So, you're getting married? Congrats! As someone who just went through the wedding process, I can imagine you have SO many things on your to-do list and no clue where to start. I get it...you're lost, confused, probably a little scared and your mom keeps telling you who you need to call. Well, I'm going to be breaking down the best tips I found that helped me the most, all so you can skip the bullsh** and get down to business.
First, you need to make your dress appointment. Most bridal shops will tell you it will take 4-6 months to get in your dress, on top of 3+ fittings to make sure everything is perfect. You'll never feel underwhelmed if you book at least 3 shops to look. Start in the morning as soon as the first store opens and book your appointments 2 hours apart (3 hours when breaking for lunch). The estimated time it should take per salon is about 1.5 hours, so giving yourself 30 minutes to get to the next store. Make the order of your appointments based off of your location (first location farthest away and last the closest to your end game). Even if you think you found "the dress", I suggest writing down the info and still going to the next salon justtttt to make sure. There is no harm in looking + trying on more white gowns that you'll never be able to wear. You can always call back that day and order the dress you were obsessed with.
Second, you'll need to pick your venue. This can be super daunting if you don't have a clue where you even want to look. Boil it down to two locations and then get on the phone with 2-3 wedding planners in both of those locations. My biggest, biggest tip for anyone getting married (especially out of town) is to get a wedding planner. They are worth every penny to do all your last minute changes, help organize all your vendors, and they know exactly who to use for each. So pick the brains of each planner and see who has the same style as you and they can give you some really helpful tips on where to look for a certain venue.
Third, create a budget. Your wedding planner can help keep you on budget, but it's ultimately up to you to make sure you are extremely organized and know where every penny is headed! Write down all the things you dream of having at your wedding. I would suggest keeping track of it all on an excel list and then you can estimate what you would think each would cost. Theknot.com is a good place to research for tips on budgeting. Once you've gathered up all of your ideas in one spot, then you can start to create an ideal budget and see how each one ranks on your excel. Start with process of elimination on things you don't need. Do you prefer videographer over custom shoes? Then budget lower for shoes and add in that videographer. It's all about what you're willing to spend on each item. Once you get it all sorted out, add in lines for dates to pay first payment, second, and third. Again, your planner will keep you on schedule, but it's nice to see what's coming down the pipeline. Continue to update prices as you get them and make sure your end goal is always staying lower than the overall budget (remember the end will always be higher). Plus you have to think about fee's + taxes + tips for all staff at the end! That's a big number you might not budget for, but under each category put in a line item that has the "tax + fee's + gratuity".
Fourth, book all your appointments for prepping. You'll need to think about your hair appointments, eyebrows, waxing, nails, spray tans, etc. For instance, I know that my hair looks best one month after I get it done, so I scheduled all of my appts to make sure my hair was going to be the best it could be. I found my nail tech and started going to her every 2 weeks, 6 months before the big day so we had time to experiment and work on nail shapes (even though I broke my RING FINGER nail the night before I left). And I cannot stress this enough...facials are a MUST when it comes to wedding prep. If you're not getting monthly facials now, then we need to talk about what's important in life...
Fifth, pick all your vendors and make sure you meet with all of them in person before to make sure they have a clear vision for your big day and that everyone is on the same page. There is no shame in getting quotes for any of your dream ideas and your planner might even have special pull with some people!
Sixth, pack an emergency kit. Even though your planner will have one, I strongly suggest you bring your own! I came prepared with XL safety pins, bobby pins, mole skin, boob tape, sole serum, scissors, extra makeup, deo, floss, file, and literally everything else. I knew even if I didn't need something, one of my girls would and it never hurts to be extra prepared!
Seventh, relax. Anything that is going to happen, will. And even though I lost all my water weight the week of the wedding from nerves, there is nothing you can do to prepare for the disasters! For instance, I got stuck in the mini glass elevator ON MY WAY to walk down the aisle. NOT funny at the time, but hilarious now. I was stuck with my huge dress and wedding planner #1 who was calling wedding planner #2 to stall the wedding, while my dad was asking the front desk for a fire extinguisher to bust the glass and pull me out. All while onlookers were taking pictures of the puffed-pastry stuck in the elevator on her wedding day. Luckily the fire department didn't have time to come and the elevator broke, which dropped us straight to the ground (and after my ankles came back to life), I was only 15 minutes late to walking down and saying "I do".
XX, The Snob Edit