Whenever you’re embarking on a new journey, it’s always helpful to get some advice from people who have been there, done that. Never is that more helpful than with planning your wedding and beginning a marriage. We talked to Stephanie and Curtis, a beautiful newlywed couple whose wedding we helped plan this past fall. We asked them the questions that we’re sure all soon-to-be-married couples are dying to know the answers to. Read on for some great advice about engagement, wedding planning, and entering into a new marriage!
1) What are the 3 best pieces of advice you can give another engaged couple?
- Don’t sweat the small stuff, from wedding planning to relationship stuff. It won’t matter in the end, and if it isn’t a 7-10 on an importance scale (of 1-10) it probably isn’t worth the argument. Just give it to him/her. It’s all about knowing when to give and take.
- Say “I love you” daily, and never go to bed mad.
- Find some amazing couples that love their marriage, and take the time to talk to them and learn about what makes them happy. So many people talk about how terrible life is after marriage and how the divorce rate is so high. Don’t let others convince you it’s the end of the “fun single life.” You just found the person you WANT to spend the rest of your life with. Why does that have to be sad? Keep dating forever and find positive energy and advice from people who do it well!
- Don’t sweat the small stuff.
- Be sure you spend time focused on making your day a blessed event and not a stressed event (my dad gave me that one).
- Make a budget and spend on the things that are highest priority. Build in a little overhead because inevitably you will have some unexpected expenses.
Bonus: Delegate. If you can be hands-off on a certain task (stuffing envelopes, coordinating suits/tuxes, etc.) then let your friend/family member/coordinator do it. You have enough to do and you need to be sure you have time to enjoy just being engaged!
2) What is something unexpected that you think other engaged couples should know ahead of time?
The amount of “things you need” balloon so quickly! (It’s everything multiplied by however many people you invite.) Napkins, cups, tables, linens, food, chairs….. and on and on and on. Keep the guest count to a manageable number so you don’t feel super overwhelmed (and expect it to be somewhat more than you will usually budget for, or be very strict so it won’t). And know that at some point you have to just say “NO.” (People will understand!)
You will be asked, “How’s the wedding planning going?” at every social gathering. Learn to embrace it!
3) If you had to change one thing about planning your wedding or the day of, what would it be?
If we could change one thing, we would have had someone make sure both our parents were there and ready early with the wedding party. We had time to take pictures with our photographer before the wedding and two of our parents weren’t there to take them because we didn’t plan on taking group photos early. We just had time and missed out on some fantastic photos with both of our parents.
I would reconsider seating assignments. Aside from family members and wedding party, we did open seating for our reception and it ended up causing a lot of our guests (and consequently, us) a bit of trouble. It may not be as big of a deal if you have plenty of extra seating, but we did not.
4) Can you share your favorite thing about working with Uptown?
Jessica and Morgan were so friendly and made us feel like we were the only two that mattered. They were always there for help and support along the way. The day of our wedding, they were always within sight and helping with anything we needed. These girls went above and beyond. They truly felt like part of the family, and we couldn’t have pulled it off without their time and dedication. We love you girls and are forever grateful!
Morgan and Jessica were so calming along the way and really made us feel like they knew what they were doing (and they definitely do). Morgan became a sort of project manager to be sure that we were meeting deadlines, and she offered resources, contacts, and links when we were struggling with a certain aspect of planning. Best of all, we didn’t feel like we had to do much of anything on the day of. They had the plan and executed it, and we just got to enjoy it!
5) Anything else you’d like to tell an engaged couple?
- Take time to ENJOY the process. It is A LOT of time and energy spent, but it can be really fun!
- Use a timeline to help you delegate what is important to get done by when.
- Don’t forget to take some days and nights off from wedding planning. It is very easy to get consumed by it all.
- Don’t let others (friends/family) influence what you want your day to be about.
- We highly recommend using a wedding planner for as much or as little time as you can afford. It gives you time to enjoy your engagement and bounce ideas off of people who do it for a living!! There is so much to think about, and it’s draining to make all of the decisions, plan, and pull off a party without any help. If you can’t afford a planner, ask friends and family to help and don’t be afraid to delegate!!! You want to be free to enjoy your day without thinking about a thing!
- No one remembers the emblems on the cups or napkins, if the number of centerpieces matched the number of tables, or if your friend or a professional cake cutter cut your cake. They will remember your smiles, your excitement, the music, and the food. Have fun and everyone else will too!
- One of the biggest challenges we faced was figuring out who to invite and how to manage our invite list. It’s great if you have the budget and space, but if you don’t, we found that the best guideline for us is roughly: 1) Family is non-negotiable (nor was it ever a problem) 2) Lifetime friends, even if our spouse doesn’t know them 3) Friends that we have in common 4) Work acquaintances 5) Everyone else. The order and categories may be different for you, but be sure to talk out what is important to each of you, and then come up with some kind of hierarchy. It sounds like you’re choosing favorites, but if you’re just putting them in buckets like this it makes it a matter of fact rather than favorites.
- Don’t try to pack in too much in the amount of time you have on your wedding day. The experience will make itself once you have the basic structure in order.
- We highly recommend doing some kind of pre-marital counseling. You’ve already decided that you want to commit to each other, so having a third person in the room to mediate and lay out ground rules for open discussion is a great way to desensitize sensitive issues and get them out in the open. It’s really valuable to go into your marriage on the same page and with similar expectations.
- Finally, be sure to enjoy just being engaged! Being married is great and you should definitely look forward to it, but being engaged is its own special time and it’s one that you will (hopefully) enjoy looking back on.
Newly engaged and want some more advice on planning your upcoming wedding? Check out our blog on the top 10 wedding planning mistakes to avoid!