Going into this thing, I wasn’t exactly a stranger to weddings. I’ve been in seven weddings in the past 10 years, along with attending well over 20 weddings in that same time frame. I would definitely consider myself a wedding veteran, as I’ve been there for many close friends as they planned their special days.
I thought I already knew what to do, and what to avoid, in doing my own planning. Haha, and not to mention all of the advice I got from friends and family upon finding out I was engaged!! But since being a bride is a different experience for everyone, of course I made my own mistakes.
Here are the top things that I’ve learned so far, through trial and error (and of course, ignoring common sense at times):
- You really don’t need to subscribe to wedding magazines like Martha Stewart Weddings or Brides. Yes, I suppose it is cheaper to get a year’s worth of magazines versus paying sticker price from the newsstand (or CVS, which has turned into my newsstand now that Borders has closed, sad face), but now that I’ve selected my gown, picked my bridesmaid dresses, and booked my vendors, I really don’t NEED these magazines any more. Don’t get me wrong – I certainly enjoy looking at these magazines, but now I understand women who second-guess their dress, their bridesmaid dresses, their cakes, their DJ – all of it! If you keep looking at pictures of what’s considered now in fashion, and now on trend – you will start to second-guess EVERYTHING.
That's not even HALF my stash! I think I have a problem...
- Also, due to my poor timing on subscribing, I’m going to still be getting a magazine or two after we’re married. Oops. (Hey engaged friends, you’re welcome to my stash!)
- Create a wedding-only email address to give out to retailers, vendors, and for use at bridal shows/showcases. And do NOT give companies like David’s Bridal your phone number, they will sell it and you will get all sorts of unsolicited phone calls. I’m not bothered so much by the emails at this point (Gmail has a fantastic spam filter) as I am by the phone calls.
- Listen to your gut, and the people you trust when making decisions. It’s so easy to be swayed by the wedding machine/wedding industry complex that you NEED certain things, and you’ll make yourself crazy trying to fit things into your budget. Decide what’s right for you and your fiancée, and stick to it!
- In order to figure out your budget, you HAVE to know your approximate guest count. It doesn’t have to be your final guest list, but it needs to be a rough estimate. Overestimating your numbers is better than underestimating – it’s easier to fit 250 people in a 300-person ballroom, than deciding who you’re going to dis-invite!
- And I think our greatest mistake…when venue shopping, only visit your top 3-4 choices. Use the internet and look for pictures of other weddings at the venues you’re considering – if you visit 9 places, like we did, you will make yourself CRAZY. (Especially when you visit 4 of them in one day!)
Have you learned from making mistakes in your planning? Do you have any words of advice based on your experience?