Planning a wedding is hard work. Like, seriously hard work. Before we started planning our wedding we honestly had no idea what amount of effort, cost and emotional turbulence would have to go into it. Up to date we have never spent that much money for one thing.
Sure I’ve bought a car, we paid the Canadian government thousands of dollars to keep Ben in the country and we’ve gone on countless trips but to date we’ve never spent that much money on one thing. Not only that, there is a lot of emotions that go into the actual day and everyone has their own opinion about how things should go. It gets draining.
We are now a couple weeks out from the wedding and are blissfully enjoying married life. However, there are a few things that we wish we knew before hunkering down to tie the knot.
Would I change anything? ABSOLUTELY NOT. The day truly was perfect. You can ask anyone who attended, it was probably the best party they’d been to all year. English people sure know how to drink, and have a good time.
So what are the 10 things we wish we knew before planning a wedding? Read on:
Take your budget and double it
Maybe I was just a moron in the beginning or completely out of touch with reality but I had know idea planning a wedding would cost so much. Upon the actually booking of things and planning out the little details I had a very modest budget. As someone who would rather spend that money on like a million other trips, it was really hard for me to grasp how much a wedding costs.
Everything is double in price as soon as you say wedding. We tried cutting corners and doing things as cheaply as possible but even that far exceeded our original budget. I definitely had to revise it a few times.
The one thing I would suggest, that saved us quite a bit of money in the long run was booking as far in advance as possible. Our engagement was almost 2 years long. Thank God. Not only did that give us negotiating power with vendors but it helped give us time to save up for the wedding too.
Determine the must-haves
Look, everyone loves the idea of having a video of their wedding day but do you really need it? Probably not. Everywhere we looked photographers were offering this new service. The videos were cool, sure, but common. How many times are you going to be sitting around saying to each other “Hey, let’s watch the wedding video again!” Like never. We skipped that and saved at least $4,000!
The other thing we skipped out on was the late-night menu. Our guests might not have been too happy but we had been to too many weddings where the food just ends up sitting there. In a normal wedding you don’t finish eating your three or four-course meal until 10. Who the hell gets hungry 2 hours after that?!
Those simple things saved us thousands, and I have no regrets.
DIY can cost you
I pride myself in my ability to do arts and crafts. I’m not Martha Stewart by any stretch of the imagination but I can do things here and there. When we started the process of planning a wedding I thought, cool here’s the opportunity to get our hands dirty.
Honestly, there were so many times I realized that it was WAY cheaper to pay an expert to do something than it was for us to do it ourselves. That’s not to say we didn’t do a little DIY here and there but know your limits.
Holy crap does being organized matter for a wedding. Normally I’m a pretty organized person as a whole. I have schedules, I like to stick to them but a wedding is a whole other beast. Not only do you have the timing of the venue but you also have a number of vendors to worry about as well.
You’d be surprised how much things matter to the exact minute. Ask your vendors for exactly what they need and when. Compare the timelines and work backwards from there.
Excel will become your best friend.
Always keep backup cash
As much as you think the wedding is going to cost, keep another couple of grand in your back pocket as a “just in case”. I had heard so many horror stories about brides and grooms getting bills after the wedding they hadn’t accommodated for. That was my worst fear.
For that reason I made sure I always inflated the numbers in our budget to owing a bit more than we thought. I also made sure we had some money set aside. I mean this is a general rule in life, always have savings but it also matters if you don’t want to leave with a horrible memory from the best day of your life.
Trust your venue
We had our wedding at the Thompson Hotel in Toronto. I will admit, I had reservations about the venue. It was beautiful and the rooftop where we actually got married is incredible. The downstairs room though, I wasn’t sure about. It was windowless, and fit more a winter wedding than mid-summer. The main reason we booked? The wedding planner, Katy. I have never loved a stranger so much.
Right off the bat we knew she was organized, knew her shit and would get whatever needed getting done, done. We were right. She was like the wedding fairy godmother. On the day she was everywhere but nowhere at the same time. Working hard in the background but never letting you know it.
All that to say, I think interviewing the venue events manager matters more than the actual venue. At the end of the day you can make anywhere look beautiful but you can’t make it run smoothly. That’s the job of the professional.
Get everything done before the day
I have luckily had a few friends in my network marry before me so I had more guidance than most when planning a wedding. All of them said to make sure whatever needs doing to get it done the day before so I didn’t have to worry about anything the day of. They were right.
Getting the chance to chill out and enjoy the day was so necessary. I wasn’t stressed on the day at all (huge thanks to my bridesmaids for that). That allowed me to focus on what was really important, spending time with the people that mattered and getting married of course!
You will fight over the guest list
Everyone does. It’s like a right of passage. If you don’t have all-out fights with your spouse (luckily that never happened) or your parents (this definitely happened) than you’re doing it wrong. Look as much as you don’t want to admit it, it’s just as much a day for your parents as it is for you. Deal with it.
There are some people you won’t want at your wedding that your parents will. Fight over the ones that matter but also learn that sometimes it’s easier to just give in. I’ll go on record in saying that I WAS right about not wanting to invite certain people but I was also WRONG in others. So mom and dad who will definitely read this (they’re probably the only ones that do), I call it even.
Ignore the small things
There were a few things that went wrong leading up to the actual day of the wedding that I stressed over in a big way. I shouldn’t have. It’s so hard not to get caught up in the emotions of it all and think that even the tiniest little thing matters.
Two days before getting married my dress came back from the seamstress (why that took so long is another story altogether) and something was wrong with it. A clasp was sticking out where it shouldn’t have been. Needless to say I had an all out breakdown. Granted I was stressed and tired and just over the wedding planning by that point but it happened. Within an hour, one of my best friends cut the dress, sewed it together and it was fine. All that stress and worry for nothing.
It doesn’t matter. If you have food, a venue, alcohol and your groom nothing else matters trust me.
The gifts will surprise you
Everyone tells you that you can expect x number of dollars in gifts from your guests. Don’t listen to them. Never count that money as a guarantee because guess what? People will surprise you.
It’s almost laughable that the people you think are going to give you a decent gift are actually the cheapest ones of all. On the flip side though the people you think that won’t give you much sometimes work out to be the most generous. All that to say you just have no idea so go in with no expectations.
Plus, you’re asking them to be there. You shouldn’t be inviting someone just for the gift.
Everything works out in the end
As mentioned above. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t sweat everything for that matter. Every wedding I’ve ever been do always comes together in the end. Sure there will be little things that go wrong here and there but at the end of the day, it’s one of the most important days of your life so enjoy it.
Uncle Steve getting absolutely wasted and hitting on a bridesmaid shouldn’t ruin your night. Nor should the best man telling an awful joke. For the record neither of those happened at our wedding.
People don’t remember silly little things like that. Just focus on the good things and the people that are there. Make it a night to remember!
*All photos from the lovely The Love Studio