Late last year, I finally popped the question to my girlfriend of three years, Alexa Helton. For some reason, she decided to say yes, so that means we’ve got to hurry up and get this wedding planned before she changes her mind. Planning a wedding is a huge undertaking, so much so that there are entire business models dedicated to serving those who don’t feel like doing it themselves. There are a lot of decisions to be made, colors to choose, dates to set, and professionals to pick. For anyone who’s in the same boat as me, I thought it might be useful to have some helpful tips to make things a little easier so you can focus more on your big, happy day.
Firstly, you need to pick a budget – and stick with it. Settle on a number with your partner that’s plenty to make the day one of the most memorable in your life, but that also leaves enough money in the kitty for next month’s rent. Don’t forget to think about that honeymoon! Once you have a general number in your head, you can start deciding where specific funds go. If you have a shorter guest list, that’s more money you can spend on the venue. If you pick a cheaper venue, you can give the people in it a five-star meal. It’s just a matter of deciding what your priorities are.
Speaking of guests, here’s a tip that may land you in some hot water with your family. I really suggest instituting and implementing a “no photo” policy at your ceremony, maybe the entire wedding. You’ve hired a professional photographer. Let them do their job. You can distribute your wedding photos to anyone who wants them after the fact, and they’ll look phenomenal. There are a lot of benefits to this. You won’t have to worry about any unflattering photos of you on your special day floating around. Additionally, you won’t have to see a bunch of cell phones over faces in the photos your photographer takes. It might upset some people, but just assure them that the day is being totally captured and they’ll have plenty of photos to share. Don’t skimp on the professional photographer, either. It’s tempting to pay someone a cheaper rate while they’re “building their portfolio,” but you really want the best possible pictures of your wedding since it’s something that only happens once.
One of the best tips I’ve been given is to remember that there’s a wedding and then there’s a marriage. That is to say, while this day is important and will be a lot of fun for everyone, remember that its only purpose is to highlight the marriage itself. Don’t get so bogged down with the details that you can’t enjoy the time with your partner. Don’t let the details and potential frustrations distract you from the reason you’re there doing what you’re doing.
Try to have everything planned out and ready to go in such a way that you don’t have a to-do list once the day arrives. It’s going to be a stressful enough day just hoping that everything goes according to plan, so try to clear off your plate as much as possible so you can enjoy yourself!
All the planning and scheduling can be stressful, but the best advice I have is climb one hill at a time. Eventually, you’ll be on flat ground and you’ll be able to breathe. Work together with your partner. This will be good practice for, you know, spending the rest of your lives working together.