For this week’s blog I thought I would get a little more personal and tell you about my own wedding planning journey; what went well, what was difficult, and tips I learned along the way. To start, I was a total DIY bride. I had always wanted to plan my own wedding. In fact, I was so in tune ` with how I wanted my day to be that I already had a bulk of my ideas planned before I even got engaged. However, after getting engaged the real planning began. We wanted a short engagement so I got everything planned in just over 4 months. Thankfully I am a highly organized person, so getting right to work was not an issue for me.
When I look back on my wedding planning journey, I think the thing that came the most easily for me was staying organized. I am such a lists person; I had a notebook full of to-do lists and a folder on my computer with all my inspiration pictures, contracts, and correspondence. Thankfully I also had my mom to bounce ideas off and remind me of various things I may have overlooked. This brings me to Tip #1 – you do not have to do this alone. Find someone to go with you through the planning process. Whether it be a friend, family member, or a planner. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do it all on your own.
Now just because I have such a mind for organization does not mean that everything regarding my wedding planning journey was a total breeze. This was my first time doing this, so I definitely had a lot to learn. Looking back the biggest hurdle I had to get over was budget issues. I am from California and the average cost of a wedding at that time was $35,000-$40,000 for my area. Aren’t we all glad we are in Middle Tennessee where the average is $20,000-$25,000? My budget was much less than the average for my area ($10,000), so by being capable of doing most things DIY I was able to keep costs low. But as I learned there are some things you just can’t DIY; for example, rentals. When I went to the local rental warehouse and saw what they were charging I was totally sticker shocked. Could flatware and linens really cost that much?! The answer was yes, and this brings me to Tip #2 – make sure your budget is realistic with what vendors in your area are charging. If your budget is low (like mine was) make sure it is big enough to get quality vendors that there is no way you can’t hire, and then find ways to DIY the rest. For example, I did not hire a DJ for my wedding. I come from a music family and have friends who are also musically inclined. I made the playlist for the ceremony and reception myself and had a family friend run the sound board while one of my closest friends was our MC. By creating a DIY option to replace a traditional DJ, I opened up my budget to be able to get vendors I needed.
Another huge thing I learned was that just because you are a mega organized, super DIY bride you cannot run your own wedding day. It took some convincing by my mom to get me to agree to hire a coordinator (remember tip #1?). I was convinced that I could run my own wedding day and get married at the same time. After one meeting with my coordinator, I realized I was completely wrong. She brought up so many logistical concerns about my simple, one venue, wedding day that I could not believe it. So, this bring me to Tip #3 – don’t be too proud to accept help; get a coordinator. My husband and I will always say getting a coordinator was the best decision we made regarding wedding planning. We were able to enjoy our day which is really all you should be doing at your own wedding.
Overall planning my wedding was an enjoyable experience. Despite some hurdles it ended up the way I always imagined; and most importantly I got to marry my best friend.
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