So, you’ve met the love of your life, and now you have the ring to prove it. You have told the news to all your friends and family, and now the journey of planning your wedding begins. You are about to embark on what will inevitably be one of the most stressful, but thrilling times of your life! No doubt there be new waters for you to navigate. But rest assured, it can be great fun. After having gone through the process of planning my wedding myself, I feel that I can lend a hand in how to make it a smooth ride. Most importantly:
1. Remember to have fun
This is your wedding. There will never be another time in your life that you will experience the amount of love and excitement you feel surrounding you at this moment. People will be showering you, literally, with love and advice. Sometimes that advice can get overwhelming, but if you play your cards right, you can have as much fun planning the wedding as you will on the actual day. Just keep it in perspective when the going gets tough. It is your wedding, and what that means in the scope of all the details you get wrapped up in is much more important than whether you have roses, or 20 people more than you wanted… You are getting married. Keep that the focus of it all.
2. Respect your mother’s input
Whether you are paying for the wedding yourself, or having help from other parties, don’t forget to share this special time with your mother. In a lot of cases, she has been thinking about this day as much as you have, and all she wants is for her daughter to have the wedding she has always deserved. That doesn’t mean that you have to take the advice, but at least hear her out. You may find that she actually has some good things to say. If nothing else, allow her to be a sounding board for your excitement and your frustrations.
3. Make lists!
I found that in the planning process keeping organized was the most important part. There is so much going on in your head about every little detail. Be certain to have one place that you can continuously add to when you remember that you have to do something else. But also reward yourself by checking things off as they are completed. One of my favorite sources was using the Web site http://www.theknot.com. This site is filled with all kinds of resources including a to-do list, ideas for bridesmaids gifts, a budget calculator, dress ideas and much more. There are several other sites out there as well, so research which one is the best for you. But the Internet is a very handy resource to help keep you organized.
4. Know your budget
Theknot.com has a tool to help you devise how much of your budget should be allocated to specific aspects. Although, this is up for your own interpretation based on what is important to you. For example, I didn’t mind cutting corners on the wedding cake. (For the record, I got mine at City Market in Vail, and enjoyed every bite). You, on the other hand may feel that the cake is more important than the invitations. So you can cut costs on invitations. Regardless of how or where you spend your money, just know how much you have to spend. It will help make every decision easier for you.
5. Make a guest list
The budget will be a crucial factor in the number of people you invite. The guest list is by far the trickiest part of the planning process. It is
where all the numbers come from. How many invitations, the size of venue, food and drink costs. Everything depends upon the number of guests you are planning on inviting. There are many theories about how the guest list is done. Some are based on who is paying. Others on where the wedding is located. You will need to find what works best for you and your new family. There are so many ways to approach it. My suggestion is that all parties involved put together a wish list. Everyone put down whom they would like to see at the wedding. You may be surprised at the crossover of people on each person’s list, which will automatically help eliminate strife.
6. Be kind
Not everything will be easy. You will find yourself suddenly caring about things that you never knew you would, and reacting to details with emotions you didn’t know you had. There are many politics involved in planning a wedding. Navigating the waters of in-laws can be tricky. Trying to keep your own wishes separate from your parents can be rough. But if you handle all situations with respect and kindness, you will come out ahead.
7. Be flexible
It is important not get too wrapped up in details too early. Be sure to know what really matters to you. Feel free to stick to those needs steadfastly. However, there will be things that you will need to bend on. Maybe you only want 100 people at the wedding, but it is turning in to 140 people. Perhaps you want a DJ but your parents really want a band. Give in to the things that don’t make that much of a difference to you. It will make life easier for you in the long run.
8. Write Thank You notes!
There will be so many people doing things for you. Throwing showers, sending gifts, lending help in ways you didn’t expect. Be certain to thank each and every person that does something for your wedding. Many feelings can be hurt along the way if people feel slighted. With a little extra effort on your part, you can avoid hurting feelings, and actually make a bigger impression by acknowledging your sincere thanks. It also helps to write thank you notes as gifts come in. It will make for less work down the line. But be sure that your lists are organized so that you know who gave you what, and whether the note has been sent.
9. Get a lot of rest and exercise
This will be a crucial element to how you approach every decision you have to make. The better rested you are, the easier things can roll off your shoulders. The exercise can help give you that “bridal glow,” and can help you feel your best as you are heading towards the altar. If you can, try to give yourself one hour a day to walk, run, ride a bike or do yoga. Something that does not involve the wedding. Allow your mind to clear and to grasp the journey you are embarking on. It is important to acknowledge that this time is not really about your wedding as much as it is your marriage. Do what you can to gain this perspective as frequently as you can. It will allow for the planning in its entirety to go smoother.
You are lucky. You have found your true love. And that alone is worthy of celebration. Celebrate your family, your friends and your life. Acknowledge all of the good that is surrounding you at this moment. It is so important to take a step back from the planning to recognize exactly what is going on ” the excitement, the love and the support. All of these things should be recognized. You will be working hard at planning. When the big day arrives, there will have been a lot of things you have gone through to get to where you are. After you say your vows, and you look out at the guests who have gathered to celebrate your love, look around at all of your efforts come together, turn to your new husband and exclaim ” “Let’s party!” This is bound to be the best party of your life.
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