Congrats babe, you're engaged! The next few months are going to be filled with ups, downs and all-arounds. I mean, you're planning your dream wedding after all. From your engagement photoshoot and guest list to your color scheme and florals, your heart is going to be riding cloud 9 for a while. And before you know it, you'll be standing at the alter with your person surrounded by your family and friends for the most perfect day ever.
But before we get you to your big day, here are my top 6 things I wish I knew before I started planning my wedding.
1. Vendors Get Booked FAST
Chances are, your favorite wedding vendors are currently getting booked up, FAST. If you have your heart set on a certain photographer, videographer, coordinator, etc., book them as soon as you settle on a date.
I had been following a few of my favorite wedding vendors on Instagram and as soon as we picked our date, I was in their DMs. Make sure to schedule a call with your vendors first before booking to make sure you vibe well together. Depending on the vendor, they're going to be there with you throughout the entire day so you just want to make sure you like them AND their work!
Vendors you can usually take your time with are transportation, hotel and stationary. I started talking to our hotel about 10-months out, transportation I booked 8-months out; and stationary I started 7-months out and was working on up until the week before our wedding.
Pro Tip: Photographers, videographers, coordinators and entertainment are usually the vendors who get booked the fastest!
2. Always Tour Your Venue Before Booking
After researching a bunch of venues online, we came up with a top 10 list and started calling them to book venue tours. We loved them online, but wanted to make sure they gave off the same feeling as what we got when looking at their photos. It was interesting to see that what we thought was our favorite venue actually didn't even make our top 3.
Once you get to the tour, take it all in and notice what type of feeling it gives you. Do you have goosebumps? Can you envision your dream wedding here? Do you like the coordinator giving you the tour? The moment you step foot into your venue, you'll know.
Pro Tip: The venue usually helps you settle on a date. If you have a particular date you must have, be upfront and make sure the venue knows that before booking the tour. You'll want to make the most out of your time, so only book tours of venues that have your date available. If you're flexible, the venue will help with picking the rate date!
3. Family Will Push For What They Want
Families mean well, but sometimes their requests will contradict what you have envisioned or what you've talked about with your partner. Everyone has opinions, but it's important to remember that this is you and your fiancé's day, not your family's - respectfully.
We had to learn quickly to take requests with a smile and if any conflict came up, my fiancé took the lead because I would instantly get upset. I'm a natural born people-pleaser, but knew what I have been dreaming of since I was a little girl. I wanted to please our families, but also didn't want to loose site of our vision we had been talking about for months.
Chances are, your family is just as excited about planning your wedding as you are, so just remember they mean everything in good faith.
Pro Tip: Never agree to a suggestion or change in your plan before first talking to your partner when you two are alone. A lot of times we feel pressured to say "yes" to make our parents happy, but it's not fair to your partner who may disagree on the request. To eliminate any unnecessary tension, talk about all decisions together, without anyone's influence.
4. Push-Back on "No Kids"
I'm still dumbfounded on this, but maybe I was naive. When we sent out our wedding invites we addressed to them the individuals whom were invited. We thought this was the standard and gave people a plus one by adding "and guest". However, we quickly realized it left some family members confused.
When we clarified that no kids were invited and only those listed on the invite were actually invited, we received strong push-back. Learning this, we wish we had added "adults only" and "you have 2 seats reserved in your name" on each invite to eliminate confusion. But then again, we also couldn't believe we would need to do this.
Pro Tip: If "no kids" is going to stop someone from attending your big day, don't let it get you down. They should be able to find a sitter for one night or afternoon if they really wanted to be there to celebrate you two.
5. Hiring a Wedding Coordinator
I don't know about you, but I wanted to make sure I had no stress or worry on my wedding day. I hired a Wedding Coordinator and worked with her for 6-months leader up to our big day and she handled all of our day-of duties. She helped with researching rehearsal dinner restaurants, timelines, kept tract of all of our contracts, helped with bringing our wedding vision to life and was the go-to woman on our big day.
I'd hire our wedding coordinator over and over, she was so fabulous. If you're debating on whether to not to get a coordinator, or even a day-of coordinator, I highly recommend it!
6. Weddings are Expensive AF
This seems like a "duh, Carolyn" kind of thing, but I think it's still important to address. Weddings are freaking expensive. And depending on your vision, your bills could be racking up in numbers, quick. It's important to talk about a budget with your partner and to decide on your "must haves" and other items you could do without.
Items we splurged on for our wedding our:
Our photographer - we upgraded our package + added an additional hour
Coordinator - we wanted a stress-free day, and it was so nice to have her!
Our videographer - we wanted to be able to relive the best day ever
Florist - never thought flowers would be so expensive, but it was so worth it
As you plan your wedding, remember that there may be things that come up that you weren't anticipating. And this is okay! Take a deep breathe and remember that your wedding day is going to be perfect and the most important thing is that you and your partner are happy.
Have burning questions about diving into the wedding planning process? Drop them below in the comments or send them to us on Instagram for a feature!