Planning a wedding, whether it is your own or helping someone else with theirs, is difficult. There is so much to juggle and keep in mind that even referring to your notes doesn't keep you from second-guessing. To avoid any disasters or upset, read these 15 tips and things to keep in mind when planning your wedding:
Whichever photographer you decide to use for your wedding photos will thank you for keeping the lighting in mind for your big day. A venue may look incredible on a perfect sunny day when you tour it, but if the weather turns or the daylight doesn't last as long, the venue may become dark and cave-like.
Not all venues have strong lighting naturally and depending on how you want your photos to look, you may need to consider renting additional lighting to preserve the glow throughout your celebration. Ask the venue in question if the lighting is bright, or try to schedule a tour on a dull day to see the difference in person. It also doesn't hurt to tour the venue with your chosen photographer and get their opinion on the lighting situation.
Decorative planters, statues, and large furniture are examples of objects that a venue may have and not be able to move. When touring your venue, keep an eye out for things that may hinder your decoration options, and ask your venue if there are any objects that cannot be moved. Perhaps there is a statue in the middle of the garden where you would like to host your ceremony. Clearly, it is unlikely that the statue is small enough or light enough to move. So now you have to consider if you will arrange the seating differently to accommodate or if you would rather choose another venue.
Perhaps you can devise a clever way to incorporate said objects into your decorations and floor plan. Ask the venue how other weddings have handled the situation in the past. It may just push your creativity and decor to the next level.
Obscure Venue Rules.
Open flame candles are usually not allowed in most venues, due to the obvious risks. Electric candles are being made more realistic each year, so not being able to use real candles is not much of a drawback. Though if you plan to decorate with real flowers and foliage, are you able to have water in the vases that will be holding them? This may seem ridiculous, but many venues don't allow water to be in the vases due to concerns about spills and leaks. A florist may be able to offer alternatives and suggestions for getting around this rule.
Another thing to ask about is if the venue allows live music or disc jockeys. Some venues that house overnight guests or are nestled in neighborhoods do not allow music after a certain time or have stranger restrictions. Make sure to ask about any unusual rules before you decide on and start paying for your venue. It will save you a whole lot of hassle and money if you decide to go with a different location after all.
Stress Related Habits.
Whether you're dieting or not, you may find that when you're stressed you end up in the kitchen more. Not everyone is prone to stress eating but it's not uncommon. Be kind to yourself and schedule self-care days if you have to. Gently remind yourself that although wedding planning is stressful, you would be more stressed if you can't get into your outfit on the big day.
Exercising is a great way to relieve stress and if you have a workout routine you may not experience the urge to stress eat. Stress habits are different between each person, or even during different times of your life. Maybe you used to bite your nails when you were worried, yet now you struggle with clearing your mind of all the "I've got to remember" and "Next we need to work on" thoughts in order to go to sleep. Read up on different ways to cope with your particular stress habits, and consult a doctor if you can't seem to get it under control on your own. Your doctor can offer advice that is tailored to your needs.
Continue Date Nights!
Do not let wedding planning keep you from making time to unwind and go out with your partner and/or your friends. Your bridal party will also get worn out if all you do together is work at the wedding. Set aside time to just goof off and relax with your friends as well as your partner. Continuing to go on dates will keep you in good spirits and motivated as you prepare for the next big step in your lives together, and it could help reduce the stress surrounding the whole situation.
When Will The Sun Set?
This sounds odd, doesn't it? Yet, knowing when the sun sets will dictate your photography schedule and by extension your day-of schedule. Photographers may bring this up when you start looking to hire one of them, but you need to think of this before you decide a date. Unless you are absolutely set on having your wedding on a certain date, it could be helpful to know how your day-of schedules would vary between the dates you are considering.
When budgeting, it can be easy to forget about factoring in tips for the catering staff. Tipping is not necessary but it is courteous and an excellent way to say thank you to those who worked hard to cook and serve the food during your big day. Some caterers factor in a gratuity in the proposal, so make sure to read everything carefully to ensure you're not doubling up if you do not want to.
Make A Photo List.
Know what photos you want. It's also helpful to write down photos you do not want to take. This takes time and research to understand and you do not want to waste your time with goofy photos the day of, just because you weren't prepared going into it.
Touring the venue with your photographer ahead of time will also aid in the decision-making process. For example, photos from above are not always flattering though if your photographer is up the stairs taking a picture of you and your partner below it can look lovely. If your dress looks unflattering while on its hanger, then why bother taking a photo of it? The point is to look through other photos and know what you do not desire to have immortalized forever in an album.
Postage Makes You Go Postal.
Stamps for your save-the-dates, invitations, and announcements can get tricky, especially if you do not want to have markings all over the envelopes. The weight and size of the envelope determine the amount and price of the postage required to mail everything out, which means that a forever stamp may not cover it.
If you also want to avoid additional markings on the envelopes, you will need to go to the post office in person and ask their protocol regarding this and if the envelopes must be sent through a certain location to do so. Yes, it's a huge hassle. Though you spent a lot of time and money on making beautiful invites, and you want to make sure that they arrive to your guests in tip-top-shape.
Do your vendors require that meals be ordered for them as well? Some vendors require that you factor the staff's meals into your overall meal count for the event and naturally that can make the cost vary. Make sure to ask your vendor about this right away and have them include it in their proposal upfront to avoid last minute pricing changes or rental issues.
Hotels For Guests Blocked?
You don't have to reserve your guests accommodations for them, although it is helpful to find several good hotels near the venue and/or near the airport to refer your out-of-town guests to. Call the hotels in advance and tell them you have a wedding come up and many will block off a certain number of rooms for your guests to reserve themselves. This helps ensure that the hotels nearest your wedding venue will not be completely booked up by the time your guests try to reserve their accommodations. Most hotels that offer this have a deadline that reservations need to be made by, and this must be told to your guests so that they know not to wait until the last minute.
DJ Don'ts List.
It's natural to select a list of songs you want to make sure they play at your wedding, but what about a list of the ones you despise? If you do not communicate this with your DJ or live music you may end up hearing songs you did not want to be part of your special day.
Whether it's the lyrics of the song or the overall sound of it that makes you not want to hear it, it's important to state that you do not want it to be played. "Good Riddance" by Green Day is a song that is commonly played at weddings despite its lyrics being a message about infidelity and a crumbling relationship. It may be a great song, but is it a good fix for the wedding?
Check to see when you need to order your marriage license and what fees are associated with it. Most marriage certificates need to be ordered and picked up a few days before the ceremony and must be completed and turned in by a certain day to be validated. It would be heartbreaking to spend months planning your union with your partner to be on a certain day, only to have it say on paper that it was a different day all because the piece of paper was forgotten.
Practice Hair And Makeup.
Pinterest perfect does not always equate to a repeatable reality. The hairdo you originally had in mind may not be within yours or your hair dresser's ability to recreate. Or there is the potential that the hairdo looked great on someone else but once you see it on yourself, you realize that you do not like it all that much.
Maybe the veil you have chosen would cover up your hairdo and make it very difficult to appreciate all the work your hairdresser went to, not to mention the money you may have spent on getting it done. Makeup is a similar situation, in that recreating a look you saw may not look the best on you or in conjunction with your outfit. Practicing both of these things is also a great excuse to get all your bridal party together.
This is a serious question that should be brought up right away with any potential photographer. With today's technology, many top-of-the-line cameras use two memory cards (saving a copy of a photo to each card), upload automatically to the cloud, or both.
Do not risk spending money on photography that could be so easily lost due to potential tech damage. It would be devastating to plan out and execute your wedding day schedule around taking certain photos, only to have nothing to show for it. Accidents happen, of course, but there are so many ways to avoid an incident like this, and you should make sure your photographer has considered it and covered.
Take a deep breath. Your wedding is going to turn out great! And if you keep these in mind during your planning and decision making, you'll avoid a lot of trouble and upset.