What You Really Need [For Your Wedding]

 

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DIY Warning: Getting the flowers done before the wedding is TIME CONSUMING! Look how tired my mom (in black shirt) looks! Luckily her friend Jade came to help her.

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Arranging the center pieces.
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The hall we had the reception in, this was the night before when we began decorating.
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The wedding.
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The cake. My mom cut and placed the flowers on that cake. And my husband cut the log the cake is sitting on.
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Ice Cream Candy Bar: Our Ring Bearer followed us in line.

In a pinterest world with big expectations, a promise to keep a low key budget or to save money on DIY I look back at my own wedding to see what worked and what didn’t. What you really need is what you decide not what others tell you, but I will share what I think you need and my reasons and experiences.

A Budget
Looking back, my our biggest mistake going in was we did’t have a defined budget. To this day I am not quite sure how much money we spent on our wedding because I don’t know the number my parents spent to add to our own totals.

A Plan/Roadmap
We had so many random purchases that were spur of the moment “This would be great for…” purchases and we ended up with boxes of extra stuff we didn’t use.

I wish we had listed out what we wanted based on traditions, decorations and extras.

A Break
The whole family and all the people involved need to go do something fun together before the wedding. I’m talking quick camping weekend, trip to the beach, trip to a theme park (Knott’s Berry Farm or Six Flags… scream the stress away on those roller coasters!) or just a fun day to unwind in your particularly favorite way…

I remember we were so on edge between working, planning, DIYing and arguing I wish we had taken some time to just enjoy that time of life.

Love
If things start becoming all about the event its time to take a step back and remember what this is all about… two people coming together to love each other. See a pre-marital counselor, get all the decisions and hard questions hashed out before the big day, see a counselor and talk about relationships and family dynamics. Do whatever feels necessary to yourself to get center, resolve conflict, and focus on what the wedding day is really about.

Food
You need to eat, and so do your guests. Make sure the food provided at the wedding is good. We chose to have an ice cream bar and to this day, I am still happy with our choice. 4 o’clock in the afternoon on the first hot day of the summer it was perfect. Make sure that what you choose is right for you. We even had lactose-free ice cream, that was for me.

You might see a cool set up of coffee and donuts on pinterest but if you aren’t having an early wedding you might want to reconsider. Also keep in mind food standards, food should be served either hot or straight out of the fridge cold (35-45 degrees.) I wanted to share this because it is crucial you don’t poison your guests. We really didn’t have to worry about it since we had an ice cream bar and cake but I would have made sure that whoever was preparing the food would uphold USDA standards.

Time
Time to enjoy the day and the party is really crucial. We had way too many people for the space we had for the reception and that is my one regret because it made it practically impossible to chat with our guests.

Time to eat, laugh, smile, take some pictures of our own. We didn’t plan this part in and I would changed it if I could.

 

Plan Well

We had like 10 boxes of girl scout cookies in the freezer that never made it to the ice cream bar table and rolls of ribbon and wedding favors that never got placed together. The “Wedding Planning” book really didn’t help me in those aspects, I really should have typed up a to do list, today I would use a Google Doc and share the link with everyone who was involved in getting the wedding done. Or even better, hire a wedding planner to do all the work for you. If you plan well ahead of time maybe you won’t forget to make your favors like we did!

I could go on an on, but I will keep my real advice simple:

  1. Make a plan
  2. Build a budget
  3. You might want to pick your date off your budget depending on how costly your venue will be. Otherwise, pick that first.
  4. Keep an open mind. Things will change.
  5. Focus on the marriage not the event. The wedding lasts a couple days but the relationship will last forever (or at least much longer.)
  6. At the end of the day, just focus on the fact that you married the one you love, not on how things [didn’t] turn out.
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