My first thought upon sharing advice to new brides is to tell them to relish in the process of planning their wedding. I have seen too many friends finding themselves stressed and weighed down through the wedding planning process, when it’s supposed to be a fun time where you celebrate and “be married” as so many of those cute wedding huggers say. So, when it was my turn to start the wedding planning process, I came up with a few rules which I put I place to help make sure I maintained my joy throughout the planning process.
My Rule #1 Choose three
I feel this is the best rule I followed and it came from my mom. When I first got engaged, my mom sat me down and explained I needed to pick three categories which meant the most to me and this would be the focus of our energy and budget. My three categories were my flowers, invitations, and veil, and I had a vision for what I wanted in each of these. For instance, I knew I wanted a lot of flowers lining the aisle of the church, so I put a good portion of my budget into the flowers. I chose to go with more basic or standard choices in things such as my table linens so I could allow for the extra expenses with my flowers. To this day I can still paint for you a picture of what the aisle of the church looked like when the doors were opened, with the sound of playing by the string trio and my arm embraced in my Father’s, I began walking down the romantically lit aisle filled with flowers and candles. Ahead of me was a gorgeous array flowers and candles saturating the stage with my closest friends and family gathered around, and there in the midst of this magical moment was my the man God gave to me, my best friend and about to be husband. This was one of many things which made my wedding magical. If you really sit down and ask yourself to choose three categories which mean the most to you, you will most likely find these are the three things which you will remember the most in five, ten , or fifteen years.
My Rule #2 Surround yourself with supportive and caring friends
We all know those girls (and they may be some of your best friends), those girls who make you second-guess everything, and can kill a joyful moment with one tiny, negative comment. My advice, leave them out concerning the audience of your wedding party. When you start thinking about whom you want in your wedding (and those you take dress shopping!), choose to have joyful, loving and kind bridesmaids in attendance with you that day. Don’t pick someone out of obligation or guilt. Pick friends who will encourage and bless you on your special day. However, the opposite is also true; if you want a friend in your wedding, don’t let the number game(amount of people in your bridal party) or someone talk you out of it. I had a girlfriend that everyone tried to tell me not to have as a bridesmaid, everyone except my fiancé. His advice was perfect and it’s what I pass on to you, “This is your day, your one and only day to get married, chose those whom your heart loves”. So, I asked her to be a bridesmaid, and it still makes my heart happy that she was a part of my special day.
My Rule #3 Have a day-of event coordinator
I was lucky enough to have a wedding planner and coordinator (nods to you Jessie Parnell!), and she made all the difference in the world. However, I know that sometimes having a wedding planner is a luxury, and isn’t always realistic to some where budgets are concerned. While budgets should be something all brides keep in consideration, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a day-of coordinator, even if it is just a friend willing to take on the task. A day-of coordinator works with vendors on your wedding day to make sure things get set-up properly, everything flows according to plans, and the bride and groom’s needs are taken care of. On my wedding day, there was an epic storm that raged outside. While this meant that outside portraits were non-existent on my wedding day, I thought the lightning and darkened church sanctuary made for that much more of a romantic setting with my candles and flowers that lined my aisle. Little did I know that the lightning had caused all the power to go out at our reception venue just moments before I was to walk down the aisle! Insert panicked bride here, that is if I had known. However, I did not find out this happened until I returned home from my honeymoon and my sweet wedding planner said it with a giggle. I can only imagine the sheer panic that would have overtaken both my mom and myself if we had known while still at the church. That would have tainted the ceremony and my magical moment. So, find someone you trust outside of your family and wedding party that you think can handle the day-of wedding details. Trust me, you will be so thankful that you did.
My Rule #4 Don’t sweat the small stuff
I know, I know, this one seems so obvious. Let me tell you, I have seen so many sweet friends have wedding days that were lost in a blur because they were more concerned about the smallest details than they were about the day and their groom. Remember what your wedding day is really about. Of course, the details can make a wedding special and unique, but when your actual wedding day gets here, relax and enjoy! No one will notice if a flower is missing from a centerpiece, I promise!
I really encourage you to seek joy everyday throughout this process, not just in the beginning. This is such an exciting season, don’t let the stress and pressure of wedding planning details steal the fun and joy from this journey. Congratulations to you, and remember, “Enjoy it; don’t rush through it.”
Morgan, May 2010
Photography Provided By: Rae Leytham Photography
Wedding Planner: Agape Special Events
Ceremony Venue: Christ United Methodist Church, Mobile, AL
Reception Venue: Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL
Florist: Zimlich The Florist
Caterer: Tyner’s Catering
Baker: Cakes By Judi
Rentals: Port City Rentals
DJ: Big Mike DJ’s
Production (Lighting): Showbiz Lighting
Videography: Take Two Video
Bridal and Bridesmaids Attire: Bells and Bows, Mobile, AL
Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Francia’s Formal Affair
Hair and Makeup: Kristen Williamson @ Hairageous Salon