Wedding planning is one of life’s most exhilarating and exhausting experiences. If you never consider booking a flight to Vegas at least once during the planning process, you’re probably not doing it right.
Since I’m now successfully married, I feel moderately qualified to share with you what I believe to be the 10 BIGGEST misconceptions of wedding planning.
10. I can do everything myself
I consider myself to be a recovering control freak. I would panic at the thought of letting someone help me with something, especially something I felt ownership of.
Your wedding is YOURS, yes, but, that doesn’t mean that you should control every aspect of it. Relinquishing control is one of the first steps you can do to be a more happy, healthy bride.
Tip: Utilize the strengths of family and friends. My mom is one of the most talented people I know, so she handled all of the decorations and floral arrangements. One of my bridesmaids designs wedding cakes and graciously accepted the offer of making ours. Don’t be afraid to let the people closest to you help. They only want the best for you.
9. Everything’s going to be perfect
Remove the word “perfect” from your vocabulary, at least while wedding planning. Perfection is an obvious desire for any wedding, but don’t set unreasonable expectations for yourself or others. Our wedding was perfect because of all the imperfections.
Tip: Everyone you will be working with throughout this process is human and may make a mistake (or even a few). Your vendors/fiancé/bridal party will bend over backwards to make sure you are happy, so remember to recognize their efforts and that each has a life of his or her own.
8. My family will know how to help
If you and your fiancé are not paying for the entirety of your wedding yourselves, the support of immediate family is crucial to the success of the wedding planning process. It’s an essential first step, since without knowing what each party is contributing, you are unable to create a budget.
The contribution conversation is not always the easiest. Get it over with as soon as possible.
Tip: Don’t assume that your parents will send you a check for $20,000. Call them, talk to them, and get a feel for what they have in mind to contribute. After talking to all of the contributing parties, determine if the total amount is enough to cover your dream day. Remember, not all contributions have to be financial. Someone’s time, expertise, or help can be worth more than cash.
7. I’ll stick to the schedule
Having an outline or timeline of what you want to accomplish is great- it will help you stay organized and keep you from getting too overwhelmed.
However, life is rapidly changing, so maybe you have to work two extra night shifts or you get the flu or heaven forbid, you just don’t feel like looking at anymore wedding favor ideas; DON’T beat yourself up over it.
Tip: Don’t let life pass you by just because you’re wedding planning. Go for a hike, take a mini vacation, or buy a new shirt. Don’t become so consumed with all your to-dos that you neglect other areas or people in your life.
6. It’s the biggest day of my life
Technically, yes it is, but don’t wield it like a lightsaber. Everyone wants your wedding day to be magical. Don’t push people away by proclaiming it’s the biggest day of your life. That is obvious. To everyone.
Tip: Find a balance between submissive and bitchy. For example, if a vendor is not giving you quality service, explain that it is very important for you to get this (contract, call, decision) completed. Screaming “This is the biggest day of my life. What is wrong with you?” is not going to lead to a positive response.
5. I’m going to lose 20 pounds
Every bride wants to look stunning on her wedding day, but don’t become a slave to the scale. You may lose the weight or you may not, but regardless, you’re still getting married on this one day.
Tip: Instead of making it about the wedding day, strive for a lifestyle change. Maybe you want to eat less processed food or go to the gym twice a week. Create goals that can be continued even after your wedding day.
4. My fiancé will help
Since I was a I’ll-take-all-the-help-I-can-get type of bride, I was insistent on getting help from my fiancé (now husband). Scott did a wonderful job helping me, especially the week leading up to the wedding, but there were a few bumps along the way.
I wanted him to make this day as important as it was to me, but I neglected to realize two things:
First, he put a TON of thought and effort into proposing to me, including picking the ring and planning the act all on his own. I didn’t have any of that stress to bear, not to mention he couldn’t talk to me about any of the struggles or complications he was facing.
Second, he is a man. I’m sure there are guys out there that would jump at the idea of helping you decide between chartreuse and mint, but many are simply not interested in those types of decisions.
Tip: If you’re looking for some help from your man, include him in areas that interest him. Scott is a graphic designer, so he created both our Save the Date and ceremony program. ASK him what he would like to do, instead of TELLING him what he has to do.
3. It has to be a Saturday
Traditionally, weddings take place on Saturdays and traditionally, venues will expect you to pay a high Saturday cost.
I never entertained the idea of getting married on any other day initially. After seeing the price difference for a Friday or Sunday wedding, however, I became very open-minded very quickly. We chose a Friday evening wedding and saved thousands of dollars with that choice alone.
Tip: Don’t worry what other people will think (as hard as that is). If it is the best decision financially or otherwise for you and your fiancé, that is enough. Once I got past the mild uproar, I reevaluated my mindset to, “Friday night weddings are sexy.” Remember: being flexible gets you further.
2. Everyone will be there
No, they won’t. Simple as that. It’s a scientific fact that your wedding date won’t work for everyone on your guest list, especially out-of-town or out-of-state attendees.
Before you lock down your date, verify with those closest to you (parents, siblings, and bridal party) that the date tentatively works for them. Something may come up in the future, but if the date works for the majority of your “important people”, go for it.
Tip: Have several guest lists. Guest List A is your primary list and Guest List B is secondary. If 10 people from List A can’t attend, consider adding third-cousin, Joey or high school friends who didn’t make the initial cut.
1. The wedding is more important than the marriage
This is the unspoken misconception of wedding planning.
No sane bride-to-be would ever admit to putting more time, energy, and thought into her wedding than preparing for her marriage, but many are doing it without even realizing it.
Your wedding day is a very, very important day, but your marriage is for a lifetime. Make time to talk marriage: What are your marital goals? What are your fears? What are your expectations? Once the wedding day is over, marriage begins.
Tip: Set aside one hour a week to talk about marriage. No discussions of flowers, colors, or choice of DJ allowed. Communication is absolutely necessary for a functional marriage; Talk freely about what you want and need.
Wedding planning is beautiful and wonderful. Make the most of this unique time in you and your fiancé’s lives. Remember, be respectful, loving, reasonable, and flexible and everything else will fall into place.