in sticking with my monday guest posts (thanks again to sonnie, jamie, jess, & lyndsay!) we're finishing up with some words from my friend sara! i had the honor of being in sara's wedding 2 1/2 years ago -- she was a beautiful, low-maintenance bride, and now lives up in minnesota with her husband andrew. (they're on staff with the same college ministry i worked for after college!) i'm excited for sara to finish out my series...
So you’re planning a wedding. Can feel pretty overwhelming. Exciting and adventurous for sure but as the billion decisions begin flying at you, it can easily go beyond a little stress.
A few years ago when I tied the knot there were a few things that helped keep us sane during the process:
1) Realize your priorities. Do the people make it for you? Will the pictures? The Dress? The food and atmosphere? Think of the top 5 most important things for your wedding. Rank them.
2) Plan around those priorities: Once we decided on the direction of our celebration, it was easier to make decisions that lined up with it. Some people would rather have a fewer people and enjoy nicer food, drinks and venues. For others it’s the people that matter. Everything is about your closest friends and family being a part of your new life. That may mean less food, cheaper venue, different time, etc. For others, the décor is super important or the location is extra meaningful. This will also make budgeting much easier when you know what you splurge on and what you can save or pass on.
3) See where you can cut corners: You’ve got your main focus, but now what about all the other stuff? Think about how you can cut corners or skip on things that you aren’t so keen on. If these aren’t your top priorities, consider:
• Friends: use connections you may have! From invitations to catering to cakes, to bands and DJs, ask what your friends can do!
• Wedding cake: I’ve been to weddings that had Krispie Kreme donut cake and a “grooms cake” as cold stone ice cream, but if you want the traditional cake, get a small display cake and ask for most of your serving to be from sheet cakes in the back. It can save hundreds of dollars.
• Flowers: go for seasonal, local, flowers and stick with less diverse bouquets to save money; the more exotic, the more expensive
• Food and drink: dessert, pasta bar, skip hors d'oeuvres, or only do heavy hors d'oeuvres and skip the meal; open bars are pricey
• Centerpieces: skip the flowers, use candles, pictures, even goldfish in vases, or use moss or greenery filling without flowers, fruit is a colorful and less expensive options (think citrus especially)
• Make the wedding party simple: bridesmaids and groomsmen are expensive with gifts, luncheons, rehearsal dinner, hotel rooms, etc. so cut down on your wedding party if you’re on a serious budget!
• Ask for discounts: it never hurts! Ask photographers, cake bakers, venues, and dress salons if they have deals or discounts. We got a better deal on our photography just because we asked!
4) Calculate your budget: You’ve got your priorities and your general plan, now you can sketch out a budget. I seriously recommend theknot.com’s budget calculator. I mean how in the world did I know what was an inexpensive dress or what was outrageous for a cake? It was a huge help and you can adjust it at any time. Plus when things change, you can visually see what you can move around. It’s also accessible online so you can access it anywhere- and so can your fiancé.
5) Gain perspective in planning. Surround yourself with people who will support and help you especially when you hit your wall- as I did on may occasions. Remind yourself of perspective in those moments: the only things that last forever are the souls of men and the word of God. Even your wedding day will pass. We should enjoy things here, but have our minds set eternally.
6) Do soak it up when it comes. At your rehearsal and rehearsal dinner and on the big day, specifically remember things. Fight to be in the moment, because this is an incredible change in your life. Take note of the crazy excitement you have as you step down the aisle, how you smiled at the rehearsal dinner, when your fiancé grabs your hand as people give toasts, your first dance, getting to kiss as a married couple! Remember the pictures and conversations you have with family, remember the first time you get to see your soon to be spouse on your wedding day. Soak up those things. Because the day will be over before you know it. And though every wedding marketing guru would love for you to believe your wedding day is a surreal magical cloud-like day, it’s special, but it is another day. . Special yes, but it will end just like any other. So focus on what’s really important- be excited about starting your new life together with your fiancé! Know that even if you had every detail perfect, you’d miss most of them. I never saw my centerpieces until I got the pictures, never looked at the tablecloths and napkins, didn’t glance at the gift table. I remember the people and getting to finally be Mrs. to my best friend. Details are great, but they’re not everything. Plus, your wedding day will come and go, but your commitment to one another will last forever!
*marisa's marks: sara has some wonderful advice -- i love the moments she says to remember -- i'm taking a mental note! and i completely agree about prioritizing... figure out what's important and the rest is just details :)
thanks again everybody... happy end of the 31 days!