1. Brooke’s advice, “Looking back, I would say the one piece of advice I would have for couples is to look long and hard for that perfect venue that you and your significant other love. The memories for me, were built off the love of the location and the family and friends that were there with us. It is so easy to worry about all the small details and get caught up in the stress of the planning, but those all find a way to come together. At the end of it all, it is really just the place and people that you share the day with that you will remember. Of course, choosing Alicia Thurston Photography as your photographer to capture the entire day will not disappoint you either… the pictures will provide reminders of the beautiful day forever!”
2. Brittany’s advice, “Hmm one piece of advise eh, that’s a tricky one.
I would suggest to create a folder or binder to keep organized right off the top. This binder includes all of your vendor contracts, budget items, notes from attending tastings or initial meetings and to create a timeline for when deposits are due. I would also suggest creating an email address that you can share together for the big day, this will tie in with the binder prep and having all of the vendor contact info in one place!
Creating a binder will ensure all of the essentials are in one easy place and not lost in a pile on your desk.”
3. Analia’s advice, “My one piece of advice for engaged couples would be not to get too caught up in the perfect Pinterest world, and make sure they take care / listen to each other during crazy wedding planning time. It’s so easy to get lost in between all the frills. To not forget your relationship always comes first! And lastly, admit to yourself from the get go that not everyone is going to be happy with every decision you make, and that’s ok, because it’s your day. ”
4. Sarah’s advice, “The best advice I read was to pick three things that are important to both of you and prioritize those in your budget and then let the other stuff fall where it may. So whether it’s food, music and wardrobe or flowers, photos, venue etc. whatever it ends up being that’s where you’d focus money and time and then build from there. On the same vein, it’s okay to break from tradition if it’s not that important to you. I think this was in A Practical Wedding by Meg Keene– which I highly recommend.
It was also really helpful in the flux and stress of planning to not lose sight of the ultimate goal– having a successful, meaningful marriage with a partner that you want to build a life with. It seems frivolous, but it’s easy to let that slip for a minute (or more) when your getting pressure from family, friends, and even strangers about all the different areas and add ons that are seen as “needed” for a wedding. I was constantly inundated with advice on things we HAD to include or do at our wedding that neither of us really cared about but it was stressful to constantly explain or respond that we didn’t want to do whatever thing was being asked, especially when you’re worried you might disappoint someone. But it was really grounding to think about life after the wedding and think about wedding decisions in that context.
I also didn’t originally want to prioritize taking our honeymoon right away (I thought it would be one more thing to plan and that we could wait a bit for it) but I’m so glad that we went right after. We kept hearing from people how great an experience it was to do their honeymoon right after and that it helped them decompress from all the planning stress. It was so nice to take a week after the wedding and travel just the two of us– it was a really perfect way to continue the celebration.”
5. Robyn’s advice, “My strongest piece of advice is to take time away from talking about the wedding. It ends up becoming a bit all-consuming, especially as you get closer to the date. My husband and I realized that we had to specifically set aside time where we did NOT talk about the wedding and just talked about normal life stuff. Otherwise you just get too caught up in it all and start to forget about why you’re doing it in the first place! Because you love eachother and love hanging out together.”
6. Kat’s advice, “My advice to future brides is comprised of two parts. One is practical, and the other is emotionally based 🙂
Day-of coordinator is an absolute must! Thinking back to my schedule, I was in Graduate school while planning our wedding, and I felt overwhelmed with the sheer number of vendors in the city and the options available to us. James and I decided to hire a full coordinator shortly after we booked our venue (Fidan!). I cannot stress how relieved I was to have Fidan with me throughout the planning. She connected me to excellent vendors and more importantly I felt confident in her ability to bring our vision to life. She also passed along a number of preferred discounts, which helped bring the cost of hiring a coordinator down.
If full coordinator is out of reach for couples, there are AMAZING online resources available. Bunz Wedding Zone was an incredibly helpful resource for us, as was GTA Wedding Market Place. That being said, day-of is necessary for couples who really want to just enjoy their wedding day. It’s a busy day – busier than I ever imagined – and as a bride I would often be the go-to for questions. It was wonderful to re-direct everyone to our coordinator who handled everything, including no power at our ceremony venue the day-of. Thank goodness she had emergency speakers for our music!
Even if you do hire a wedding coordinator, there is still so much a couple has to do on their own. Make a master to-do list that is month-to-month and review the list frequently to see what you can check-off. Mine started in January 2017 and went all the way to The wedding in September, with the month before the wedding broken into smaller parts (3 weeks to go, 2 days to go, etc.). It was very helpful and I carried it everywhere with me so I had a central notebook with all of my notes and meetings jotted down in it. If you see things that you will need for your wedding ahead of time, start collecting them early. Things like bridal party gifts, accessories, DIY stuff, even gift packaging can lead to running around the city last-minute if not done ahead of time. Search the buy/sell/trade sites and get used if possible. Previous brides are an amazing resource!
Weddings can be very stressful. In many ways I am very lucky I was able to use the skills I teach as a therapist in preparation for my wedding. It took a lot of insight, preparation, and deep breathing, but I can very happily say I was relatively stress-free and truly enjoyed the wedding process and wedding day. My bridesmaids dubbed me “Bridechilla”
As a bride, the most important preparation to me was working toward actually enjoying the day and soaking in all of the love that was in the room. At the end of the day, I was marrying my best friend and surrounded by my amazing bridesmaids and friends/family. That made me happier than anything in the world. As someone who can be very Type A, it took a lot of work to let the little things go. Prior to the wedding, I would be sure to practice some mindfulness techniques to stay in the present moment as best as possible. I would also engage in “pre-coping” and visualize events that could go wrong and strategizing how to emotionally handle it ahead of time. A lot of that requires some cognitive restructuring but also helped me be prepared for many unexpected things. For example, on the way to the ceremony, one of my bridesmaids dropped a giant stick of brown makeup on the front of my wedding dress. My bridesmaids looked at me in horror and started to freak out, but I actually started laughing – I couldn’t get over how hilarious the situation was. Luckily, I had some tide to go in my bag and my bridesmaids went to work on the stain while I sipped champagne in the limo. In the moment, part of me felt a bit disappointed at the prospect of my dress being stained as I walked down the aisle, but I reminded myself that the little things don’t matter. I was marrying the love of my life and nothing could bring me down. That was my focus! The stain came off eventually and all was well, and now it’s a funny story I tell to others.
So if you’re one who is anxious, overwhelmed by stress, or has trouble regulating feelings, it may be worth looking into some counseling. Not only for your wedding, but the tools are applicable to every day life. If that is out of reach at the moment, I would suggest working through the gold standard CBT book, Mind Over Mood (you can pick it up at Indigo or on Amazon). There are also a ton of other books that I have heard of, such as The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***
Finally – take time to enjoy your day and take time to have a private moment with your partner! It will literally fly by in the blink of an eye so try to soak in as much as you can, kind of like Pam and Jim taking mental pictures on their wedding day in The Office :)”