Hi friends! It’s that time of the week again… time for Thursday Tips that is! :) Yeah, I’m corny- you love it though, right? ;) Okay, so for this week’s Thursday Tips, I thought I would share a little insight into the planning of my own wedding. I’ve met lots of new people in the past few weeks, and I ended up telling my “story” a few times. In doing this, I realized that not everyone has been “with” me since the beginning of ELD… and I know that most likely is most of you lovely readers! So before I give you specific things about what I wish I had known when planning my own wedding, I thought I should give you the condensed version of my background! Here goes…
I got engaged on December 23, 2007. “Back then”, wedding blogs were just starting to pop up. There weren’t as many as there are now, and they definitely didn’t show up in my countless (and often times desperate) Google searches for “wedding inspiration, unique wedding ideas, wedding planning, wedding advice”, etc. The planner that I hired (another vendor in my small town) had no clue about what was popular, and of course didn’t know what blogs were. The thing is, even though blogs existed when I was planning my wedding, I had no idea about them until I had about 3 months left. Yeah- aka, I couldn’t just up and change my whole entire wedding because I was suddenly inspired. Oh and you should also know that back when I was planning, I also was (clearly) not yet working in the industry. And so no, I did not have an amazing wedding blogger wedding that was featured by another wedding blog, as many often associate wedding bloggers today with.
Fast forward to a month after my wedding, June 2009. I was looking back on my wedding planning and wedding day, and I had all of these things that I wish I had known. Things that I wish I had had someone tell me. Things that could have easily been avoided or just been better overall if someone had told me. And so, I started blogging. Because I wanted to help other brides who might also be in my shoes. I wanted to prevent them from making the same mistakes that I did. Simply put, I wanted to help brides have awesome weddings.
Very soon after starting to blog, I took a wedding planning class to learn the ins and outs of weddings. I wanted to know what the “right” way to plan a wedding was. The way that things were *supposed* to go on a wedding day. (Like how your wedding planner isn’t supposed to leave when there are 2 hours left in your reception…) I had no idea what I was going to do with that class- I didn’t even really have intentions of actually planning weddings. But part of the certification requirements were to “apprentice” (AKA work for free) with a wedding-related company, and I figured it was a good idea that would allow me to get more experience with weddings. I ended up apprenticing with a wedding design & decor company, and after a few months, they hired me on as their in-house planner. A few months after that, I started designing events, and the next thing I knew, I was a full time wedding planner/designer! Who would of thought?! If you had told me in the months before my own wedding that I would be a planner, I would have never believed you. I never had even had the thought cross my mind about planning weddings! But there I was, planning and designing events- and all the while, blogging away here at Every Last Detail to achieve my goal of helping brides. And then in April of 2011, I made the
leap decision to start blogging full time, and so now here I am!
Alrighty, so I guess that wasn’t such a nutshell of my background, but oh well! Now for what you all came for… what I wish I had known when planning my wedding!
1. You don’t have to hire vendors that are all in the same immediate location that your wedding is occurring in. Most cities have other cities/towns that surround them, right? Well, I got married in my small hometown, and for some strange reason, I thought that wedding professionals from the surrounding larger cities wouldn’t travel an hour to an hour and half for my wedding. So I relegated myself to searching for vendors that were based in my small town. It didn’t even occur to me that I actually *lived* in one of those larger cities, and my meetings would have been a lot easier. Oh, and also… in most cities, it takes about an hour to get somewhere anyways right?! What was I thinking? DUH!
2. You want to hire vendors who you feel close to- who feel like they’re your friends. You’re going to be spending a long time with them- you want to be comfortable and have fun with your vendors! Well, I didn’t even consider this when hiring my vendors… BIG mistake.
3. When researching vendors, you can’t compare “apples to apples”. Why not? Because everyone is different. Everyone has different levels of experience, different services, different packages. Yes, it makes it tough to make a decision, but if you end up comparing “apples to apples”, you’re doing yourself a disservice, because you’re most likely going to end up with the short end of the stick. Like me. I hired a photographer because they were the cheaper option out of everyone I met with. Yet I still ended up paying about $5,000 by the time everything was said and done. Um, what happened there? That’s not cheap! Knowing what I know now, it kills me to know the quality of photography that I would have been able to get for that amount. But, I was comparing “apples to apples”, and I didn’t look a little deeper into what should have mattered- quality and personality.
4. Know your options! It’s totally fine to meet with a few different vendors- you need to know your options so you can make an informed decision! Don’t feel bad about it. But at the same time, don’t get too carried away with the options. A good rule of thumb: do your research first, and then schedule consultations with your top 3 options.
5. Having a huge bridal party isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Yep, I said it. I had 9 bridesmaids… and I expected them all to help out with things. The more, the better, right? Well, needless to say, people have their own lives going on too, and sometimes they’re really not all that interested in wedding chatter. Plus, having to organize and deal with SO many people was kind of nuts and stressful.
6. Read your contracts! Yeah, I know- it’s kinda boring. But I didn’t do it, and I ended up not having a photographer for the last 2 hours of my wedding. Make sure what you’re expecting is what you’re actually getting. Which leads me to…
7. Communicate with your vendors. I don’t think this is as much of a problem today as it was when I was planning, but “back then”, email still wasn’t the biggest commodity. You still had to call vendors to get a hold of them. ;) Today, email is a beautiful thing. The thing is, you want to communicate with your vendors- about everything. Share with them what your vision is for your wedding. What you are expecting out of them, and how you want your wedding to be. There’s nothing wrong with this- but for some reason, I was NOT good at doing this. And you know what? If anything, it helps everyone involved in your wedding!
8. It’s okay to ASK. You won’t know anything if you don’t! This pertains to everything- vendor pricing, help, etiquette, opinions… just ASK!
9. Don’t be afraid to do things differently. Do what you want- what reflects YOU. I was afraid to go outside of the norm for little things like menus and favors! Even though I afraid of doing something different, I still did them- and those were my favorite things about my wedding. Because they were my ideas that I was able to create and I knew that they were 100% ME.
10. First looks are GOOD things. Seriously. I know I say it all the time, but I SO wish I had done a first look! I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to hug and kiss and talk to my husband when I walked down the aisle to him… and then we were there for about 45 minutes of a full Catholic mass! Not to mention the fact that I ugly cried allllllll the way down the aisle. I mean really- why didn’t anyone tell me these things?!
So it’s not like my wedding was a disaster. There were just things that I *wish* I had known. Things that could have been avoided or could have made my planning more enjoyable. But, all in all, I suppose I truly owe everything to not having the best wedding planning experience ever. If it had been any different, I probably wouldn’t be here today, doing something that I absolutely love. So, hopefully my own experiences in planning my wedding (and a few others) will help all of you have amazing weddings!! :)
Anything else any of you would like to add to this list? Have you learned anything in planning your wedding that you wish someone had told you? If you have something, feel free to add it in the comments!!!