Wedded list, wedded bliss - get it? Okay, bad puns aside, I don't know if it's because my parents' wedding anniversary is tomorrow (happy 31st, Mom and Dad!), or because we have two brothers getting married in the next three months (whee!), or because wedding/engagement season is approaching, but I've been thinking back to my own wedding planning this time two years ago. There were many different elements to it, but all in all, it really wasn't a stressful experience. Our pastor friend and marriage counselor told us, "If you have a choice between complicated and simple, choose simple every time." Even with good intentions not everything could be simple (ordering alcohol in bulk for 300? Ugh, math), but that was a mantra that I tried to return to as often as possible, and it paid off. So with simplicity in mind, here are my top ten wedding planning tips.*
*Every wedding has different dynamics, and a plethora of them. These are things that worked for us. They don't work for everyone and I'm not trying to say they do. Also, I'm writing as someone who was a bride, but this applies to grooms too. Also, I'll probably think of ten more by tomorrow, so this list is fairly fluid. Okay, caveat over.
10. If possible, get engaged in a spot with no cell service and don't tell anyone for at least 24 hours. Let it soak in. Enjoy it. Before other humans start asking you if you've picked a date yet.
9. Address the invitations yourself. Savor the excitement of writing the names of people you love. Do it on Friday nights while watching TV. (And hold on to The Knot's Guest List Manager as your Christmas card list for all time.)
8. Got a friend who's a great photographer? Ask her/him to take your engagement photos.
7. If it doesn't totally screw with your color scheme, tell your bridesmaids to buy a dress in X color and length that suits them. Everyone ends up looking good, feeling comfortable, and wedding party members who are already traveling don't have to spend more money than they have.
6. Seating charts: people will survive - perhaps even thrive?! - without them.
5. Publix wedding cakes are just as delicious as high-end bakery cakes. Promise.
4. Spend your wedding morning with your favorite girlfriends - all five or 30 of them. Drive yourself places on your wedding day. Do some normal stuff.
3. EAT BEFORE YOU GO INTO THE RECEPTION. By yourselves. For at least half an hour. Ask the server for seconds. Do it.
2. Before you leave, make a point to thank the people who made it happen - not just your parents and wedding party and officiant, but the people who might not get thanked otherwise, like the wait staff, the events coordinator, the caterer. Sure, they get paid, but I will never forget the smiles as I shook their hands and said "thank you" to their faces. It was clear that the bride taking time to do this meant something.
1. If you like the people at your wedding - and I hope you do - find a way to spend time with them after the wedding, especially if they're in from out of town. Hang out with them at the hotel after the reception. Get them together for brunch the next morning. You've got your honeymoon and the rest of your lives for one-on-one time. Savor the folks who made you each who you are, and the new family that you're all building together.
Cheers to the future!