10 Incredibly Helpful Wedding Planning Tips I've Learned Over a Year
This year has breezed by! It's almost been a year since Mike proposed, and there are only 54 days until Mike and I seal the deal with our first kiss into married life.
Over this time I have come across many things that have made wedding planning so much easier. Between going to school full-time, work, and snuggling our two fur babies, it's nice to get some inspiration and ideas from other sources to really nail everything down.
1. Find a checklist.
If you're more tech savvy, I used apps on my phone for most of my needs, but you can also have a tangible version that you can hang somewhere visible as a reminder as well (I liked Real Simple). The Knot app has a great detailed checklist with a countdown front and center. It also has an inspiration tab to start getting ideas on what you might want. WedHappy is also great (I used this app most and the knot to supplement) and it will send you reminders and tell you how many tasks you have left for those type A people who love lists (like me!)
2. Stop everything you're doing and sign up for Style Me Pretty.
Do it. On the computer, and download the app on your phone or tablet. Even if you're not planning your wedding yet. The swoon factor is high on this site packed with a whole lot of whimsy. When you're waiting for the bus, your latte, or your fiancé to get home you can browse countless personal weddings from backyard to ballroom, or from beach to the mountains. You can filter weddings by state, wedding color palette, theme, style, etc. Wedding Gawker is also good and is a more randomized version of this....
3. Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest.
Did I say Pinterest? It is one of the best things to ever happen to wedding planning and you're probably already using it. What did people do before this "pinspirational" organizing dream website? The only downside is that much of the pins don't actually lead you to said shoes, favors, woodland animal cake topper, etc in order to order it. My recommendation? Research items you want from wedding/etsy/other stores websites and pin them onto your wedding board. That way when its time to buy it you can pull it up in a couple clicks. Break it down to different categories like flowers, bridesmaids, or decor so it is easier to pull up everything you need to look at in one spot.
4. Set your budget lower than you think.
Discuss a budget that you two think is reasonable, and then a budget that would be your max. We set our budget pretty low but there are a lot of hidden costs no matter how you try to keep costs within that budget range, so shoot lower so you can expect to accommodate those fees. Remember that catering, the DJ, the photographer, and the dress are probably going to be the most expensive costs. It may be smart to choose where you can splurge and where you want to save. For example, if you are both really musical souls you can invest more into a DJ or live band. Mike an I are eco-minded foodies (we're talking an environmental conservationist and nutritionist here) so we wanted to make sure the food was what we dreamed. We'd highly recommend the farm-to-table catering company we're going with called Flavor Concepts based out of Dover, NH.
5. There's a price tag to saying the word "Wedding"
Unless they are going to give you a deal, fees are automatically jacked up at least a couple hundred when you mention the word "wedding." You can find things on the cheap like shoes and accessories if you just look outside of the wedding shops or websites. Mike got his shoes for about $60 from Clarks at the Kittery outlets in Maine. I was able to find my shoes for $15 at Madeleines daughter bridal shop in Portsmouth, NH but this is pretty rare. Try to avoid it when you're booking a rehearsal dinner or any other events if you can.
6. Make your own invitations.
You can save a boatload doing it this way if you have some kind of editing program. I was able to browse the inter web and pull ideas to personalize exactly how I wanted my invitations to look. I chose to watercolor paint backgrounds in our wedding colors and I simply scanned the paintings into the computer and looked up the invitation language I wanted online. I used Adobe Photoshop CS6 and a free font called "Jane Austen." There are many sites you can print from. The cheapest for me was Vista Print, but Wedding Paper Divas has more paper options like a pearly shimmer or gold foil. The only downside to ordering online at vista print is you need to make a small order (10 is the least) to make sure the invitations look the way you want (hopefully this will change), whereas WPD or any other local printing shop will give you a free sample.
7. Use excel for your guest list, budget, and keeping track of hotel room bookings
My world changed when I found out that its easier to organize the guest list by household and not individual names. Here is the template: (Storyboard Wedding Guest List Template), and This website will provide you with the instructions. You can thank me later.
8. Create a wedding website.
Many millennials, like myself, are finding that a wedding website can be one of their best tools. All the information like directions, background stories of how the couple met, schedule of the day, and your cute engagement photos are all in one spot. Some sites even have an RSVP section where you can export all of the RSVP's onto an excel sheet. I used WeddingWoo which allows you to really personalize your page. You can add music and even a hashtag for your wedding where all the photos will show up in one spot. This website has a flat fee for one or two years, but there are many other websites you can find for free as well.
9. Choosing a Registry.
I can help you out with a different kind of registry. If you're a couple that's been living together for a while, you may have collected many of the home items over the years. A great honeymoon destination may be something else that you're interested in that people can contribute to. Some people may choose to do both a home registry and honeymoon registry. We decided we wanted the most help with having an adventure full of memories. There are multiple honeymoon sites with some of the most well known and cheaper options (cheaper meaning the interest charged for guests making a credit card transaction) including Wanderable, Honeyfund (these two have the lowest fees), HoneymoonWishes, or TravelersJoy. Here's a comparison site for you see the break down of each. Examples of different items people can contribute to include "scuba diving" or "plane tickets". You could also take photos while you're doing these activities to show a quick thank you to your guests and the fun your having with their gift.
10. A little stress is healthy, but don't overload yourself
Having some stress gets shit done. Having too much stress will affect your body, mood and behavior. You can plan to the last possible minuscule detail and something is bound to be forgotten or missed or imperfect. What matters is that you're marrying the man of your dreams, so don't forget he's there to help, along with your bridesmaids and family.
Do you have any tips that helped? Please share below!
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