It's not a big secret that stress and anxiety are a part of planning a wedding. The list of worries seems to be endless -
How are we going to be able to afford the wedding we want?
What if I can't find the perfect dress?
Will the venue we want be available on the date we chose?
My bridesmaids aren't doing anything they're supposed to, I just want to replace them!
Oh no! The flowers I've wanted forever aren't going to be in season!
The van bringing the wedding cake got into an accident?! Now what do I do?
I got laid off at work, we're going to have to cut way back on the wedding.
My unit is deploying to Afghanistan in two weeks.
It doesn't matter if it's an imaginary 'what if' or a real emergency, either, because the stress caused is real.
Stress, even good stress, can cause a lot of problems - irritability, lack of sleep, lack of appetite or, more often, eating too much, arguing about everything, even not talking at all. It can take a toll on a relationship as well as your physical health.
Okay, before I scare you so much you decide to runaway to Vegas, let me reassure you. There are ways to deal with the stress and anxiety you may feel. How do I know, you ask? I'm not only a wedding planner, I'm also a person with a severe social anxiety disorder. I can hear the question you're all thinking right now, why in the world did you decide to become a wedding planner? That's a story for another time. What's important right now is I have a lot of coping techniques for my anxiety, and I'm going to share some of them with you!
The first thing I'm going to tell you - don't let planning your wedding take over your life. You don't want your relationship to get swallowed whole by the wedding.
Yes, it's a very important day in your life. But is it important enough to risk damaging your relationship with the very person you're planning to marry? Not really, no. So take time off from all things wedding and spend time doing the things that helped you realize you wanted to spend the rest of your life with them. Go on dates. Have a movie night in with some popcorn and the latest film Netflix added. For this to help relieve your stress, though, it's crucial to remember this one simple rule.
Stress and anxiety are masters of camouflage. Anxiety practically has ninja level skills. You need to learn your "tells" when they start to invade. Do you get short-tempered with everyone? Do your hands shake when you're stressed? Do you eat more? Do you stop eating altogether? Smoking more than usual? Talking faster, or not at all? Are you forgetful? Whatever it is that signals an imminent meltdown, identify it, and learn the corresponding combat move - retreat. Take a couple of hours and go to the spa. Put your headphones on, pull up your favorite playlist, and go for a run.
Different people find different things relaxing. I'm not the most...dedicated housekeeper, but for some reason ironing is soothing. I don't really 'get' it either, I just go with what works. Repetitive motion of some type is calming to most people. I just remembered the scene in Runaway Bride where Julia Roberts is in her wedding dress, moving along with the fan, and chewing gum. Repetitive motion.
Which brings me to the big day itself. Your hair and makeup are perfect. Your dress fits exactly the way it should, everyone is where they're supposed to be - so why do you still feel like something will go wrong?
Stress and anxiety are attacking again.
You HAVE to stay where you are because, well, you really do love your partner. You certainly can't get away from all things wedding. So what do you do? This is where I utilize a short visualization exercise. There are many different visualizations you could use; type "visualization exercises" into Google and here is what you'll see -
Find a quiet spot, sit down, and close your eyes. Now imagine there are ten lit candles in front of you. The choice of what the candles look like is up to you, as is where they are in front of you. Size, shape, color, even scent is your choice, as long as they are burning. While you're watching the candles burn, take a deep breath through your nose and hold it for a few seconds, then exhale through your mouth. When you exhale, picture blowing out the first candle. Now repeat those steps until all ten candles are extinguished.
In fact, let's practice this one right now. It doesn't take more than a couple of minutes and you have the time. Go ahead - I'll wait.
Finished? How do you feel? Refreshed? Not as tense? Good. That's how you're supposed to feel.
As I've already said, I've created a document you can download, called the Relaxation Note Cards. All four exercises are on the page and it's formatted to make small pocket cards (aka flash cards), with each exercise described on the individual cards. Cut them out along the dotted lines but not down the middle, fold them in the middle instead.
you'll have a nice little card (or cards) to put in your purse or your pocket as a reminder of what to do when the stress monster attacks. Try them all, see which one works best for you. A small caution, however, if you're afraid of heights, I don't recommend trying the one for "Fly". Similarly, don't try the one for "Float" if you're afraid of the water. Adding a fear into the mix sort of defeats the purpose of the exercise.
There you go, some tried and true methods of combating stress and anxiety. Be sure to download the Relaxation Pocket Cards and let me know how they worked for you!
Click on the picture below to download a copy of the Relaxation Pocket Cards:
In my last two blog posts, here and here, I've been researching the origins of the wedding saying
"Something old, something new
Something borrowed, something blue
And a sixpence in her shoe."
Today's topic is Something New. Carrying, or wearing, something new on your wedding day is supposed to symbolize your bright new future and hope as you start a new chapter in your life. Traditionally, this item is a gift from either the groom, or the bride's parents.
There are several items that are used to symbolize something new - your dress, your shoes, etc. Here are some of my favorites:
1) Jewelry - a new piece of jewelry from your fiance or your parents easily fits the bill for this tradition. A necklace, earrings, bracelet, anklet, it doesn't really matter what it is as long as it's new. I'd recommend not going with a ring, though; the only new ring you really need on your wedding day is the one your new husband gives you!
2) Flowers - If you look at most traditional who-pays-for-what info-graphics, you'll see the bride's parents pay for the flowers, but the groom is listed as paying for the bride's bouquet. This tradition is why; the groom is giving the bride something new in the form of flowers, fresh, dried, or silk! You can even mix numbers 1 & 2 in a gorgeous bouquet of flowers and brooches.
3) Perfume - scent is one of the most powerful of the senses. It can effect your mood, your memory, attraction (to a person or an object). Having a new bottle of perfume on your wedding day can link that scent forever in your memory with your wedding. I do suggest testing a new scent before using it on your big day, though. You definitely want to make sure you like it before wearing it all day!
4) Handkerchief - as well as being your something new, carrying a handkerchief is a practical idea, especially if you get emotional during the ceremony. Include your new monogram and wedding date on the handkerchief for an extra special touch. If you don't want something 'extra' to carry, have it wrapped around your bouquet!
What other ideas have you seen used, or used yourself, as something new? Comment your ideas below and the one I like best will win a small gift basket of Washington made products, similar to picture shown below*!
* Items in basket will be similar, but may not be exactly the same as shown in picture. Retail value $60
In last week's blog post, I looked into the origin of the wedding rhyme "Something old, something new; Something borrowed, something blue". I learned it came from Victorian era England, and was based on several superstitions that were supposed to bring a bride good luck.
Today, I want to look a little closer at the first phrase, "Something old...". In the tradition, a bride would carry, or wear, a keepsake to help the bride keep a part of her family's past with her into her new life. I wanted to understand why this tradition was so important, so I researched what was going on in the world during the Victorian era.
At this point in history, the British Empire was at the height of it's power; the United States was turning 100 years old. Populations were growing, and spreading out into remote areas. Postal service was just moving from stagecoach to train travel, but was still slow. So if a woman was marrying a man working for the East India Company, or an officer in Her Majesty's army, or a man looking to find a homestead in the Dakota Territory, having something to remind you of your family would be very important. It would have to be something small, since every space in a couple's luggage had to be used for practical items. It would also need to have a high sentimental value to justify taking it on the journey.
Brides today don't need to have an item to remind them of family. We have pictures, and telephones, and the Internet to instantly be in contact with our families, don't we? Something old doesn't have the same importance anymore. I've heard brides say "Oh well, my underwear is old, that will have to do." Kind of defeats the purpose of the tradition, right?
Here are my top three favorite ways to incorporate 'Something old' into your wedding attire.
1) Jewelry - this is probably the easiest way to include something old. Wearing a piece of jewelry, whether it's earrings, a necklace, a brooch, that has been handed down in your family. Even if it's only come down from one or two generations, it will still have a story attached.
This is what I used for my something old when I married for the second time. My mother had a cute little brooch that I absolutely loved when I was a kid. It was in the shape of a heart, with an arrow through it, and on the arrow were three small stones. The brooch was given to my mother for her sixteenth birthday, and I asked if I could use it for my wedding and then pass it on to my daughter when she got married (she was seven at the time). Mom said I could use the brooch, so I pinned it into my wedding bouquet. When my daughter got married in 2013, I made her garter and sewed the brooch into the garter.
2) Wedding dress - let's be honest, most of us aren't going to wear our mother's, or grandmother's, wedding dress. That doesn't mean you can't incorporate her dress into your attire for your day. You can always use some of the material from her dress into yours, but let's look into a couple more creative ideas. Use a piece of the lace from her dress to wrap around your bouquet; make your garters out of material from her dress; or my favorite, incorporate lace from her dress into your wedding hairstyle!
3) Photos - carry a photo locket with you. This can be a fun DIY project for you and your bridesmaids, too. Find your favorite old photos - your parents' wedding, your & your groom's baby pictures, or photos of you & your bridesmaids - and spend an evening making your photo charms. Once you have your charms made, you can add them to your bouquet or use them in your wedding jewelry. Another way to incorporate an old photo, would be to print/copy it out and make a paper flower of the photo to add to your bouquet.
What ideas do you have to incorporate something old into your wedding attire? Please comment your ideas below!
There are so many of these traditions, and one of the most prevalent comes from this little rhyme:
"Something old, something new,
something borrowed, and something blue."
Did you know that's not even the full rhyme? I decided to do some research into this saying and learned some interesting things. The first thing I learned is its origin is believed to come from England in the late Victorian era. The whole rhyme is as follows:
Something old, something new
Something borrowed, something blue
And a silver sixpence in her shoe.
A little more research revealed the symbolism behind each of these traditions, and why it was considered important for a bride to carry something from each of these categories.
Taking something old was to help the bride keep a piece of her family's past with her as she started her new life.
Carrying or wearing something new, symbolizes the bride's bright new future and hope. Traditionally, this is something that should come from the groom, or the bride's parents.
This item should come from a happily married person in the bride's life, and is supposed to bring good fortune into the marriage.
Blue is the color for fidelity and love. Because of this, many brides used to wear blue wedding dresses. White dresses didn't become the preferred choice until the late 1800's. Blue was also often associated with the Virgin Mary's clothes in Christian art, and equaled purity since the times of ancient Rome.
Silver sixpence in her shoe
Specifically the left shoe. A sixpence was a British coin, and the father of the bride would place it in her shoe to wish her prosperity, love, and happiness in her marriage.
Now that we know where these traditions come from, and the meanings behind each one, we're going to spend the next few weeks coming up with great ways to incorporate each into your wedding! If you have an idea that you're going to use, or have used, in your wedding for any or all of these traditions, please comment and let me know your idea. If I use your idea in an upcoming blog post, you'll win a special prize from Truly Yours by G!
I was researching information for the subject this post was supposed to be about, when I stumbled across a news story that made me change my mind about what to write. I'm sure many of you have seen the story, about the Georgia woman who, with the help of her wedding photographer, was able to honor the memory of the son she'd lost to leukemia by including him in the family wedding photos.
1) Jewelry - wear a piece of jewelry that belonged to the deceased. This can apply for both brides and grooms. A pair of earrings, a pair of cuff-links, a tie-tack, a necklace, a bracelet, a brooch, any of these items can keep the memory of your loved one in your mind and make you feel like they are there with you on your special day. Even if none of their jewelry exactly fits in with the style of your wedding, you can incorporate it into your bouquet, boutonniere, or even your garter.
2) Photo - carry a picture of your loved one with you during the day. I've seen some lovely ideas of a photo collage or a table with framed photos of your loved ones who've passed away, but, those didn't speak to me as much as physically carrying a photo with you. This is an easy DIY that you can do together, creating a very special memory as you both share stories about your loved ones. Once you've made your charms, you can add them to your bouquet, boutonniere, necklace, whatever speaks to you.
3) Clothing - there are so many ways to use a loved one's clothing in your wedding day. Wear their wedding dress/suit, if you can (and the style works for you). Carry their handkerchief in your hand, or tucked into a pocket. If you, or someone you know, sews, make your garter out of a piece of your loved one's clothing; this idea works for a groom, as well, instead of a garter, make it into an arm-band. Cut out a piece of their clothing in the shape of a heart and have it sewn into your dress/suit. There really is no limit to what you could do with this idea.
4) Food - add a favorite food of your loved one's to the menu. Thinking about ways to use food to honor a loved one brought an interesting idea to mind. With the popularity of dessert/candy/popcorn/you-name-it bars at wedding receptions, why not have a cookie bar? All of the cookies could be made from your loved one's best cookie recipe, and put signs in front of each plate of who's recipe it was, and why it's special to you. I think this would be a fun way to honor several loved one's at once.
5) Donations - I absolutely love the idea of a donation to charity in honor of a deceased loved one! Instead of getting wedding favors for your guests, you can choose a charity that was special to them, or one that supports a cure for the disease they died from, there are so many to choose from. Put a sign on the guestbook table that says which charity the donation is going to, and who it's in memory of. Add a small collection box so your guests can donate to the charity as well. Personally, I can't think of a better way to honor a loved one, than helping others in their name.
When it comes right down to it, there is no right or wrong way to honor someone who's no longer with us. It's what speaks to you as the best way to remember them.
Do you want to walk down the aisle to the traditional bridal march or find something meaningful to you and your partner?
Did your color choice influence the theme of your wedding, or vice-versa? Does the time of year you're getting married make any difference with your choices?
There are so many decisions that you're expected to make when planning a wedding, but, in my opinion, these three can have the most impact on your wedding. Let's take a look at how...
There are certain color combinations that could have your guests wondering what you were thinking. For instance, unless you're having a John Deere themed wedding, I'd avoid putting green and yellow together. If you want a pastel wedding in the winter, I'd suggest using soft, muted shades instead of bright, spring-like colors. However, it's your wedding, do what you want.
See the difference? (Your wedding planner is an excellent resource to help determine the exact shades that are perfect for you.)
As far as theme goes, I say if you want it, it should be yours. Whether it's an elegant black and white affair or a carnival themed extravaganza, let your imagination runaway with you. There will always be at least one guest - usually an older relative - that doesn't 'get' the theme, just tell yourself you are expanding their life experiences and shut out any complaints. My only suggestion would be to make the theme meaningful to you and your partner, make it about the two of you.
Same thing goes with music. Choose the music that reflects your personalities and means something to you as a couple. When my daughter and son-in-law got married last year, they chose the acoustic version of Hanging By A Moment by Lifehouse for her to walk down the aisle. The recessional was Everything by Michael Buble, complete with the groom spinning the bride halfway down the aisle! It was very them.
Have you figured out the theme of this blog post yet? Who am I kidding, you probably figured it out before I did! If your wedding reflects your personality as a couple, that's all that is important. The theme, the colors, the music...choose them because you love them and not because this is what you're 'supposed' to have at a wedding.
What are some of the more outlandish themes have you seen at a wedding? Or the most interesting music selections? Comment below and be entered to win a basket of your choice for free!
Your wedding day has finally arrived. You've planned everything down to the last detail and you're ready to have the perfect wedding you've always dreamed about.
The first thing you need to realize is, whatever happens now is out of your hands. There is nothing you can do to control everyone and everything around you so relax and enjoy the day - imperfections and all. Trust me, unless you watch the video every year on your anniversary, it's the mishaps that you'll remember longer, and, barring a major catastrophe, laugh at as the years pass. Let me tell you the story of my first wedding and you'll see that I am definitely writing from experience.
I live in Washington state, north of Seattle, and other than a day here and there, we really don't get much snow in the winter. So my fiance and I set our wedding date on December 30th, 1990. Naturally, it snowed - a LOT - the week before the wedding, and then froze, keeping almost a foot of snow on the ground for more than a few days. That was only the beginning.
The dresses I chose for the bridesmaids to wear didn't come in a junior size. Since I wanted the candle-lighters and flower girl in the same style of dress, we had to find a seamstress to copy the pattern and make the younger girls' dresses. I had three attendants and four candle-lighters, one of whom lived in Iowa and couldn't be fitted as her dress was being made. When she came out for the wedding, her dress was too tight. She could still get it on and zip it up, but it wasn't very comfortable to wear.
Figuring if that was the worst thing to happen, we'd be okay, I got my hair done and then headed to the church to get dressed and have pictures taken. In a previous blog post, I mentioned wanting my fiance's first view of my dress to be as I walked down the aisle, so we were having the bride and groom family pictures done separately beforehand with pictures together after the ceremony.
Getting ready in the church basement with my bridesmaids and candle-lighters, all of whom had long hair, the decision was made that they should have long, curly hair, which meant lots of hairspray. When we finished getting ready, we went upstairs for our turn with the photographer. Coming back downstairs to wait for the ceremony, I encountered one of the reasons of why getting dressed early was a bad idea - I had to use the restroom.
My dress was gorgeous. Floor length, full skirt complete with a hoop skirt and train; and absolutely impossible to use the restroom while wearing it without a lot of help. Fortunately, the ladies restroom just across the hall had three stalls, enabling me to use the middle stall, while my maid-of-honor and her mother stood on the toilets on both sides of me holding my skirt above my head. Ladies, use the restroom before putting your dress on or suffer the same fate.
Let's talk about the snow again for a moment. The church we were getting married in was, of course, on top of a hill. In addition, the road leading to the church had several corners. I didn't see this first hand, but I've been told people were parking at the bottom of the hill and walking through the snow up the hill in their good clothes. Not what you want your wedding guests to have to do just to get to your wedding.
The ceremony started with the candle-lighters lining up and getting their lighters ignited. One of the candle-lighters got a little too close to the girl behind her and, with all that hair spray in her hair, her hair went up in flames! Fortunately, there were several people standing close by that were able to leap in and extinguish the flames before she was injured. Actually, other than slight singed hair, she wasn't hurt at all thanks to the amount of hairspray the flames had to burn through to even reach her hair.
Instead of having a ring-bearer, we had a Bible boy. He was carrying my grandfather's Bible, which the minister was going to read from during the ceremony. Our Bible boy was three years old at the time and the Bible he was carrying was almost half his size. Halfway up the aisle, he spooked, laid the Bible down in the middle of the aisle, and made a beeline for his dad. Our minister had to come down and pick the Bible up from where it had been left.
My walk up the aisle, fortunately, proceeded without mishap and nothing further happened until the minister started praying after the unity candle ceremony. I heard a small commotion and saw the candle-lighter whose dress didn't fit, rushing out of the sanctuary. I later found out the poor thing had been so nervous, and upset about her dress, that she left in the middle of the ceremony and threw up all over the hall. (Some of my family made it worse on New Year's Eve when they discovered you could hear her on the wedding video and played it over and over, sound turned up, laughing uproariously.)
I've already told you about the person that came in while we were having our photos taken after the ceremony and asked the photographer how much longer he was going to be, and his subsequent reply. I neglected to mention that the person then decided to make the wait 'easier' by having the caterer start serving food. Which wouldn't have been a problem except for one teeny, tiny fact.
The caterer was a good friend of my grandmother's. Grandma had brought her to our house when we planned the menu and we had told the caterer that we were expecting almost 300 people. Apparently, on the way home after that meeting, my grandmother told her friend that there was no way that many people were going to show up to the wedding. Rather than double-checking the number of guests attending prior to making the food, the caterer took my grandmother at her word and only brought enough for 150 people. Yeah. My mother and I were pretty accurate on our count, so by the time we made it over to the reception, the food was almost all gone.
I don't know if any of you have thought about doing, or not doing, the whole smash-the-cake-in-the-face routine or not. I had, and was adamant that my new husband and I weren't going to do that to each other. We even talked about it before the wedding and agreed. Given the way the rest of the day had gone I'm sure you can see where this is going. He tried to smear cake on my face and, in revenge, ended up with frosting up his nose. If you feel strongly about not wanting to follow this particular 'tradition' talk to your groom about it and make sure you're both on the same page before the wedding.
You'd think that would've been enough mishaps for one wedding, right? Wrong. Fate had one more trick up her sleeve for us and, again, it involved the weather. A friend of my parents ran a limousine service, so we hired him to take us to our hotel after the reception. Remember me saying that after it snowed, it froze? Apparently it froze so hard it froze the garage door to the limo shut. We ended up riding to our hotel in the back seat of a friend's Toyota Celica.
As I mentioned, this was my first wedding. There are days that I think everything that happened at the wedding was Fate's way of telling me the marriage was doomed from the start. Most days, however, I look back on that day and just laugh. To me, it's an example that, no matter how much you try to plan life down to the last detail, you have no control over what ends up happening. You can either have a meltdown and let the mishaps ruin the day for you, or roll with it and enjoy the day, mishaps and all. Rolling with it guarantees that you'll be able to look back on the day with fondness and laughter, instead of bitterness and tears; and your life will be better for the laughter.
Do you have stories about things going wrong at a wedding or other event? Share it in the comments below, I'd love to hear from you!
Your wedding photographer is one of the more important decisions you're going to make about your wedding. This is the person that is going to document the day for you. So you need to get it right.
There are two things that I think of when it comes to wedding photos and videos.
The first is a scene from the movie Love Actually where the character Juliet is complaining about her wedding video: "I've just tried the wedding video and it's a complete disaster, it's come out all blue and wibbly. All I want is just one shot of me in a wedding dress that isn't bright turquoise."
The second is from my first wedding. I was adamant about my husband-to-be not seeing me in my dress until I started down the aisle, so we'd arranged with our photographer that we'd do all the separate pictures (bride's family, groom's family, attendants, etc) before the ceremony and the 'together' pictures after the ceremony. We both have big families and a lot of them attended the wedding, so pictures after the ceremony were taking awhile. A concerned person came to where we were having the photos taken and asked the photographer how much longer it was going to be as people were having to leave the reception without seeing us. Our photographer turned to the person and said, "I'd get done a lot faster if people wouldn't keep interrupting me."
Even though I was inwardly cheering at my photographer's words that day, I realize it was a very unprofessional thing for him to say. If I'd talked to someone whose wedding this photographer had worked, I may have found out that he could be a bit snippy, and slow.
1. Get recommendations from former clients.
Whether it's a friend that raved about the photographer from her wedding or actually calling some of the photographer's clients. Google the photographer. Look them up on Angie's List. Whatever it is, don't go in blind when hiring a photographer.
For my second wedding, I worked with someone that used to do professional photography. She did the photography for us at no charge and gave us the negatives of all the photos so we could get the ones we wanted printed on our own. The pictures were gorgeous, with a lot of candid shots that were fun to see...except...most of the candid shots had either the groom or myself holding a cigarette (we've both stopped smoking since then), and we had very few of the 'traditional' shots with family members.
My daughter got married last year (2013) and, to keep costs down, asked a couple of relatives that are good photographers and a friend that was looking to build her portfolio, to photograph the wedding. The pictures we have are beautiful (that's my daughter in the photo at the top of the page). Everyone sent their pictures to us in digital format so we can print out the ones we want. However, my daughter neglected to give any of the photographers direction on who she wanted formal pictures with. At the end of the day we realized that there were no pictures of the bride and groom with her father's family.
2. Make sure your photographer has a list of specific poses/photos that you want.
Most professional photographers will ask about this in your initial consult with them. If your photographer doesn't ask, give them a list anyway. It will avoid a lot of hurt feelings and regrets. It will also take a lot of stress out of the day, knowing that your photographer knows what you want and you can trust them to get it for you.
Those are the two best pieces of advice about wedding photographers that I can give you; get reviews/recommendations from other clients, and make sure your photographer knows exactly what photos you want taken. You can find lists of questions to ask before hiring a photographer on wedding websites like Wedding Wire and The Knot, or in any bridal planner book. Use them, they are fantastic guides for hiring a photographer, but it really boils down to the two things we talked about in this post.
Please comment with your thoughts on this subject, funny and/or disaster stories of wedding photography, or frustrations you've had in hiring a photographer. The first person commenting on this post will receive a coupon code for 5% off of an order from my Etsy store (including custom orders).
Thank you. I'll continue the 'planning with less stress' series next week!
You've got your budget all worked out and chosen your dress, now what? If you're anything like me, when you were looking at the budgeting forms on Wedding Wire and/or The Knot you took the opportunity to check out some of their other planning tools and checklists. Now you're looking at a stack of lists that tell you what all you have to make decisions about and timelines on when you're supposed make those decisions. Looking at all these things you have to do before your wedding date can be a bit overwhelming.
This is the point where you're asking yourself, Can I afford to hire a wedding planner? Take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds, let it out slowly. Feeling a little more relaxed? Good. Let's look at the positives and negatives of hiring a wedding planner.
Once you decide to at least interview a couple of wedding planners, be sure to have a list of questions that you want to ask. There are several questions lists online that you can Google. Here's a link to one that I found at Here Comes The Guide. Wherever you find your question list, make sure that everything you want to know is covered. If it isn't, add more questions to your list so you don't forget any that you want to ask.
On the other hand, if you decide against hiring a wedding planner, go to a bookstore and look through the books they have to help you plan your wedding. There are books of lists, binders that include pockets that you can put in samples and contracts; you can find what works for you, as simple or as complicated as you want. I suggest that you find one that includes lists of questions to ask various vendors.
Either way you go, with an actual wedding planner or a notebook with checklists, this will help ease your stress while planning your wedding. You'll have a guide to help you make decisions and hire vendors.
To help with that, I have a giveaway to the first person that comments on this article with their name and wedding date. It's a book called The Bride's Essential Book of Lists: Things To Do & Questions to Ask.
Happy wedding planning!
Wedding planning can be a very stressful period for a couple - and their families.
My first piece of advice is, know what your budget is before looking at anything, including your dress. Both WeddingWire and The Knot have easy-to-use budget planners that are free. How these budget planners work is this: you figure out how much, over-all, you can spend on your wedding and reception; put that full amount into the budget planner, enter the estimated number of guests, and let the planner do the math on how much to allocate for each item associated with your wedding.
Once you've done that, look over the estimated amounts you should spend on each thing according to your budget. If the estimated amounts look fine, great. That usually doesn't happen, though, so you'll have to play with the numbers a little bit to give more money to the items that are important to you.
Okay, your budget is set, time to move on to the actual planning stage. I would advise you to start by looking for your dress. The dress is going to set the tone of the rest of the wedding so it's best to get that chosen first. Here's why - let's say you've been dreaming of a winter wonderland wedding with all the decorations - and your dress - in pure white. You go out and buy or order everything in pure white and then go to try on dresses only to find out the pure white color you've been envisioning makes your skin look blotchy or washed out. Now what do you do? Spend the day looking like an extra from a vampire movie or spend money to change the color of the decorations? In my opinion, both options are unacceptable.
Next, go to your appointment with an open mind. Just because you've been dreaming of an ivory satin mermaid style with a lace-up back, doesn't mean you're going to look good in one, or be able to walk in that style. Be willing to try other styles and colors. Listen to your dress consultant, that's what they are there for, after all. They see different body types all day, every day, and have a pretty good idea of what style of dress will show off your body type the best. If you go in with a set idea in your head and refuse to try anything else on, you're going to end up not choosing a dress that day and possibly trying on hundreds of dresses that are the same style at other stores. Whereas if you just had an open mind going in at the first store, you'll find your perfect dress in a much shorter (and less stressful) amount of time.
My last piece of advice about the dress is to never, ever, try on a dress that is over your budgeted amount. Chances are good that it will be the dress that you fall in love with and you'll be too disappointed that you can't afford it that no other dress will compare. Or, you'll decide that you just have to have it and will find the money for it 'somewhere'. Going that route leads to arguments and tears; whether you're arguing with your fiance, your parents, or your great aunt Josephine. What's more important to you in the long run, going over your budget for a dress you'll be wearing for only one day or starting your marriage out with no hard feelings over how much your dress cost?
Trust me, go the less stressful route and, if it's over your budget, don't even try it on in the first place.
I am a wife, mother, and grandmother that loves to be creative. It doesn't matter if it's crafts, floral arrangements, writing, knitting, crocheting, sewing, playing the piano, or coloring.