decided that I wanted to get it done in three months. The thing with my wedding was (and this is what I tell everyone), things really did come together and I was truly blessed, but If I had given myself more time I could have had some of the things I really wanted if I had prioritized them. Instead because I put our wedding together in such a short time, I sacrificed things I look back at now and regret.
Wedding planner all day, every day.
They are worth every single penny and I so wish I had hired one for my big day. A great wedding planner will think of things you never thought of, help you stay organized, and make sure your priorities are the focus on your wedding day. I was so young when I got married and being my Ma’s only girl, there were some things we just hadn’t considered or thought about. I wish I could go back and make a choice that took the stress of planning and burden of working my wedding off my Ma’s shoulders. My family and I had the responsibility of doing everything on our wedding day – setup, breakdown, making sure the venue was clean – EVERYTHING. This is not what you or your family should be doing on your wedding day! They should be enjoying themselves while drinking champagne and dancing the night away, and when it’s all over they should be able to just GO HOME instead worrying about packing up leftover food and table decorations. A wedding planner will make sure you don’t forget the small things, handle the big things like making sure everyone is where they need to be at the right time, and just plain take care of business. They truly are the best and investing in a good one would have allowed us to have enjoyed more of our big day.
LET IT GO.
I wasn’t angry or yelling at folks on my wedding day, but before I said “I do” I was super nervous. I didn’t let go and just relax with my girls. That is something I regret. I was thinking about everything, hoping it would turn it out fine, and let my nerves get the best of me. Ladies, just let go. The day is here so ENJOY IT! Try to remember that you can’t get it back, so don’t stress over what needs to be done and just go with the flow. Laugh, be in the moment, and know EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY.
Hire QUALIFIED vendors.
I messed up big time in this area, big time. Going back to the first thing I would have done differently, because I didn’t prioritize hiring someone with wedding planning experience, I thought we could handle it all on our own and SAVE money. In fact, the opposite was true and we lost things we can never get back. How so?
Our wedding was beautiful and one of the most special days of my life. We tied the knot at one of my most favorite places, the beach, on a gorgeous day. Unfortunately, instead of my husband having the experience of just chilling and relaxing with his boys, they were sweating, unfolding chairs, setting up decor, and then rushing back to get dressed before the ceremony. Not something I personally recommend!
We also made the choice not to hire a DJ or band, thinking instead we could handle it by playing music on our phones. Another bad choice. My husband has many talents, one of which is music. I absolutely adore his musical talent and he gave me the most precious wedding gift using his talent. He recorded a song he had written for our wedding day and I was supposed to walk down the aisle as it played. He had everything ready and set up, but when the time came for me to walk down the aisle with my brother to the man of my dreams, the music abruptly stopped. The equipment was faulty. All of the guys were scraping trying to get it back up and running because they knew about Ashley’s big surprise. Sadly, it didn’t work and as I walked down the aisle I could see his disappointment. That part breaks my heart. I was just as happy walking down the aisle to the sounds of the waves, but in my soon-to-be husband’s eyes I could see his frustration, which took away from the moment. Learn from my mistake and hire a musician or DJ who will take care of music, and sound for you! You don’t need the stress of playing a playlist at the ceremony or reception. Let them take care of getting equipment to work, setting up and breaking down, and running the party!
You are investing so much energy into your day and while certain vendors can cost a little more, saving a few dollars could cost you more in the end when you miss out on moments you can never get back!
Sounds simple right? I stress this point to all of my brides before their weddings, YOU MUST EAT! Not only because no one wants to see a bride pass out, but because on the most special day of your life, you should sit down, rest your feet, and eat that yummy food YOU paid for! At our reception I let nerves get the best of me, felt the pressure to go around to each and every table and thank everyone, and didn’t eat one bite of food. I don’t even know how it happened, but I wish I had taken a few minutes to stop and eat because I still have people tell me how good the food was. Of course, there is nothing wrong with thanking everyone and making your rounds, but you can eat first! Enjoy that moment with your new partner in life, eat your first official “married meal” together, and take it all in!
Planning a wedding can be a lot of work, at times stressful and you may think, “I just want to get this over with.” Try not to view it that way. Take your time, enjoy the process, hire qualified vendors to help guide you along the way because you can’t get your wedding day back! Learn from me, don’t cut corners – decide what is most important to you and go for it!