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Bride-to-Be Shares Wedding Planning Experience, What to do Before Saying 'I Do'

by and on February 09, 2014 3:45 PM

I'm under a year to go before I say 'I do' (254 days) and I'm finally getting into intense wedding planning mode.

Instead of trying to plan wedding details every couple weeks, I'm now obsessively talking to my fiancé, my mom or my bridesmaids about some sort of detail every single day.

I watch Say Yes to the Dress like it's my job even though I've already purchased my dress, but honestly what red-blooded woman doesn't love the wonderland that is Klinefeld Bridal?

By Pinteresting like a maniac, I have come across hundreds of 'dos' for brides, but I haven't come across a lot of 'don'ts' besides the big 'don't be a bridezilla.' What does that even mean exactly? Don't throw tantrums and be a micromanager? Good luck finding a bride who doesn't try to control every aspect of her wedding. I mean, it is her day.

To make sure that planning my wedding is as stress-free as possible, I've come up with a list of 'dos' and 'don'ts' for myself. Hopefully, other brides will check out this list, have an 'ahhhaaaa' moment and take what they learn to make planning their big days easier and dare I say even fun! If I can plan a wedding taking place in Kersey, Pa., from Chicago, Ill., and make it happen, anyone can.

Don't put so much pressure on yourself. Guilty as charged writing right here. Of course I want my day to be perfect. Yes, I want it to go off without a hitch. But guess what self? (and other brides) There will be stress, conflict and issues. It is bound to happen. You are planning a huge event and relying on other people to help make it wonderful. What you need to remember is even though your wedding day may be one of the most important days of your life, it is only one day in your amazing, extraordinary life. Take time to enjoy your engagement and the planning process. Lord knows I have. Once we are finally married, our engagement will have been for two-and-a-half years – making for a lot of enjoyment time.

Choose a realistic budget. No bride wants to start her marriage off broke. If your parents are helping cover costs (thanks Mom and Dad!!) you don't want to drain their bank accounts, savings and retirement funds. Think ahead, DIY like a crazy women and compare everything and every aspect. If you feel like you are spending an absurd amount, you probably are. Dial back and re-evaluate what is important to you.

Make sure your dress fits. One of the most important aspects of your day is your dress. You need to feel beautiful and confident while still feeling comfortable. I found 'the dress' nine months ago. I know, I know, I'm crazy. But it was the one. It fits like it was made for me, but there still is a little give and take for me to be a comfortable and happy bride. If I gain a few pounds between now and then, it will be okay. If not, even better! Alterations will have it fitting like a glove and me feeling like a princess.

Set a guest list count and STICK TO IT. Once you ask for lists from your mom and your future mother-in-law, be prepared for huge lists. Every single person you have ever met in your entire life and people who you've never met but should know will be on those lists. Even though we are having a buffet, we will be paying per plate. If we invite all of our 18th cousins, the food bill will be out of this world. Set a guest count limit and don't go over. Invite those who are most important to you and your fiancé first. Whatever number is left over, some of those 18th cousins will make the cut. Some won't. It's your wedding and your day. Invite those who matter to you.

Don't stress out over the little things. Will your guests shower you with bubbles or confetti? Ours is neither, but you will have to wait and see what we chose! Will the font on your placecards match the save the dates or the invitations? WHO KNOWS. Let the details work themselves out. Plan and don't sweat the little things. It will all come together.

Include your fiancé in the planning. Even though everyone always talks about how it is the bride's day, don't forget your fiancé is an important part of the party. Granted, men don't necessarily obsess over weddings like women do, so he probably won't care about the color of the napkins or if you have real flowers or silk. Involve him in the decisions that he cares about like tux rentals, food choices, alcohol packages, the cake and your first dance song selection. If you ask for his opinion on issues that matter to him, he will give it.

Don't procrastinate. Even though we have already been engaged for almost two years and we have our bridal party picked; save-the-dates purchased and almost ready to be sent out; the ceremony and venue location, baker, photographer and DJ booked; my dress bought and pastor confirmed, I feel like we still have so much to do and not a enough time to do it. In reality we still have plenty of time, but I don't want to be a bride who puts things off until the last minute and isn't happy with the results. I'm putting my heart and soul into this wedding to make it a day full of magic and love. I'm taking time, making decisions and consulting those I love. Though our engagement is longer than normal, I would rather have too much time to plan than not enough. I don't want any regrets. That's why we will be taste-testing our cake and menu choices and meeting with our photographer to go over what photos we are desperate to have taken.

Make nice with those trying to help. Yes it's your day and it should be the way you want it, but don't upset those who are trying to help you. Give real thought to the opinions of your mom, his mom, any sisters and your bridesmaids. They will be there for you all the way and they are only trying to help. Don't let the power of being the bride go to your head.

Allow your bridesmaids to have some say in their dresses. I have looked at hundreds of bridesmaids dresses. I chose a dress material, color and length, but I didn't find 'the one.' Because I want my bridesmaids to feel just as gorgeous in their dresses as I do in mine, I chose multiple dresses in the same color, length and material — all with different necklines. Now my bridesmaids are taking the time to try the dresses on and pick the one they each feel the most beautiful and comfortable in.

Don't get so involved in the details that you forget what the day is about. Remember why you said yes. Your love for your fiancé is indescribable. Show him that. Don't fight about details. Take what he (and his mom) say into consideration. This is the beginning of your life together. Make it special and memorable. Don't make it a mess that you regret. Plan with love and happiness and your wedding will be everything you ever dreamed of and more.



This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.


Sam is a correspondent for the Gazette.
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