4 Things I Wish I Knew When I Planned My Wedding
Planning a wedding takes a lot of work. That's no secret. But when I planned my wedding there were certain truths I discovered that I wish I knew going into the planning process. Had I known then what I knew when it was all said and done, I would have been saved a lot of headaches and frustration. I would have known when to "trust the process" and when to give up that ridiculous DIY project that no one was even going to walk past anyway. In an effort to help you newly engaged, I put together a list of the four things I wish I knew when I planned my wedding.
1) The venue is the most important element to nail down first...but also the most frustrating.
Oh that magical and elusive perfect venue. Chances are, you have an idea of where this venue is and the vibe of the whole place long before you have even gotten engaged. Even those of us who haven't dreamt of our wedding days since we were wee tots probably have some idea of what we are looking for in this essential wedding day element. Problem is--that perfect venue is harder to find than you probably thought. Do not, I repeat, do not, go into venue hunting blindly. It is a recipe for disaster and heartbreak. First, sit down and think about what matters the most to you when it comes to your venue. Is it time of year? Is it the bar? Is it a venue that offers both ceremony and reception options? Is it outdoors? Try to limit your list to five things (five is my magic number, as you will come to find) for simplicity sake. Then start your google searches. When you do go to visit your venue, print out my wedding venue checklist and bring it with you.
2) Be patient and allow time to find that venue.
The venue takes up two of my four things, and that is because it truly is the largest piece of the puzzle, and once you nail down the venue, everything else is details. Lots and lots of details. Do not expect to find your venue on your first hunt. Expect to find a lot of venues that seem to fulfill certain elements, but recognize that you probably will not find the one on that first go round. And that's okay. Also, some real hard hitting truth here--be ready to be disappointed in venues you were really REALLY excited about. One venue that seemed like my dream venue online turned out to be a total disaster when I actually saw it in person. It was trashed from the wedding the night before, ridiculously close to the highway, and there was ONE bathroom for all guests. These things are obviously not advertised on their website. Moral of the story, living in a large city like Chicago provides a LOT of venues to choose from, but that also means there will be a larger weeding out process. Choice is good but choice is hard. Go down a glass of wine and get back at it next weekend. You WILL find the perfect venue for you. Promise.
3) Give up the pointless details.
No one pays attention to favors. Do not spend weeks losing sleep on the cute rhyme or hashtag you want to include on your wedding favors. Do not blow your budget on "something for your guests to remember the night". If it's a good wedding, they won't remember the night, and at the very least they won't remember their favors. Donate the money you would have spent on favors to a good cause and make a gorgeous sign letting everyone know they helped an honorable cause without lifting a finger. That will make a bigger impression than half melted Jordan Almonds.
4) Give yourself a break.
When needed, allow yourself a couple weeks here and there to be really proud of the work you put in so far and don't think about next steps. When you start planning, identify the top five things that matter the most to you, and focus on those things. When you feel satisfied with how those elements are shaping up, give yourself a break! Wedding planning will NEVER feel done. There is always something that you could spend countless hours and energy on, but it is more important that you enjoy this super exciting and fleeting time than obsessing over every last detail. Get your bridesmaids/men together and go do something fun and memorable, wedding planning will always be here when you decide to come back to it. Trust me.
And there you have it! Good luck with your planning endeavors and know that at the end of the day, you get to marry your favorite person so don't sweat the small stuff.
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