I found my journal from one year ago and as I was skimming through I caught a pretty consistent theme: Wedding Planning. Oh, there were several pretty panic filled entries next to the other daily entries.
It's safe to say that planning for one's wedding can be one of the most stressful times in life (probably next to having a baby, finishing up a Masters, and facing your biggest fears...). I had the advantage of a calm fiancé who sweetly talked me off my cliffs and calmed my biggest fears.
We left our wedding day with some beautiful memories but also with a list of things we we would do or not do if we had the chance to redo our wedding day. So, without further ado, here is my list for brides-to-be. :)
1. Don't stress. Really. That sounds so easy right now, but when you're in the thick of it and go to print off your wedding invitations that are two weeks late and the lady at the printers *really* doesn't like your invites and wants you to change it, don't get worked up! (Also, don't start texting the gentleman who designed your invites.) Take a deep breath. Unless they are impossible to read, just print them off. You love the design, the colors, everything. Stick with it and don't stress. Ultimately, at the end of your wedding day, you will be married.
2. Choose something and stick with it. If you have an idea in your head and it can be worked out, cross that item off your wedding to-do list. As the bride, you shouldn't be spending your precious time debating on whether or not you made the right choice by going with chocolate and vanilla cake. You chose it. Now move on.
3. Make a list. Cross things off.
4. Create a minute by minute schedule of your rehearsal dinner and wedding day. Some wedding planners may do this for you or they may require you do it. Create the schedule and STICK with it. This will require you contacting a lot of people but if you have this down on paper you can hand it out to everyone so they know what is expected of them. This may be your big day and while it will revolve around you and your husband, it will revolve MUCH smoother if people know what is expected of them and when.
5. This goes hand in hand with number four. Create a buffer of free time around the wedding ceremony. We had one hour of no photography and peace and quiet before the ceremony and ten minutes of peace and quiet after the ceremony. Those were some of the best moments of my day. :)
6. Sign the contracts. I'm not referring to the marriage certificate (that is a given!), but rather any contracts you may have with the caterer, the cake designer, the wedding coordinator, the photographer, the videographer, anything
that you can sign a contract for, sign it
. Case in point: I didn't sign a contract with my photographer and did not receive my pictures for four
months and until the moment I picked up my pictures, I didn't know when I was going to receive my them. I finally received most of my pictures in late September with the promise that there were more. I have yet to receive them. If the item is vital to your day or your memories of that day, ensure there is a contract signed to keep both sides held accountable. This will save you so much heartache down the road, I promise!
7. Relax and spend your time wisely. Enjoy this time. I know, it's busy and stressful. You're making decisions, but you are also preparing to spend the rest of your life with someone so incredibly special to you. Your wedding day is important and a day you will probably think about for the rest of your life, but it is not the rest of your life
. Keep the planning focused to an hour or so a couple times a week and spend the rest of the time talking about what you two enjoy. Go see a movie. Eat ice cream. Enjoy your last days of single living while preparing for marriage. I've seen too many girls who focused so much on their wedding that they saw their marriage as a let-down because it wasn't as exciting as planning for a wedding. In the end, it's just one day that will fly by.