Help, I just got engaged and I’m overwhelmed!
Being a Colorado wedding photographer, I hear this from couples who interview me so very often. I’ll start asking normal wedding photographer questions, and I can almost feel everyone’s blood pressure rising as they try to search for the answers to my questions, only to suddenly become aware of how much they don't know.
Is this you? Do you feel a little like you accidentally waded into the deep end when you threw yourself into planning your wedding? Well, you’re not alone. While I’m not a wedding planner, I do have over a decade of successful wedding photography experience under my belt. I’ve photographed Catholic weddings, Protestant weddings, big weddings, and small weddings. I’ve photographed gay weddings, straight weddings, and weddings with lots of guests with fancy cameras (sometimes cameras even nicer than mine). I’ve photographed weddings with rowdy groomsmen, weddings with sassy bridesmaids, and weddings where everyone was a little on the shy side. And using all this wedding photography experience, I want to help you ease some stress so that maybe, just maybe, you can enjoy these months before you say I Do!
So, without further ado, here are my top 7 tips to make wedding planning a breeze!
- Size matters!
Whether you're planning an adventure getaway with just you, your honey, maybe a photographer and an officiant, or you're planning to invite everyone from your best friend to your mom's older sister's half cousin on her step dad's side, you're going to need to have a ballpark of how many guests you'd like to invite. Then, based on that number, it's a good idea to take an educated guess as to how many of those people will actually show up. There are lots of resources available to brides for determining this number, or at least coming pretty close.
2. First, do your homework. Second, make a budget!
Lots of websites will tell you to make a budget and then go looking. However, I can't tell you how many times in my career couples have made a budget without doing any research into what they wanted and how much it would cost. For that reason, I say: Do your wishing first, then see what's possible within that. It's very difficult to make a budget when you have no idea how much things cost to begin with.
3. Self Care.
This is not some means to convince you to go on a diet so you look nice in your wedding clothes. You probably already look fantastic! However, event planning can be stressful and your body and brain can quickly take a toll, especially if you're a working professional adding the task of planning a wedding to your plate! Make sure you take care of yourself and your partner during this time. Go on dates, exercise if you enjoy it; spend time with things that fill your cup.
4. Find people you click with who know what they're doing.
The wedding industry is full of people with lots of experience (cough, hi, have we met?) just waiting for you to allow them to help you out. These professionals vary in the dent they'll leave in your budget, and many are worth splurging for! They're called professionals for a reason, and it's because they're good at what they do. While it might be tempting to hire your mom's best friend when she offers to coordinate your big day, it's a much better decision to leave the big tasks like planning, photographing, entertainment, and cooking to the pros. Not only are they amazing at what they do, they also (should) have insurance. That means if the worst happens, the liability isn't necessarily yours alone.
Once you've hired these people, it goes without saying that you'll feel a million times better having some big ticket items off your plate. If you need recommendations for Colorado Springs area professionals with whom I love to work, you can see my preferred vendor page.
5. Find a list you love, edit it until you love it more, and then...
This is pretty self explanatory, but lots of online checklists aren't tailored to you or your wedding day. So don't be afraid to start crossing things off right away if they don't work for you or you don't care about them. After all-this is YOUR wedding day. Not some big wedding website's wedding day.
Let people help you. Assign them tasks. Be specific about what you want, and let them have at it. If you're nervous they'll make the wrong choice, just ask them to narrow it down to 3 options for you. That way you've at least narrowed the field from infinity to just 3. Much easier.
7. Fill your wedding day with yourselves.
Don't love the idea of your new spouse digging for a garter in front of an audience which may or may not include your grandparents? Just say no! Hate cake, but love pie? Get it! Don't want to see each other first? Don't! Want to get ready in the same room? I support you! This is your once chance to have all these people together in one room to celebrate you! It likely won't happen again until your funeral. Do. What. You. Want. There, I just gave you permission.