Once you and your fiancé have made the announcement you are getting married and have set the date, it’s time to start planning one of the most important days of your life.
While it may seem obvious from the outside looking in that this day should be about you, many brides-to-be have a lot of trouble remembering that.
Whether you decide to hire a professional wedding planner or plan the wedding yourself, keep in mind that this is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Therefore, don't feel embarrassed if you envision your wedding dress or wedding venue differently than your family, friends, or wedding planner. Remember, this is your wedding, your way.
If you find that things seem to be shifting away from what you had initially envisioned, remind yourself that this is your wedding, and you’re entitled to do it your way.
If individual family members aren’t fond of your place settings, some friends don’t like the date, or you get negative feedback on the details of the ceremony, stay true to your vision, and don’t let it bother you.
The fact that you have a big heart and want all your guests to enjoy themselves is lovely, but this is the one time that it’s okay to be selfish. The reason everyone is coming to your wedding is to celebrate you and your partner as you embark on this life journey, so embrace that spirit.
As you go through each stage of the planning process, stop and ask yourself if this is exactly how YOU want it. If the answer is no, or you’re unsure, make some adjustments. It’s easy to get sidetracked and distracted with all the activity and input from various sources, but if you lose sight of the purpose of the day, you will only end up being disappointed.
Here’s an exercise for you to try. Imagine sitting with your partner 5 or 10 years from now, looking through your wedding photos or watching the video, and remembering your wedding day.
How does it make you feel?
The reality is, these are your memories, and the only person you need to please is yourself. Keep everyone else’s wants and needs in the back of your mind, but always stay true to your own, so when you look back on that wedding album and watch your videos, the only thing you will feel is love.
The goal of any bride-to-be is to create an enjoyable and memorable experience for her guests and herself.
Sometimes, the road to a fantastic wedding experience can be paved with pitfalls and challenges, but if you’re able to maintain focus and keep your end goal in mind, you will be able to pull it off.
A critical aspect of creating the best experience possible is making sure each component of the wedding flows seamlessly into the next. The overall theme should be present in each stage of the wedding, and you should pay attention to things like the season, table settings, and venue.
Planning will be different for a summer wedding than it will be for a winter wedding. You can’t wear your favorite summer dress for outdoor winter wedding photos because it just wouldn’t make sense.
The same is valid for wearing a heavier winter dress for summer photos. The idea is to follow the seasonal trends with your photos, so when you look back at them, you can “feel” what it was like and re-live your magical day all over again.
Your table settings are another excellent opportunity to enhance everyone’s experience. Little things like making sure everyone at each table can see one another around flower arrangements and table settings can make a big difference.
The level of elegance and extravagance in your table settings is another factor, as more elaborate settings will create a different experience than if you lean toward a more rustic setting.
The season you are married in will also have a factor in your choice of flowers, as you may be limited to what’s available in that season, which will affect the experience of your guests.
There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to creating the overall feel and experience for your wedding. A formal dinner setting will create a different experience than a more minimalist setting. An abundance of seasonal flowers will create a different experience than one small bouquet on each table.
The key is to stay true to your values, beliefs, and desires for what you want your wedding to be and then craft a memorable experience for everyone else from that base. You undoubtedly wish every little detail to be perfect, but that is rarely the case, so decide what matters when it comes to creating the ideal wedding experience and build from there.
In the end, your happiness and the love you both feel will make the most significant difference in the overall experience.
The subject of a wedding venue will always be an important one when it comes to wedding planning.
The indoor vs. outdoor debate has caused a good deal of stress for many brides-to-be and a good reason. All it takes is one mishap that is beyond your control, and you may end up regretting your decision for years to come.
Trying to balance your ultimate wedding vision with practicality and certainty can be a handful, so it’s wise to take a few deep breaths and explore the good points and bad points of each choice.
An indoor wedding venue is a safe choice if you are concerned about the weather being a factor in your wedding.
Depending on the time of year, keeping it inside will eliminate the potential for an unexpected frost, heavy spring rains, or sudden summer thunderstorms. Here are some of the benefits of having an indoor wedding:
Of course, an indoor wedding also means that there is a limit to the number of people you can invite. That might be a blessing for some people, but it can be tricky reserving an indoor venue to match the number of people you want to attend.
Getting married outside has an appealing charm, and many brides-to-be want to spend their special day in the outdoors.
Naturally, the possibility of inclement weather is the most significant stress point when planning a wedding outside.
You can try for a time of year where there is traditionally less precipitation, but because you have to book it so far in advance, you can never be guaranteed. The key is to plan effectively and have a solid backup plan in place for if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Here are some tips that will help:
Planning for any issues will help you stay in control if problems do arise, but this extra work is worth it for most people that dream of an outdoor wedding. When you have your wedding outdoors, some of the benefits include:
Just like the other components of your wedding, there is no right or wrong answer to the indoor vs. outdoor debate. You may have had your mind made up before you were even engaged, or it might take some deeper thought to come up with the best choice. Just remember, the day is about you, and when it’s all said and done, these will be your wedding memories.
Whether you go indoor or outdoor, it’s the details that will create the look and feel that your guests will experience.
By now, you get that this is your wedding, and you need to consider your hopes, thoughts, and dreams first. The look and feel of your wedding should speak to who you are and let everyone in on your personality traits, sensibilities, and uniqueness.
This is a time to let your inner self come out, shed any limiting beliefs you may have had about what a wedding should be, and create the look and feel that feels right to you. In other words, it’s time to have YOUR wedding, not just any wedding.
A natural wedding may refer to the venue you choose, the accessories and decorations, or both. We typically think of a natural wedding as being outdoors.
Some of the features that can be included in a natural wedding include:
If you are a traditionalist at heart, you’ll have some tried and true guidelines to follow when planning your wedding. Some of the features of a traditional wedding include:
If you are the type to let your quirky nature shine through and want that to spill over into your wedding, then you are just limited to your imagination. When you think hip and new, your guests are sure to be entertained, and you will feel at ease knowing you remained true to your personality. Here are fun ideas to include in a hip wedding:
Keep in mind; you can also combine elements from each of these types of weddings to create a look and feel that are truly unique. You may get a few raised eyebrows or a question or two from family and friends, but it’s your day, so go all out and make it about you!
It seems that the vast majority of the time, it’s not about finding a wedding dress, but about finding the “perfect” wedding dress. The word “perfect” can mean various things to different brides-to-be, but you know what it means to you, and you know when you’ve found it.
In your heart, you know there can’t be a perfect wedding without a perfect dress. This is true if you’ve had the picture in your mind since you were little, you are wearing a dress that’s been passed down through generations, or you are starting from scratch.
Your quest may be filled with ups and downs, a range of designs, and multiple fittings, but once you find “the dress,” it will all be worth it.
Many new brides love the idea of having two dresses; one for the ceremony and one for the reception. Naturally, there needs to be room in the budget, but having two dresses allows you to show your sense of style and your personality in two different settings. In a two-dress scenario, the wedding dress is typically more formal, and the reception dress more casual, but you can customize any way you’d like.
One good piece of advice is to make sure your dress fits your personality. It’s so common for brides to get sidetracked and focus on issues other than themselves, but you should always remember this is your day. Don’t allow yourself to feel forced to wear a dress that isn’t right for you. Take a stand and wear the dress you want to be married in.
After you have gone through the process and found the dress you love, you still have to wait to get your hands on it. Depending on the type of gown, whether it is being custom made, and where you are having it made, you may end up waiting up to nine months to get it.
No one needs to tell you that if your wedding is in eight months and you must wait for nine months for the dress, there is going to be a big problem. Since the dress is such an important component and highlight of your wedding, do yourself a huge favor and find out how long it will take far in advance.
And once you get that estimate, add another month or so on to be safe. You may need some alterations made or adjustments to make it perfect, and the last thing you want is to add unnecessary stress as the big day approaches.
Mental strength is one quality that all brides need to possess as the wedding planning process unfolds. Rarely do events play out as planned, and you’ll need to be able to weather each storm as you march toward your wedding day.
The music you play at your wedding will set the mood for the reception and help create memories in your wedding videos. This is yet another opportunity for you to insert your personality into your wedding, and it can be a time-consuming process to come up with the perfect playlists.
When you consider the thousands of songs that are available, coming up with the ones that will define your special day takes some thought. Chances are, you already have some in mind. You may even have a detailed list, ready to go.
Of course, as with most elements of your wedding, there is more to consider when deciding on the music.
It’s not uncommon for brides-to-be to have specific songs in mind that conjure up memories of their earlier years that may sound great but are completely inappropriate for a wedding. It’s essential to determine the context of each, so you don’t accidentally dance with your new spouse to a song about breaking up. Create a “what songs not to play” list to help point you in the right direction.
When choosing songs, ask yourself how you want your wedding to be remembered and what you want people to think and feel when the songs are playing. You can have your handful of must-haves, but it’s usually a good idea to trust the pros that do this sort of thing all the time and have worked out all the kinks.
There are pros and cons on both sides for the live band vs. DJ debate. A live band gives a feel that a DJ likely can’t, but they are also limited in the range of songs they can play. If your playlist is diverse, chances are one band isn’t going to be able to provide what you need.
However, if you have a tighter playlist that sticks to one particular genre, then a live band could work wonderfully.
Regardless of which option you choose, make sure they are professionals that have a decent amount of experience working weddings. Find out if the DJ can also serve as emcee, and don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials from previous weddings.
You want to create a wedding playlist with a purpose, and that means choosing music for every facet of the event. You’ll want the ideal music for the first dance, during the dinner, parent dances, the reception entrance, cocktail hour, and the after-dinner reception.
There’s a good chance you’ll get plenty of requests from friends and family, and feedback about your music choices.
There’s nothing wrong with accommodating others, but try not to lose sight of the fact that this is your day, and the music should speak to who you are. If you take in too much info from others, before you know it, there won’t be any songs left for you.
Getting people from point A to point B on your wedding day is an easy concept, but it still requires some thought on your part.
There are a handful of viable options that will work, and it’s more a matter of taking a look at your budget and which mode of transportation will work best for your wedding day.
Here are a few to consider, and some information about each one that will help you make a decision:
Hiring a limo for your wedding party adds an excellent level of refinement and will keep everyone together as you travel between locations. This is a classic mode of wedding transportation because it is useful and creates the perception that this is something exceptional, which it is.
Make sure to ask these questions before hiring a limo for your wedding:
Depending on the size of your bridal party and family, a party bus or trolley may be the ideal choice when considering your travel arrangements. They accommodate a large number of people and get everyone from point A to point B with relative ease.
Be mindful that the forms of transportation mentioned above may have commercial plates, which means they cannot take certain parkways. Thus, an alternative route may be necessary, adding more time to your travel.
This is precisely why it is crucial to go over the details of your wedding with your photographer so we can add this additional travel time into your timeline to ensure we do not run late to various locations on the day of your wedding.
If you want to have transportation available, but would like to let your guests manage themselves, then Uber or Lyft might be a viable option.
You can use Uber Events so your guests can have door-to-door service, but you’ll only pay for the rides that are used, which will help your budget and simplify the process.
When deciding on the transportation for your wedding, take a moment to make a list of which factors are most important to you, and then choose the best option. The key is to remember that no one option is better than the others, and doing what’s best for you is always the best choice.
Factors like the size of your wedding party or guests who are from out of town may require you to book accommodations for a large group of people.
While it’s not technically your responsibility to find lodgings for every single guest, making this aspect as easy as possible for everyone is still the right thing to do.
If you are having a small wedding and are okay with people staying at your place, that’s certainly your prerogative; however, when you consider the magnitude of the day, it’s probably easier to make other arrangements.
One way to keep all of your out-of-town guests together is to reserve an entire hotel block for them.
When you have everyone close together like this, it will be easier for you to coordinate their movement to and from venues and events, plus they will have an opportunity to spend time together outside of an official wedding.
For many guests, it will likely be a reunion, and for others, a chance to welcome one another to their respective families. Naturally, you should book any hotels far in advance, after you have finalized the important dates for your wedding.
If you lean more towards giving your guests the freedom to choose where they stay, then you may want to consider using Airbnb or Vrbo. This option offers some benefits that a standard hotel doesn’t, such as having the chance to cook your meals in a kitchen and having more space for guests to move around. They can also choose to group up if they want to but won’t feel obligated.
If you have guests that are going to stay in town for up to a week or more, then the Airbnb the Vrbo option deserves consideration. Many guests will appreciate the homier feel of an Airbnb as opposed to a hotel.
In the end, you will make the decision based on factors that make the most sense to you.
If you aren’t sure, talk it over with some of the guests that will be using the accommodation and ask which they would prefer. Sometimes, the answers you get will surprise you. Just like anything else, making assumptions can often backfire.
One of the most sensitive situations that can develop when planning a wedding is when the bride and groom belong to different religious faiths.
Naturally, different faiths mean different customs and traditions, and it’s common for one person to feel they are being slighted or have to make concessions to accommodate the other.
That says nothing about the families getting involved. Some interfaith weddings can result in pure anarchy once family members and close friends begin injecting their opinions.
Luckily, it’s possible to have a perfectly beautiful interfaith wedding that’s about love and connection, and no one needs to feel like they have had to sacrifice their ideals.
Perhaps the easiest way to solve any issues is to have two ceremonies. It’s a great way to honor both faiths and may even help bring the families together. You can hold both services on the same day or on different days, whichever works best for you and your partner.
Open communication between you and your partner is the key ingredient to making an interfaith wedding work. Be open and honest and make all your feelings known, so you can work through them together and come to an understanding that works for everyone.
Sometimes extending the length of your engagement to a year or even longer will give you the time to get all the kinks worked out without any unwanted stress. Take the time to examine the role religion carefully will play in your wedding and come up with compromises on both sides that will make the process go as smoothly as possible.
Both you and your families need to become educated on the other’s faith and culture.
Participate openly and willingly and make an effort to understand, so your spouse-to-be will feel as though you genuinely care about what is important to them.
Learning as much as possible will also help the ceremony flow and go off without issue.
No one said that having an interfaith wedding wouldn’t require work, but it’s work that is well worth it when you consider the reward.
We don’t all have to agree on everything, but your wedding is about love and connection, so with an open mind, you can make it through any barriers and join together the way you’ve always imagined.
As soon as you start feeling even the slightest twinge of anxiety about the idea of an interfaith wedding, keep in mind that many have pulled it off successfully before you, and it’s just up to the people involved to make it happen. As long as you maintain the theme of love, everything will work out fine.
If you’re like most savvy brides-to-be, you know precisely how you want your big day to unfold. And while “magic” should always be the goal, the journey from that first vision to the wedding day can be fraught with hiccups, pitfalls, and stressful situations.
The weeks leading up to your wedding day will likely be filled with appointments with various vendors. You will be finalizing the details of your wedding timeline with your photographer. The DJ will want your list of songs, including your entrance song, first dance song(s), your father and daughter dance, and your limo will wish to confirm the locations and times they will be picking you up and dropping you off.
Even the day itself can be emotionally draining and take away from the overall experience if you aren’t mentally prepared for what’s to come.
Take a look at some of the things mentally strong brides do to keep calm to enjoy their wedding day.
When you visualize an event or activity going off without a hitch, it helps to program your nervous system and will help you be mentally healthy as the day approaches.
For at least 10 – 20 minutes per day, visualize every aspect of your wedding taking place exactly how you want it to go, and feel the emotion you want to feel as if it is happening.
To stay mentally healthy, you can’t ignore the intrinsic connection between body and mind. In the weeks leading up to your wedding, make it a priority to move your body regularly, take in proper nutrition, and get enough rest every night.
Things like sleep deprivation and poor nutrition can whittle away at your mental reserves and wear you down, so honor your body and do right by it during the wedding planning process.
Micromanaging all or even several aspects of your wedding can and will lead to undue stress that will affect your mental state on the big day. Mentally strong brides know when to pick their battles.
Don’t sweat the stuff that won’t affect the quality of your wedding.
You don’t need to hand over all the duties of your wedding planning to professionals, but it will help to keep you emotionally stable if you outsource some of the tasks.
Ideally, determine which tasks you feel will cause the most stress, then outsource to a professional or delegate to members of your bridal party, relatives.
It’s important not to lose sight of your wedding goals as the day approaches.
That doesn’t mean turning into Bridezilla. It just means to keep your goals in mind, check-in regularly to see that you are taking actions to accomplish them and make adjustments when needed.