5 No-Nonsense Tips for Planning Your Wedding

This post originally appeared on my old blog, Ellipsis. A revisit was in order, especially as I'm not 3 years past my wedding! 

If I could go back in time, I would plan my wedding differently. Not that the day itself wasn't awesome: it was. I would just do things different now! 

I hated planning my wedding. I really did. I wanted to let someone else deal with the flowers and the tables and the music and the ceremony. Let someone else figure out the schedule and who is in charge of what and the food and the choreography of people arriving and leaving and delivering things and setting up things. Let someone else do this. 

I say this fully realizing I chose to have a wedding and not just, you know, elope.

It didn't help that I was working full time and having a home built at the exact same time as planning a wedding. The lead up to my wedding was stressful and let me tell you, my wedding was pretty chill. There was no huge spectacle. Not a lot of travel. Not really that much to worry about. But I still worried about it.

There's a lot of wedding advice out there. I bought a wedding planning book, thinking it would be helpful, and instead found it weirdly outdated and frustrating. I didn't want a DJ. I would never have a sit-down, served dinner. I didn't want a first dance or an elaborate setup. I just wanted to be married. I just wanted to have a party with my family and friends. When I say there is a lot of wedding advice out there, what I really want to say is: there is a lot of stupid, bad wedding advice out there.

I mean look at this ultimate wedding planning list. I mean, booking portable toilets? A list of people to give toasts? (Shouldn't the list just be one or two people? How long do people want toasts to go on!?!) Creating a guest list database? Distribute welcome baskets!? Frankly, a lot of this stuff is very expensive and when it comes down to it, it is just one day. One day does not make or break a relationship and a wedding won't magically turn any relationship into a "marriage." A marriage is what you make of it and the wedding has absolutely nothing to do with that.

For that reason, here is my wedding planning advice. Take it or leave it, these are the ways to keep yourself from going into a wedding-induced stress-and-rage blackout.

1. Forget about everything you see on Pinterest. 

There are some really cute trendy things out there for weddings. If you love the ideas you see on Pinterest, pick something that really means something to you. For example, I had mason jar centerpieces at my wedding. Why? Because I've grown up canning with my mom and we have, literally, a billion mason jars. Why pay for vases when I have a billion mason jars for free? It's cute, it's trendy, and it reduced the cost of my arrangements.

If you think something is super cute, by all means go for it, but make it your own... don't just blindly copy and spend more money than you need to. Don't set yourself up for disappointment by hoping to copy someone else's wedding exactly: you'll look back regretting

2. It's a wedding. Not a photo shoot for a magazine spread.

It's not an editorial. It's your wedding. Stuff is going to go wrong. You aren't going to look perfect 100% of the time. And that's ok, because that's really the good stuff. The pictures where I am laughing with a double chin, waving my arms around, and taking photos with my phone are my favorite pictures from my wedding. Because, you know, screw it, I'm not a Vogue model; I don't want my wedding to be pin-worthy; and the point of a wedding should be to have fun, not to spend hours smoldering at a camera to try to capture the "perfect" picture.

3. If it doesn't matter to you, don't spend time on.

There were a lot of things, when it came to wedding planning, that I just didn't care about. Picking a wedding color? Changed my mind a bunch of times and ultimately didn't care. Picking bridesmaids? Didn't care. There were a lot of things I just really didn't care about and so, I just didn't bother with them. When it came to my colors, I decided to focus on a detail that I liked and let the colors come from that. I love daffodils and daffodils were a big theme of my wedding. For the other stuff, I just decided, it's my day, no code of conduct can dictate what I want this day to be.

If, while planning your wedding, you encounter things that you literally just do not care about, then leave it. And really listen to yourself. Just because everyone has a full dinner at their wedding doesn't mean you have to. Just because everyone expects you to have bridesmaids doesn't mean you have to. Just because everyone wears a white dress doesn't mean you have to. Even if your family wants you to do something, even if everyone thinks you're crazy, if you can't bring yourself to care very much about something, just don't do it. It is not worth the aggravation and stress.

One more time: You don't have to do anything in your wedding just because everyone expects it! It's just a day for you and the person you love most!

4. This is your day... and your partner's.

 I think a lot of people get wrapped up in the idea that it's just the bride's day. This isn't entirely true as it's a day where you are marrying someone. Hopefully, that someone is involved!

I shared almost every detail with my husband & got his opinion -- from food to colors and flowers, to my dress to his outfit, and everything in between. We incorporated a traditional Celtic ritual into the ceremony on his request. What he wanted to wear wasn't originally what I had planned, but he was the one wearing it... so obviously, he got say in that!

This isn't just a day for a bride. It's a day for both of you. I think we all get wrapped up in the cliche that every girl dreams of their wedding day -- but as a personal anecdote, I didn't. Being pretty shy in real life, a whole day dedicated to me freaked me out. Involve the person you're marrying. Trust me, it will be better that way; it's a partnership, after all!

5. Have fun. 

Please, even if everything seems to go wrong: have fun.

And things will go wrong. I showed up to my wedding & was told that the sound system I needed to use for my ceremony system didn't actually go to the area where my wedding was. I improvised with a small iPod speaker. Could everyone hear it? Not really. Did it make me panic? Yes. Did it ruin my wedding? No. At this point, no one probably even remembers the music. 

At the end of the day, a wedding is just a big party. Enjoy yourself! Stop stressing! If the cake falls over, if your iPod breaks that morning, if your hair gets blown to shreds by a gust of wind... who cares? You're still marrying the love your life. That's the reward. At the end of the day, that's all it's about. Take a few deep breaths, laugh, and move on from any tiny disappointment. It's not the end of the world.


Do you have any tips for planning your wedding?