Mrs. Noire: 10 Wedding Lessons From A New Bride
Marriage is more than just a wedding, but planning a wedding is a huge challenge that will prepare you for the trials of marriage. From the guest list and seating charts to family traditions and the flow of the day, rising to meet those challenges will likely require wisdom that you don’t have on-hand yet, but will greatly assist you in settling even bigger issues that come into play when you’re husband and wife. Since I just recently jumped the broom, I feel qualified (and a bit obligated) to give you a heads up. Flip ahead for 10 of the biggest lessons I learned about myself and relationships from planning a wedding.
It’s Ok To Get Help
You might be Wonder Woman in your own mind, but you cannot pull off a wedding all by yourself. Unless you are dedicating every waking moment to mapping out your day, you are going to need to recruit some help. That may come in the form of getting a day-of coordinator or recruiting your loved ones to take on a few duties. Either way, you’re going to need a team of people to help keep your wedding day moving along smoothly.
DIY Is Not For Everyone
The digital space is bursting with all sorts of beautiful DIY ideas for weddings. It’s almost impossible not to get swept up in the idea of handcrafting a little something of your own for the big day. Realistically, though, not everyone can do it themselves. Before you try to be the best DIY Diva that you can be, take your level of skill into consideration and compare it with how complicated one project may be. Also, consider how much it might cost you to pull together the materials needed for your DIY projects to see whether you have the resources to spare for this project. Then think about whether you have the time to do a project well and give it the attention that it deserves. I had wanted to add some embellishments to my veil like a lace trim that I could stitch on myself (and maybe a few sparkly bits to hot glue on for accent). I bought two veils for the project: One to work on, and one backup veil just in case I messed up. While I had the basic skills needed to sew the trim on, I didn’t have the time to get it done before the wedding. My veil was gorgeous even without the additional design elements, but I’m a bit disappointed that I couldn’t pull off the project in time due to other wedding planning priorities.
Spend The Money To Do It Right
There’s nothing wrong with finding different ways to save money for your wedding, but keep in mind that the less-expensive options are not always the most cost-effective. My fiancé and I had the bright idea to print our own invitations, which proved to be an exercise in frustration, as our printer wasn’t consistent in printing each invite. Sometimes the text would come out displaced. Other times it came out a bit warped due to the fact that our printer was not made to print so much cardstock. It made for some very late nights with little pay off. In the end, we had to buy more printable invitations because of all the unusable ones and have them printed at a local UPS Store. Those came out better, quicker, and it cost a lot less to do than we expected. The time, effort, and annoyance that printing them ourselves cost was not worth the money we saved on the front end. Sometimes, it’s just better to pay the money to have it done correctly the first time.
Get A Visual
As cliché as having a Pinterest board may seem, it’s an important tool when trying to solidify what you would like the day to look like. If you’re not into digital apps, you can also create an inspiration board for yourself. The main idea is to get a visual of all the design ideas you have for the wedding. That way you can see which ideas work together, and which ones don’t so you and your spouse-to-be can refine your aesthetic. This should assist you in pulling together a list of elements that you need, which goes a long way to helping you set a budget. If you don’t, you will spend a lot of time trying to make sense of the nebulous design ideas floating around in your head.
There’s nothing wrong with having a clear idea of your dream wedding, but be open to making a few adjustments. Remember that the day is not all about you. There may be some things that your spouse really wants for the day as well. If their must-haves don’t fit in with your vision, then be ready to compromise and find a way to make it work. Don’t forget: a wedding is supposed to represent the couple. For example, I really wanted to do the Tasting of Four Elements, which is a Yoruba tradition. That’s something my husband had never thought about doing, but the symbology was very important to me. We had to figure out a way to make it work in the wedding ceremony.
Keep Calm & Carry On
Things are bound to go wrong on your wedding day. You can plan your day down to the minute, you can try to prepare yourself for the biggest emergencies, but count on the fact that something is likely to go left on the big day. No matter what it is, try your best to be centered and remain calm. My Maid of Honor made sure I got a good night’s sleep the night before the wedding, and my day-of coordinator warned everyone not to ask me for anything the day of the wedding. My groom also took on a number of responsibilities so that I didn’t need to worry about delegating. All of these things went a long way to helping me keep my cool.
Give Yourself Some Wiggle Room
Right in line with the expectation that something will go wrong, consider giving yourself (and your bridal party) a little extra wiggle room in the schedule. Try to allow for up to an additional 60 minutes in your prep time on the morning of the wedding. That way if anything is running behind schedule, or whether you need a few extra minutes to address an emergency, you have a time cushion in your schedule. And, if you end up not needing the extra time, then you can have a more relaxed morning-of and everyone should feel more at ease. Prior to the day of your wedding, try to take a day or two off of work to handle any last-minute prep, if you can. Take this time to do any hair maintenance (like a deep condition, silk press, trim, etc.) or even get your nails done since everyone is going to be looking at your hands.
Think About The Logistics
Something that very few people will tell you is how to plan for the setup and breakdown of your ceremony and reception spaces. You need to discuss with your venues how long you have to set up the event beforehand. And you can’t forget that someone has to take down the decorations, and it is ultimately up to you to figure out how that will get done and when everything needs to be cleared out.
Alone Time Is Important
Your wedding day will be an incredible whirlwind, and you will be surrounded by friends and family the whole time. You will be pulled a few different directions for a good chunk of the day once the ceremony is over. That’s why you need to make it a point to just get a little bit of alone time with your new spouse. Those few moments should allow the two of you time to focus on one another and not everyone else at the wedding. We did it by having a sweetheart table during dinner, but that’s not the only way to get a moment. You can literally pull your spouse aside and just sit (or stand) for a moment and take it all. However you choose to get your alone time, make sure you the two of your snag a moment for one another.
Consider Streaming Your Wedding
Chances are that not everyone you invite can make it to the wedding. If you have the option of streaming your wedding, then do it! That way all of your loved ones and friends can see you say “I do.” Bonus: Depending on which way you stream the video, you will have a copy of your wedding ceremony without the cost of getting a videographer. We watched our service the very next day because it all went by so fast. Totally worth it.
Honorable Mention: Sheet Masks Are Your Skin’s Best Friend
Every bride wants to glow from the inside out on her wedding day and nothing is going to help you do that quite like a good skincare routine. If all you can manage to do is wash and moisturize (with some SPF) on a regular basis you are already ahead of the game. But, a good sheet mask regimen along with lots of water each day is a major key for your face (here are some of our faves). Don’t forget to exfoliate your lips so your lipstick will sit a little better and your well-prepared for your first married smooch.
Never forget that your wedding is only one day. A lot of importance is placed on the wedding day, but your marriage is what matters. This is not to diminish the importance of the ceremony because it is a formal declaration of your promise to your spouse. Do everything you can not to lose perspective of that fact.