Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tips From a Wannabe Wedding Planner

I love weddings.... they are by far, my favorite big event to be a part of. Weddings are just filled with so much love and beauty, they just make me happy!!

I have been making wedding cakes for about 6 years, and I have been planning weddings since I got married, 7 years ago. I have a lot of fun with planning weddings, because I love helping my friends to make their dream wedding a reality. And, I love seeing the finished product come together.

So, of course, I am just thrilled that my dear friends, Libby and Adam, recently became engaged! YAY! We have been waiting for this one for awhile... :-)  Libby asked me to be her wedding planner, which I of course accepted. Looks like the wedding plans are for March of 2012, so we have plenty of time to plan. Ever since I received her text yesterday, I have had weddings on my mind. This morning, I decided to finally make a post that has been going through my brain since June! A list of my top wedding tips for the Bride & Groom, for the bridal party, for the family, and for all the friends. So hear it is, I hope you enjoy it and hopefully, if you are planning a wedding, or you know someone who is, it will help you out!

Tips For the Bride & Groom
  • Don't spend your life savings on one day. Yes, it is an important day, but financial stability is also important, and $$$ is one of the leading causes of divorce. Start your marriage off right by not going into debt to throw some extravagant wedding that no one will remember next year. My wedding coast a total of $6000 for over 100 people, and 3/4 of that cost was the catering. That is a pretty inexpensive wedding by todays standards, but you know what? It was amazing, and perfect, and wonderful. And I would do it all over again for probably even less money! Save some of that money to take a great honeymoon or to put a down payment on a house!
  • Let people help. You can try to do it all yourself, and you could possible even be successful, but I promise you, you will not enjoy the day as much if you are running around the whole day trying to make everything perfect all by yourself. Ask your family members and friends for help. Delegate specific tasks to certain people. Just make sure that you ask people that you trust, and that you don't put everything on one person. (Unless that person is your Wedding Coordinator, in which case that is what they are paid for!) 

At My Mom's wedding, I was the Wedding coordinator. Since I was also the Matron of Honor, Cake Decorator, Decorator, and Singer, I needed some help. I brought along my friend Catie to make sure things didn't get to crazy.
  • Remember each other. It is so, so easy to get caught up in the excitement of planning a wedding along with the busyness of normal life and neglect the person you are getting ready to marry. Don't forget to have date nights still, and continuing nurturing your relationship.
  • Go to pre-marital counseling. Most pastor's require this before they will perform you ceremony, but not always. Find a pastor or counselor that you know and trust, and start this early in your engagement. There are so many things that we don't always think about talking about BEFORE we get married. We just think we will figure it all out as it happens. It is very comforting to go into a marriage knowing that the person you are devoting yourself to for the rest of your life is on the same page as you. I promise you, throughout your engagement process, this will be the most valuable thing that you can possible do. 

  • Let your parents make some choices too. Yes, it is your wedding. And yes, some of their ideas may be different, old fashioned, or all together weird. BUT, they are your parents, and they should at least have some involvement. If your parents are overbearing and want everything done their way, then consider giving them one thing to be completely in charge of, like the rehersal dinner. Then they can just plan away, without overwhelming you too.
  • Register together, and think before you scan! I know, I know... a lot of guys don't want to do the whole registry  thing. But, consider that the stuff on that registry is going to be stuff that you have to live with for quite some time. It's good for you both to put in your 2 cents on some of that stuff. Our registry ended up being a disaster... we registered for some stuff that we really didn't need, and just seemed fun. We ended up with many things that we got rid of less than a year later. So take inventory of what you have, what you need, and what you want. Have fun with it, but don't get to happy with that little handheld scanner!

Tips For the Bride to Be:
  • Stay calm, and don't stress too much. Things WILL go wrong... they always do. But, they don't have to ruin your day. At the end of the day, all that really matters it that you get married to the love of your life! All the small things will be forgotten later. Have fun!

  • Ask for help! I know I already said this for the Bride & Groom, but I seriously can not stress this enough for the Bride! Bride's take on so much for their special day, and unfortunately, they often take on way too much. It can be overwhelming. So ask for help... from your family, your bridesmaids, your close friends, and most importantly, your GROOM!! After all, it is his wedding too. :-)
  • Don't be a Bridezilla. I was in a wedding a few years back, and the bride said to me and the other bridesmaids, "It's my wedding, and I will be as big of a b!%@* as I want to be, and you will just have to deal with it!" Wow, what a statement! For those of you that may feel that way, let me clue you in on something.... At the end of the day, your friends and family will probably not remember what food you served, what your cake looked like, your how beautiful the decorations were. They WILL, however, remember what kind of bride you were. 7 years later, and I STILL have people tell me what a lovely, kind, and gracious bride I was. That is what they remember the most.... that despite the things that went wrong, I just styed relaxed and happy and ejoyed myself! So consider how you want to be remembered...
  • Above all, be flexible! Like I said, things will go wrong. It just happens that way. Be prepared to make some changes as needed. Did the florist call to tell you the flowers you requested just aren't available? Be gracious and flexible with what else she has available. They will still be beautiful, I promise.

Tips For the Groom
  • Help your Bride where you can. This is my biggest tip for Grooms... Your fiance wants your input. When you just tell her to decide, it sounds like you don't care. So, think of a few things that are important to you, and make sure to be involved in those decisions. Whether it is choosing the music, picking the food, or even designing the invites, whetever it is, make it yours. That will take some stress off of your bride while also including you in the process.
  • Make sure you Groomsmen take care of their responsibilities. Guys will be guys... but when it is a week before the wedding ,and half the groomsmen still haven't had their fittings for their tux... there is a good chance the bride is going to flip. It is your job to make sure your guys know what is needed of them, and when.
Tips for the Bridal Party
  • Being a bridesmaid or groomsmen is an honor. Your friend asked you to be a part of their day because they love you and trust you. Because you are someone that they want to stand up with them while they make the biggest commitment of their lives. That's a big deal! Thank them for including you, and do what you can to help them on their day.

  • Bridal Party = Responsibility. Being  party of the wedding party is not just about standing up at the front looking pretty. There are parties and showers to throw,  invitations and favors to make, last minute crises to solve, and of course a car to decorate. Help out wherever you can. even if you are acorss the country, you can offer emotional support that is invaluable! Oh, and if you really don't think that you have the time or energy, or if you really don't want to, then SAY NO! There is NOTHING worse then having someone in your bridal party that doesn't want to be there. Talk about a downer!

Tips For the Parents
  • This is their day, let them have it. You may want your son or daughter to do certain things certain ways on their wedding day. And while they may take some of your suggestions, please do not be offended and get upset when they don't. The wedding is not about YOU, so don't try to get your way on everything.
  • Don't give money with strings attached. These days, most couples are perfectly capable of paying for their own wedding, even if it is with very little money. If you think offering to fund the whole event give you free rein to make whatever decisions you want, you are in for a surprise.Like I said, it is their wedding. If you want to help them out financially, then do so, without expectations...
Tips for Immediate Family & Close Friends
  • Don't compare and don't judge. So what if cousin Amy's wedding was bigger or cost more. It doesn't matter, and making comparisions on someones wedding day is just going to make someone mad, or hurt their feelings. And so what if they did something weird that you have never heard of before. It's their day, and that is all that matters.

  • Help, help, help! Offer to help if you can. Maybe they need omeone to man the guest book or gift table, or maybe someone needs to cut the cake, or pour champagne for the toast, or maybe they need a little help cleaning up at the end of the night. Help where you can and try to make the night great or the two most important people there.
Tips for Extended Family & Anyone Else

  • Don't assume you are invited and don't be offended if you aren't. Most people can't afford to invite everyone that they want to. Some people just want to have a small, intimate wedding. Either way, wait to make your travel plans until you know you are invited. And if you aren't invited, take the news with grace, and just congratulate the bride & groom. 

Enjoy the time with your friends and family. This is, after all, a celebration! Have fun, and make memories!

So those are my thoughts. It's long, I know... But those are many of the things i have encountered with friends and families weddings. I hope it helps a few people out!