It should be no surprise that I’m a planner. Pretty soon after I got engaged I started thinking about vendors, location, and the overall vision I wanted. Needless to say 2020 had other ideas and while you and your fiancé hopefully won’t have to replan and redo your wedding vision, the lessons I learned whilst planning my own wedding should hopefully help you plan your wedding, too.
Lesson 1 – Communication is everything
How people communicate is telling and speaks to how they value you as a customer. Hell…it speaks to how they value you as a human! If a vendor doesn’t communicate how you like to communicate chances are you’re not going to be a good fit for each other.
For example: When Matt and I were trying to lock down a location for our reception (*sigh* that wasn’t able to happen due to COVID) we reached out to a venue we thought would be perfect. They responded right away but when we tried to lock down details it took months to get any sort of clarity from the venue coordinator. We were even asking for a contract to lock our date in and it never was sent to us. I was so frustrated and felt so unimportant that I booked and signed with a different venue. I was ready to give venue #1 money but because they were so bad at communicating with me I went somewhere else and spent money somewhere else where I, my time, and my money felt appreciated.
And that brings me to lesson 2…
Lesson 2: Listen to your gut
Listen and trust your gut. If something feels great, it probably is. If something feels like a red flag (like that venue not communicating with me), it probably is. This is your wedding and you should feel great about it every step of the way.
Example: As a wedding photographer, people assumed I’d have an easy time finding a photographer. False. Yes, I know and like a lot of photographers in my area but that didn’t make it easy. I had a really hard time because I did want to hire my friends, but I didn’t want any of them to feel like I liked one of them more than another. I also had pretty strong thoughts about the particular editing style I wanted. I’m personally attracted to the kind of editing style that I do and I really wanted that look for my wedding photos. Most of my friends edit in a different style than what I wanted so I had a conundrum. Do I hire a friend and not get the photography style I prefer or do I get the bright and true to color look I want for my wedding photos and hire someone I don’t know? I took some time, listened to my gut, and decided what I wanted more. And I’m so glad I did! I not only got the style of photos I really wanted but I know have a really great new photographer friend! That new friendship would never have happened if I didn’t listen to my gut.
So the take away is this: listen to your gut and make decisions based on what’s truly important to you and your fiancé. You’ll be happier in the long run that you did!
Lesson 3: Some things are out of your control
This is probably the biggest, most important lesson I learned whilst planning my wedding and it was the one I struggled with the most. Some things and just plain out of your control. Acknowledge those things, if and when they arise, acknowledge your feelings about them, and let the stress go if it’s truly something you can’t change.
Example: The pandemic. Groan, am I right? Every 2020 couple who planned to get married after March 1 knows a stress and frustration that other couples can’t possibly fathom. As much as we tried, we couldn’t control or otherwise make the pandemic go away. The only thing in our control was what we chose to do about it. Some postponed. Some reduced their guest lists. Some did a combination of both.
I so wish my example could have been something as insignificant as “people arrived late so our ceremony didn’t start on time.” Though, if that happens during your wedding, don’t worry. That’s super normal and none of your guests will care that it’s not starting on time.
Hopefully someday soon we won’t have to worry about the pandemic. Hopefully we’ll be able to have 250+ guest weddings again, though it’s unlikely that it’ll happen during the 2021 wedding season.
So what should you do if you’re planning a 2021 wedding? Personally, I’d plan for a COVID-friendly wedding. There’s less chance of disappointment that way. Plan for a small guest list and put money into elements that will make you happy. Maybe go big with flower and decor. Maybe spend more time with your photographer taking couple photos and your bridal photos. Do whatever it is that will make a smaller, more intimate wedding feel like a celebration. And if things get better before your wedding and you can have more guests then that’s a bonus! This may be the pragmatist in me but if you plan for the worst case scenario and make that something you feel great about then there’s only room to go up.