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Relax and let this moment sink in
My husband Tony had the two days planned out after his proposal to celebrate with our family and friends. He knew that I would anxiously want to start planning so he made a rule that I couldn’t in those first two days. I’m grateful for that, but I wish I would have taken more time than that to chill and enjoy the first couple weeks of our engagement instead of rushing into full on planning mode.
Pick your priorities
To afford the photo team I wanted, I bought a clearance dress off the rack (and totally loved it!) and skipped a fancy floral arch and chose plain black folding chairs for the ceremony. If having an amazing meal is super important to you, maybe invite less people and really wow them with a gourmet meal. Or if a big guest list is really important, chose a simpler meal or have a cake and punch reception. If you’ve always dreamed of having a live band or open bar, you could pick a venue that is more cost effective. Regardless, figure out your priorities before you start any planning.
Lock in the essentials
Create a guest list and budget
Base your budget around your top three things and figure out the rest from there. Don’t blindly follow what The Knot and other sites say you should spend in each area. Your day will be unique, and your priorities are different from other couples’. Having a rough estimate for guests and budget will help you know what kind of venues to look at even though your numbers will likely change throughout the planning process.
Hire a planner or coordinator
If you’re still not convinced, ask in a wedding group or forum who didn’t hire a coordinator and regretted it. You’ll get tons of responses. I wasn’t convinced and Tony and I did everything ourselves to save money. But the stress, especially the month leading up to the wedding, was NOT WORTH IT! It’s the only thing I would change about our wedding.
Day-of-coordinators provide help leading up to the wedding (usually in the last month when the logistics and details get stressful) so don’t wait until the last minute to hire them. You’ll get more bang for your buck if you hire them right away. Or look at hiring a virtual, cost-effective planner at https://chooseyourown.wedding/.
Ask for recommendations
Our venue recommended great people when we didn’t know who to hire, and they took care of catering, linens, china, and bartenders, etc so we could cross that stuff off our list.
I have a list of vendors that I’ve had great experiences with and give that out to all of my Lumos Couples so they can put together their dream team. I’d be happy to send you a copy of mine. Just email Laura@LumosImages.com. You can download my list of intimate wedding venues here. Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations from friends, family, online and the vendors you already have like a coordinator.
Keep your sanity
Bridechilla has practical, down-to-earth advice and has covered most wedding related topics after 300 episodes. Secret Life of Weddings tells crazy but true wedding stories that will keep you laughing, help you not to take your wedding too seriously and make you think, “well at least that didn’t happen to me!” Both have Facebook groups full of helpful and kind people who won’t tell you your ideas are tacky like you might find on other forums.
Lean on your friends and family when things get tough. They will most likely be happy to help or let you vent at times and celebrate wins with you!