I Think I Need a Dummies Guide

So … ummm … how exactly does one go about planning a wedding? I sort of thought that once I was engaged, I’d just, ya know, know. Isn’t that what happens when you become a parent for the first time? You’re born with the parental instincts and they magically appear when you have a kid?

During my last semester of college, I did an internship at the National PTA headquarters in Chicago. I worked with their head event planner to plan the national conference. It was a very enlightening four months. I had thought that I wanted to have a career in event planning, but I learned quickly that I am not cut out to go anywhere near that field. It was the inattention to detail thing, I think. (Are any of you potential invitees getting nervous about what type of catastrophe may befall the big day?) 🙂

So a couple nights ago I Googled “how to plan a wedding” and 67,000,000,000,000 links came up, most of them having something to do with The Knot. (Incidentally, what the heck did people ever do before the internet? That’s a serious question – I honestly can’t remember life before the internet. I’d be lost, for sure. Kind of sad, actually, how dependent I am on it.) Anyway. Seems like The Knot web site completely dominates the world of wedding planning.

But you know what? I’m not going to create a wedding page on The Knot. It’s the principle of the thing, really. (My contrarian fiance ought to appreciate that.) Besides the fact that I don’t want to be lost among the thousands of other digital fairy tales being recorded there for all the world to read, I also don’t want to deal with the loads of junk mail they will inevitably send me to try to tell me all the things I need to make my wedding successful.

Also, my brother’s good at designing things. He’s a little busy at the moment, but I’m sure he’ll come up with some awesomely unique way to share our story. Until then, this blog’ll do.

I’ll try not to overwhelm you with too many posts about wedding stuff. I’m sure this topic gets old quickly for anyone not directly involved (read: anyone except me). But I’ve waited a long time to be here, so I’m not about to let it pass me by.

If any of you Marrieds out there has good advice for me, I’d love to hear it. Is there anything you did, that, if you did it again you’d make sure NOT to do? Or anything you wish you did differently? What was your favorite part?

15 thoughts on “I Think I Need a Dummies Guide

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  1. You know I love it all, so any part you want to talk about, I will transform into a giggling teenage girl for. My favorite part was everything. My biggest piece of advice: Do nothing to impress anyone. So much of the stress of weddings is worrying what others will think. Do it for Chris and you.

  2. Bring on the wedding posts…I like them. And just ask a very detailed friend if they would be your wedding planner…they will feel special that you asked for their assistance.

  3. I loved it all too, but it is only one day. That really sinks in the day after the wedding. Whether it goes exactly as you plan it or not(I had an almost minute by minute itinerary), you and Chris will still be married and the details won’t matter. Enjoy every minute of the planning, but spend more time preparing for your marriage, that is the truly important part!

  4. I am going to second what Amber said. Do nothing to impress anyone. Do everything that you and Chris want. What really matters is that at the end of the day you will be married! I would recommend the Anti-Bride’s Guide to Planning a Wedding just to get ideas. I have loaned out my copy otherwise I would pass it on to you! It is worth just flipping through at Barnes and Noble when you are ready to start thinking about planning. Blessings!

  5. Hmmm, that’s such a big questions, Becky. There are a lot of answers to be had. Here’s the short version of what worked for us. 1.)BUDGET, BUDGET, BUDGET–Figure out how much money you can and want to spend. 2.)Divide up that money and put the most towards the things that matter to you (i.e., pictures, dress, location, etc.) 3.)Figure out how many people you do or don’t want. 4.)Pick the date and location based on that–also decide who you want to perform the wedding and see if they’re available. 5.)Go look for a dress/tux. 5.)If you want a photographer, get that picked quickly because they’re often booked up–ask your friends who they used and look at their pics to see if you like their work. 6.)Book someone to do the cake/food. 7.)Pick out your invitations and get that arranged. 8.)Book a spot for the rehearsal dinner. 9.)Plan the honeymoon! Obviously, there can be a lot more details involved depending on how much you want. What type of music do you want at your wedding? Do you need a D.J.? Who will be in your wedding party? How will you get from one place to another? You get the idea. It can all be very overwhelming. But don’t let that spoil this very special moment. As others have said, the true work needs to be about the actual marriage itself and not the planning of the wedding. I’d recommend keeping a master calendar so you know what’s due, etc. If you’re a procrastinator, it’ll help to set dates that you need to accomplish certain tasks by. Also, it might be a good idea to set dates for you and Chris where “wedding talk” is not allowed. You don’t want this period of time being consumed by planning and not enjoying. I’m not sure if all of my rambling helps or not. You know I have a hard time giving a short answer. =:)

  6. i want to hear about wedding stuff! talk about it all you want! I was just thinking last night how lucky you are to get to plan a wedding when you are in your 30s! I wish I could do some things differently–especially when it comes to picking out a dress! i know it was hard to wait for it, but you’re going to have a beautiful wedding that is just what you always wanted–how wonderful! advice…um, make sure you do what you want, not what other people seem to want. who cares about other people. If i could do it over, I’d pick the beach instead of a church, one attendant instead of SEVEN (holy crap, seven? really?!) and wear my hair down instead of up (like my mom wanted it…;)but really, the most important thing is you and chris and at the end of the day, you’ll be married and that is all that will matter, so don’t get caught up in any one thing. I’m just glad I got ben–who cares about the beach? :)is this the longest post ever? I think so.

  7. Having recently been in your shoes I would be happy to give you any and all of my wedding planning expertice. 🙂 Then again, it rained at my wedding making all the planning useless, so don’t stress, just enjoy. The Knot rocks, I used it for everything!

  8. One of the best things I *ever* did was have a short engagement (less than 3 months). It kept me from thinking about every. single. detail. b/c there just wasn’t enough time. I just went w/ my gut on everything. And you know what? It turned out grrreat. And I think we were so much more focused on the right things b/c we weren’t consumed w/ details. But I’m not saying get married in 3 months 🙂 It’s just what worked for me!

  9. I’m so not a wedding person. So I’d say have a teeny tiny ceremony and then a huge party! I had a 4 month engagement, planned my own wedding and got mono. Begged to elope and he wouldn’t do it. See, not a wedding person! I guess, 14 years later, I’d say that the details don’t matter for the wedding. It’s a day. Your marriage is a lifetime. Relax, you’re planning a party!

  10. See Beck, we girls loooove to talk wedding stuff! My wedding was cheaper than dirt because we pulled a lot of strings. Andrew worked at the Glen. Bam: Reception. Family friend had a rental business. Bam: Candelabras and such for reeeeeally cheap. Your family (including extended) must have a lot of connections. Call on those! You also need to spend the MOST money on the thing that will last forever: the pictures. The flowers will die the next day. The food will get go own the toilet the next day (who needs a big meal anyway??), dresses are stashed in a closet. Spend money on the BEST photographer. We were so glad we did. And we made our bouquets. The florist gave us a screamin’ deal on 5 dozen long-stem fire-n-ice roses. Weren’t those gorgeous?The rehearsal dinner was a BBQ at the Crusts. That was soooo nice. Low key. Super cheap. Totally fun. Finally, you need to find a wedding coordinator if you have a fairly big ceremony (100+ people with more than a few attendants). Not a planner. A coordinator. This person basically runs the whole wedding day, so that the bride or mother don’t have to worry about all the little (and big) things that day. I have done 3 weddings and was SUPER busy the whole time. Makes it hard for me to enjoy the day so don’t ask. 🙂 Write your own vows. Makes it really personal for you. :-)Anyway, I can’t WAIT for the day! I’ll be there!

  11. I was young when I got married, and my mom planned the whole thing. I wish I could have just eloped. But my dh didn’t want to, so we had a big ole wedding. My only advice would be to NOT STRESS about it too much 🙂

  12. Congrats Becky! First I just wanted to thank you for your encouragement on my no-coke thing! It means a lot! And I just couldn’t resist chiming in on wedding stuff. 🙂 Besides ‘seconding’ everything everyone else suggested, one thing that came up was that we wanted to invite a ton of people, but hardly had any of their updated addresses. Start the search now so you’re not scrambling like we were!

  13. Thanks for all the great advice! I knew having so many friends get married first would pay off someday. :)Jenny, I hadn’t thought of that. Good idea!

  14. There’s a unique wedding tradition that is used at the dude ranches in Wyoming (HF Bar and Eaton’s are two of the ranches). When the ceremony is over, they release all the horses out to pasture at once. I’ll see if I can send a copy of the photo to Chris, since I have his e-mail and not yours. It’s beautiful! There’s a lot of other customs in the Western tradition — maybe you should check that out.

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