Wedding planning advice

I wrote this for the fellow knotties after my wedding in 2004. Hope you can take something from it too….
My 2 cents—take it or leave it, but I hope it helps somebody who is still in the trenches.

1. Do what you want. It’s your wedding and if you want to walk in to the theme song to Rocky, do it!  Everyone had things to say about my cake, my boots, my wedding colors, my hair, my simple dress, my out-of-town wedding on a Sunday evening, etc. etc. At the end of the day, I was happy and everyone else raved. I did it my way and have no regrets. It’s about what you want. Don’t worry about pleasing everyone else. And stop asking knotties for their opinions on what dress you should wear. Who usually chooses your clothes?! The knotties don’t know you or your style. Your wedding (and especially your ceremony) should reflect you, your relationship, your commitment to each other, your values and your personality. Who says you have to walk into traditional wedding music? Who says you need a string quartet and classical music even if that’s not a reflection of you and your FI? Who says you need to have tulle? My mom was awesome and let me have free reign to do whatever I wanted with no pressure to do what everyone traditionally does.

2. Sometimes it seems cute to say you’re addicted to TheKnot.com and you kinda laugh about the hours you spend discussing weddings and getting ideas from other knotties on the message boards, but in the end, it’s all going to come back to haunt you. Have fun planning, but don’t get carried away with the details. The knotties will recommend tasks after tasks and project after project, but realize that none of them will be there to help you complete them. And if you think your friends will be there to help, read #11 . Take a break from the knottie world (and actually do some of the projects) and participate in the real world during your planning. I met some really great women whom I chat with off the boards,.. I love the knot community, but it is possible to take it too far. Trust me.

3. Even though you plan everything to the T, you can’t be in charge of it the day of, so don’t waste your time dwelling on the details and what could have been. It’s over. Move on from the wedding and enjoy married life. (I’m working on taking my own advice on this one).

4. Read The Conscious Bride: Women Unveil Their True Feelings about Getting Hitched (Women Talk About)
– This book really helped me with the whole transition from being single to married. It helped me deal with the whole name change thing and helped me stay focused on what the whole wedding ritual meant vs. all the details of planning a big party. Because I had dealt with all this beforehand, I was able to enjoy my family and friends (without any emotional baggage) on the wedding weekend and I was completely calm and present during the wedding. I was not in a daze and I was not stressed or bridezilla-ish. I think I was the calmest one at the wedding. I’m even surprised that I didn’t cry at all. I was really happy and peaceful. They need to write a Conscious Groom, ’cause he was frazzled about all the details the day of. 🙂

5.  When you see yourself getting caught up in the planning and losing sight of what’s important, read Sulla’s tips.In short, have fun on this incredible day. You can’t get it back. Make sure your guests are treated well and they know how much they mean to you. You can’t do anything about the cake leaning and your bouquet being the wrong color. Deal with that after the wedding. Enjoy the day for what it is.

6. Recognize that never before and never again will this same group of people be together to celebrate the love between you and your man. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to have people from all walks of your life—work, high school, daycare, college, church—from every stage of your life, come together in the same room. Don’t forget that and relish every single moment. We had family and friends from New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Florida, Costa Rica, Nebraska, Georgia, Alabama, California and all over Texas come to our wedding. It was an incredible mix. Sometimes you just wish time could stand still.

7. Assign seating (or at least tables) especially if everyone doesn’t know each other. From a bride’s perspective, you can’t tell if people are having an awkward time finding a place to sit, but I remember what’s it’s like to be a guest. I think my guests appreciated the fact that their seats were predetermined. I made sure to seat people who I thought would get along, even if it meant splitting up some families.

8. Ask your vendors to repeat back to you any requests that you make. Don’t take for granted that they heard you, understood you or wrote down your request. I wish I had done this. At the same time, even some vendors with my requests in their contracts didn’t do what I wanted. It’s really for your won peace of mind…so in the end, youknow you did everything you could to get what you wanted.

9. Have your dream wedding. If you can’t afford it, cut the guestlist. I know brides who’ve cut out things they wanted so they could invite 250 people and in the end all the people they invited and rsvp’d didn’t show up. People don’t realize that you’re sacrificing for them… so, don’t. The people that are important are your close friends, family and your FI. Make sure they’re there. Everyone else is just icing on the cake… Treat the ones who are there to a great party with great food and entertainment. Don’t skimp on the stuff that makes a party memorable just because you feel you should invite 500 people. Chances are 500 people don’t care about you that much, so why sacrifice your wedding wishes for them? I’m just being real.

10. Don’t limit your wedding location to your city. Just because you live there, doesn’t mean you have to get married there. Choose a place because you love it, not because it’s convenient. Planning a wedding in a city 3 hours away from where I lived was a blessing. Everything had to be done before we went to Austin for the weekend. It gave all of my family the opportunity to spend time and relax with our out-of-state guests before the wedding and be away from the madness of wedding details.

11. People will disappoint you. Know that your wedding is one of the most important days in your life, not anyone else’s. Your friends will offer to do stuff and they’ll fall through …sometimes at the last minute. Your guests will eat a $100 meal and give you a $20 gift or no gift. Your family may decide to do their own thing instead of doing the “family thing” during wedding weekend activities. Expect it and don’t take it personally, just move on to Plan B and make sure you and your FI have a good time.

At the same time, some people will surprise you with their generosity of time and talent. You’ll get gifts from people who you worked with briefly 5 years ago. Friends you haven’t spoken to in ages will decide to make the trip from four states away and spend the whole wedding weekend with you.

Be prepared to be disappointed, but know that the pleasant surprises will more than make up for the disappointments.

12. Make an impact with heart-felt touches. Both FI and I wrote letters to our parents that were placed under their seats before the ceremony. We also honored our matchmaker couple with a boutonniere, a 2 nd row reserved seat at the reception and mention in the program. Everyone knew who he was. His wife died 2 years ago, so instead of favors, we donated to the American Cancer Society in her honor. Take time to honor those that are important, it’s a great way to add meaning to your day.

What wedding planning advice would you add to my list?

  • Anonymous

    Love this Delina & it is very timely as I have a DD just now in the heights of all of this. I will email it to her. I said much of the same things to her just a week ago – but it’s great to hear it from ‘not mom’ LOL

    • Anonymous

      Awesome! I hope it’s helpful. You should send her the book I mentioned above, too. It’s really helpful to process the emotional aspects of the transition before the party so that it doesn’t all blow up during the party! I’ll pray for drama-free nuptials.

      The only thing I would add to my list is PICTURES. Focus on getting good photography and videography. It’s really all you have left after all is said and done.

      • Anonymous

        I received a ‘Thanks Mom!” from DD a little while ago. She liked it. Must look for the book too. Good point – They are investing in the photography.