Photography by Katie Shuler of our wedding
In celebration of my upcoming wedding anniversary, I thought I’d share some wedding tips! Planning our wedding was one of the hardest and most stressful things for me. And Honestly, I would never do it again. But our wedding turned out to be truly beautiful and magical!
I had such a clear vision and truly wanted to make it perfect and come alive. When I started to plan everything, I really had no idea what to do and where to start. I’ve come up with 10 Do’s and Don’ts that I’ve found to be most helpful or that I wish someone else had told me.
1. Hire A Wedding Planner
Trust me when I say this, I’m sure many past brides would strongly agree. You’re gonna need a wedding planner! No matter how small or how big your wedding is going to be, you’re gonna need someone there to help you. I’ll be honest and tell you that I mostly did my own planning from design to finish, but I hired my wedding planner to be there for me from 4 months up to the wedding and for any questions that I might’ve had. She was so helpful and organized! And honestly, you just need someone (who’s not a friend or family member) that you can plan out your vision with, organize your wedding timeline, and to help communicate with all your vendors. The day of my wedding, I had no anxiety whatsoever because I knew my wedding planner would take care of everything. And when I mean everything, I mean every detail you can imagine. (I’m a VERY detailed person.) If you’re worried about budget, I would say it’s important to fit a wedding planner in your budget. Depending on how involved you want your planner to be, there are different price ranges. If you’re getting married in the Southern California area, I recommend using my girl Jenny of Jennifer Scureman Events. I only used Jenny for day-of-coordination and a couple of months leading up to the wedding, but she also does event styling and design. She’s also a great graphic designer too!
2. Do Some Heavy Pinning For Your Inspiration!
I’m not gonna lie, I freakin love Pinterest! If you don’t have a Pinterest account right now, I suggest you make one ASAP. The fact that everything is right there in one place is simply amazing! I used Pinterest to create my design and my overall aesthetic of the whole wedding. I went to town! I created separate boards for each and every single category. And then when I narrowed everything down, I even created secret Pinterest boards to share with my florist and planner. This is truly a life saver when it comes to wedding decor and really lets you create your vision online. If you’re looking for some images to add to your wedding inspiration, feel free to check my Pinterest account here.
3. Use A Monthly Wedding Checklist
I found this to be super helpful when planning our wedding! A monthly checklist really helps to keep you on track and keeps you sane. I actually wanted a physical print out, so I actually looked them up on Pinterest and printed one out that catered to me. I had a little over a year to plan my wedding, so it helped me to complete tasks one at a time and even write extra things that needed to be done on the print out. If you like a more digital version, The Knot has a great checklist too.
4. Set A Strict Budget + Create a Budget Spreadsheet
This is super important! Once you’re engaged and before you start planning anything, it’s important to know what your budget is. Once you’ve established a budget, it’s important to stay within your budget! Going over is just not realistic and can cause you to panic or have anxiety about paying for your wedding. Wedding Wire has this awesome planning tool called Budget where you can set your overall budget and put costs into every category. This will help you know how much your spending and the max on how much you can spend without going over budget. I loved using this so much, I’m not even kidding! Closer to the wedding, I created a budget spreadsheet on excel that showed the totals owed for each and every category, how much has been paid, what’s owed and when it’s due. This was a lifesaver when it came to making payments because I knew who the payment was for, for when, and how much right away. Being organized is key for wedding planning!
5. Involve Your Fiancé
Sometimes you might forget, this is HIS wedding too. Maybe he doesn’t want to be involved, or maybe he does. Make sure to ask! I mostly came up with all the design and decor but I also knew that we had the same aesthetic when it came to decor. I always asked his opinion and never made him feel like he was being left out of the wedding process. We went to most of our appointments together and hand picked all our vendors together. The wedding is about the celebration of you two, so make sure to make both sides happy!
1. Don’t Buy 50 Billion Wedding Magazines
I know I’m exaggerating this, but I’m so serious. The one mistake I made was buying wedding books and all these wedding magazines. It was a complete waste of money! There’s Pinterest and now so many of the wedding magazine’s have blogs, the resources are all on the world wide web! If you’re looking to save some money, I’d say to buy maybe a magazine or two and THAT’S IT! There’s just really no need. After my wedding, I also was left with these books and magazines saying “now what?” I’d hate to throw them out because I’ve spent money buying them, so now I’m just waiting for my friends to get married so I can give it to them.
2. Don’t Spend Too Much On Wedding Rentals For Small Details
This one cracks me up because I felt like I was starting to be this bride. If you have an endless budget, by all means please do! But if you’re on a tight budget, don’t worry about the smallest rentals because no one will notice. When I started looking at decor rentals, it was insane! I wanted all farmhouse tables and chairs, gold flatware, fancy napkins, and vintage crystal glassware. All of these rentals are ‘extra this’ or ‘cost’s this per piece’ or ‘this is not included in your package’ and it’s just not budget savvy. I was able to just get a farmhouse table and chairs along with the vintage crystal glassware for our sweetheart table because that’s what I could squeeze in the budget. Our wedding was still as beautiful and tasteful as you see online! And it was published on The Knot magazine so there you go!
3. Don’t Hire A Vendor Before Talking/Meeting With Them Before
I’ve heard horror stories, so Dennis and I made sure we met or talked to all our vendors beforehand. It’s super important to at least talk to a potential vendor before you hire them! You want people that you’re comfortable with to be part of your wedding. And you’re paying a lot of money for them to do their job so it’s important that you know they could be capable of being there for you on your big day. We interviewed multiple people for our wedding photographer because we knew how important it was for us. We also jumped on several phone calls with multiple vendors so we could ask them questions to get a sense of how they work. This made the process a lot easier because we got to narrow down who we’d want.
4. Don’t Spend A lot On Your Save The Dates
If you’re looking to splurge on your paper, I suggest you save it for your actual wedding invitations. From my experience, Save The Dates get kind of thrown away. They look at it, look at your website, and maybe keep the date on their mind. The invitation is where the beauty’s at! You can be so creative and artistic with your invitation picking out card sizes, the type of invitation you want, and how you want to package the whole thing. It’s always good to see where in your budget you can save some money and the save the dates is the perfect place to start.
5. Don’t Be Afraid To Splurge On Your DJ/Band and Photographer!
I wanted to save this for last because I felt that this was important to me! First of all, your DJ/Band is what’s entertaining your guests for the whole night! This was really important to Dennis and I because we love to dance and so does our family and friends. We actually decided on a DJ because that’s what fit best in our budget but that doesn’t mean we didn’t splurge! Bands are actually a lot of money but they can be so much fun too! Entertainment was important to us because we wanted our wedding to be fun! We also didn’t want any basic photographer. I wanted our photos to look professional and have a romantic film look without doing crazy editing. I also wanted our photos to look organic and real. Finding Katie Shuler was the best find ever! I found her on Instagram which is crazy to think because there’s so many photographers out there! I love knowing that we have beautiful photos to keep and cherish for the rest of our lives. They were worth every penny!
I hope you find this advice useful for when you start your wedding planning! I really enjoyed writing this blog post because I know how tough the wedding planning process can be. If you ever have any wedding questions, feel free to reach out. Next week, I will be featuring my actual wedding so stay tuned!