There’s no doubt that the engagement period is a magical time for any couple—full of celebratory events, excitement, happiness, and love. But while the wedding planning period is certainly exhilarating, it can also be enormously stressful. I’m sure fellow brides will agree with me when I say that the pressure, time, emotional and financial burden you feel can often be immensely heavy and burdensome. I know I myself felt a roller coaster of emotions when planning my own wedding. I started to question every decision I made, from my dress style right down to the smallest table setting details. I put a great amount of pressure on myself and felt so caught up in trying to please everyone else around me. Suffice to say, as I was planning, I really appreciated and welcomed any advice, tips, regrets, and must-dos from brides that had already gone through the process.
Today we wanted to share some tips from brides at our very own Who What Wear office—in the hope that it will guide and give helpful insight to brides-to-be planning their big day. From wedding dress shopping advice to tips on how to keep sane through the craziness, scroll below as eight Who What Wear brides share their wedding planning dos and don’ts that they learned on their journey.
DO: Have multiple changes of shoes
"No matter how comfortable you think your wedding shoes are, it's really important to have several backup pairs. This is because after standing for photos then dancing for hours, even flats can get uncomfortable and painful."
DON'T: Care what they look like
"Have multiple pairs to change into that day/night but don't stress yourself about how they look or if they are 'bridal' enough because, at the end of the day, no one is going to see them if you have a floor-length gown, and feeling comfortable on your wedding day is the key to actually having fun."
DO: Take a couple of days to yourself right after the wedding
"Either plan your big honeymoon right after or at least go on a mini-moon. Don't go straight back to work and reality. You've planned for so long and it's now time to relax and take it all in with your spouse. You'll never be on such a natural wedding high again so enjoy it!"
DON'T: Go table to table talking to guests.
"It's your wedding and you should enjoy the band or DJ that you've spent forever picking out. Enjoy it! Spend time on the dance floor and let the wedding guests come to you! Trust me your wedding day goes so fast you don't want to miss everything you have planned."
DO: Get a wedding coordinator
"If there's room in your budget, I'd advise getting a wedding coordinator—at least for the month of—to put the wedding day schedule together, coordinate with vendors, and be there on your wedding day to make sure things run smoothly. My wedding was in a different state, which makes planning more difficult, so it was a huge relief to have a local coordinator to deal with all the last-minute craziness. Even better, if you can swing a full wedding planner, I think it's worth it to have an expert help you throughout the entire planning process."
DON'T: Rush through your pictures
"We did them before the wedding and the schedule was pretty tight, so it definitely added some stress. It would've been nice to have done them after the ceremony, but it was more important for us to be able to maximize the time spent with our guests. So, moral of the story, I'm glad that we did photos before the ceremony, but make sure there's time for the photographer to get the shots that he or she needs and for you to take a breather before the ceremony begins."
DO: Create a wedding that is authentically you and what you truly want
“My husband and I had a very non-traditional wedding. I hate being the center of attention, so we did a just immediate family for the ceremony. No bridal party, just a maid of honor and best man. I wanted to get married in a backyard, so we got married in John Lennon's old Hollywood Hills home…my husband is a musician so that was a big plus. We wanted to throw a big party instead of a formal reception, so we invited 100 of our closest family and friends and rented out a loft in downtown L.A. We had a taco guy, tons of desserts, lots of wine and beer, the right DJ who played all the music we love, dancing, and just an all-around good time. While our parents were supportive with our decisions, there were moments when we had to stand our ground… and I’m so thankful we did!"
DON'T: Feel like if you’re not happy throughout the entire process that something is wrong
“We had four months to plan our wedding, so while I was in bliss, I was also having waves of emotions that I couldn’t express aloud. People around me would constantly say how excited and happy I must be getting married, so I ended up feeling guilty and isolated. It wasn’t until I finally spoke out to my married friends about how I had been feeling that I learned they had felt the same way I did prior to their weddings. You will have so many emotions leading up to the day, and some will not be good, but you’re not alone! And once you finally get to the special day, it’s all worth it."
DO: Stay true to what you wan't
"There is a lot of pressure to be accommodating to guests, but your wedding is about you and your partner. A lot of people will have opinions on what you should do, but don't let that compromise your vision."
DON'T: Sweat the small stuff
"Not everything will go according to plan, and that's okay. If you anticipate this, you will be better equipped to handle surprises. It's more important to be present then upset (even if just for a brief moment) because the centerpieces weren't exactly what you wanted. The truth is that none of the guests will even know."
DO: Stick to your budget
"Figuring out what you care about and are willing to invest in (along with your fiancé) is important. For example, we decided a great live band and incredible food were the things we cared about at weddings. I knew the flowers, cake, and dress did not need to cost a fortune to look great. For example, we used palm leaves on each table setting and made the thank you gifts by hand (mini succulents for each guest) to keep things simple."
DON'T: Try to do everything yourself
"Even if you have a vision, you can still put your fiancé to work with VERY specific projects. Such as 'collect rates for bands in L.A. so we can cost compare' or 'add your groomsmen pics and a little blurb to the website by next Tuesday.' I highly recommend putting due dates on all projects if you want them to actually get done. Getting some of the tasks off your plate (especially the ones you don't care about too much) will relieve some of the planning stress."
DO: Try on wedding dresses by yourself if you want
"That’s not to say don’t enjoy trying on dresses with your entourage too! I had the best time doing this with my mom, sister, and closest friends—champagne in hand! And I encourage anyone to indulge in this event. But, I do think you can start to get confused when everyone is giving their opinions on your wedding dress. Even the slightest facial expressions from another person can warp your decisions. I went to several boutiques alone to try on dresses—where no one else’s opinions mattered but my own. It gave me clarity on what I really wanted."
DON'T: Try on dresses that are way out of your price range
"I made this mistake at the very beginning of my wedding dress search and became sorely disappointed when I fell in love with a $10K dress that I ultimately couldn't purchase. Those designer dresses are lovely to look at it, but if they're above your budget, then don't risk dashing your hopes!"
Photo:Allie & Joey Photography
DO: Your due diligence when it comes to finding a photographer and videographer
"This will be one of the most important decisions you will make during the planning process. Make sure you find one who can capture your chemistry as a couple and matches the style you’re going for. And also important, a photographer you can connect with on a personal level! These people are in charge of capturing the special moments and magic of the day and it is through their lenses that you will remember it all! Oh, and DO add a videographer!"
DON'T: Spend too much money on wedding details
“It’s a joke how expensive some of these items can get. Cake cutting set? We ordered one on Amazon for $10 and spray painted the handles to match the theme. Looked just as good as its $100 counterpart. Picture frames? Dollar Tree. Garter set? Amazon, $15. Hairpiece? Amazon! A lot of this stuff you will NEVER use again, so pick and choose what you want to splurge on.”