9 Tips To Make Wedding Planning A Little More Delightful

Are you finding planning easy... or really not?

bride in strapless gown being covered with floating veil while getting ready

Two years ago, we did an open thread on how people fit wedding planning into their busy lives. Re-reading those comments, I noticed that people divided into two major camps. There was the “wedding planning is easy—you just make a list of tasks and check them off” camp, and the “WEDDING PLANNING IS SO HARD” camp. And if it makes anyone feel any better, I was definitely in the latter camp (and that’s more or less why APW exists).

When wedding planning feels like an uphill slog, it’s generally because there are a host of other stressors getting in the way of simply printing out a wedding planning checklist, and slowly cranking through the tasks. Sometimes money is an issue (weddings are expensive, y’all), sometimes family stressors make tasks that should feel simple really complicated, and often wedding planning happens during otherwise intense times in our lives. When we were planning a wedding, we’d just moved across the country, my husband was in law school, I was working a miserable sixty-hour a week job at an investment bank, and the economy was completely collapsing around us. I mean, what’s adding “plan an event for 125 people who all have a lot of opinions” on top of that? NOTHING RIGHT?

And while there is no one tip I can give you to make wedding planning go smoothly (I mean I wrote a book and a planner about it, and also this whole website, and it turns out there are still more things to say), I did want to assemble this list of real-life wedding planning tips and tricks that APW readers have used to make wedding planning easy. Or at least, you know, mostly tolerable.

Here are the best ideas from APWer planners past, to help make your future wedding planning just a little easier.

Tips and Tricks To Make Wedding Planning Easier

Create a timeline (hint: you can use our timeline to get started creating a more personalized version):

I added a “Planning Timeline” tab to my Google Doc with a column for every month leading up to the wedding. I slotted in tasks each month based on what needed to happen when, and filled in the gaps with things that weren’t time sensitive. It helped to visualize how much was coming up in different months so I could move around tasks to keep everything manageable. That way, in slower months I was able to tackle things to get them out of the way before having to tackle things I couldn’t do early, like seating charts. It also ensured I was never worried about missing something. Whenever a random thought popped in my mind I had a place to put it, even if it wasn’t immediately actionable.

I particularly love my column for October. It just says “Get Married” and “Go on Honeymoon.” Those I can handle.

 

Set up meeting times, like it or not:

We had wedding meetings. We would designate one night a week to scour Pinterest, narrow down choices, read endless contracts and websites, have heated debates about photography… whatever had to be done.

Wedding planning is sometimes hard, especially if your wedding is lower priority than school, careers, your basement remodel, etc. It’s okay if you have to heave a giant sigh before opening the wedding binder (it doesn’t mean you don’t want to be married, just that you’re not a wedding person, and that’s okay).

Do not second-guess yourself:

Once you’ve made a decision (whether it’s food or tablecloths or vases you’re ordering online), STOP LOOKING. Buyer’s remorse helps no one, and it really doesn’t matter that much if you see napkins for eleven cents cheaper the week after you’ve bought them. Do a little research (not infinite research), make an informed decision, and move on.

Don’t worry about being the most unique:

Once you figure out what you want in a venue (or anything else, for that matter), pick the thing that’s the best fit for your needs, and don’t worry about whether it’s clever or unique. Sometimes something is popular because it’s awesome.

Balance your life workload with your wedding-planning workload, so somehow or another you’re both doing half the work:

We were both equally busy during the year of our engagement, and since we were both equally getting married to each other, it was important to us to split the load evenly. But I’m exponentially better at doing things like calling vendors, researching non-traditional caterers, and project managing, and it was creating a lot of tension to try to make him be better/more efficient at things he didn’t want to do (I mean, I didn’t want to do them either, but it took me an hour to do something it would take him four hours to do). So what worked best for us was having him take over my portion of the household duties (grocery shopping, meal planning, cooking, laundry) for a month or two so I could devote that time to the panoply of wedding tasks and errands. We both ended up contributing equally to the time commitment of planning our wedding, just in different arenas.

Hire people to help:

Figure out what’s most important to you and focus on those things. But then delegate. You don’t have to do this yourself. If you can afford it, hire a professional.

But hire renaissance women (and men):

Cut down on the number of vendors wherever possible. If the venue includes chairs, tables, and a place for people to stay, you’ve cut down on the number of other vendors that you need to interact with, contracts to sign, decisions to make, and people who might fuck up. If the caterer does liquor, sign them up.

When you can’t hire, delegate. If you have willing family and friends, delegate decision making too:

DELEGATE!! And not even tasks but just little decisions. At first people would ask if they could help, and we weren’t really DIY-ing anything so I always felt like there was nothing they could actually do. Then one day the light bulb came on and I realized my friends and family could actually make some of the decisions! There were so many things we initially wanted to decide ourselves, but as soon as I got down to the wire I no longer had the brainpower to make choices, but things still needed to be planned. We asked people to help with things like picking the last dance song, to deciding which booze to serve, and even deciding which items to register for. (Seriously—my fiancé’s cousin was so helpful with this. She got our taste and had had a real kitchen for years, so she knew exactly what was worth it). It was so freeing to know that trusted loved ones were making the decision on those things and I could also focus on the details I really really cared about… and OH YEAH my new job I started four months before the wedding.

Lock yourselves into major decisions, so it all flows from there:

After choosing a venue, I immediately purchased the tablecloths. The point here isn’t about renting versus buying linens (although we got a great deal online), but rather that I immediately made a decision about the entire tone and décor for the reception. My fiancé said, “Are you sure you want to commit to that now?” And I said, “That’s the point.” I don’t want to spend nine months hemming and hawing about tablecloths. I picked a theme and now I’ve narrowed the realm of possibility for all future decor decisions.

What about you? How is wedding planning going right now? Are you in the easy camp, or the OMG-make-it-stop camp? What tips and tricks have you found to make wedding planning a little bit more manageable?

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  • Pickle

    I am finding it way more stressful than I expected, and we’re just getting started! I didn’t expect too much stress because a. I plan lots of events for my job so the logistic stuff isn’t too hard for me b. In general, both of our families are fairly chill and reasonable. But even just picking a location and date has been tough: We’ve decided to have it in our city for a number of important reasons, which means I have to break it to my Grandma that she likely can’t be at our wedding (she lives on the opposite coast and has trouble traveling). Then we have to contend with my fiance’s academic calendar because he’s a professor, plus what time sundown is in different seasons because we’re Jewish, plus potential travel issues if we do it in winter, plus my brother and SIL being attached to an annual family party that just HAS to be the first weekend of October for some reason. EVERYTHING IS ANNOYING. And even though my family is mostly reasonable people, because they don’t know all the factors we’re considering they’ll just make blithe suggestions that are really irritating because they think it’s obvious when it’s really not. Thank you for this opportunity to rant.

    • savannnah

      Yay for ranting!

    • Sarah E

      Yuppp, you can either spend twenty minutes outlining every factor that went into the decision, or just add another dark squiggle to the storm could above your head and say “Right, sure.”

      My one grandmother, whom I’m less close to, asked to see my engagement ring, and I told we decided against one, so she goes “Oh, you couldn’t afford it, sure.” Which– NO, that wasn’t the issue, but on the way to a funeral (when this was happening) is not time to dive into our issues with capitalist-hetero-patriarchy and how that informs our financial priorities.

      • SuzieQ

        We also aren’t doing an engagement ring, not even for good moral reasons like opposing the capitalist-hetero-patriarchy, it simply that of all the things to spend money on, that isn’t anywhere near the top of the list.

        When people ask I can explain that it isn’t a priority, that my parents didn’t have one and they’ve been happily married over 30 years, that I don’t think I’d wear it after the ceremony, etc etc etc. But instead, my go to answer is “he doesn’t love me enough to buy a ring.” Cuz haters gonna hate and everyone else just looks stunned.

        • Violet

          Epic. Love this response.

    • Yael

      Echoing the everything is annoying sentiment. Even when it’s not hard, somehow it’s still annoying.

    • Rachel

      Yeah, I totally relate to this. I also feel like wedding planning should be right up my/our alley (I’m a pretty organized/planner type, fiance is not necessarily organized but is creative/good at planning, we’re those friends that are always hosting theme parties and organizing weird events for our friend group, plus I kind of also do events for my job), and we are blessed with a family that is, on the spectrum of family weirdness, probably actually relatively normal and chill/not that opinionated… BUT I also have no idea where or when the wedding will be, mostly because we live in a city that is 10 hours from my family and 16 hours from his family and also our families are 14 hours apart–I think it’s at least narrowed down to the two options of where we live or where my family lives, BUT my hometown is basically 10 hours due north of us so the climates are very different and times of year when it’s pleasant/unpleasant/convenient/cheap/whatever are very different.

      I’m trying not to worry about it too much yet because we’re going to London in October (!!! yay!!!) and my fiance pointed out that we need to at least kind of plan that trip before we start wedding planning, which is totally common sense so I’m on that train now… but also kinda antsy because I’ve been ready to just BE MARRIED for, no joke, four years (we’ve been together for seven) so I also don’t really want to have an overly long engagement!

      • LAinTexas

        Girl, I feel you on your last sentence. I’m not engaged yet, but my boyfriend and I have been together for 5 1/2 years. I’ve been ready “to just be married” for at least three years now, lol. The more time that passes, the less I want to have a longer engagement!

  • Amy March

    The assumptions are so hard! It is impossible to fix an issue when you have no idea what people are assuming will obviously happen.

    • penguin

      Yep, this. We tried to tell our families when we first got engaged to not assume that we knew anything about weddings, and if something was important to them, they should just talk to us about it. Unfortunately that’s just not their (fiancé’s parents) style, and they are still indirect and infuriating, and hint at something they are upset about that we already nailed down months ago. We’ve ended up keeping them at arm’s length and just sticking with our decisions. We’re not going to play guessing games and 20 questions to try and figure out what his mom is pissed about now, she can either talk to us about it or not, her choice.

      • ManderGimlet

        I sometimes think THEY (parents, fam, etc) don’t even know what they want, they just know what you’ve picked is not what they like. Which, okay, sure, have your opinion but keep it to yourself!

      • Caitlin

        We did this! One of the first things we said to our parents was “if it’s important to you, let us know and we will TRY and fit it in to our day”. Of course we got a lot “no, no, you should do whatever you want!” responses but it did give us something to fall back on when they realised that they did have opinions. E.g. “Yes Mum, I understand that you feel strongly that I should be getting ready at your house but because you didn’t tell me that when I asked what was important to you I have already booked something.”

  • Kaitlyn

    I’ve actually found wedding planning really easy. I think a couple of things have helped: I’ve been bookmarking things for years (vendors, venues, etc.) as I came across other people’s weddings and when I’ve been bored at work haha so I had a solid jumping off point. I also find going with my gut and not overthinking helps too. I absolutely did not want to do any work at the venue (decorating, setting up, etc) so we found a venue that does all that work for us and is jaw-droppingly beautiful. I knew exactly what kind of dress I wanted and when I saw it in the store, I turned to my mom and said, “That’s the one”. I’ve refused to second guess anything, which helps with the “buyer’s remorse” mentioned above. Oh and we have a long engagement (18 months) and booked like everything in the first six months so we’re currently just hanging out haha

  • SLG

    What’s beautiful about this list is, it works for other big life stuff too. Home renovations? “Do not second-guess yourself” + “Don’t worry about being the most unique” + “Hire renaissance people if you can.” Boom. Stress lower already.

    • Katharine Parker

      “Don’t worry about being the most unique” is extra useful for home renovations, since going unique can be problematic if you want to sell later and no one shares your unique taste.

  • I feel like we followed every single one of these tips and they were really helpful. Google spreadsheets (for budget and planning tasks) were essential. Regular meetings were also key. Finally, just having the thought constantly in the back of our minds, “This is not a big deal in the grand scheme of life. As long as we get married by the end of the day, the wedding has been a success!”

  • I don’t think its the actual planning that’s hard, its making decisions that can be hard for a lot of people. Some people just aren’t decisive, or they don’t have a clear point of view/idea/plan, so they end up hemming and hawing about it. I have all the opinions, honestly probably too many opinions, so that made wedding planning feel easier to me, because it was easy for me to make a decision and stick to it. We also had a very clear idea for a wedding – nerd party – so decisions had to fit within that. ‘

    Also we had the privilege of a budget that allowed us to throw $$$ at certain things as well, which also helps.

    • Violet

      I agree with this, and I’d add that some weddings simply involve more decisions than others. For example, if you don’t have a regular religious community, you can get married *almost* literally anywhere, by anyone. That’s a lot of choices. Or if you are doing it DIY, it’s not just “What kind of X do we want?” but “Do we even want X at all?” We picked a restaurant for our venue, and it cut down on SO many decisions because the site looked how it looked, period. So not only am I a satisficer when it comes to decision-making (so decisions come easily to me, with very little buyers’ remorse) but our wedding didn’t have a whole lot of decisions in the first place. Not everyone can be so lucky, but there you have it.

      • Katharine Parker

        This is very true–unlimited options make decision-making difficult, a la the paradox of choice. That’s why the advice to choose something that sets the tone and establishes a color scheme/vision/idea/inspiration for the wedding is helpful. You’re not looking at romantic barn wedding ideas if your vision is modern industrial at the loft venue you’ve booked.

        • Violet

          Right, try to narrow it down as much as you can off the bat, based on whatever your top priority is (money, ease of transportation, aesthetic design, etc.).

      • Yael

        We just decided to move our reception to a restaurant (which one is still under discussion) because we were tired of trying to figure out all the different venue/catering issues. We’ll still have venue/catering issues, but at least they will all at the same place now!

        • Violet

          For us, a restaurant was just such a clear option to achieve good food, easily. This option isn’t available if you need to have a huge wedding due to family size, but for our 75-person wedding, it was ideal. Plus if the restaurant you choose does weddings/special events a fair amount, they probably have an on-site events coordinator essentially included. It was so worth it, and no one asked me what color tablecloths we wanted. My dream, basically.

          • Yael

            We’re actually using the restaurant capacity (at most 65 people since we’re looking at midtown NYC kosher restaurants) as a way of limiting our guest list. We started by explaining that we’re changing our venue to a restaurant because planning was getting totally out of hand (especially since we’re planning from Europe) and then segued into “and so we can’t invite person X because they literally will not fit in the building.” It helped avoid offers to pay for the cost of certain people because now it’s not a money issue, it’s a comfort/safety issue.

          • Violet

            Totally. “There’s a fire code, sorry Mom!”

      • angela

        We were deciding between two cities and picked the smaller one, with “fewer vendors to decide between” being one of the major deciding factors.

        • Violet

          This makes so much sense to me.
          I was talking to my mom the other day about how people can get stressed planning weddings, and she said it didn’t used to be so hard when she got married. And I was like, “Sure, because everyone just got married at their church/synagogue and then there were two venues in town large enough to host the reception. Boom, done.” She was like, “Oh, right.”

        • ssha

          This is part of why we got married in my husband’s small hometown instead of my big metro area hometown.

    • Olga Mikhailov

      Yes, this. Wedding planning was fraught for us because my husband is literally the most indecisive human on the planet. A lot of conversations went like this:

      “I feel kind of bad we decided [insert nontraditional thing here]. Do you think it’s going to be okay?”
      “Oh my god, yes. People are adults and they’ll deal with it.”
      “I’m just worried–”
      “Nope nope nope, shut up, it’s done.”
      “What if instead we–”
      “SHUT. UP.”

      It was a tense time.

  • Katharine Parker

    Yes to making decisions and not second-guessing them, yes to each person doing the things they are better at, yes to hiring people when you can. I found planning fairly easy but relatively time-consuming, largely because of little decisions: what is the order of procession for the ceremony, what kind of napkin fold do we want, what should we get for cards at the reception (a box? a tray? I don’t even remember what we did, honestly), do we want family photos displayed and how many and what size and what kind of frame? Individually, they’re all tiny, but in the month before the wedding there were so many questions about things that I didn’t have a strong preference on. So delegating those decisions sounds great, if you can do it.

    • penguin

      The “making decisions and not second-guessing them” part of planning for us has been embodied by “fuck it, nail it”. Found that on another APW post and now that’s our planning motto.

      • NolaJael

        We had a more of a problem with “reanalyzing” — I feel like second-guessing is revisiting the same problem over and over (indoor or outdoor, etc.), but we fell into the trap of going back every time the facts on the ground changed. Oh, the person who specifically asked for gluten free isn’t coming, so should we change our dessert order? Much discussion ensues. Eventual answer: no. We might have saved a few dollars or arranged things to make a little more sense, but it was NOT worth the mental energy to rehash those kinds of things.

        • Violet

          I think what you’re describing–where new information causes you to go back and revisit what you’d already decided–definitely should have its own category. Often times the end decision stays the same, but I think that’s one that is really sneaky and good at getting people to go back to the playbook again, in an annoying way.

  • savannnah

    Planning as in the actual decisions and aforementioned research has been easy. Coming together to decide what is best for us a couple has been easy. Executing the work and our expectations about how that would go has been a bear. We are 4 weeks out and my fiance is in the middle of a 5 week work trip which ends the week before the wedding. He is also doing 2 online classes which have finals in the next two weeks and we are preparing for a cross country move in 4 months for his job. So life is slapping us in the face and we have to get to the finishing line. Right now that looks like me requesting that he send me alllll the loose ends on his part so I can really see what needs to be done and just effing do it. He wanted to get them done but right now he can’t and he wasn’t willing to admit defeat- which was a hard conversation to have this past week- at least for me since it went like this me: ‘we need to get stuff done now and can you just let me do it’ Him: ‘aww babe yeah you know I trust you’ Me: I am NOT doing you some freaking favor- things need to happen and they aren’t’ So yes, life goes on whether you want an collaboratively executed wedding or not. Honestly I should have known he was trying to do too much but so should he- asking for help is half the battle.

  • penguin

    We had a lot of people make vague “if you need anything let us know” offers of help soon after we got engaged. It was nice, but ultimately not really helpful to us since we had no idea what we needed. What was WAY more helpful was the specific offers – “I can paint your nails for your wedding”, or “Would you mind if I get your guest book for you?”, things like that. Fewer decisions and less work for us, and friends/family know that they are helping us with our wedding.

    • sofar

      YES, I was so grateful to the friend who offered to paint my nails the day before.

    • Mer

      Yes! My mom has said that so many people have offered their help to her so I need to find things for them to do. And I’m just like… whut?! 1) our wedding is 13 months away 2) I have no idea what I need done and 3) 13 MONTHS!! Let’s slow the eff down.

    • ManderGimlet

      I’m getting this too and it’s still early days. Did you later reach out to people saying like “hey you offered to help, can you XYZ?” If so, how did that work out for you?

      • Jan

        This is what I did, and it has worked well (wedding is 2.5 weeks away so we’re in the thick of it). One of my closest friends offered to help with whatever we needed right after we got engaged, but I didn’t really ask her (or anyone) or a LONG time because I don’t have a bridal party and I didn’t want people to think I was using them? Or something? Anyway, I finally asked if she could help my mom and I assemble some flowers for the tables and she was like, “Oh, totally, and I also took off the two days before your wedding so I can help with whatever.” Totally unprovoked! So, the lesson is: when people say they are willing to help, they mean it!

      • quiet000001

        I think I’d maybe explicitly ask – hey, I appreciate the offer, but we are still figuring things out so I don’t know what I need help with yet. Do you think you’ll still be able to help in a couple of weeks/months/whatever.

        Also keep in mind information gathering is itself a task. Ask someone to check out reviews for bridal salons or florists or caterers and make a short list of places that get good reviews to get you started.

      • penguin

        We mostly didn’t try and assign things to people just because we didn’t know what they would actually want to do. The one thing we actually did ask someone to do was make our chuppah. My aunt really wanted to be involved and she loves making things and I knew she’d do a great job. It went well, I basically asked her if she would mind making it because it would help us out a lot, and let her know that it was totally OK for her to say no. We ended up going over lots of example pics of what we liked/didn’t like and that gave her some good direction.

        For everyone else we basically just waited to see if anyone offered again later, and that’s when we got the specific offers. So my grandma is getting us our guest book, and a friend is doing my nails. My MOH and I are doing our own makeup, so we went together to get makeovers and we’re going to practice together like once a week or so.

    • ssha

      YES, this. I felt so overwhelmed during planning, and everyone kept asking me how they could help but I felt like our decisions couldn’t be outsourced. Then dealing with the EL of the moms being sad because I wasn’t asking them to help ENOUGH/ they didn’t feel included.

      • penguin

        Yep the emotional labor involved was my *favorite* (actually least favorite) thing. Not only do I need to plan a wedding, I need to do the work of finding something for you to do, and/or do the emotional labor of trying to make you feel included or feel better about the fact that you aren’t helping more.

  • sofar

    I found planning hard, not because of the logistics and making decisions.

    What was hard was that we weren’t that excited. It was such a slog because we’d have rather been doing so many other things besides planning the wedding. The wedding was more of an obligation than a celebration. Although we made peace with the fact that we were Doing A Wedding because it was culturally important for BOTH our families, we both always resented it.

    But Meg’s point about scheduling time to plan the fucker was instrumental in us getting it done. It’s easy to put things off when you don’t want to do them. But putting planning sessions on our calendar forced us to hammer things out. So much gets lost in translation when you’re texting each other back and forth about what needs to be done and making Google spreadsheets your future husband ignores. Distraction-free face time slated for only wedding planning is essential.

  • Lexipedia

    Wedding meetings! We discovered this over the weekend.

    As I am well aware, FI and I have different planning styles. I muse and research to my heart’s content, but sometimes a little too much of it is shared stream-of-consciousness and “out loud” for his anxiety level. After some arguing about emotional labor, and skill sets, I was holding back on the idea-sharing too much and it was stressing us both out. I’d muse about flower arrangements, but we’d never get down to a “tall or short” “square or round” etc. moment because I was worried about overwhelming him with my level of thought. So this weekend I thought of the five things we needed to talk about/decide on, then we went out for lunch and checked them off a list. Save the dates style, final colors, plus one policy, website design, and caterer tasting menu were checked off in 30 minutes!

    We also agreed that, because I’ll probably be “primary wedding planner” when it comes to all of the little details (I know it should be more shared, but we planned broad strokes together and having him agree on optional nitpicky things will make him stressed about decisions and me stressed about making room for his participation) he’s going to take on the honeymoon, the DJ stuff, and liaise with the officiant who needs to be flown to our venue and is an old family friend of his. Meetings for the win!

  • beeethanyj

    Our wedding was on Saturday and I found the whole thing to be pretty easy. I had it at a restaurant (ceremony and reception), we paid for it ourselves, and had about 50 guests. There were no rentals to worry about and the venue had a florist and pastry chef. Our parents had no input and surprisingly they didn’t complain about it! We decided against a lot of traditions, like having a wedding party or having a DJ/dancing.

    • Jan

      Your wedding sounds like my dream wedding scenario. Venue where everything is covered? Lovely. No parental input? Yes, please. Teeny weeny guest list? Right on. If only I didn’t have my “future husband” and his dumb “opinions” and “desires”. IMMA JUST MARRY MYSELF, IT’LL BE V LOW KEY.

    • quiet000001

      Did you feel a need to do anything else in particular in lieu of a dj/dancing? I’m not a big dancer and I always wonder what I would do instead. A lot of the suggestions I’ve seen sound not traditional enough for my family. :(

      • beeethanyj

        So disqus was giving me problems and I couldn’t respond til now! We kept our reception fairly short. We did the ceremony, then a cocktail hour (where we mostly mingled and took pictures with guests), then had dinner. After dinner, most people stuck around for an hour or two socializing and drinking. We actually heard comments from people who said they were happy there was no dancing! However, most of our guests were a lot like us (not party animals and introverted).

  • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

    So far, now that we’ve started for real, oddly easy? I liked the first dress I tried on (and tried a bunch of others, but am going with the first one), and we loved the only venue we’ve toured (and will be checking out 2 others this weekend, just to say we made a comparison), so two of the really fun things are done. Our venue is a restaurant and is already elaborately decorated, so we don’t have to worry about linens, chairs, silverware, or any of that, even centerpieces. The chef has a cake that she just makes for all of the weddings she hosts (um, yes please to an included-in-the-cost cake, and lowering the number of decisions we have to make), and they’ll make literally any kind of food we want (which sort of makes that decision harder, because we don’t have a short list to choose from). I’m a liiiiitle disappointed that we won’t really have tastings for those things, but we’re having dinner there next month as a fancy date and an opportunity to check out their service and food. They’re also friendly with a booze vendor who will deliver and buy back unopened bottles, so there’s a good chance we’ll just go with them. We’ve decided that flowers will be simple (as many sunflowers as our flower budget can buy), and the venue will buy us wholesale flowers if we want them to include that in their package. One of my besties is a designer, and offered to design our invitations and programs and the like. Another friend runs a celebrant business, and we’ll hit her up once we’ve secured the date and venue. Yet another friend offered to be our wedding planner, help us find the best deals on flowers and booze, visit the venue a couple weeks and a couple days before the event and make sure everything is humming along…That seems to take care of a lot of the really big stuff. I care a lot about the photographer, but we can’t book one until we’ve confirmed our venue and date. We’ll need chairs for the outdoor ceremony. We’ll have to book a block of rooms. I’ll need to find someone to do my hair and makeup. The biggest ish is deciding how many people to invite, and who they should be.

    • Meg

      Just a word of warning about using friends- we have a designer friend making our invites and I literally want to pull my hair out right now. He is 2 weeks behind the schedule we gave him, which was more generous that I wanted anyways, and we are trying to carefully walk the “give us what we need asap” and “thanks so much for doing this for free we are grateful” lines. And its getting to the point that I’m nervous about maintaining a friendship by being overly harsh or demanding about a favor OR ruining it by buying invites somewhere else when he was so kind to offer to make them in the first place. I never would have expected this much of an issue from this friend and I am in. the. thick. of. it. right now, so maybe my perception is also a little skewed. It is awesome when you have a community that comes together to support you, but also comes with the risk of hurting relationships.

      • Henri

        Yeeeeeeeeeep. We had this exact problem, but our friend ghosted on us entirely for a month (no returned messages). I assumed she overcommitted herself, was feeling terrible, and was in a shame-pit about it.
        We just ordered invites with pictures from our engagement session, and I emailed her later letting her know, with an option to back out (no big deal) or send us the stuff when she finished it and we’d use it in another way. She seemed pretty grateful to be off the hook, and may even send us the design so we can use it on other paper stuff.

        tl;dr It helps to have a Plan B with Friendors.

        • Rose

          Hmmm well I’m a designer making invites for a friends wedding and just the opposite of you guys, I can’t seem to get my friend to return any messages and get feedback to me so I can finish! It’s frustrating and hard to not feel like I am wasting my time with changes and bad communication.
          I’ve actually done this for several friends weddings (I never seem to learn) and it’s always really hard. The second they are the ‘client’ it all falls apart and it’s difficult to save any form of friendship after. Just a different perspective, maybe not in your situation but something to consider.

          • Henri

            Ugh. That is reaaaaaaaally frustrating.
            I feel fairly lucky in our situation, because I am that weirdo who ALWAYS has a Plan B fully sketched out, so as soon as the communication issues started, I had us plan out an alternate thing we were happy with so we didn’t put too much pressure on our friend.

            But yeah, the friendor relationship takes really solid communication skills, boundaries, and ability to ask for what you want and need (be OK not getting it exactly), and those are all actually REALLY HARD. And things can sour really quickly.

          • Anne

            I’m just dropping into this conversation to say that also, it’s probably good to consider paying your friends if what they’re doing for you is their profession. Even if they try to decline you can give them a reduced amount and/or tell them it’s a thank-you gift or whatever. First of all because it’s just a considerate thing to do since most in those roles are independent businesspeople not making it big, and secondly, it might help to delineate the client/friend roles a little more solidly. This has worked out well for us for the friend who designed our invites and the friend who altered my dress.

          • Meg

            Oh how frustrating! Yeah, using friends for this sort of thing obviously can cause issues going both ways. If I had a do-over I would pay someone rather than use a friend again.

      • penguin

        Yeah we initially had an art friend offer to do our invites, but she wasn’t getting back to us and it was stressing me the hell out. She finally did get back to us with a proof and it wasn’t at all what we wanted, and we just ended up talking to her and saying that we really appreciated her offer but we were on a deadline so we were just going to order some. She was nice about it and was sorry she had stressed me out (turned out she’s never done invites so wasn’t sure what to do, and had her own stuff going on as well). We ended up ordering from Minted and it was fast and cheaper than I thought, and they printed ALL of our guest names and addresses for FREE so I highly recommend them.

        ETA: We ended up asking her if she wouldn’t mind doing our programs instead – much longer lead time, and the design she did would work for the cover and then the inside is all text.

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        True story! In general, we’re pretty careful about the home improvement jobs we ask friends to help with, vs hiring a professional, and wedding planning should be handled similarly. The celebrant runs a legit business with multiple employees and an excellent reputation, so I trust her. The designer has done invites for a number of other friends’ and family members weddings, and she has a good track record. The wedding planner friend wants to do a lot of leg work making phone calls, and I figure the worst that happens is we do the work ourselves anyway and make decisions without her, because she can’t book people on our behalf anyway.

  • ManderGimlet

    Mine has been easy so far, but I’m also paying for 95% of it, planning 99% of it, my family lives thousands of miles away, and my spouse knows to offer opinion only if asked or I’m literally engulfed in flames lol

  • Capondoodle

    I’m grateful for having an 18 month engagement, because I don’t like being pressed on decisions. Planning has largely been fine, just generally annoyed/stressed about things being twice as hard and expensive as we originally thought. Recent example: my fiancé were super pumped about having tacos for our wedding. Cheap and delicious! Last week I reached out to a catering company who offers taco stations. The taco station was reasonable, but their fees tripled the cost! For a buffet where people literally build their own thing! I’m gonna check with actual taco places that cater. Another recent example is finding out that the state of Tennessee doesn’t allow officiants who have been ordained online to sign the marriage certificate. So now I don’t know what we’re going to do about an officiant…a cost we didn’t budget for because we were going to ask a friend.

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  • Jan

    We took the “divide and conquer” route, in part because my partner is handling all vendors (a condition of mine before I agreed to having a DIY backyard wedding), and in part because, frankly, the togetherness of planning was stressing us both out. We both do a lot of event planning for work and have totally different planning styles, and it just devolved into fights every time we tried to plan together. And that sucked because neither one of us actually even CARED that much; we were just fighting because we both thought the other person’s way of doing things was stupid.

    So, divide and conquer. He has his bucket of tasks (vendors, music, lighting) and I have mine (visual stuff/decorations, scheduling/timeline, managing set-up), and we have a handful of together-stuff (vows, ceremony planning, dealing with family stuff). We help each other where necessary but otherwise stay in our own lanes, and that’s worked really well for us. There are definitely moments where I’m like, “why the hell haven’t you called the caterer/ordered the tables/made the playlist yet” but I try to squash those feelings and shut my mouth. Can you tell which of us is the Type A planner?

  • We’ve found it good to use “empty” periods to make decisions. We’ve been travelling a lot recently (mostly to other weddings) and when you’re stuck on a train for four hours with no wifi you can get a surprising amount of decisions made. Also, don’t fall into the same trap we have, of trying to make decisions by a process of elimination: excluding a dozen songs from all music ever written doesn’t make it any easier to pick a first dance track, even if it’s a more fun exercise than trying to think of good choices.

    • penguin

      Yep I’m waaaay better at going “I hate that one” than picking one that I actually DO want. My fiancé is good with coming up with lots of suggestions so it sort of works out.

  • Kate

    I love the advice about not trying too hard to be unique. In the age of social media, everyone feels like they have to do something nobody has ever done before, which comes with its own set of issues (like no idea how to actually do it). I have zero qualms about using a traditional venue instead of an abandoned carnival, but the push back I’m getting from people helping me plan has been disorienting to say the least.

  • Zain

    hey guys i got married and i have downloaded wedding ringtone, which is already as my phone ringtone.
    Go get your’s at
    URL: https://www.ringtoneslab.com

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  • So interesting to read! My golf friend is gonna have his wedding by the end of this year. And his wife has decided to plan it all by herself, and they seem extremely busy lately. I guess that every bride wishes to have the most perfect wedding, but it seems like a super duper complicated task to me. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

  • Very good advice! I try and help couples with planning too, and it really is tough to plan for a huge event that you usually only do once in a lifetime. Will be sharing with my wedding couples, thank you!

  • Prerna Digimarketerz

    Great post. Thanks for sharing such a useful tips.
    https://www.shaadismart.com/wedding/Venue-Mumbai/

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