8 Ways to Have the Best Wedding Ever – Practical Advice from a DIY Bride
There’s nothing more tragic than a bride who doesn’t enjoy her wedding after spending over a year planning the dang thing. We’ve compiled our best practical advice with our best self-care advice. It’s a win-win. Read this post and you’re sure to head into your wedding with the mindset of “PARTY time”!
#1 Start Early
Like a-year-before kind of early. People will tell you you’re crazy but they haven’t planned a wedding. Especially if you want to do a lot of DIY–start now! Get a storage unit to keep things so you don’t leave a persistent mess and drive your fiancé into sheer insanity. Psych ward weddings are not cute.
#2 Don’t Expect People to Understand
There’s a crazy amount of stuff involved in planning a huge event that you just don’t realize until you’ve started planning. People won’t consider that it’s taken months to finalize a seating chart, make custom place cards, and hand-stamp 100 wine tags. You have to be a tiny bit ‘zilla to plan something of this magnitude. Be assertive and direct in appropriate situations but make sure to keep yourself in check and always remember what you’re doing—which is not planning the Oscars, but making the biggest vow of your life to your favorite person.
Keep that in mind when you want to text-rage your fiancé’s childhood friend who asks to bring his girlfriend (of 3 weeks) two days before and then requests a special meal for her, free of carbs. They just don’t know, girlfriend. And this will happen—you think it won’t, but it will. There will be times of frustration and people (even the ones closest to you) being inconsiderate and just entirely oblivious to how much is on your plate. Just know that, plan for it, and embrace it with a plan when it happens. You’ll do fine!
#3 Do What You Want
I don’t mean that in an “it’s-MY-day-and-no-one-else’s-day kind of way” (see #7). But if you REALLY love that satin magenta table runner, get that table runner! Take expert planners and vendors advice because they may have more design experience and wisdom, but if you get that wedding dress because your mom thinks it’s “the one”, and you don’t in-your-gut-100%-love it: Do. Not. Get. That. Dress. You will regret it. And don’t let someone else talk you into thinking that THEIR favorite dress is YOUR favorite dress. I also highly recommend hair and makeup trials. If you don’t love your first trial, try someone else (politely).Which leads me to…
#4 Think About Your Vendors
Your hairstylist and makeup artist and photographer will likely be there with you for HOURS. How do you feel when you don’t eat for hours? Standing up the whole time? Inhaling hair spray? Not your best. So make sure your vendors have access to food/snacks/water and get some breaks if they need it. They’re people too, and they’re a huge part of making your day amazing, so treat them as such.
#5 F*ck Tradition
Tune in to what you really want your marriage to look like. If adding some script to the ceremony because it’s important to your nana/mama and they mean a lot to you, then add a couple things to the ceremony. Just don’t let someone else tell you that your dress has to be white because wedding dresses have always been white. Change some of the readings in your ceremony to be less mechanical and more relevant to you and your fiancé, if that’s the kinda thing that’s important to you. If not, that’s ok too. The event is, after all, not ALL about you (yes, I said it—see also: #7).
#6 Let Go of Perfection
It won’t be perfect. Not everything is going to go exactly how you’ve envisioned. It’s just not. I bought all these beautiful twinkle lights (like hundreds of feet long) to cover the ceiling of our reception room, but they were never set up. We were unable to access all our décor the night before because I thought my storage unit (with everything I’d made and ALL the décor) was open later than 7pm. I would be lying if I didn’t have a meltdown right outside the gate to my storage unit at 8pm the night before our wedding, sobbing while my sister hugged me. We contemplated breaking in. Luckily, she’s an attorney and we decided against that plan. ALSO—it’s ok to have a meltdown. Maybe not 10 meltdowns—but a meltdown. Shit can get stressful.
Everything worked out though. We got up early the morning of the wedding and tons of family pitched in to set everything up at the venue. HOWEVER, because of StorageGate (see what I did there?) there were some more time-consuming projects that didn’t get finished, like hanging lights. We ended up using a few bistro strands the venue had and it looked fine. Would it have looked better with my twinkle lights? Yes. Did it still look amazing and help me shift back my focus to what really matters—marrying my best friend and remembering all the people that made the whole day possible—also YES.
Another example – I had kind of dreamt of making my bouquet in a very specific, cascading way (it is important to note that I can be a bit of a perfectionist in this way). We made all the floral arrangements ourselves and they looked absolutely beautiful. I got caught up in some other things and I hadn’t made my bouquet yet, come the morning of the wedding. I was tied up with hair and makeup so my mother spent at least an hour making the bouquet for me and checking back with me intermittently to see if I liked the progress. It turned out beautiful. I wouldn’t have even had a bouquet if she hadn’t made it for me.
Did I have to shut down that part of my brain that said “yes but these bottom roses need to be shifted ½ inch and the shape isn’t exactly how I’d pictured?” Yes, yes I did. Instead, I focused on how actually beautiful it did look (it really did, she did an amazing job!). And when I see pictures of my bouquet now, I am taken back to that moment, that day, and am reminded how much I love her and what an epic job she (and everyone else) did.
#7 It’s Your Day. But it’s Not Only Yours
I’m thankful that I was older (32) when I got married. I’d grown out of that princess/bride mentality and I think I probably would have been more of a b-zilla if I wasn’t at an age where I had some perspective.
Yes, it’s your wedding day, but it’s not all about you. I understand that a lot—probably most— of brides have a larger role in planning and creating the day. Some partners, like mine, really just aren’t interested in the process and that’s OK.
There’s also more of a traditional/cultural emphasis on the bride as the star player in this event, which I get. It’s cool to want to feel absolutely beautiful. It’s cool to relish the process of dress shopping and picking out the perfect wedding colors and décor. Just don’t forget that at the heart of it all, it’s about pledging to forever be a party of two instead a party of one. And deciding what best represents the two of you and your relationship. It’s about bringing together family and friends who have supported you throughout your entire life.
I’m not saying to cater to every single person. But it’s important to consider the people closest to you throughout your planning process—parents, siblings, best friends, whoever your tribe is. You are, after all, pretty much planning a party for all your closest friends and family. Do you, but consider others throughout the process.
#8 Live in the Moment
If you’re going to read any part of this blog post that I’ve managed to turn into a novel, it is to be present throughout your wedding day.
I went to a wedding a couple years ago that was beautiful. Everyone had a great time, the couple spent a lot of money, the venue was stunning, the food and drinks were delicious. The couple looked amazing. Everything looked like it went perfectly. Which is why I was shocked a couple weeks later when the bride didn’t even want to talk about the wedding because she was so bitter about how poorly everything went. What?! What wedding were YOU at??
I think there was a myriad of reasons that elicited this attitude of hers. It seems the wedding was more of what her mother wanted–not what the bride truly wanted. But I believe 99% of her disappointment came from one thing–she wasn’t focusing on the real things, the things that truly matter in a marriage, and in life. She chose to see decor that wasn’t quite perfect; people that didn’t give her a hug when she thought they should have; a couple of bridesmaids that were a few minutes late to breakfast the morning of the wedding; all the stuff that doesn’t really matter once the day arrives. Needless to say, that marriage didn’t last. But man I’m glad it happened because I learned so much about what I didn’t want my wedding day to look like!
I’m also beyond thankful for the many people who reinforced the fact that the day goes by in a heartbeat. I’ve found myself a couple weeks later, re-living our wedding day in my head and wishing we could do it again just one more time. Not to change anything–but to live through it all over again. It was the best day of my life.
I’ve never felt more beautiful, more present, or more sure and excited about my love for someone. And I felt so ..rich. I had everything around me that I could ever want. I was literally engulfed by people I cherish most; both myself and others were feeling more regal than we ever knew was possible, surrounded by so much meaningful and beautiful décor (and burgers!); and in close proximity to the most beautiful cake I’d ever seen in my life. Seriously, I cannot tell you how happy that cake made me.
Honestly, I wouldn’t have enjoyed everything as intensely as I did if I had not gone in with the mindset of purposely absorbing each moment. I took a deep breath and drew in everything around me when my dad took my arm and we prepared to walk down the aisle. I was there. And nowhere else. Matt and I stood still in time when we exchanged vows, making the biggest promise I’d ever made in my whole life.
Afterwards, we were both in sheer bliss. It was (along with the day he proposed to me) one of the only times I felt high on happiness, like literally light-headed. At the reception, we made a point to talk to people and tried to say hi to most, but we didn’t make that our mission. When the food came, we sat down and ate. I had fries, guys. Fries. And my husband right next to me. What else is there?
Someone advised me to not feel obligated to greet and thank every single person for coming. I’m so glad I took that advice. You’ll be doing that all night. Another bride told me that she and her husband just got on the mic and thanked everyone for coming and said that if anyone wanted to talk to her, they could find her on the dance floor. I thought that was pretty boss. Just enjoy yourself. It goes so quickly, but if you make a conscious effort—you will have unforgettable, vivid snapshots of the best moments of your life.
Also, if you’re going to spend money on anything, spend it on a photographer who will give you little pieces of that
day to take with you. Spend more on someone you click with, and whose work you truly love. Now that our wedding is over, our pictures are one of the most
precious things we own. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
Thanks for reading
8 Ways to Have the Best Wedding Ever
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My Awesome Vendors:
Photographer: Taylor Jones Photography, @taylorjonesphotography
Venue: Rosewolff Studio, @rosewolffstudio
Rentals: The Rental Ave. @rentalavenue
Hair: Christy Yoo, @christyyoo_artistry
Makeup: Ann Nguyen @makeupbyann.n
Florals: self-arranged, purchased through @flowermoxie
Tailoring: Nayantara Banerjee, @williamsburgseamster & Mercal Sweiss, @focusonthebride
Food: Veggie Grill, @veggiegrill; & In-N-Out @innout
Cake: Helena Wirth Cakes, @helenawirthcakes
Dress: Monique Lhuillier/preowned, @moniquelhuillierbride / @stillwhite
Suits: Friar Tux, @friartux
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