For anyone who’s seen the movie Bride Wars, it’s common knowledge that planning a wedding is serious business. Well, it’s about as serious as you want it to be, but if your goal is to have your dream wedding — whatever that may look like — it will probably take a lot of work. Enter, wedding planners: the magical fairies who make putting together a wedding fit for Pinterest look easy. How do they do it? How are they so amazing? Well, the world may never know that much, but these secrets every bride should know, straight from wedding planners themselves, are basically the wedding equivalent to your grandma’s secret brisket recipe. In fact, they’re better.
I spoke with six wedding planners about the wedding planning secrets every bride should know, and they delivered! Ashley Bourque of Nashville, Tennessee; Sacoya Jenkins in Charlotte, North Carolina; Liz Ise of Dallaz, Texas; Alana Futcher representing Charlottesville and Richmond, Virginia; Skylar Caitlin from Houston, Texas; and Lauren Harbin in Washington, D.C., all work for wedding design and planning company, Chancey Charm. These planners have put together some simply stunning weddings, and have been gracious enough to fill me in on the most important things a bride should know.
Here are their secrets.
Dream big, but realistically.
As hard as it might sound, it’s important not to set your expectations too high when it comes to your wedding. “Set realistic expectations,” Jenkins tells Elite Daily. “We all want the Pinterest, swoon-worthy wedding photos, but go into the planning process with realistic expectations for what you know you can afford and also what is accessible and available to you in your market.”
Weddings are expensive, and while budgets aren’t fun, they’re important. “You can’t have it all,” Ise adds. “Pinterest is not your friend and it will give you that champagne taste. Throughout the planning process you will have to make decisions based on budget. This might mean not including something you were hoping to, scaling down an idea, or changing your plans all together. Every size budget has moments like this! Put your focus and your money onto the things that are the most important to you. Plan for those non-negotiable items and know that it may make other areas scaled down.”
Don’t be shy in expressing what you want.
Obviously, your wedding is your day! It’s about what you and your fiancé(e) want, so remember to stand up for the two of you. “Be sure you are communicating with your vendors, especially your planner!” Futcher advises. “If you have something specific you want to incorporate, make sure you are communicating with your vendors. They are there to make your day special so don’t be afraid to tell them specifics of what you want!”
“Brides should also know that the day is about her and her fiancé,” Ise adds. “Voices from others can get very loud and sometimes overwhelm your own personal opinions. Even though someone else may be paying or have stronger/louder opinions, that doesn’t mean you have to forgo your own preferences. Stick to what you and your fiancé wants and you’ll have no regrets on the wedding day.”
It’s all about enjoying your day and having zero regrets!
Be smart with your budget.
Budgets can be a real downer sometimes, but there’s an easy way to make the most of it. Think about what’s most important to you, and go from there. Whether it’s gorgeous florals, or an expensive photographer, you have to prioritize your budget where you want to most. “The bride needs to prioritize her vendors because she most likely won’t be able to afford her dream vendor for every aspect of the wedding day,” Harbin says. “I advise focusing on the top two or three areas the bride cares about and investing their budget there.”
Perspective is everything.
There are a lot of details that go into wedding planning. From the guest list to the cake flavors to your first dance song, there are million decisions you have to make and it can get overwhelming fast. “The number one piece of advice I give brides is ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’,” Futcher says. “Yes, details are important and do matter, you never want to forget this day and certain small detail elements that you incorporate to your big day will create a lasting memory that you will never ever forget. On the other hand though, if you get too caught up and stressed with too many of the small details you could lose sight of the true reason for the occasion, love.”
It’s worth mentioning again that this is your day. If you want a pink dress, wear a pink dress! “Be true to yourself!” Caitlin says. “Ultimately, the day is about you and your fiancé joining as one. Let every decision flow back to who you are as a couple. This helps shut out the rest of the white noise that may come up from family members, well-meaning friends, or outside sources (looking at you Pinterest and Instagram),” she advises.
Truly, your wedding should be an expression of who you are as a couple, so keep that in mind. “When you focus on staying true to who you are and making decisions that reflect this, the result is a personal, beautiful, day that feels 100 percent authentic to you,” Caitlin adds.
Remember what it’s all about.
Most importantly, don’t forget that your wedding is about you and your fiancé(e) becoming spouses. “Remember at the end of the day you are marrying your best friend and that’s all that matters,” Jenkins expresses. “Wedding planning can bring about a wide range of emotions but one thing that should always remain constant is that you are marrying your very best friend and that, above all else, is most important.”
As stressful as they can be, weddings are all about love, as cheesy as that sounds. Embrace it! “This should be a fun, stress-free time,” Bourque says. “Try to take time to enjoy the process and trust your people! This only happens once!”
Your wedding is about you and your fiancé(e) — never forget that! There are a ton of things that can get in the way, but your love will be the guiding constant throughout all your planning. Remember that, and it won’t seem so overwhelming, after all.