Wedding planning is hard, especially if you're juggling a full-time job while blissfully engaged. And it's easy to lose sight of what's truly important.
In my five years of working with brides, grooms, and vendors, I've picked up priceless nuggets of wisdom on everything from finding the perfect wedding dress, to decorating on a dime. Now as a bride-to-be, I have an even better understanding of the joys and toils of wedding planning, and a new sense of respect for every couple that's made it down the aisle.
As I prepare to begin writing the next chapter of my life, and gear up for my own nuptials and future role as loving wifey, I wanted to share a few of my favorite pieces of advice...
1. Be nice, but not too nice, and embrace brutal honesty. Be blunt when necessary, but don’t let Bridezilla overcome your inner Bridechilla.
2. Study your contracts and learn the in's and out's before you commit—because there is no backing out once your John Hancock is signed on the dotted line. Know what vendors have tips baked in, where there are hidden costs or up-charges (like a cake cutting fee), and refer to a law-savvy friend if anything is confusing.
3. Don’t give in to pressure, from vendors wanting you to sign a check on the spot, future in-laws with strong opinions of their own, or recently wed friends who have advice for days.
4. Create an organization system that works for you, and leverage the many wedding planning tools that exist online.
5. Get organized before interviewing potential vendors, as you’ll be more confident negotiating when all your ducks are in a row.
6. Store all wedding communication emails in a dedicated folder so you can easily refer back when questions come up. This paper trail will protect you if and when you run into issues with the professionals you hire.
7. Set expectations early that you can’t invite everyone. Parents of brides and grooms tend to get carried away with their guest lists, which spells budget problems and venue constraints for you and your soon-to-be.
8. Draw a hard line when it comes to co-worker invitees, and only invite the people you genuinely like and socialize with outside of the office.
9. Put your heads together and zero in on the most important aspects of your wedding day by coming up with a list of five or so top priorities. Devote a larger portion of your budget to these things and don’t skimp or compromise! Repeat the exercise to determine what things you really don't care about, and spend less on these items to keep your budget on track.