This week we will celebrate our one year anniversary! Throughout the past year, there have been so many precious friends who have started their own journey of dating, engagements and even marriage. I want to give a few tips on things I did or things I wish I would have done leading up to the wedding day. (Add any of your own tips in the comments below!)
1. Make a budget
To the bride — This is one of the first things that you need to have, or else you are going to start spending money and not keep track. For decorations, ask around to borrow items. For a small budget, consider ceremony times that don’t include a meal. For photographers, know that you get what you pay for – meaning that the better the quality, the higher their pricing – that does not mean that you need to go with the highest price, but if they charge $150 and work alone, that’s probably not a good sign.
To the parents — Make it clear what your expectations are about money. This is one of the most stressful parts about a wedding celebration. If you are looking for a new wedding dress, tuxedo rentals, a ceremony and reception site, a caterer, a cake baker, a photographer, and a florist, not to mention additional decorations, the costs can be high. If you have given the bride and the groom money to do as they wish, then let them do as they wish or else have another conversation with them.
2. Make a Guest List
To the bride — This is another important first step that will take you awhile to complete. You need names, addresses and you should know how many kids they have, too. Why? So that you have a number to use when ordering a cake, finding a reception hall that is big enough, ordering food, etc. Another good indicator is to know how many total invitations you sent out, that is a good estimate on the number of people you will have on your wedding day. Also, I used a Google Doc so that I had my list, my parent’s list, my husband’s list and his parent’s list all in one place. The document can be accessed by more than one person at a time and saves as you go.
To the parents — You are a big help in this list. This is just as much about inviting your friends, the ones who helped you raise your kids, as it is about inviting the bride and groom’s friends. Also, make sure you don’t leave out any family members!
3. Delegate Tasks
To the bride — Unless you are planning your wedding for 5 years into the future, delegate some tasks. I promise, folding boxes for wedding favors goes a lot faster with more help. For some of the bigger tasks I used a customizable timeline via theknot.com. It helped show when I needed to have flowers ordered to when I needed to send out the invitations. Another help is being able to delegate someone to delegate tasks, especially on the wedding day. My Mom stepped up to do that for me when I didn’t even think about who was greeting the guests or handing out programs or letting the guests sign our guest book.
To the friends and family members — Jump in. Help make a to-do list, get the bride and groom’s vision and help. We had INCREDIBLE people who helped set up our entire reception and stayed to help take everything down. Those are the people who make the day perfect for the bride and groom AND their parents.
4. Communicate with the bridal party
To the bride — This one seems clear, and it obviously shouldn’t be limited to your bridal party, but one thing I want to emphasize is that you need to communicate your expectations. As the bride, you have chosen special people to celebrate with you throughout this whole process and be by your side on your special day. That means that you have certain expectations for that special group to be your biggest supporters.
To the bridal party — Go to all the events that you can to celebrate with her, and for the events that you can’t make, let her know you are celebrating from afar. But most importantly, at least act like you want to be there. Even if you have a lot on your to do list, these celebrations mean a lot to a bride and she has chosen you for a reason.
5. Encourage Selfies
To the bride — Now, I hate that word, but here is what I mean. Your photographers are not going to be able to snap a picture of you with every guest. So, encourage your guests to take their own pictures with you and be willing to do so even if it means not getting to sit down for 5 more minutes.
To the guests — Be considerate of what is going on during the reception. It seems clear that if the couple is having their first dance, that is your chance to snap a picture OF them, not WITH them. And those pictures are just as precious.
6. Best advice
HAVE FUN! More than likely not everything will fall into place perfectly, but if you know that going in you won’t be stressed out to the max. In the end, you will be MARRIED! Enjoy this fun season of planning!