Guest blogger: Dana LaRue, creator of thebrokeassbride.com.
Dana LaRue is the creator of The Broke-Ass Bride, helping brides use creativity as currency to rock bad-ass weddings without breaking the bank. Her sassy, savvy approach to weddings and money delivers entertaining and informative outside-the-box planning inspiration. Because it’s not about how much you spend, its how you spend it!
I’ve been a wedding blogger for nigh on five years now, and I’ve seen more "wedding tips" and "helpful wedding advice" than you can shake a stick at. Some pointers are in fact, extremely helpful, while others are almost criminally misleading. Here are five wedding planning tips that I really believe should come embossed on the inside of your engagement ring, and five that you should avoid.
1. Don’t forget that it’s just one day.
You can spend YEARS planning your wedding, you can agonize over every single detail for hours, you can lose all sense of time and trip into a Pinterest wedding pic rabbit hole for months on end — but your wedding day will whiz by just like any other. It’s tragic, but it’s true.
When wedding planning stress is totally getting to you, use this as your mantra: "It’s just one day." Whether your wedding planning journey seems crazy hectic, or sublimely perfect, just remind yourself to breathe (frequently), and take it all as it comes.
Photo Credit: Diane Askew Photography
2. Complete all DIY well in advance of the wedding.
If you value your sanity, try your best to have all DIY projects in the bag several weeks before the wedding. Some brides plan on banging out their DIY goodies the week (or even days) before the big day, with the help of caring friends and fam. While this is absolutely doable, it will more likely end up being one big, tearful, stress-fueled handmade freak out, instead of the chatty, white wine sloshing DIY friend-fest you envision.
The week of the wedding will already be extremely stressful for all parties involved. People will be traveling, making sure all last-minute arrangements are made and getting their final alterations done. Throwing a bunch of DIY projects into the mix (especially ones that you’ve never test-driven before) won’t be the respite from the madness that you think it might be.
3. Always have a back-up plan for inclement weather.
Even if you have your heart set on a beautiful, sunny, outdoor garden ceremony, the weather may have other plans, and you have to prepare for the worst. Delivering your vows in the rain won’t be all rom-com-level romantic. (Ok, a light drizzle might be, but a downpour will quickly lose its charm.)
If your venue can’t guarantee a back-up indoor space, there are always tent rentals. It is absolutely worth the money to make sure your ceremony and reception don’t get literally washed away.
Photo Credit: L Hewitt Photography
4. Remember that the point of your wedding is actually to get married.
Your relationship with the person you intend to marry is the number one thing at stake here. As families blend, and wedding mags are dog-eared, and checks are written, and the many headaches of wedding planning wash over you, don’t overlook your most valuable wedding asset: your future spouse.
This is an insanely stressful time for any engaged couple, but it’s essential that you keep that spark alive to remind you what it’s all about. Set aside a special time together every week when wedding talk is completely off limits.
Photo Credit: Life's Highlights
5. You can’t please everyone.
Maybe your mother-in-law fully expects her daughters to be in the bridal party. Maybe your mother thinks you’re totally wearing her "vintage" gown from the '70s. Weddings are a crazy mix of everyone’s wedding day expectations, and yes, someone will probably be a little disappointed.
It’s important to stay level-headed, and explain your decisions as best as you’re able to. Sometimes even minor wedding-related decisions can cause tons of wedding drama. Don’t let yourself be steamrolled by that.
1. You can’t please everyone.
Wait, what? Yes, this one makes both lists. Why? Because if it’s in your power to please everyone, you should absolutely try to make a few concessions, lest your wedding be completely steamrolled by wedding drama (see above).
Planning a wedding is a long haul — you have to pick your battles, and you have to realize that some aren’t really worth battling over. Does omitting your future sister-in-laws from the bridal party risk the eternal ire of your future in-laws? Do you really care enough about the size of your wedding party to let that happen? Every bride has her limits, but try to play nice (especially when egos are involved) whenever you can.
Photo Credit: fotowerks custom photography
2. DIY-ing everything will save you tons of money.
This is not necessarily true. Supplies cost money. Trial and error costs money. Labor costs you...valuable time, if not also money. Be sure to thoroughly assess the costs of both buying from a vendor or DIYing any item on your wedding checklist before you commit to doing it yourself.
Always get quotes from multiple vendors when assessing the costs of any wedding service in your area. And know that when you choose to DIY the big items like flowers, or even food (yes, I know SEVERAL shameless daredevils who have done exactly that) you may save money, but what you’re sacrificing is valuable time with all your beloved friends and fam.
Photo Credit: J. Larose Studios
3. You just can’t do X.
These usually originate from snarky wedding trend lists that “boldly” declare that X wedding trend is so over, and Y is now all the rage. But you know what? The people that attend your wedding most likely won’t be wedding bloggers or professional wedding industry types (aside from your hired vendors, of course).
Even if it seems like everyone you know is getting married this year, most people don’t actually go to a lot of weddings on an annual basis, and they are probably only tangentially aware of current wedding trends. They’ll most likely be delighted by whatever you throw at them.
4. You should be fully prepared to spend XX,000 to XXX,000 on your wedding day.
Uh, no. Look, the average wedding cost in the U.S. is around $25,000. In major cities like NYC or LA, it’s double that. But "average" is the key word there. Meaning some brides spend way less, and some brides spend way more, and that’s how we get that completely insane, five figure sum.
At The Broke-Ass Bride, we celebrate brides of all budgets who pride themselves on saving money and finding the best deals where they can, and are rewarded with a wedding they can be proud of for a price tag they can actually afford.
5. Save money by skipping the photographer and crowd-sourcing your photos.
Oy vey. The only thing you’ll have after the day is done are the photos. There are numerous apps and websites that do allow your guests to post all their fuzzy, blurry, dimly lit photos into one convenient web location, but while that’s super fun for your guests, are those really the photos you want to commemorate your special day forever?
Photographers come at a wide range of price points, and if even the cheapest ones are still outside your budget, see if you can negotiate a flat rate for a few hours of a photographer’s time, before you turn those duties over to a room full of amateurs.
BG brides, tell us: What's the best and worst advice you've heard? Pre-order The Broke Ass Bride's Wedding Guide for more tips and tricks for hitting your budget!