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The Best Wedding Planning Tips and Advice (Part 2)

Book wedding vendors that you vibe with

the bride and the groom in an intimate picture

The whole wedding planning process can be overwhelming, which makes it essential not to be hasty in any decision that you make. When booking wedding vendors, make sure that you align with a planner, vendors, and designers who understands, create, and manage your vision as if it were their own wedding. Do not just choose vendors based on your budget or what you heard from other couples (but it could also be a factor), rather choose vendors who understand you, your vision, and will do everything you need and give you their support on top of their service. Search for a number of potential options for you to make sure that these wedding day partners understand what you need and can also work within your budget. The wedding vendors that you hire are the ones responsible for making your visions come to life, so make sure that you hire a team of people that you really get along with. You should also book your favorite (or popular) wedding vendors months before your actual wedding because most in-demand vendors are all booked out more than a year in advance. If they’re already booked by other couples or events, then you missed your chance.

Read and understand vendor contracts before signing 

This is very important. Read, understand, and review vendor contracts before signing it, make sure that every detail of the contract is understood by both parties involved. Do not sign contracts before reading the fine print. And every detail should be in the contract, including the date, location, time, deposits, additional fees, colors, quantities, scope of service, and refund policy among other things. If the details are incorrect, incomplete, or are written incorrectly, then you will not be protected if the services are not properly done. We know that not everyone is comfortable in thinking that there is a possibility that their wedding will be cancelled or postponed for a later date. But if that happens, it’s important to know that you can get back most, if not all of your money back from your deposits - unless you signed a contract that says otherwise. This is why you should be aware of the clauses in the contract you will have signed. Not only should you be aware of their refund policy, you should also learn about their plan B’s in case of emergencies, , if the terms are heavily in their favor, or if you are able to review the vendor after their service. A contract should clearly state what should happen if either the client or the vendors cancels, not just on the client's side.Read carefully any policies regarding any changes in scope of service, this simply means that rates could be increased if there are any significant changes made. These policies are standard practice in the wedding industry, but still you should be aware of the terms of your wedding vendors. If you cannot find any clauses stating these terms or you cannot understand, you can always ask your vendors and clarify with them these terms.

 DIY? Don’t think about it

a transparent wedding marquee

If you think about making your own wedding invitations or even decors, you can definitely save money, but you should also think about how much time and energy it will cost you. Sure it can be cost-effective and you can make sure that your wedding will have personal touches, but you should also be aware of the stress and sleepless nights it will bring. If you dislike the thought of stress, then you might be better off a few extra dollars if you want to be hassle-free and your ceremony to be picture-perfect. DIY projects will only give you additional workload on top of an already full wedding planning schedule. Most couples that start out the DIY road have the best intentions, but end up looking sad and nothing like the Pinterest inspiration they got it from

Be prepared for emergencies and create a plan B

No matter how prepared you are, no matter how much planning you did, something could still go wrong during your wedding day. This could be anything from your photographer having an emergency and not being able to show up to having a sudden downpour despite the weather forecast saying it would be a sunny day - such things are out of control. But do not fret! Even though these situations are out of your control, you can still prepare for alternatives for each emergency and account for anything that might not go as planned. Having a backup plan will also make you more at ease and will prevent you from overthinking things. 

Invest in a wedding planner

an elopement in the wild

You must have used planners or your average calendar to schedule your meetings, but this won’t be enough for planning a wedding. A wedding is a different event altogether. It would be better to hire a professional wedding planner - this investment will prove its value as you go through the wedding planning process. A wedding planner will even be more invaluable for couples who are busy with their demanding jobs that take most of the hours of their days and for those couples who have big visions for their weddings. Your schedule will be full of appointments, interviews, tastings, and fittings in the months leading to your wedding day, and you’re gonna want to have a planner then to help you keep everything on track. A professional wedding planner will help you under any situation and prepare you and your event, from the engagement party to the honeymoon. 

You can also choose to hire a consultant or planner on a part-time basis where they can help you create a wedding timeline that also includes the wedding budget, wedding vendor breakdown and recommendations,  and schedule, from there you can do everything else yourself. Another option is hiring a day-of-wedding coordinator, someone in charge of the whole to and make sure that everything runs smoothly and on track so that your wedding day is perfect.

Booking the right wedding photographer

Your wedding photos, album, and videos are perhaps the most important things that you will take away from your wedding. These will let you relive the precious moments that happened on your wedding day, so do not underestimate how a wedding photographer can contribute for your wedding day. Look for someone who understands exactly what you want and can go along with you and your partner. Do your research and visit wedding photography sites or ask newly married friends for recommendations. Search for a photographer who specializes or has a lot of experiences with weddings because not any photographer will do the job. An experienced photographer, but mainly stays in studios will not necessarily do a great job in your wedding. Weddings have a dynamic setting while a studio has a more static setting - this means that your wedding has moving elements that your photographer cannot control while a studio is full of elements that they can control to make a perfect image. And wedding photographers can be booked years in advance and there isn’t a hundred percent guarantee that they will be available on your wedding date, so once you have picked a wedding date you can book one as soon as possible. You should also hire a wedding videographer separately. Photos can only take you so far, a video on the other hand can show you the day vividly. 

Need your entourage to be on time? Tell them an earlier call time 

the bridesmaids and the groomsmen

If you think your bridal party and entourage will not arrive on time, but need everyone to arrive on time, tell them an earlier call time - it’s better to assume that they will be late rather than betting on them being early. Remember that on your wedding day every second counts and nobody is going to blame you for telling them a different time to keep things moving.

Opinions of other people are not helping you - they are only making you more confused

Sure, all of these people mean well when they give their opinions and they just want to help you, but it doesn’t mean that your mom and/ or soon to be mother-in-law micromanaging elements of your wedding makes it less frustrating. Opinions can overflow especially when you are choosing a wedding dress. So bring only a few trusted confidants to help you choose the perfect wedding dress instead of dragging everyone along only to be bombarded with unnecessary opinions and comments. Wedding planners and wedding vendors are also subject to opinions, and they are only doing their job, but it can be complicated and difficult to work when someone is constantly questioning every move they do. If your parents are one of those overly involved parents, try to let them know, in a polite manner, that these are professionals and are capable of delivering a more than great job. And while their input is greatly appreciated, you’d prefer to leave the wedding elements to these professionals (2,6).

Feed your wedding vendors

It’s obvious, your vendors need to eat. They are also human, therefore they need food and beverages to function properly. Plus, these are also the people who love you and are there to help you achieve your wedding dreams. Not giving them food will only hinder them in their jobs and they won’t be able to bring their A-game, so you (or your coordinator) need to make sure that everyone is well taken care of, including yourself.

Your wedding cake doesn’t have to be gigantic

A gigantic wedding cake is not needed in any wedding - not even for show. And you definitely do not need one that matches your guest count. It’s just unnecessary. For one, the cake is served after everyone has eaten the main course, and trust us when we say this … your guests are too full to eat cake! Or they are usually preoccupied by the entertainment and the program at the reception. Another reason is that caterers keep the slices small so that most guests (those who want to taste or eat the cake) are able to eat. As a rule of thumb, ordering for about 15 percent under your guest count should be fine. But if you really want your cake to look huge, tell your baker and they will take care of it - they usually put fillers of boxes disguised as layers of cake to look bigger.

Don’t book your wedding venue without working on your guest list first

This might come as a surprise to you, you should not book your wedding venue before you know how many guests you are inviting to your wedding. What you don’t want to think about during your wedding day is how you will fit all your guests in your wedding venue. You definitely don’t want a venue that does not have enough space for all your guests and not enough space for your vendors to set up. But if you already booked your venue because of certain reasons (maybe this is your dream venue) and they have a no refund policy, then you will have to create your guest list depending on the capacity of your venue and your budget. 

Discuss with your partner and your parents who are the people you want to attend your special day. You will also have to decide whether you’re inviting children and who will be allowed a plus one. When choosing a wedding venue guest list isn’t the only factor to consider, you should also think about its location with respect to your guests, nearby accommodation, your budget, parking, and other important factors. Once you have found your wedding venue, get it booked, and then your date is set and the countdown begins!

… But do not go overboard with your guest list

It really is tempting to send an invitation to everyone you know, but this isn’t always a great idea. With each guest you add to your guest list, you are also adding additional expenses while also making your wedding less intimate. To a degree, a lot of couples fall into this trap - the guest list continues to grow and they end up inviting people they barely know because they feel that they are obliged to invite these people. To save as much as you can, try inviting fewer people while also making the celebration more intimate (3,7). Surround yourself with the right people. What makes a wedding great and memorable is not the number of guests who attended, but the quality of people who are there in the most precious moment. Don't spend your big day surrounded by people who increase your stress levels.

Minimalist is a great way to save money

One of the many regrets of newlywed couples is spending too much money on their floral arrangements that only end up in the trash or dying out. In order to avoid that and spending loads of money, keep it simple, minimalistic, but still elegant. You can opt for a single white rose for each of your bridesmaids and a small bouquet for yourself. If you know someone with a rose bush, you can actually make your own bouquets the day before the ceremony by cutting the roses yourself and trimming away the thorns. You can even opt for fake flowers for most of your floral arrangements - no one will notice that it’s fake unless they will inspect it.

Do not discard destination weddings!

You might not like to be married in your hometown and would want to have an adventure for your wedding. But do not go too far from the majority of the guests you will be inviting, as fewer people will be likely to attend - unless you also want to lessen your guest count. It will greatly affect the timing of your wedding day - you simply can’t expect guests to arrive at the time you want them to be. This is especially important if you’re planning a wedding abroad. To be safe, expect that many people won’t be able to make it.

Talk to other couples and seek their advice

You may have recently attended a wedding that you really loved and enjoyed, then by all means ask those couples for wedding planning advice - just don’t ask them on their wedding day of course. They probably have some invaluable expert tips and tricks that they learned along the way that they'd be more than happy to share with you. Sometimes, friends and family are the best resources.

Keep the details of your wedding a secret

Keep the details of your wedding a secret. We know how excited you are about your wedding and all the ideas you are constantly thinking of. However, you shouldn’t tell everybody the details - we know this can be difficult especially when your girl friends are pressing you to tell them. Stop talking about your wedding obsessively (although your enthusiasm is good, sharing details however is not), and don’t post pictures of your wedding venue, especially your wedding dress, on social media. Think of your wedding as a movie, you wouldn’t want to tell someone the whole story of the movie then tell them to go and watch the same movie - it just wouldn’t have the same impact on them. Don’t reveal all of your creative design ideas to your family and friends. Save many surprises for your guests to keep them on the edge of their seats during the planning process and at the wedding.

Enjoy the moment 

So many people focus on the destination and how the wedding will turn out that they forget that getting there is half the fun. All the meetings, interviews, shopping, tastings, and choosing flowers - you can consider it a journey of self-discovery, creativity, patience, love, and collaboration. The way you communicate and treat each other while planning your wedding is a direct reflection of what your married life will be like. And as with any journey, who you travel with and the quality of your journey can be much more important than the destination (1,3,6).