Let's be honest, there is an over-abundance of information out there about weddings today. Thousands of businesses who serve brides and grooms are dying for you to take their advice, buy their products, adopt their ideas, and spread the word about how great they are. You are a target for all kinds of marketing, and it can leave your head spinning. You might be struggling to figure out what's truly important to YOU in the middle of all this wedding noise. Making those decisions can help you to keep your wedding planning in perspective and prevent your perfect day from spiraling out of control and leaving behind it a mess of glitter, bubbles, burlap, and $$$ DOLLA BILLS $$$! Here are some ideas for how to reign that insanity in.
- Come up with a wedding "brand" together. Instead of a traditional theme, which drives things like colors and decor and physical things, you can create a sort of "brand" for your wedding that encompasses the feel of your wedding day plans. On one of your wedding planning date nights, pull out a blank piece of paper and brainstorm together. Do you want your guests to feel comfortable and casual, or fancy? Do you want them to laugh, or swoon? Should your color choices create a bright and airy feel, or an elegant and modern ambiance? Would you prefer that your guests feel sophisticated while sipping a custom concoction at your cocktail hour, or is a funky country ho-down more your style? Take your ideas and narrow them down to 3-4 adjectives that describe your wedding and how it will look and feel. When you are faced with a decision to consider, weigh it against your words. If it doesn't quite fit those words, or your "brand," then you can feel confident saying "no" or continuing the search.
- Prioritize the little extras. Create a list of the five or ten most important "miscellaneous" aspects of your wedding planning. The things that you REALLY want. The things that match your "brand" and add to the feel you are creating for your wedding. We're not talking things like "food" or "DJ" or things like that; pretty much every wedding needs to feed their guests. I mean the little things that are bound to come up as you find yourself bombarded by the overwhelming wealth of cutesy ideas in blogs, magazines, Pinterest boards, reality tv shows, websites, etc. Personalized M&M's with your faces on them? Matching bridesmaid friendship rings? Custom-made flower girl tutus? Bedazzled cake knife and server set? Color-coordinating parasols? All these little details are sure to be fun, but they may not all be equal in importance. Keeping your prioritized list handy will help you to skip the little things that can easily add up to a bigger portion of your budget than you expected.
- Manage your budget together closely and honestly. Remember, after the wedding day you begin your lives together. You share everything, and that means the final bills that roll in after the wedding day balances have hit your credit card statement. Work closely together to decide on each and every little item that impacts the overall budget. It might be tempting to hide something here or there, and maybe your beloved won't notice or will overlook it or won't mind; but keep it in your heart that this wedding planning process is setting a pattern for how you attack life together in the future. Don't set a precedent that it's OK to hide things or sneak them by (unless, of course, it's a fun surprise for the other person- heartfelt surprises are OK!). If you want a little freedom, that's OK too- just decide on a price point or dollar amount that you can allow for those splurges. Perhaps a $25 item isn't a big deal to either of you, or you build in $250 for those little extras along the way. Just be aware of how those little things add up.
- Don't lose sight of what it's all about: your MARRIAGE. While the wedding industry has a tendency to make brides and grooms feel like every little thing can make or break your wedding, remember: this isn't just about the one day you're planning. This is about the beginning of your lives together. All you truly need at your wedding is the two of you, your love, and your commitment. Everything else is extraneous, from attire to food to decor to guests and everything else...even photography. So remember that you aren't obligated to include anything, especially if it's going to add financial strain to your first year of marriage. Whether you go all out or keep it simple, the best part is guaranteed: your most favorite person will become your Husband or your Wife. And that lasts forever.