Just like my post about registering, the internet is inundated with advice about wedding planning. Part of me wondered if I could add anything valuable to the conversation since so much has already been said. But! I thought about the amazing advice people gave us during planning and I wanted to share it with those of you who may be in the process, or who will someday plan a wedding.
1. If it isn't fun, don't do it.
The morning after we got engaged, I was talking to my mom and she said: If there is anything during this process that isn't fun, let's just not do it.
This was, singlehandedly, the best attitude to take into our engagement. If assigning seats feels like a nightmare to you, don't do it. If you don't think cake tasting sounds fun, have a different dessert. It's your day and if something is super painful to plan, scrap it. There's no reason to torture yourself to please someone else or old traditions.
Garter tosses always make me uncomfortable and, in the past when I was single, bouquet tossing induced a lot of shame for me. With that in mind, we skipped them both.
2. Consider what might overwhelm you the week of the wedding.
For months, Chris and I were planning a surprise field day for our wedding party. We had plans for shirts, Sax Snacks and some serious games. One day, out of the blue, I was like WAIT. I am not going to want to do this the day before our wedding. It hit me that I was going to want to go for a run, drink coffee and spend time with my family.
So, we canceled everything and I spent the day with my fam. We exercised, made breakfast and drank coffee. We sat outside chatting on the deck, exchanged gifts and watched the little ones play. That's it! And it was perfect.
I've had friends who want all of their bridesmaids to sleepover after the rehearsal dinner. This is awesome and I've loved being a part of those weddings. Take on the attitude of: Good for her, not for me. Do what feels right - you know yourself best.
3. The bride sets the tone for the day.
If you're relaxed and happy with your bridesmaids all day, they will pick up on this energy as you get ready together. After the ceremony, they will descend upon your reception being relaxed and happy. And, in turn, your guests will pick up on their vibe and assume the same attitude.
4. Take a minute during the reception to watch people dancing.
Just step back, relax and be let it wash over you that every person present is there because of your love. Let it overwhelm you.
5. Make eye contact during the vows.
My friend Jamie told us to do this right before we walked down the aisle. I am so, so grateful to have the memory of Chris' sweet face gazing at me as we took our vows.
6. Have a no-wedding-talk date one week before the wedding.
Go on a date, don't talk about anything related to the wedding. Catch up, reconnect, remember what you used to talk about before the wedding planning began :)
7. Look at the reception before the party starts.
One of my friends grabbed me before the reception to make me look at the setup. Once everyone enters the room, it won't look the same. So sneak a peek if you can.
8. Remember the little costs.
A friend of mine forgot to account for Charleston's high city sales tax, which was tacked on to her catering bill. She was so bummed. Remember to account for little last minute costs - dress alterations, tipping your vendors, welcome bags, thank you gifts, etc.
9. Forget everything you've seen on Pinterest.
You are not putting on a show for your guests. You do not have to have a pin-worthy wedding. This is not an arms race for Instagram likes and Boomerangs and hashtags.
You don't need to lose weight. You don't need to go into debt.
Do what feels like you. Do what excites you. Don't let social media shame you into having a wedding that doesn't feel like you or believing that your love isn't, in and of itself, enough of a reason to get married. It's the thing that matters the most.
10. Be in awe of what you're about to do.
You're joining together for eternity. Let the magnitude of it overwhelm you in the best way. It is a big deal! It's easy to get caught up in the wedding, but, remember, you're really planning for a marriage. Let your engagement season be about preparing your heart for marriage just as much as it is about planning an event (if not more!).
All photos by the amazing and beautiful Natalie Puls.