Humor me for a minute.
I want you to take 10 seconds and think about all of the things that go into creating a typical wedding day. Now, I have an advantage because weddings are my life, but here's what I was able to come up with in those ten seconds:
catering, alcohol, cocktail hour, servers, hair and makeup, cake, bridesmaids, groomsmen, family, flowers, officiant, music/DJ, centerpieces, reception decor, wedding dress, ceremony processional
That is a lot of moving parts. Give me even more time and I can come up with a list of wedding day details that would make your head spin. Everything from transportation, parking and hotels to wedding day breakfast and lunch, the rehearsal dinner, the after party and your cake. There are details as tiny as the knife you will cut your cake with (for all of 5 seconds).
Even if you've hired a wedding planner, there are a lot of decisions to make. The majority of my clients do not have a wedding planner and only some have a day-of coordinator. It's not all that popular here in our neck of the woods so when I show up to a wedding where there is a day-of coordinator, I could cry with joy. Otherwise, that responsibility is shared between all of the other wedding day vendors. As with any large event, there are an abundance of small details that all need to align perfectly to create a smooth and chaos-free day.
Now again, humor me and imagine you're the bride and while you're sitting in your makeup chair on one of the most important days of your life, everyone keeps asking you a million questions. But they're not the fun kind.
What time do I need to put on my bridesmaid dress?
When is the DJ going to get here?
How are we getting back to the hotel later tonight?
Where are your shoes?
The bartenders are late. What do I do?
No one can find the officiant. What is his name?
Who has the wedding bands?
Where is the framed photo of grandpa supposed to go?
What order do we walk down the aisle in?
What do we do after the ceremony is over?
How are we doing reception introductions?
What time is the cake being cut?
Where is Mom? Where is Grandma?
What time will the caterer be arriving?
Here's my point: Over the years I have seen a dramatic increase in the number of brides who tell me, "we just want our wedding day to be chill and relaxed and stress free. We want to drink and dance and have a good time." I think somewhere along the lines, brides started to assume that the way you have a chill wedding day is to just say that you're a relaxed person and you want a low-key day and hope it happens because you've been really calm about everything leading up to your day. I'm so sorry to burst your bubble... but that's not how this works. That's not how any of this works.
The secret to a stress-free wedding is smart, detailed planning.
I'm talking about an immaculately planned timeline that covers even the smallest details, a personal timeline and list of responsibilities for each key person involved, a list of vendor contacts that is easily accessible during the wedding day, a detailed design plan and plenty of buffer time built into your day. When you eliminate the questions for those helping you pull off your big day, you eliminate the stress.
When I see brides wearing thin and freaking out, it's because too many people have asked them too many questions, people aren't sure where they are supposed to be at a certain time and no one is helping because they haven't been told how. Usually there is a missing groomsman in the mix there somewhere too.
If you're in the midst of planning your dream day, I want to urge you to dig in, write it all down and schedule out every detail. That's the way to create a day that is calm, free of stress and joyous from start to finish. Eliminate the questions and develop a plan.
Some of my favorite, practical planning resources (for weddings and beyond) are:
- Google Drive for storing documents, creating timelines and making guest lists
- Doodle for deciding on dates and gathering people easily
- Wunderlist for managing multiple to-do lists
- GroupMe for communicating effectively with family and bridesmaids
Unsure of where to start? Check out my timeline freebie download to give you a good idea of what your wedding day structure should look like.
If that all seems overwhelming and absolutely terrible to you or you just don't have the time to commit to being your own wedding planner... I highly recommend you invest in a professional wedding planner! If even that sounds like hell... have ya considered eloping? 😉
You deserve to start your forever with a day that feels like pure magic.
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