Wedding Planning: Lessons Learned Along the Way

{A guest post by Kaliwood Kontributor, Amanda}

vintage lace & pearls
Hi Everyone! My name is Amanda and I blog about planning my wedding, amongst other topics, over at Vintage Lace & Pearls. I’ve been engaged to the love of my life for just over a year and still have another 8 months to go until our wedding day is finally here. Kali recently asked me if I would be interested in sharing some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way and as wedding planning has pretty much taken over my life for the past year, I happily took her up on her offer! So, without further adieu, I present you with a list of 10 things to keep in mind while planning your own wedding:
  1. Before you do anything else, sit down with your fiancé, your parents, your fiancé’s parents, and any other appropriate parties to discuss the guest list and the budget. It may not occur to you to invite your dad’s golf buddy to the wedding, but it may mean a lot to your parents. Keep in mind that if you and your fiancé are paying for the wedding yourself, you have veto power when it comes to keeping the guest list in check. If your parents are fronting the bills, you really can’t deny their request for random guest list additions, but you can definitely rein them in if they get too out of control.
  2. Once you know how many people you will be inviting and how much money you plan on spending, you can start researching venues. Some venues are all-inclusive so you won’t have to spend time researching different caterers, bartenders, linen rentals, etc. This type of venue is perfect for the bride who doesn’t want to deal with every little nuance of planning the perfect day. I’m an over-planner and I love details, so I went with the other option – the blank slate venue. Our rental fee covers the full day venue rental, tables and chairs and I have to bring in every other aspect. Our venue is a barn that a local park rents out, so the rental fee was super cheap in comparison to other venues I have come across. If you’re looking to save money, definitely check out local parks if you can handle the DIY crafting, planning and organizing of your wedding day.
  3. Prioritize where you’re spending the most money. For a lot of people photography is one of the areas where they are really willing to splurge, since pictures last forever. On the other hand, you may want to spend the most money on making sure there is a lively party atmosphere – if that’s the case, plan on spending more for your DJ and drinks to keep people on the dance floor.
  4. When it is time to go dress shopping, know that what you think you like may not be what you actually like once you get the dresses on your body. I was 100% positive that I was going to love full ball gown dress styles. Then I actually tried one on and looked like a blimp. Being plus-size and short, I actually liked the more fitting styles in the end – I never would have expected that to be the case. If you have curves, flaunt them! I think wedding dresses look amazing on curvy ladies!
  5. Continuing with the wedding dress topic, if you fall in love with a dress that is out of budget, do not abandon all hope -- just think outside the box! Check out eBay, Tradesy, Pre-owned Wedding Dresses, Craigslist, etc. Lots of people decide to sell their wedding dresses after their big day is over & will accept deep discounts on the dress in order to regain their closet space. Just make sure you inquire about any alterations that were done to the dress before purchasing it. The label may say a 12 (a 12 in bridal sizing at that – know your measurements to ensure you get the right fit!), but the previous wearer may have had a size 12 booty and a size 6 chest region and she probably altered her dress to fit her perfectly. If you take the pre-owned dress route, I strongly encourage going for corset styles to cut down on the cost of alterations since corsets are more forgiving.
  6. Also, if you are looking to save money, enter wedding giveaways! They take minimal time and effort to enter and since the pool of people who need/want these items is pretty specific, you have a real shot at winning something! I have won free wedding invitations, a bouquet, a tiara, and a birdcage veil so far! Wedding Day Giveaways and Emmaline Bride are two great sites to check out.
  7. Make things easier on yourself and your guests and please, please set up a wedding website. The Knot has a great preformatted website you can use for free. Taking an hour or two to enter information about where the wedding is, what hotel guests should stay at, and where you’re registered will be a lifesaver in the end. It’s great being able to point people to one place when the wedding gets closer and everyone you know starts asking you the same questions over and over again (Where are you registered?, What hotel should we stay at?, etc.).
  8. If you can, do something special to set your wedding apart from every other wedding. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, but it’s nice to have one “wow factor” item on your wedding day. Some of these ideas aren’t exactly unique anymore, but guests tend to love them: photo booths, dessert bars, candy bars, etc. Find something to make your wedding that much more enjoyable for your guests.
  9. There will come a point during your engagement that you will need to take a break from all the planning in order to maintain your sanity. The beauty of having a 21 month engagement is that we got a lot done early on and then I got to take several months off from wedding planning in the middle. I am just now jumping back into planning and I am still way ahead of the game thanks to all my early planning. Go hang out with your friends in a non-wedding planning manner (as much fun as bridesmaid dress shopping is!), stop crafting, and give yourself a break from obsessing about your wedding!
  10. Be flexible. Sometimes things will not work out in the way you imagined they would. And that’s fine. No one else is ever going to have any idea that something went wrong. In the end, all that really matters is that at the end of your big day you are married to the guy you love. Everything else is just icing on the cake. Enjoy being engaged and the planning process while it’s here, because you only get to do this (hopefully) once and time really does fly by while you’re engaged.
Good luck to everyone who is currently in the middle of wedding planning or about to embark on the journey! If you can’t get enough of wedding blogs, please stop by Vintage Lace & Pearls sometime! As I mentioned, I’m just getting back into wedding planning mode and it should be full speed ahead for the next 8 months until our wedding day finally arrives!
{A guest post by Kaliwood Kontributor, Amanda}