Wedding Tips

8 Oct

The thing about planning a wedding is that, ideally, it’s something you only do once in your life… so it’s not something you get a practice run at. Things either go according to plan, or they don’t. Lucky for Steve & me, everything went perfectly on our wedding day, due in no small part to the built-in event planner from the venue… but her talents and time notwithstanding, I still think I learned a trick or two. So now it’s time to share.

Start early and stay on top of things.
It’s true what they say, wedding planning happens in spurts: A flurry of activity right after the proposal, and another burst right before the ceremony. Things sort of die down in between. Take advantage of that time to finish little tasks. Figure out what you want to take a diy approach toward, and then make a plan for getting those things done. And don’t forget, there are certain tasks that you simply can’t do unless you’ve completed the pre-requisites first. For example, you can’t finalize anything to do with the ceremony, really, until you’ve met your officiant. You can’t meet your officiant until you have your marriage license. You can’t get your marriage license more than 3 months ahead, or else it will expire. Plan for such details accordingly.

Use a checklist from an established bridal website or magazine to help keep you on track.
Bridal checklists are all over the internet… I used the one from and found it useful. I also liked the Real Simple wedding book. They release a new edition every year; it costs about 10 bucks and you can find in the magazine section of any bookstore. A tip, though: Check off any items that don’t apply to you the instant you are 100% sure they won’t apply to you. For example, I like to live on the edge (and I’ve been going to the same hairdresser for about 11 years, so I know what to expect from her), so I didn’t do a trial run on my hair. Cross that off the checklist! Why? Because if you’re staring at a list with a million unchecked to-do’s on it, you’ll get real stressed real fast. Eliminate whatever you can, as soon as you can.

Don’t bother writing your own vows.
The pros already have this covered for you. Steve and I wrote our own, and then ultimately decided to go with the most traditional vows that our officiant had in his book. We put what we had written toward speeches instead. Speaking of which…

Don’t forget, you have to give a speech!
Traditionally, the groom speaks and the bride may or may not choose to. Personally I think that’s a bit outdated and I appreciate it when both the bride and groom say a few words, so Steve and I planned for both of us to speak. Unfortunately, neither one of us wrote things down ahead of time, nor did we confer on how we expected the speech to go. I’m fairly adept at public speaking, so my portion of the speech went fine (I think), but Steve’s was a tad… um… shaky (sorry babe, you know it’s true though!). If you’re not used to public speaking, definitely write things down beforehand, and practice until you feel comfortable.

Know that nobody’s going to care if you cut a few corners.
It’s not necessary to have crazy expensive favours (nobody remembers them anyway) or a decked out wedding website unless that’s what you want to have. Basically, don’t get caught up in little details that are meaningless to you. Save your energy for more important things (like picking the music!).

Finalize prices with vendors well in advance.
Not gonna lie, I got sticker shock from a few things… but by the time I found out how much it cost, it was too late to renege. Get all your estimates well in advance.

Exploit friendships wherever possible, but do so carefully.
We had friends take care of the cake, photography, makeup, and flowers, because we have friends who are bakers, photographers, makeup artists, and florists. If you have connections to pros or semi-pros, don’t be afraid to ask them if they will take part in your wedding! Just be cautious: A wedding is a Big Deal, so if you don’t think your friend can tackle the challenge with professionalism, it’s better not to ask in the first place so nobody winds up angry or with hurt feelings.

Give up-and-comers a chance.
If you can get recommendations for amateur vendors who are trying to get their start (ex: student photographers), then why not give them the opportunity? If their sample work is up to snuff, there’s no reason not to give them the experience… and usually they don’t charge as much so you can save a couple bucks here too!

Use Google to search for the best vendors and sites.
The internet makes it easy to get referrals to excellent venues, dj’s, photographers, and so on. Use Google, or search wedding communities such as or You can also check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure all your vendors are on the up and up.

Set limits on how many vendors you are going to go see.
From the beginning, Steve and I made a rule that we would only see five or six vendors for any given aspect of our wedding. So, six venues, six photographers, six bakers, etc. etc. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting caught up in the mentality that there might be something better out there that you’re missing out on. Set limits, stick to them, and save your sanity.

Bring flip flops!
My shoes seemed comfy enough, so like an idiot I skipped bringing a second pair of shoes to the ceremony. By the end of the night I was dancing barefoot and I was very, very dirty. They’re not kidding when they say bring a pair of shoes!

Don’t stress too much about losing weight beforehand.
They all know what you look like. And spanx really do work wonders!

That’s all I have for now, but of course I will add to this if I think of any new words of advice to share.


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