Wedding Planning 101
So you are engaged or you know someone who is engaged and wants you to be apart of their big day or they may need some advice. Well have no fear I will help you navigate through this next chapter in your life.
My engagement was very short and that’s because I knew what I wanted although I didn't know where I wanted to get married. My husband and I decided to get married in Lynchburg,VA which was were I spent majority of my childhood, its home for most of my family and where my father pastors.
During the engagement process I found that having a solid team on the ground and working with you is essential, you have to ensure that the people working with and for you see YOUR vision. I’ve always wanted an intimate, family oriented wedding meaning no bridesmaids or groomsmen for us. AND HONEYYYYYY that was thee best decision I could've made. My husband and I were able to focus on the tasks that needed to be completed and ensuring that everything lined up with our end goal.
We both reside in Raleigh, NC so we had more phone conferences with the venues and wedding coordinator and a few in person meetings with the florist. Of course the wedding day is all about the bride so ladies please, please, please do not be offended when your fiancee takes a backseat and lets you handle 90% of the decision making. I learned the hard way, I used to get so frustrated when I would call my husband and just ramble on about wedding stuff and he simply wanted to ask me about my day. Looking back on everything if I would’ve been a bit more attentive I would’ve known that whatever made me happy on that day would ultimately bring a smile to his face.
Now he did have some ideas and opinions about things and ladies that is the time that you pull out your notebook, phone, wedding planning binder and a pen and get to writing. Pay close attention to the desires of his heart and even if you don’t see it lining up with what you want right then and there remember he is also getting married on that day.
Alright, Im done rambling so here area few tips on how to survive wedding planning.
Tip #1:Bridal Party Do’s and Dont’s
If you decide to have a bridal party ensure that you pick people who have been truly supportive of your journey with your future spouse. Ensure that each person truly wants the best for you and for your union. Remember that everyone will have an opinion but just know that this is your wedding. When picking out tuxedos/ bridesmaid dresses be mindful of the financial obligations your bridal party may have outside of your wedding requests or requirements. Do pick a tuxedo/bridesmaids dress that will compliment you NOT overshadow you. The bridal party is the accent to the beautiful masterpiece (my personal opinion). Do keep in mind the different body types of your bridesmaids and give them a guideline on your specific requests such as no cleavage showing, floor length vs knee length, jewelry pieces etc. Do not allow the titles “Maid of Honor” or “Matron of Honor” get everyone swept up in the does she love me more or less competition. (Believe it or not that does exist)
Do not get upset or agitated if another side of a person comes out during your wedding planning, weddings truly bring out a completely different side of people in general. Have a plan, keep communication lines open and do NOT allow a bridesmaid to bash another person in your bridal party.
Tip #2: Wedding Coordinator/Day of Coordinator and Bridal Attendant
Now listen closely, you will and I repeat you will need a bridal attendant and either a wedding coordinator or a day of coordinator. On your wedding day there are a lot of moving pieces and emotions and you need someone there who will not only keep you on schedule but also ensure that the vendors and venue is set up to your satisfaction. As I stated earlier having people on your team who are knowledgable, patient and see your vision will help your wedding planning process. We were so blessed to have an amazing team in Virginia who took the time to answer any questions I had and even making sure I wasn’t melting during our photoshoot. I was very specific on a few things and both of them were truly angels and I am forever grateful for their time and the sacrifice they made for us.
Tip #3: Guest Lists (Open Invitation wedding and reception vs Private Reception)
Now when my husband I first started planning our wedding we wanted to have a max of 80 people in attendance but we quickly realized that it was best to have an open invitation wedding and a private reception. We wanted everyone to be able to see and enjoy our wedding but we had a budget for our reception and feeding a lot of people is expensive. If you decide to have a private reception ensure that everyone on the guest lists once again truly supports your union and want the best for you and your future spouse. When it comes to the guest lists stick to your guns, if you say no then thats it. Again weddings bring out a different side of people and opinions are just that, opinions.
Now if you have a venue that holds 150 you may invite 150 and only 100 show up and guess what THATS OKAY! Your catering team and wedding coordinator will make the necessary adjustments.
Tip #4: Pre-martial Counseling (optional for some couples but not for us)
We started premarital counseling fairly soon after we got engaged, we wanted to establish a sure foundation and discuss things that may not have come up in our everyday conversations. Now some couples feel as though there isn’t a need for it and thats okay but we truly enjoyed our sessions and learned a lot. Some topics we discussed were effective communication, problem solving, future family plans and finances. We were counseled by an amazing pastor and first lady who were referred to us by my father in law. Pre-martial counseling (in my opinion) gave us the biblical tools needed to endure the spiritual and natural attacks our marriage could face.
Marriage is truly a gift from God and I have enjoyed every minute of it but we were not naive to the attack from the enemy and the ever changing views/ideals of this world. We wanted the tools to succeed before we even prepared for the battle. Now there were some really deep conversations that we had in each session and it was a safe space to discuss any fears, worries or insecurities. I learned that that same feeling of safety, acceptance and honesty I felt there was the same environment I wanted for my home. We both desired to have a peaceful household, one where we can come home and lay it all out on the floor if necessary. Premarital counseling gave me the opportunity to create a level of intimacy so that when I was feeling raw or vulnerable I knew that my husband would not only be attentive but willing to open up and share with me as well.
All in all do not base your decision on seeking spiritual guidance on others opinions, this is a decision that you both have to make together.
Tip #5: Honoring the loved ones who are no longer with you
Now this is a very touchy topic for me, I endured a ton of heartache and loss this year and I really wanted to honor each family member (one both sides of our family) without bringing the mood down. I wanted to honor each loved one for the love, light and lessons they taught us and I had this amazing idea!!!
After talking it over with my husband we decided that our grandmothers would carry a single white rose to represent their deceased spouse and anyone else that may have passed away. There was something so touching about our matriarchs leading the way as they both have done in our lives growing up.
Know that however you chose to honor your loved one is your choice and your choice alone. Either way take comfort in the fact that they are in a better place and are smiling down from heaven.
Tip #6: Do not stress out!!
I know it’s easier said than done but stressing out isn’t helpful. Your wedding day will be everything you planned for and more if you just breathe. Know that everyone you have chosen to help oversee, participate and celebrate with has your best interest at heart.
Tip #7: Turn your phone off and enjoy your wedding night
Simply put, enjoy those first official moments alone as a married couple! Social media can wait!!! And anybody who needs to get in touch with you will know how to reach you if there is a TRUE emergency.