Your now fiancé (AH! Fiancé! Isn’t it weird to say that?!) just planned the most perfect engagement. You had a wonderful time celebrating with family and friends – and holy shit look at that rock on your left hand, girl! You look so, engaged.
Now comes the “fun” part – the planning. Or is it fun…
No, really – planning your wedding is pretty awesome. It’s something you may or may not have been dreaming about since you were young – your perfect day, your dress, your groom. With that said – there’s definitely some stressful things that come along with planning – money, guest lists, decorations, venues, photographers, etc.
So, here are a few tips that may or may not help you stay sane.
ENJOY YOUR ENGAGEMENT.
After I got engaged, I can’t tell you the number of people that would ask me (immediately) what my wedding date was. ARE YOU JOKING? How am I supposed to know - I got engaged last night? Enjoy the time with your new fiancé, and with your family and friends. Take at the very least one week to enjoy each other. You’re going to be talking about this wedding non-stop for a year. Do yourself a favour and take the time to enjoy.
Tackle your budget.
AFTER you’re done enjoying, it’s time to tackle the big, fat, ugly budget discussion. Sit down and talk to your fiancé and figure out your budget. If your parents, grandparents or aunt and uncles are planning on contributing any money to your big day – sit down with them and discuss what they’re thinking. Money is (usually) going to be one of the bigger stresses of wedding planning, so it’s best to get that part out of the way in the up front.
Don’t pick your date, pick your venue.
For my entire life I wanted to get married in the summer. A summer wedding! How perfect! Then, as I got older I wanted an early fall wedding. An early fall wedding! What could be better? Well, what could be better is not being engaged and planning a wedding for 12+ months.
In the end, it seemed that my desire to have a shorter engagement trumped the time of year I wanted to get married. The issue these days, is when you decide you want to be engaged less than one year, your venues seem to have slim pickings – or there are only Fridays left. So, when you find a venue that’s in your top 5 – that has a date within 12 months, that’s on a Saturday – you end up taking whatever that date is. And you know what? It’ll still be perfect. You might have to adjust your vision a little, but your day – it’s not going to change.
Are you a planner? If not, hire one.
If you're not a planner, and you don't want your mom or sister to plan your wedding, hire one. You'll be grateful you don't have to figure out the planning. Planners (like us) LOVE planning. We love the details.
Don’t worry about the small details – at first.
The first few months are all about tackling the big things. Here’s what you should focus on after the big engagement (in somewhat of this order): venue, dress, photographer, videographer, caterer, band/DJ. Once you get the big things nailed down, the rest is really in the details.
Think about the guest list.
The dreaded guest list. Or at least that’s kind of how I felt about it – you’re entirely entitled to your own opinions about making the guest list. Maybe it’ll be your favourite part! First you should sit down with your fiancé and a bit fat bottle of wine, and talk about how many people you’d like to have there, in an ideal world. Is it 20? 60? 100? 300?
Then, start making a list of all the people you THINK you’d want to invite. Then think about giving each of the parents a number of people they can invite. However, when you do this you need to also take into consideration how much of the wedding they are funding. Are they funding the majority of it? If so, you might need to go about that conversation a different way – no need to hurt any feelings.
After you get everyone’s lists – sit down with your fiancé and start making cuts to get down to your ideal number. You could even go as far as colour coding. Green = must invite, orange = probably invite, red = cut them. And remember, you can count on about 20% of your guests RSVP-ing, no.
Here’s what you need to remember. This is YOUR day. You want people surrounding you who have been a part of your life and your fiancé’s life – who are important to you, and who will continue to support you in the ups and downs of your marriage. These people will be there to celebrate your union, and to remind you during the hard days of the love they witnessed at your wedding. If you think you’re probably not going to talk to someone in 5 years, you don’t need to invite them. Would you normally text or call this person to tell them about your life updates? If the answer is no, cut them.
Anyway, enough about the guest list – I could go on forever.
Remember the important things.
There are going to be hard days in the planning phase. Days that make you want to throw your hands up and say, “ I give up!”, or even better, “I’m just going to elope!”. Just remember, you’re getting married because you found a person you can’t live without, that makes you a better person, and that you just can’t wait to marry. This is a time for love, and a time for celebration. That’s the bottom line.
Get a day-of wedding planner / coordinator.
This day is yours, and your fiancé's. It’s something you’ve likely been planning for months – and you need to enjoy every minute of it. There are lots of important details that take place on the big day – and it’ll give you peace of mind if there is one person there, dedicated to making sure the flowers get from the church to the reception, that nobody forgets to light the candles, and most importantly that your champagne glass is always full at the reception. Just do it, you won’t regret this decision.
Don’t talk about the wedding.
Many times, and for many people – wedding talk can consume your lives. If you can, try to set aside 1-2 days of the week where you and your fiancé don’t talk about the wedding. Talk about everything else that’s going on in your lives – but no mention of the ‘W’ word. Sometimes it’ll work, sometimes it won’t. It can’t hurt to try though!
People want to help you plan your big day. They want to feel involved, and like they are contributing. Come up with a list of things you need to do, and assign people tasks. Whether it's during the planning, or during the day of - people are there to help. You don't have to do this all yourself.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: don’t give up wine, ever.
As a matter of fact, keep a large, large stash of wine on hand – always. Wedding planning requires wine, and lots of it.
There are many other things I could tell you on how to stay sane – but most of all just enjoy this time in your life. It’s a happy time, and soon, very soon you’ll be able to celebrate the best part of it all – and that’s being married.