Hello everyone! Hopefully you haven’t been pranked TOO hard on April Fool’s Day 2k19. My dad, who is the King of April Fool’s, hasn’t gotten me yet, but every year this day makes me a little on edge (in the most positive way possible; he’s harmless, but I know to always expect a prank from my dad on April Fool’s…!). But that’s not what I’m writing about today! Today, I’m giving unsolicited advice! Woohoo!!
I got married to my husband Matt about four months ago, on a very (VERY) cold December day. Not to be cheesy or dramatic, but it was the best day of my life, and I am impossibly lucky and grateful that I was able to have the wedding of my dreams, marrying my soulmate, in front of all my family and friends. Growing up, I didn’t really have a plan for my own wedding. I kind of thought it would be like at the end of the Brandy Cinderella when they stood on the steps of the kingdom and everything was gold and Whitney Houston was belting out that absolute JAM, but obviously that is Movie Magic and it was impossible to recreate (with the kind of money Matt and I have, anyways). So, when starting to plan my own wedding, I only had a handful of real life examples and Pintrest to take from.
I’ve been trying to structure how to inform other people on how to plan their own wedding since then, seeing as I like to tell people what to do and I think that it’s good to have somewhere to jump start. That being said, I am totally not a professional wedding planner, and I can barely remember to feed myself, let alone remember super details from the year and a half of planning I had. Don’t take me too seriously, but consider these points whenever you are ready to make your wedding happen.
- Research EVERYTHING
One of the things that people may or may not know about me is that I LOVE to look up stuff on the internet. Wikipedia is dangerous for me because I can get lost on that site for hours. When it came time to plan the Golubich Wedding, I knew I had to get online and find the best wedding planning website I could. I chose Wedding Wire, but honestly it wasn’t a HUGE help long term. It was, however, a great place to get the ball rolling on ideas, since I kind of had no idea how to plan a wedding (I can barely plan a get together with my friends tbh).
One thing that Wedding Wire (and the Knot, and all those other wedding websites) is good for is looking up vendors. I found my venue thanks to their search engine, and I got to compare price points for literally everything else that I didn’t find and book through their site. I think that wedding sites are important, but not crucial, to the wedding planning process. They lay out everything that you’ll need to consider before taking the plunge (price points, styles, location…don’t even get me started on the reviews).
If you have trouble finding stuff online, you can always ask your friends and family too! I found lots of different things thanks to my friends and my family. In fact, I was lucky enough to have people in my life that could directly contribute their talents to the wedding. For example, Matt’s grandmother and my mom helped fill the room with desserts, and my mom made our wedding cake. Family and friends are just as valuable a resource as the internet, so let them help you when you need help.
Researching everything means you’ll have to look at every single little thing. I’m talkin’ colors, how the sleeves on your dress look, the time of day you want to have your ceremony and what that means for transport, guest books, shoelaces, you name it. Don’t let that stress you out! All of that means that you’ll just have to do one thing at a time. Which leads me to my second point…
2. Time Management, gurrl.
Matt proposed to me in October ’17, and we got married December ’18. That gave me about a year and two months to plan my wedding. For normal, organized, clear minded people, I’m sure that’s a decent amount of time to plan a big event. For me, not so much. I got everything I wanted done on time, but GURRL lemme tell you; if you are able to organize your plans in the very beginning, you will not become a bridezilla by the end of the process. I personally don’t think I got that bad, but everyone around me would probably say otherwise.
My ADHD and my natural ability to avoid doing any work whatsoever really did not help me plan this wedding! If I were to do it all over again, I would give myself a little more time to get my ducks in a row, and I suggest giving yourself at least a year and a half if not two or more years to really decide on what you want and when you want it, especially if you are like me and have no idea what you want your wedding to be. That being said, my wedding turned out pretty dope so if I can plan a wedding against all those odds, you can too.
3. Venue Stuff
The venue is definitely top three on the list of Important Wedding Needs. I researched wedding venues for like three or four months before deciding on three, and eventually picked Station 67. I suggest asking yourself these questions before deciding on about two or three places to tour:
- How far away is the venue from your house, or where you plan on getting ready? How far away is it from the majority of your guests?
- What kind of amenities does this place have, such as a bride’s room and a groom’s room, or if you can bring outside snacks and drinks whilst getting dressed and waiting for the ceremony?
- What’s the upfront price? If not available on their website or before you tour, make sure it’s the FIRST question on your list when you go to the venue to tour.
The transit from my house to the venue wasn’t too bad at first, because both were on the South Side of Columbus. I moved not too long after booking the venue (it was not planned, but thank God we did…that’s another story for another day) and suddenly the place was across town. It wasn’t that big of a deal because of the time of day we had our ceremony and when I needed to be there, but consider the travel time for your guests and the bridal party if the venue is outside of town, or in the Downtown area. It could make or break getting there on time.
Amenities are lowkey important. Matt and I toured two venues, one of which was too big and confusing. They wouldn’t let us do much either, and the groom’s room was better than the bride’s room, which was shocking to me because, y’know, in theory the bride’s getting ready space should be spacious and not a glorified closet space. Station 67 had space, but it was streamlined. There was a dedicated bride’s room that was large and out of the way of the rest of the venue (which means no one will see me in my dress until I’m ready, which is V important if you’re superstitious like I am), and the groom’s room, while obviously a room dedicated to meetings instead of weddings, was roomy as well as not hard to get to. We technically weren’t allowed to bring outside food in, but we had water bottles they let us bring in. I would’ve liked to have been able to continue shoving Tim Horton’s into my mouth while throwing my wedding dress on, but that was not a possibility. Make sure you look into what they have to offer to you before booking, that way you’re not surprised later when you try to bring your Asiago bagel in and they make you throw it out at the door.
Honestly, you’ll know if a venue is the right fit for you as soon as you walk in. It’s just a vibe you get from the place. However! That doesn’t mean that the staff has the same vibe as the space. Leading up to the big day, our event coordinator was good, but not great. That being said, the day of, she killed it. She is definitely an on the job performer, and that’s okay if you don’t need to be babied, like I do. I wish she had been more hands on and responsive to my needs from her, but in the grand scheme of it all, she did her job well. Consider the event coordinator’s personality when you go on the tour with them and see if you can vibe well enough with them to give them your money. After all, you’re their boss as soon as you sign the papers!
4. Planning a Date
This wasn’t the hardest part of planning the wedding, but it’s still important enough to talk about. Personally, I like to have my yearly events spaced out with enough time for me to react to them accordingly. That’s why I always say June is the busiest month for me; my immediate family’s birthdays are all in the first 7 days of the month, then it’s Columbus Pride, then it’s Comfest, not to mention work and other events that might come up. That’s a lot all at once! If I had stuck the wedding in the middle of that, I’d probably explode. We chose December for two reasons: Matt likes the cold and I like the time of year, anniversary wise. We met in February, and in theory we wanted to get married on the same day we met, but it’s the day after Valentine’s Day, so that would’ve been Cheesy and Lame. I wanted to get married in November because the stars said it would be a perfect time to do so, but the stars don’t recognize Thanksgiving Weekend as being Very Inconvenient Timing to have a wedding. So, we chose the first week of December!
While considering the time of year you want to get married, it’s also important to think of how you want your theme to feel. You want a beachy vibe? Don’t get married in January. Want pastels and a fluffy feel? You could shoot for around Easter, but that might be too Predictable, and it might not bode well for family events in the future. If you don’t care about that kind of thing, then ignore this whole paragraph that you just read. I have a feeling that I’m not the only one who considers the time of year when planning a big event like this, though.
5. Guest Count is So Important
I know WAY too many people. I couldn’t have a small wedding because of this. It’s not a bad thing to be Mrs. Popular, but goddamn does it make it hard to invite people to anything ever! Because I wanted to limit the people invited, I chose a venue that had a decently sized cutoff, but a cutoff that was a lot less people than I know. This forced me to cut people out that I didn’t neeeeeed at the wedding, per se, but made room for the people I actually wanted there. Consider writing out everyone you and your spouse want to invite, counting them all up, and looking for venues that can accommodate everyone. After you find some you like, start weeding out people you don’t really neeeeed to be there. That way, you can make room for people you actually want there, and you’ll have room to groove once you cut that list down!
Generally, make a point to invite family, but use your best judgement when it comes to that coveted guest list. When I made my guest list, I considered these things:
- Have I seen them in the past 5 years?
- Do they get along with other people on the guest list?
- Will the wedding be more fun with them there?
- Are they extended family? If so, will they never talk to me again if I don’t invite them? (this question ended up being irrelevant, because literally my entire family would come after me if I didn’t at least send them a save the date).
To me, these were the most important questions. This enabled me to invite only the people I cared about, as well as people that I know care about me enough to actually show up. I believe I only had a handful of people not show up, and most of them had the flu, so it wasn’t the end of the world.
(Side note: when you send out RSVPs, make sure you give them a send by date and stick by it! I was ruthless and had one person try to send their RSVP after the cut off date and I had to tell them that they couldn’t come because they missed the cut off. This might seem super rude, but how was I to know if they were coming when I sent that final count in? I refused to add more people to that final count because I simply didn’t want to resign another contract after finalizing the paperwork. You don’t have to be like me, but honestly, it’s less of a headache to just be an asshole about the RSVPs. Trust me, unless it’s like your grandma or someone that HAS to be there, they’ll understand they fucked up and forgive you for being the RSVP Police.)
6. Mementos are Everything, so Splurge
We spent most of our budget on the food, the dress, and the photographer. I think those three are the most important things to spend your money on (although I am very superficial, so maybe you don’t need to spend a crazy amount on your dress like I did…). We had both a traditional photographer and a photobooth. I cannot stress this enough: Do Your Research On Your Photographer. Truuuuuuust me. Our photographer takes amazing pictures, but she gave us the most headaches throughout the entire planning process, up to the very day we got married. At the time of writing this, I’m still waiting for our full gallery of wedding pictures! 16–18 weeks is what I heard is normal for the editing process of wedding pictures (according to her and my dad, anyways) so while we are hitting Week 17, it’s still anxiety inducing to think that I spent a lot of money on something I can’t show much for.
All of that said, from what I’ve seen of our sneak peek, our photographer is talented and I can’t wait to see the rest of the pictures. I would have 100% gone with someone who didn’t give me as much stress as she did (which is why you should always try to read someone’s personality before hiring them), but it is what it is…as long as I get my pictures, I don’t care how long it takes!
My word of advice for you money wise is to decide how much you want to spend on the pictures (and maybe even video, if you got it like that). You get what you pay for 100% with photography, but know when you’re paying too much (going back to researching everything!). On Wedding Wire, I saw overpriced, mediocre photography everywhere, and through friends, I saw brilliant, fairly priced photography. You just have to really make sure you know exactly what you want to look at in a year, five years, fifty years, etc. and spend accordingly.
7. Miscellaneous Pointers, In Bullet Form
- Budget like your life depends on it. Matt is the numbers guy, so I never really looked at the budget. That was Not Smart of me! Be better than me and make sure you stick to your budget.
- It’s okay to be nervous or stressed leading up to the big day, but remember to take time to relax and do normal You stuff throughout the process. After all, it’s just a big ass party! Try not to let the negativity get to you.
- Don’t treat your bridal party like servants. They’re here to help! You’ve given them the chance to be closest to you on your big day! Don’t sully it with being an asshole to them. I’ve seen friendships fall because of the bride to bridesmaid relationship turning sour. Don’t be that guy.
- You should be drinking lots of water anyways, but drink lots water leading up to the big day. Your skin will thank you!
- I was lucky enough to strategically pick a dress I’d be able to pee in on my own. If you’ve got a dress you can’t pee in on your own, it’s not embarrassing to ask your bridesmaids/parents/whomever to help you. Honestly, I think people expect it.
- EAT AT YOUR OWN WEDDING. I cannot stress that enough! I made it a point to eat my food and let people come to me for congratulation talk. I don’t know if that’s polite or not, but I Know What I’m About, and I’m about eating the food I paid for. Matt didn’t eat nearly enough at the wedding and he was Suffering by the end of the night. Don’t be like Matt.
- Don’t feel bad if you can’t get everything done at your reception. I really wanted to take more pictures in the photobooth, but there was just too much going on. I only have two regrets in my life, and they’re both wedding related: not paying for that extra hour of photography to get pictures of the last dance, and not taking pictures at the photobooth. If you can’t get everything done that you want to do, it’s okay. Looking back, I still had the time of my life.
- Take a moment while you’re signing the marriage certificate to be with your new husband/wife/non-gender specific life partner. Matt and I kinda sorta got alone time whilst signing, which was very nice. There were people around, but we’re pretty good at tuning people out and being with one another as it is, so it worked out.
- I ripped my dress while helping clean up the venue at the end of the night (which, if you are like us and just plan on going home after the wedding, try to stay and help clean…the venue people and the family members who helped clean as well really appreciated the help). If you’re clumsy like me, bring a second outfit to wear at the end of the night, after all of the events that involve pictures. That way, you don’t rip your very expensive dress in the last 5 mins of being at the venue like me!
- Remember this…it’s YOUR wedding. It’s you and your spouse against the world. Don’t let people try to run the wedding or give you advice if you’re not trying to hear it. The only exception is if someone else besides you or your spouse is putting money down…then maybe listen to what they have to say, and take it into consideration while making your final plans. Even this blog post can be completely ignored if you have confidence in what you’re doing!
So, that’s all the unsolicited advice I can give a person who’s trynna get married soon. Just trust your gut and do what feels right, and make educated choices on stuff you don’t know about. That’s what I did, and people STILL talk about how my wedding was the best they’ve been to yet. I don’t know if they’re trying to butter me up or not, but I won’t question it…I like the compliments!
Let me know if you guys are getting married! If you are, I hope this blog post helps you get started with the planning process, or makes it easier to continue planning! If you’re not, did some of this stuff help you make a future game plan? I’m sure future you will thank present you for reading until the end of this post, because you’ll maybe remember like two things you’ve read today at that point…I will put my Wedding Pinterest Board in this here sentence just in case y’all wanna follow that for Future You’s research!
Thank you for reading all the way to the end, by the way! I appreciate every one of you guys for stopping by, and I hope you’ll stop by again next week! I will most likely be writing another Top Albums post, seeing as I’m going to a concert this week and I will have the Inspiration afterwards. If you’re interested in reading the first two in the series, I highly suggest you do so! Also, if you want to follow me over on Twitter, I wouldn’t be too mad at ya. Watch out for all those April Foolers!