How I Planned My Wedding: D I Y Bride pt. 2
The actual planning of our wedding was honestly all over the place. It took me FOREVER to decide on a theme, pick a color, order of ceremony, seriously I think we literally pulled everything together the final 2 weeks before. Hopefully, future brides are way more organized than I was planning, but if you're like me and totally overwhelmed with making your day picture perfect then trust me, you are not alone!
1. Pinterest! Pinterest! Pinterest! There are so many great ideas to get the ball rolling for a DIY bride, everything from helpful planning sheets and websites, color palettes, tablescapes, inexpensive vendors, and wholesalers, seriously, Pinterest has everything. Also, be creative! The best part about DIY is finding ways to make what you want happen within your means. For example, I did not want to mail anything (because, lazy) and did my invites, rsvp, updates, all online. We did a super cool invitation video instead of evites or snail mail, which ended up being totally unique, less expensive, and a great keepsake for down the road!
2. Make a List. Or a Spreadsheet. Anything that will keep you organized. Doing your own planning means you're responsible for ordering everything, shipping if necessary, and coming up with the images to help bring your vision to life. I ended up making a simple excel sheet that had the vendor, payment date, payment amount, quantity, and image of what we needed to buy for the wedding. I also made a vision/dream board that detailed what I wanted to see on the tables, during the ceremony, hair and makeup, everything. It was SUPER HELPFUL when sending off to contractors for flowers and event design. You can see some of what I used to stay organized here.
3. Ask for help. I didn't have a bridal party, but I do have two very helpful sisters who helped me put my reception together the day of the wedding. DIY-ing also means if you don't hire an event designer or day of assistant, you will need to either do it yourself or have someone you trust pull everything together.
4. VET YOUR VENDORS. If you're able to take a trip to visit the vendor and meet in person to discuss design please take advantage! If we had that opportunity we would have probably been able to save a lot of headache and a few hundred dollars.Once we settled on the type of table design we wanted we contacted our hotel to help us select vendors in the area who could help with floral arrangements. Unfortunately, the vendor we selected was unable to follow through on the design we settled on (which may be a whole other blog post one day...My advice, VET YOUR VENDORS THOROUGHLY THEN VET THEM AGAIN. ) so we needed to find another vendor in a hurry. THE BOUQS LITERALLY SAVED MY WEDDING. The Bouqs offer DIY and Pre-Arranged packages with several different options depending on your need. We went with a pre-arranged package in white (Blissful, I believe) which turned out GORGEOUS! We went with the 20-piece arrangement, however, we ended up needing a few more flowers the day of and ended up with a last minute (very early) Whole Foods run in the morning.
5. For destination brides, over-communicate. Our wedding website had everything from what to wear, our planned weekend events, transportation options, where to stay, eat, shop, and explore and ceremony info. I also sent out emails to our guests giving them updates on how many rooms were left in the block, when we needed a final head count, to what we had planned for the weekend once a month about 4-5 months before the wedding. Once everything was over I had a lot of our family and friends tell me how helpful the updates were.
6. Budget, Budget, Budget! Seriously. STICK TO YOUR BUDGET! There are a ton of ways to mix super luxe with super budget friendly and still have your day look like a million bucks. I splurged on what was important to me and saved on things I didn't plan to use again. For example, I splurged on my dress and saved on my shoes (wore a pair I already owned), splurged on flowers but saved on vases, candles, and other decors (our vases cost only $1 from a wholesaler!) Our design wasn't EXACTLY like I had imagined, but pretty close and a lot less expensive.
7. It's okay to say NO. It's your day. You'll hear that a million times, but it's really only YOUR DAY. No one else on the planet will get to have that moment, and you deserve to have exactly what you want for it. I had a lot of vendors and planners tell me my daytime brunch needed this or that, or my idea wouldn't work well because we "had" to do x, y or z, but honestly none of what they said was relevant. Our day turned our perfect in our way, mostly because we put our foot down.
8. Photography. Photography and florals are probably the most expensive parts of the wedding. There are so many different packages to choose from, types of photographers, etc., it can definitely be overwhelming when deciding what you want. We decided not to opt for a cocktail hour so we didn't have staged pictures for our wedding. I didn't want overly planned photos to begin with and instead took photos during the reception with our guests, plus we didn't have a wedding party. Our pictures have a super natural feel to them and help us relive the moment so much better in my opinion! The natural smiles and laughs and candid moments are genuine, which is something that was super important to us.
9. Wedding Flow. Our wedding didn't have a super structured format (and started super late!), but it didn't bother us because we didn't have a strict schedule of events to follow. The flow of events was also something I kept in my planning guide, which turned out to be super helpful the day of. I emailed a copy to my sister, who helped set up my reception, who shared it with my hotel event liaison, who helped maintain the flow of our event. My advice here, is if you do have a certain format you want to follow definitely hire help or ask your most responsible friend/family member to coordinate the flow of events. It will save you A LOT of headache the day of to not have to worry about the day's timeline. It's also a good idea to have some sort of rehearsal if you want to be sure the day flows smoothly. Since we were having short ceremony and because it was just the two of us and my dad walking down the aisle, we were able to rehearse in the morning with no issues. But again, we had a very small "wedding party" so that may or may not work for everyone else.
10. Relax and Have Fun! Probably super cliche to say this but seriously! Grab your good friends and your fiance and be sure to celebrate every moment leading up to the wedding. The wedding is great, but it isn't as fun as the moments that make it. You only have this moment once in life, be sure you get to enjoy it!