Top Wedding Planning Tips (Part II)

Here are five more tips to think about for your wedding planning process.  If you missed Part I, you can find my first five tips here.  Again, these are not rules and we can still be friends if you disagree.  These are just suggestions based on what I’ve seen go right, what I’ve seen go wrong, and what I’ve learned from my own experience.  Five day-of tips coming soon!


6) Make a ridiculously detailed day-of timeline.  The more ridiculous it looks, the better.  My timeline had a “preheat the curling iron” line.  I budgeted exactly 25 minutes just to put my dress on.  I knew exactly what time lunch would be delivered and I gave myself 20 minutes to eat (plus 10 more minutes in case the delivery was late).  I admit that I took it to the extreme but the more you think about how your day will be structured ahead of time, the less likely you are to be surprised by something in the moment.  Wedding dresses take time to put on, travel time needs to be factored in, and photo shoot time can add up depending on how many people are in your bridal party or how many family members will be involved.  So try to anticipate every detail (within reason, of course) and allow plenty of buffer time in case something unexpected occurs.  My version of a wedding worst case scenario is being rushed.

7) Budget 15 minutes immediately before your ceremony to clear your head.  Speaking of making a detailed timeline, I recommend giving yourself some buffer time immediately before your ceremony to do something that makes you feel grounded and present.  It’s important to enter your ceremony in the most relaxed mindset possible so take a few moments to reflect and enjoy.  Use this time however you see fit — spend some one-on-one time with your mom, say a prayer with your bridesmaids, sit quietly by yourself, jog around the building, or do whatever else makes you feel clear-headed and ready for a life-changing moment.  My 15 minutes was spent with my bridesmaids spontaneously dancing to inappropriate rap music.  I had planned to sit quietly and say something meaningful to my girls, but that’s just not what the situation called for.  Instead, we danced together, botched all the song lyrics, and laughed at how incredibly outrageous it was to be hip-hop dancing minutes before I was going to walk down the aisle.  For me though, it turns out that was exactly what I needed to battle pre-wedding jitters.

8) Don’t hesitate to ask for something special.  It can be a little intimidating to ask people you know to be involved in your wedding.  No matter what the request, it will require preparation and time.  When I asked a few musically-inclined family members to sing a song of their choice during my reception, I remember wondering if I was being selfish; because of me, they were going to have to choose and arrange a song, find ways to rehearse together from three different cities, and then worry about their performance during the wedding instead of just enjoying being guests.  I’m sure that some of those difficulties came true for them, but I also know that they were honored to do it.  And in the end, watching them perform that song was one of the most special moments of the day.  I have never cried or clapped so hard.

So if there’s something that someone can do to make your day more special, just ask.  You won’t regret it.  I’m not talking about the chore-like, meaningless jobs of guest book or program attendant.  I’m talking about asking someone to have a role that really means something to you.  Have grandma bake her famous cookies for favors.  Ask someone to share a special musical performance during your reception.  Request a special ceremony reading.  They will view it as an honor, not a hassle, and they’re not likely to decline (unless you’re my husband’s groomsmen, who told me “heck no” when I asked them to perform a choreographed lip sync to a Backstreet Boys song).  I still hold a grudge.

9) Get a videographer.  If you have room in your budget to hire one, great.  If not, ask someone to be in charge of filming the most important pieces of the day — at least the parts that the photographs can’t totally recreate.  I asked a friend of mine to film a few key moments from my wedding using his GoPro and I’m so glad I did.  Now, even though he’s not a professional and didn’t use a mega HD whatever camera, what he captured allows me to relive all the important moments of the day, which is just about the most special thing I could have asked for.  I can experience our vows over and over again, I can hear my dad welcome our guests to the reception, I can listen to the song that my family members performed, and I can relive the moment when my maid of honor embarrassed the heck out of me during her toast.  We have amazing photographs, but photographs cannot capture the sound of the falling rain on the dinner tent, the laughter of our guests as they reacted to my dad’s jokes, or the way my cousin’s voice cracked with emotion in the middle of the song he sang.  Those are the moments that truly transport me back to that day and I couldn’t be happier that they have been preserved.

10) Arrange transportation to take you home/to the after party/to your hotel, etc.  I initially put up a fight about this one for my own wedding because I thought it was dumb to spend money just to have someone drive me to our after party.  I wasn’t planning on drinking a lot and if we weren’t leaving in our own cars, that meant I had to plan for our cars to be driven from one place to another.  Logistically, it was definitely a pain, but as it turns out, I honestly don’t think either of us could have driven that night — not because we were intoxicated but because we were emotionally exhausted.  I remember that we each let our heads fall back in our seats during our 20 minute drive and blabbered to each other through closed eyes about what a good time we were having.  It was the perfect time for a little reboot before heading to our after party.  So whether you opt for a private car or you hire a party bus for you and your guests, just don’t plan on being responsible for anything that night.

So what do you think?  Now that you’ve seen my top 10, do you agree or disagree with any of my choices?  What would you add to the list?

2 thoughts on “Top Wedding Planning Tips (Part II)

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