Lessons Learned: Planning Our Own Wedding
When G and I got married I was using our wedding as a base to launch my own event planning company. This meant I wanted to do everything myself and learn as much about the industry as I possibly could. There were so many things (both good and bad) we learned throughout the process of wedding planning.
You will probably overspend when you don’t need to.
Planning your own wedding is a lot like going into one of those cash grab machines. You know the ones where you step inside a clear box and try to grab all of the money you can get while a high powered fan blows it everywhere? You set a budget, start meeting with vendors, and all of a sudden your money starts flying everywhere. Know your price range, do your research, and make educated decisions. We decided to make our centerpieces and most of the decor instead of buying fresh flowers. It was extremely time consuming but saved us money in the long run. Was it worth it? Not sure! Ask my mom :D
Aim for a venue that doesn’t need very much “sprucing”
I know, finding the perfect spot to say “I do” can be stressful especially when you have a tight budget. We spent over $8,000 on our venue and that didn’t include food or linens. Yikes! There were a ton of other venues in our area that were just as beautiful for a lower price tag. Try finding a space that you don’t have to fix up too much for your big day. An old abandoned barn may be the ideal space but what about bathrooms, spider removal, or how much decor will it take to make that space yours?
Set your priorities
Two weeks before our wedding I had the sudden realization that I wanted, no NEEDED, to have a videographer at our wedding. Unfortunately, it was a little too late both budget and booking wise. Sit down with your significant other and decide which elements are the most important to you both. Is it your favorite photographer, videographer, the venue, guest count? All of these things are major when determining how much money you have to work with for other things.
You will go into freak out mode at some point
Bridezilla anyone? I tried so hard to not become your stereotypical bridezilla but managing every single detail of the wedding was starting to wear on me and G. My family got sick of hearing about the wedding details and I was up to my ears in things I wanted to get done before the big day. Accept help from whoever is willing but don’t force anything on anyone. If someone wants to help, but you don’t want to give them a big task, then give them something small to be in charge of. It will make a big difference on your sanity in the long run. Wedding planning is stressful, but just remember: the day is not meant to be stressful; every little thing doesn’t have to be perfect or managed. Try doing yoga or upping your favorite destress routine throughout the planning process.
Hire a planner
It’s easy to hand everything off to a family member or close friend on your big day, but this is a mistake we made for our wedding. My mom and her best friend handled just about everything on our wedding day. While I am extremely grateful they brought our vision to life, I feel guilty because they weren't able to sit back and enjoy the moments leading up to our vows. I would highly recommend a planner; they are your home team, the liaison between you and your vendors, crazy family members, and the disasters that can happen behind the scenes. Which leads me to my next point.
Research your wedding professionals
When booking your wedding vendors do your research. Ask around, and read honest reviews of their services. Are they professional? How do they handle stress and unexpected events? For example, we hired a DJ company to do our ceremony and reception. Unfortunately, the DJ they sent out on our wedding day had never done a wedding before. The mic went off at the beginning of the ceremony and no one heard our vows. We had our guests sitting for 30 minutes outside trying to play a game of read our lips. Fun stuff right? The good thing is neither of us noticed until someone mentioned it to us at the reception. How awkward is that? Umm guys … what exactly did you say to each other in the ceremony? I’m pretty positive an awesome wedding planner would have fixed that asap.
Take off the hair ties on your wrist
Literally every photo leading up to the ceremony I was wearing an unsightly black hair tie around my wrist. It wasn’t until my mom noticed it AFTER all of the pictures were taken that I took it off. Someone get this girl a wedding planner!
Focus on each other
Despite all of the craziness that came with wedding planning, one thing that I love the most is that we still focused on our future marriage. We took a pre-marital class and had long conversations about where we were then and where we wanted our marriage to go. Sure, the party is fun but it goes by so quickly and at the end of the day it will be you and your significant other taking on the world together.
Did you plan your own wedding? What were some of your planning lessons learned?