Now being married for a year and after planning my own wedding without the help of a wedding planner for two years, I now look back and see things I could have changed. I also see the things I did right and that I think every bride should do!
- Do a first look. Yes, I know, you’re not supposed to see the bride in her dress before the wedding but I seriously regret this. Whether its two weeks before or just a few hours before, just do it. I say this because I had my bridals done a few weeks prior, just me. Now I have all these photos of just me in my wedding dress that I will never use and they’ll just sit on my desktop never to be printed or hung up. If I could go back, I would have taken Josh with me. Our actual wedding day we only had about 15 minutes together for photos, definitely not enough time. If you don’t want your groom to see you that far in advance, schedule out time before the wedding to do a first look, that way it’s still your wedding day and you can get more photos together.
- Hire a videographer for whatever part of your day is most important to you! For me, this would have been our ceremony. The first few months after our wedding I would just start to cry because I would think about our wedding and how I could never hear our vows again or see all the emotion that we felt that day. To us, the ceremony was the most important piece of our wedding and I will never get to see that again. I have photos, but a video is completely different feeling. You get to experience it all over again. We didn’t have one because we didn’t fit in our budget but I wish I would have sacrificed something to make it work.
- Don’t go overboard on flowers. I had two years to make my decision on how much I wanted to spend on our flowers and our florist was so patient with me. I think I changed our order 7 times. But our grand total on flowers was $850. That was for all bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres, centerpieces, flower girl flowers and the mantel. Talk with your florist about your visions and what your max budget is. Then make sure to have counts on everything you need. My florist actually pulled up my Pinterest board to see what I had been pinning so she could get a feel of what style I was going for.
- Same thing with food. I wanted to do a sit down dinner with actual dinner food and not finger food or a dessert bar. With our venue you had to use their preferred caterers. We had four options, two were out of our price range so we went to both caterers, tried the food and decided who to go with based off of price and also what we had tried. Once we picked the caterer, we picked the food we wanted and have them give us a quote. Remember, catering prices might seem somewhat cheap but don’t forget about services charges and taxes. Our original bill was $3,500 and that was for two appetizers during social hour and dinner. We decided to cut out the appetizers and save $700. I am so happy we did that!
- Don’t be afraid to hand over things to people you trust on your wedding day. We ended up hiring a DJ for an hour for our ceremony and it was $100. That way I didn’t have to worry about renting speakers, putting someone in charge of the music or when to play it. I also payed the bartender that the end of the night, which honestly I should have tasked one of the parents to do for me because I sitting back there writing a check while everyone is dancing. I also handed over my laptop with our reception music to my cousin and he was in charge of it all night.
- Set rules on who is allowed into the bride’s room. All of the moms and bridesmaids were allowed in but I had grandparents and some unexpected people come into the room not only before the wedding but during the reception. They were just hanging out in there or changing, I even went back there to grab something and someone had locked themselves in the room which made me nervous. I was not comfortable with this at all because I had the moms’ bags, my bridesmaids’ bags, cash, presents, my laptop, phone and all my stuff for the honeymoon in there. So task some bridesmaids to keep an eye on the room.
- If things don’t go as planned, don’t worry about it cause now is not the time to worry. As were setting up all the candles and photos, I noticed I was missing a head table centerpiece. The florist insisted I only ordered one. I let it go and said I would worry about it later. A few days into our honeymoon, I was looking at the photos people had tagged me in and sent me and realized our wedding cake didn’t have the flowers on it and the candles around it weren’t lit. Yet, the wedding still went on and the cake still looked gorgeous. I did dig through my emails to find my final invoice from my florist and did pay for two head table centerpieces as well as the cake flowers so I asked for a refund and she did.
- If you’re going to have calligraphy signs done, try doing them yourself. Now, I say this if you a) have a long engagement and have lots of time or b) are on a tight budget. I was on both. I wanted these gorgeous chalk signs I had seen everywhere but each one was going to cost at least $30 and I wanted five of them. I ended up buying photo frames I liked, bought some chalk foam board, box cutter and a liquid chalk pen and made my own! Cost me maybe $50 max. It did take a few tries to get it right and patience.
- Sell your wedding stuff! Obviously keep the things you want but the 100 votives, extra frames or those amazing signs you made, sell those bad boys. I bought almost everything for the wedding from Michaels or online and I made sure when I was buying it that it was stuff that I could turn around and sell. Almost everything I put up on the Facebook wedding yard sell sold immediately.
- Have fun!! This is your one wedding day (hopefully) so live it up! Do things with your bridesmaids beforehand and take lots of photos! These are the moments that will last forever.