When HD proposed we took a small second to just enjoy being engaged before diving into the planning process. We knew we didn’t want to be engaged long and we weren’t interested in having a long stressful planning process either.
Once we decided on a date, we both shared our must-haves for our ceremony and reception and after setting a realistic budget with the help of our fabulous wedding planner Ayanna (www.designsbyayanna.com), our next step was to make this wedding planning process as stress-free as possible.
I know myself very well and I can easily get carried away with little details, so much so that I find myself overwhelmed and stressed to the max. HD is the exact opposite; he’s the epitome of “good vibes only” and would never want to go about planning a wedding in a high-stress environment. So I knew if this was going to be an enjoyable experience for the both of us, I had to figure out a way to keep my cool and go with the flow.
That sounds much easier than it actually is because honestly, wedding planning is hard and expensive. Once vendors start throwing numbers at you and you see your entire down payment on a car and/or home flash before your eyes … you can instantly start to feel the breath leave from your body. But through all of the numbers, vendors, and scratches through our wish-lists, I’ve managed to find peace in all of the chaos that has without a doubt eased me into a low-stress (still some stress) wedding planning process.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
Create A Realistic Budget. HD and I are having a fairly short engagement (less than a year.) Our goal was to focus on marriage and not just a wedding. So together we decided to create a nice budget based on not only what we could sacrifice but what we would be willing to sacrifice a month for our big day. We both still wanted to enjoy life with each other and not send all of our extra funds to our wedding budget. So together we both set aside about 20% of our monthly income to wedding planning. The other 10% is for extra fun, emergencies, and just living, while the remaining 70% goes towards bills and expenses.
Stay Off Pinterest. Pinterest will hurt your feelings, and leave you lost and helpless. Why? Because everything that you see there tends to be a fantasy that usually lands you overspending on your wedding or dreaming of something that is out of your budget. It’s okay to get your original vision and theme inspiration from there, but once that has been formulated exit stage left. Instead take your theme that you’ve obtained from Pinterest to a vendor and ask how can this be created in a budget-friendly way and together you and that vendor can make something magical.
Make A Must-Have List. This will truly save your budget. Once you and your fiancé compile a must have list, you will then learn what you aren’t willing to compromise on. This Must-Have list will turn into a splurge or save list. HD and I’s must-have consistent of amazing photography, delicious cake, and of course the venue. Everything else we were willing to skimp on a little to save our budget. P.s. skimping doesn’t mean you have to go the cheap route.
Know That You Can’t Have It All. Once you create that must-have list, you must know and learn that everything you want may not be available; and you have to be okay with that. Once you’re okay with it, you’ll stress less.
Use Your Resources. A lot of times the answers to our questions are right under our nose. Reach out to people for recommendations on vendors and you will typically find a great price. Coincidentally 80% of our wedding vendors I know on a personal level, so I’m getting a great price for a lot of the things that would normally be super expensive. For example, I was speaking to my wedding planner about pre-marital counseling because that is a major must-have on our list. Just by reaching out to her I found out that her husband is a counselor and marriage coach and we start counseling in the next few weeks. Reaching out to your network will save you a pretty penny in the long run, and will save you the headache of searching in a pile of hundreds of vendors.
Create A Timeline That Works, And Share It With Everyone Involved. I’ve learned that wedding planning isn’t the stressful part, it’s all parties involved and working with multiple personalities. Thankfully I don’t have a huge wedding party so this isn’t such a big deal for me. Because I’m an event planner, I’ve learned to set early deadlines to avoid any miscommunication, last minute emergencies and just people who are procrastinators in general. For example, with my bridesmaids dresses, I told my bride tribe the dress money was due a full month earlier than it actually was to avoid any monetary issues. This came in handy I didn’t have to deal with any issues with my bridesmaids.
Open A Wedding Account For Expenses. To avoid blurred lines and overspending, open a wedding checking account with your fiancé and deposit money into it on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. All of your wedding expenses should be taken out of this account so that you can actually keep up with your budget and not overspend. This works best because you can actually see what you’re spending money on and it doesn’t get mixed in with your everyday living expenses.
So yes brides, the truth is … wedding planning is stressful, but it doesn’t have to be so stressful to the point of misery or bridezilla syndrome. Follow these few tips and you will easily feel the pressure lift off of your shoulders. Do you have any advice you want to share with the PSB community? Comment below!