Wedding Planning: Tackling the To-Do List

Wedding planning is hard work. And I mean hard. Sure, it’s a fun process for you and your fiance to tackle together, and with apps like The Knot and Pinterest, you have a checklist of things to do already mapped out for you. Wedding planning in the 21st century is essentially a piece of cake—only it isn’t. At least, not all the time. It’s stressful and you’d be amazed at the little things you and your partner don’t agree on (for us, it’s the favors).

But in the midst of the stress and looming deadlines, it’s important to remember what truly matters: you get to marry the love of your life. The stress is inevitable, but if you make a constant effort to keep love and fun incorporated in all those decisions, then I think you’ll come out of this with a positive experience to look back on. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway 😀

The funny thing is that the deeper we get into the planning process, the less I find myself caring about all the details. I used to tell myself I had to have my wedding look and feel a certain way. If I didn’t have the right flowers, the right venue, the right theme, I would lose it. But now? Well, I just want to get married. I could care less if the big day turns out to be this picture-perfect, Pinterest-worthy dream wedding. If Mike and I are happy with the outcome, then I will consider the day a success.

Still, I haven’t completely given up on trying to hire the right vendors for our vision. And we’ve been really successful at booking the big things: the venue, the photographer, the DJ, and the florist. I know the small details are going to bite us in the butt as we go along, but it’s a relief to have the bigger items tackled already.

It felt like we had browsed through a hundred wedding venues online before we found “the one.” Mike and I were about to settle for a less-than-stellar option before we decided to visit the venue we ended up choosing. The Garland is a retro-chic boutique hotel in North Hollywood, and when we stepped into the hotel lobby to meet with a coordinator for the tour of the grounds, I instantly fell in love. I am all about the current mid-century modern trend and the lobby was designed accordingly. My heart was swayed before we even took the tour, but I felt reassured this was the right option for us after we saw where our ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception would take place.

My biggest piece of advice when looking for your venue is to explore as many options as possible before signing on the dotted line. It can be daunting and tiring to travel from venue to venue for a tour, but sometimes you can’t get a proper grasp of a location through pictures alone—you need to see it in person. I can’t tell you how many venues looked beautiful online, but were less so once we saw the real thing. Also, make sure that you pay attention to the amenities and costs that are included with each venue, so you can keep track of which outside vendors you’ll need to hire.

When it comes to your other vendors, I think hiring a photographer is the most crucial step after booking your venue. Photos last forever, and it’s important that the photographer you choose captures your wedding day the way you want it to be remembered. Mike and I did a lot of research before deciding on Taylor Kinzie, which I would recommend to any couple looking to get married. She includes a complimentary engagement photo session, as her way of bonding with each couple before the big day. This is something we really love about Taylor, because it shows the level of care she puts into her work. And while not every wedding photographer will have this option in their packages, it’s something to think about when choosing the right fit for your vision.

Finding the right DJ for your wedding is a very different task. It takes a lot of faith to hire someone who you haven’t seen working in action. Mike and I have each been to weddings where the DJ was less than awesome (who tells wedding guests that they’re lame for not participating in the money dance?!). So when it came to picking a DJ for our reception, we wanted to go with someone who was able to create a fun atmosphere for our guests without making them feel awkward. We went with the DJ Mike’s oldest brother used for his wedding, and we’re so excited knowing that we’ve already seen his talent in action. It helps to read reviews of any vendor before you book with them, as people are usually very honest when they take the time to write out their thoughts. We spent a lot of time scrolling through reviews when we researched a vendor, and it was useful in our decision making.

In between all of the emails, meetings, and contract signings, I’ve still managed to squeeze in the fun I mentioned before. When I found my dress a year ago, it was on a whim. My bridesmaid, Ava, took me to a couple bridal stores to try on dresses for fun, and I ended up finding my dream dress at Brides by Demetrios. I was bummed to miss out on that experience with my family and bridal party, though, so a week ago I was able to create that experience for them when I went in for measurements.

Although two bridesmaids were missing, I felt honored to share in this important experience with those closest to Mike and me. You don’t realize how much you’ll enjoy little things until they happen, like posing for group shots or watching your mother and future mother-in-law happily chatting about the wedding. Having these moments to look back on is really useful for keeping me in check when I start to feel overwhelmed with everything I have remaining on my to-do list. So while you try to remember all the things you need to get done before your wedding day, make room to remember these special moments too. They’re a great reminder that stress is temporary.

Whether you decided to go the traditional route for your wedding day or choose to forge your own path, I cannot emphasize enough that you take in every moment of the process. Your wedding day will (hopefully) be an experience that you only live through once, and it’s absolutely going to fly by. You’re going to experience stress and, occasionally, disappointment as you try to bring your vision to life. But so long as you remember that the end result means you get to marry the love of your life—well, I think you’ll make it through this in one, happy piece.

Are you planning a wedding? Have you already planned one? I’d love to hear about your experiences! The best source of assistance can be from those who are going through the same thing as you, so don’t feel afraid to reach out for help. That’s the best advice I could ever give 🙂

-Ciara

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6 thoughts on “Wedding Planning: Tackling the To-Do List

  1. I feel compelled to comment since, of course, I just got married. I’m hoping your advice, as well as mine, will help any current bride or any woman who likes to plan a bit early even though she may not be engaged. My biggest piece of advice is to not compare your wedding to anyone else’s or the “weddings” we see on TV, movies, or even magazines. Weddings can be romanticized and dramaticized for the sake of selling money. But that just doesn’t work for us “average” people. Unfortunately, I found myself unhappy with some of my decisions because I felt like they weren’t grand enough. After talking to my fiancé, he would reassure me we made the best decision. I always told him the two things I was sure about with the wedding were him and my dress. As we got closer to our wedding, I became very happy with and confident in my decisions. Three weeks after the wedding, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Your wedding will be the way you want it to be, not how others think it should be. If you’re happy with the results, then who cares if it isn’t magazine-worthy. Don’t give in to the pressure!
    My other minor advice is just a quick one. When at your wedding, take maybe just a minute to sit back and look at everyone and everything around you. You planned this beautiful wedding for so long, you don’t want to miss a single detail. I wish I had done this. Other than pictures, I couldn’t even tell you what my centerpieces look like (which is very disappointing). I wish I had peaked around to see what the room had looked like, especially since I was so focused on the details in the room.
    Like everyone always says, it’s going to come and go before you know it, so enjoy every moment!
    Good luck to you and to any future brides who are hopefully reading your blog! ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will be sure to keep your last piece of advice in mind when it comes to our wedding day! I think it’s so easy to get caught up in trying to make time for all of the guests, then miss out on taking it all in. This is definitely advice I haven’t come across before, so it’s important that it’s pointed out 🙂 thank you!!

      I’m with you on struggling with the satisfaction of certain decisions, and getting lost in trying to live up to expectations of what weddings are nowadays. The biggest priority is your and your partner’s happiness, and I’m so glad that you had a wonderful experience.

      Like

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