Planning a wedding is no easy task. Everything from the check lists to the blogs and bridal magazines, Pintrest, etc., make it almost overwhelming. Take your time. Begin your planning six months to a year before your wedding day.
You would be wise to choose the date of your wedding first, the wedding venue second and the Wedding Officiant/Minister third. As you know I am a wedding officiant and I cannot tell you how many times a bride and groom have hired nearly all their wedding vendors and at the last minute remember that they have not hired someone special to perform the wedding ceremony.
I’ve made a list of things that I hear brides say that they wish they would have known before the wedding. Contrary to popular belief, most brides have not been thinking about the details of their wedding since they were a little girl. Another reason this list may be helpful. (NOTE: You will find various links in this article that will expound on some of the topics. Every link opens in a new browser window so you won’t lose your place.)
1. Want a really great marriage? It begins when you get serious about working on you – FIRST! Have you dealt with your issues? Your wedding day is one day of your life. Your marriage is long-term. You may have a near-perfect wedding, however, that’s not the marriage. A marriage is the ultimate commitment. You both will have to change to make the marriage work. Believe me, marriage is always a work in progress. Be sure you are ready for it.
2. There is no perfect wedding. Believe me, sometimes things mess up. Be prepared to roll with the punches if something does go wrong. The groomsmen forgot the rings. The wedding cake didn’t arrive on time. One of your bridesmaids or groomsmen is MIA. The flower girl refused to walk down the aisle. The maid of honor had too many drinks and starts making a teary scene at the reception. Your florist used roses instead of peonies for your bouquet. Things may run behind schedule. Make sure everyone knows what time to show up on your wedding day. Be a good example. Don’t be late for your own wedding! It’s happened.
3. Tell your photographer key information in advance. From special family situations like divorces and mobility limitations, to special details you want to make sure are captured, there are several things you need to share with your photographer in advance. Photographers always work better when you have provided a list of the special photos you want taken. You’d be surprised how many guests just assume they’re going to be in pictures and stick around, and how many guests who are close family that just take off to the cocktail hour. Let close friends and family know to stay close after the ceremony for photos.
4. Plan some quiet time before the ceremony. You need reflection time. Take time to break away from the crowd and be quiet somewhere if only for ten minutes. Drink some water and collect your thoughts. I’ve had brides and grooms tell me they hardly remember anything about the ceremony if went by so quickly. It’s like an entire day in fast forward. Pay attention during the ceremony.
5. Spend some time thinking about what you want your wedding ceremony to say. The ceremony IS the wedding. It is the heart and soul of the event. Write some of your own vows. You don’t want empty words – they must mean something.
6. Hire a professional Wedding Officiant – one with experience! Forget uncle Harry – who had never done a ceremony – and who wants to do your ceremony for free. I repeat… The ceremony IS the wedding. Why would you want to cut corners with the most important part of your wedding day? Want to hear from horror stories? Give me a call. I’ve heard it all. Hire the best! There’s a reason they are the best. There’s a reason everyone wants them. So they get booked soon, and early. They might be available when you make your inquiry but your wedding date is not secure until a deposit is paid and an agreement is signed. When you feel good about a choice, make a decision.
7. Choose your bridal party carefully. Take your time picking your wedding party. You should spend some time thinking about who you really want to share this day with you. Be willing to choose someone else if your maid of honor or best man are not helping you with what you need help with. Never assume your wedding party knows what is expected of them. Know what their duties are and talk with them about what you expect. Have your Maid of Honor “practice” bustling your dress before the wedding day. Don’t take on too many duties yourself. Delegate! Give everyone in your bridal party something to do.
8. Talk about money with your partner. How much debt are you and your partner bringing into this marriage. Be honest. It’s better to find out now rather than be strapped with debt after you tie the knot. Save your money for wedding expenses and go lite on credit cards. Your parents may contribute some, but nowadays many brides and grooms are paying their own way. It is very easy to develop bad financial habits while planning a wedding. Be certain you have a budget for your wedding and be prepared to shift money around if something or someone you want exceeds the money you set aside for them. The easiest way to trim your wedding budget? Cut your guest list.
9. When in doubt… don’t! If you have any doubts in your mind about whether you should get married, a postponement is much less expensive than a divorce. Listen to your gut or intuition! Trust it! If you have major issues that you think will disappear after you are married, think again! I’ve been a relationship coach since 1995 and the one thing that I am saddened to hear is: “I though he/she would change after we got married!” That seldom works out. Have issues? Get relationship coaching BEFORE marriage. It is perhaps the most vital thing you can do before marching down the aisle.
10. Hire a Wedding Consultant OR at least a day of coordinator! Are you ready for the truth? You are not a professional event planner so please stop acting like you know everything about weddings after reading two blog articles and surfing Pinterest. Your wedding is your big day. You shouldn’t have to worry if everything is going just right! Most wedding consultants know where to get the good deals. They are there to help you bring your dream wedding to life. They can make recommendations to quality wedding vendors and watch over all the details of your wedding as they are happening. When you hire a wedding consultant, you can relax, knowing that everything will work out fine. Call me if you need referrals.
11. Don’t skip breakfast on your wedding day. With all the morning jitters, you’re likely to forget. Put something in your tummy to absorb all the nerves that might show up. 😉
12. Put a dab hand lotion on before heading down the aisle. Whether it’s the heat or stress, you or your partner’s fingers could swell a bet, giving you a hard time trying to get that ring on. Remember to pass this tip to the groom.
13. Remember to put together an “Emergency Kit” to bring to the wedding. Oh, and don’t forget the Marriage License!
14. Always remember… this is YOUR wedding, not your mothers! You cannot please everyone. Pick the few people you want to please – at the top of the list is your partner and then you have 5 more spots. After that everyone else can sit down and shut up. 😉 If your mom or the groom’s mom or anyone else suggests something that you do not want, be tactful, however, never be afraid to say, “No.”
15. Carry an emergency contact sheet on your wedding day. Keep the paper with names and phone numbers of all your vendors in your purse or give it to your maid of honor to hold in case you need to contact a vendor. It could come in handy.
16. Give yourself plenty of time to plan your wedding. Some people can do it in 6 months. Others require a year or more. Do as much as possible and get it all ready BEFORE the morning of your wedding. Anything else should be delegated to someone else you trust to follow through.
If you have topics that brides and grooms should know about before their wedding, please list them in the comments! Sharing is a good thing!
BONUS Articles: Serving Her Majesty the Bride: To Be a Maid of Honor… or Not
Set Some Wedding Priorities – First Things First!
Getting Married in Arizona? Here’s the Latest Scoop!
I’m Late… For a Very Important (Wedding) Date! I’m Late!
Sorry, I Don’t Need a Wedding Consultant… My Venue Has One!
Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.
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