WEDDING PLANNING: THE BEST/MOST STRESSFUL TIME OF MY LIFE + WEDDING PLANNING TIPS!
Is there such thing as fun stress?
Jacob proposed to me in the most amazing way on a freezing February day. After spending the next few weeks staring at my ring and at my new FIANCÉ, I knew it was time to crack down and start wedding planning. But where the heck do I even start?! Do I just start to make appointments to look at venues? Do I book a photographer? What about wedding dresses? Seriously, I was lost. But I shouldn’t have been because like most girls, I basically had my whole wedding planned out on Pinterest for the past five years. I logged onto Pinterest and looked at my wedding board, and yeah, I didn’t actually want a wedding like the one I had been planning on my board. I hit that delete button and got rid of the whole board.
Okay, well, now I’m back to square one
I decided to make an account on the Knot! It was a great start, but I had to pick a wedding day in order to make my account. I knew I wanted a July wedding, so I just clicked on the very first Saturday of the month and thought, “Hey, I could always change it, but I kinda like 7/8/17.” It was still surreal to me that I was at that point in my life where I was seriously starting to plan my wedding. It was safe to say that the Knot took over my life.
At the time, I was in nursing school. I was a really good student; I would always pay attention in class and take tons of notes. The note-taking started dwindling quite quickly and was replaced by the Knot. That’s all I did in class, searched on the Knot and talked about the Knot. I actually felt bad for my best friends who I sat next to; They had to just be like SHUT UP ALREADY! I decided our venue needed to be booked first, so I was saving venues like it was my freaking JOB! I was constantly calling and emailing venues and looking at prices.
But mom, I know you’re reading this, so don’t get mad, you know it didn’t affect my grades 🙂
Our first big dilemma came up, downtown Chicago or suburbs? I had ALWAYS wanted a downtown wedding, and so did Jacob. The tall buildings, the old, beautiful venues that Chicago has is just perfection to me. My heart was set on Palmer House after Jacob and I went there for New Year’s Eve two years prior. Between the INSANE prices and trying to figure out transportation for our guests, my interest for downtown slowly started to go away. I didn’t want our guests to have to drive in the insane Chi town traffic and pay for their own parking, but trying to get a coach bus from our ceremony in Saint Charles to downtown Chicago… yeah, that just wasn’t happening. So bye-bye to a downtown wedding. And I continued to search for the perfect venue.
That was the first thing that I came to realize during the wedding planning process. My thoughts are going to change; my plans are going to change. And that’s okay. That’s part of the entire process.
So brides, don’t have your heart set on ONE thing and say that is the only way you’re going to have your wedding. It’s not going to work like that. It might not be about venue location like mine was, but it’ll come to a point where something’s gotta give. Be positive and move on! Sometimes the best things work out because your original plan didn’t happen. And in my case, I know I had the best time I could have possibly had at my wedding, and it was pretty dang beautiful in my book!
Okay, off my soapbox.
So, my parents, Jacob, and I went to look at a few venues that I found on the Knot as well as some venues my parents knew of. I wasn’t blown away by any. It wasn’t until I was looking at photographers on the Knot that I found my dream venue, Chateau Del Mar. The front picture for that photographer was of the venue, and I immediately stopped scrolling. My first thought was, “There is noooo way this is Illinois.” Well, yes it was, and yes, I was totally blown away when we went to visit it in person. We had that bad boy booked right away after we saw it.
So, sweet, our venue is booked! Woohoo let’s drink some champagne to celebrate!
Now, how about the photographer, videographer, flowers, cantor, dress, DJ, cake, etc.? Whoa, I felt flooded just typing all of that. But after I felt overwhelmed from everything I still had to do, I decided we needed to book the photographer next. So back to the Knot to try to find a photographer. As most of you probably know, I am extremely picky… it’s actually annoying… like to me, too. So I searched and searched and didn’t seem to like any of them. Well, I did, but of course the ones I liked were crazy expensive. Jacob was getting so annoyed and just wanted the process to be over with, so he actuallyy logged onto my account and started looking up and contacting photographers.
That’s when he found our dream girl, Alla B Photography. We were absolutely blown away by her pictures. I met up with her downtown Chicago and boom, booked. YAY, two down! She EVEN included an engagement session with her package, which ended up lasting three hours instead of one and a half. (Thanks girl, you rock!)
You probably get the point by now; every single vendor we booked took forever because of how dang PICKY I am! I don’t know how Jacob AND my parents didn’t pull all of their hair out. But our two biggest vendors were booked! At this point, I was almost getting sad because I felt like I was booking everything and wedding planning was almost going to be over. HAHA to myself, I had lots of stress and frustration ahead. Okay, that was negative, but seriously, wedding planning is STRESSFUL! I don’t know how brides plan a wedding in less than a year! I’d be running around like a chicken with its head cut off. But that’s also why we had a nice, long, year and a half engagement! Well that, and the fact that I was still in college.
So brides, it’s okay to be picky.
We’ve all been dreaming of our wedding since we were little girls. We just want the best day possible. But make sure you’re level-headed about it all. Some of these million dollar weddings we see on Instagram are obviously not realistic! Sure, did I want a wedding cake that was taller than I am? UM, YES! But did that cake also cost like ten thousand dollars, UM, YES!
Don’t plan your wedding around what someone else had. Have your own ideas, it’s YOUR day! Do it for you, nobody else!
Finally, we were booking vendor after vendor, slowly crossing them off our to-do list. Everything was great! Some bickering came with it, mostly because of me, but we were getting through it and having fun! Weirdly, Pinterest didn’t have a TON to do with my wedding planning. I found some pictures of flowers I liked from there that I showed my florist, but that’s really it! I know some girls base their weddings solely off Pinterest, it’s probably just based on the type of wedding that you have!
The bottom line is wedding planning can be stressful. Don’t let it get the best of you because you’re going to wish you could relive it all in a year when the wedding is over. I would do anything to go back to my Knot page and plan it all over again. If you’re planning your wedding but having a hard time not knowing where to start, here are some planning tips for future brides:
Don’t stress. It will all come together; you WILL have the wedding of your dreams. And don’t take your stress out on other people.
This is something that I was totally guilty of. I would take my stress out on my family. I didn’t mean to, I was just stressed and would get annoyed easily. Take a step back and take a deep breath.
THE KNOT DOT COM. Done.
This actually should be my only piece of advice because that website is all you need! From finding your vendors to keeping track of everything you have booked and still need to book, this website is the bomb. You can even keep track of your registries, make a wedding page for your guests to visit, create your wedding day timeline, and keep track of expenses via their budget tracker.
Make a list of the vendors you will need to book and take it one by one.
It can get overwhelming if you try to look up photographers AND videographers, you’ll seriously go crazy. Once again, the Knot makes this really easy to do.
Put your money into your photographer.
This is one of the areas where we kinda splurged because we wanted amazing pictures. We would have them forever and it would be one of the only ways to look back on our wedding day. So, if there’s one area where you are thinking about putting a good chunk of your money towards, it should be the photographer.
Make a must-play list and do not play list for your DJ. ALSO, pick a BOMB DJ.
This isn’t the time where you just pick a random person to play tunes all night; you really need to put thought and effort into picking your DJ. We were BLESSED by having Liam from Admit One DJ’s. He made our reception a blast. Liam had EVERYBODY out on the dance floor with his perfect mix of oldies and today’s hits. (That was one of the biggest things I wanted on the wedding day.)
Admit One had this really awesome event called “Meet the DJ,” which was a party at their building where we met every DJ they have, talked with them all, and then ranked our top four. It was SO much fun, and we got our top choice!! We still talk about our meet the DJ night because of how much fun we had. It’s a good idea to pick a place with some kind of event like this to get a feel for how your DJ will be before your big day! So yes, put effort into booking your DJ, because he dictates the entire mood for your reception
Pay for as much as you can by cash.
You don’t want to rack up that credit card bill. Paying cash is the best thing you can possibly do. Some people like to pay for wedding things by credit cards with cash back or rewards. That, also, is a great idea, but you have to make sure you pay it off right away, so you don’t drown in credit card debt! Pay it off right when you get home!
Here are some wedding planning tips by the Knot that I love! Seriously, this website is the best.
If you’re from the Chicago area and need awesome vendors, here are mine I talked about in my blog: