Advice from one bride to another

Brides, congratulations on your engagement! Being a bride is such an exciting time but can also be overwhelming. Enjoy this time, soak it all in and most of all smile and have fun.

 

Being a bride can be a difficult job at times, whether or not you hire a
wedding planner or a day-of coordinator, you are required to make hundreds of decisions for one single day.  A lot of money is being spent on your wedding day, emotions are running high and your stress level is probably reaching an intensity beyond normal day to day.

 

Making decisions as a bride is your number one task.  Unfortunately, many of those decisions are not always entirely your decision to make individually. You and your fiancé must come to a common ground on what is important to each of you and make those things matter the most. My husband and I decided that we each got to pick three things that were the most important to us for the day. Allowing us to voice what was important to us on our wedding day gave us the ability to let the less important things not matter as much and focus our money and attention on our VIV (very important vendors).

 

I have put together a list of 10 tips that I hope will help you in not only making your Wedding Day the best day of your life but easing your stress level just a bit.

 

Jen’s Top 10 Tips::

1.  Budget, Budget, Budget::
When you first get engaged sit down with your fiancé and with your families (if they will be helping or have offered to help) and see what each person is interested in helping you with. Early on it is important to find out what their budget constraints are. If your family does not want to help with anything specific (i.e. cake or flowers) it may be better to ask them how much they are willing to help with rather than asking what specific aspects of the wedding they would like to support.  As well, do your research in advance on what the average cost is for floral arrangements, officiants, bands/dj’s, etc. Knowing in advance what average pricing is as well as getting multiple potential contracts from several different vendors will help you in negotiating pricing and get the best deal for your money that you possibly can.

 

2.  Wedding Planner or Day-of Coordinator::
Hire a coordinator or a day of planner. This person does not have to be someone fancy and expensive, it can be a close friend that is detail-oriented and has done this previously (or is already married). Make sure that this person knows what you want. Make a binder for them with every detail including contact information for all of your vendors (work and cell phone), important family members, and all contracts you have. They will coordinate the day-of preparations so make sure they have this at least 1 week (if not 2 weeks) prior to the wedding.

 

3.  Look Book::
Make a look book that shows “your day”. Collect images and pictures of things you like including but not limited to: dresses, flowers, décor, and invitations, etc. This will help when you to go meet with vendors. Being able to give them visuals of floral arrangements, bouquets, and tables that you like (and don’t like) will help them in creating your perfect day. Telling your florist you don’t like greenery may mean a completely different thing to he or she than it does to you.

 

4.  Make a Registry::
Make sure to register for gifts before your first bridal shower, (if not sooner). Talk with your fiancé about how much or little he wants to be involved in the registering process. Work with a reputable business that specializes in bridal registry, like Keller’s of Modesto, who will give you the personal service you need. They are knowledgeable about products and will be able to guide you to what you need based on your lifestyle.

 

5.  Attention to Detail::
Make sure you have a second pair of eyes reading every single contract you are getting yourself into. As well, make sure you understand the structure of your payments to those vendors and how your vendors accept payments. Do they only take a credit card for the final payment? What about a cashier’s check? If you don’t read the fine print of every single contract you could find yourself scrambling last minute when a vendor doesn’t show up to deliver services.

 

6.  Day-of Schedule::
Create a day of schedule to keep all vendors (and your bridal party) on track. Include every single detail from when the ballroom will be set up to when the florist arrives and the cake will be delivered, etc. This will help to make your day run smoothly. This schedule should also include contact information for each of your vendors just in case they don’t arrive on schedule.

 

7.  Intuition::
If something doesn’t feel right, for instance a vendor isn’t calling you back or is not giving the best service, go with your gut and find a new vendor. This is your day and you want it to be the best.

 

8.  Bridal Party::
Enlist a good group of women as your bridesmaids. What you need to keep in mind is each of those bridesmaids’ personal agendas. They are there for you, and need to be helping you every step of the way. I vented to my bridesmaids a lot about silly things, but having them there to tell me that it would all work out and to try and not stress about things was very  important to me. They made my day of that more special by being so great and helping me with everything. As well, use your bridal party, especially if they are already
married, to help you find vendors and get good references.

 

9.  No Fly Zone::
A month before the wedding institute the ‘no fly zone.’ This means that you, the bride, are off limits from answering questions, taking phone calls, etc., from family, friends and vendors, asking questions about where to be, at what time and what they should be wearing.  Your bridal party and your day-of coordinator (for vendors) becomes the main point of contact and if something is really important that you need to know, they will tell you. Otherwise, enjoy the month before your wedding!

 

10.  HAVE FUN::
Your number one goal is to enjoy this process and have as much fun as possible. Make sure that you take time out for YOU. Do not make every single day about the wedding. Institute a “night off” every week where you go out for drinks with your fiancé, get in a workout or just relax on the couch watching a movie. Enjoy every single moment of this process from picking out your dress to the venue to the food and of course the cake! Make your vision a reality. When the day finally arrives do not stress about the little things. Most of all have an amazing time and don’t sweat the small stuff.  Because trust me, the details you are worried about, are truly SMALL in the scheme of things now!

 

Jen Boos-Ingle
Married September 18, 2011

 

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