Can I let you in on a little secret, just between you and I?
I started planning my wedding years and years and years ago.
Before my fiancé popped the question, before he met my parents, before he and I were a "we", I've been thinking about my wedding, at various degrees of intensity for decades.
Now might be "go-time" when I need to start putting these ideas down on paper, and start making lists, and start setting budgets, but I've been making mental notes since high school on what I want for my "big day". This, organizational skills, and a nearly eidetic memory (for completely random things - not important stuff like where I put my keys or, you know, birth certificate) served me well during my career as a luxury event planner but now that the bridal shoe is on the other foot and I'm planning my own, I've got a whole new perspective on the excitement (and, dare I say it, the stress) of planning a wedding.
Even the simplest of weddings are accompanied by varying degrees of complexity and every aspect of your wedding comes back to two things: knowledge and confidence.
Know your budget and know how flexible it is.
There are two parts to this. Know where you want to be and know how much above that you can go if you need to. I recommend knowing both numbers because in my experience most weddings will have some kind of unanticipated expense - maybe you saw something last minute that you absolutely positively have to include, maybe you had your wedding dress or tuxedo or Elvis costume but decided on something different, or maybe you're simply not entrenched in an industry with as many moving parts as a professional is. Having a budget does not mean you can't have an incredible event. However, it is what every other consideration is going to come back to and you'll find you will be less stressed if you are aiming at one number with a cushion rather than if you just keep either where you want to be financially or where you have to be financially in mind.
Don't be afraid to DIY - but keep in mind that that DIY isn't always the best answer. With wholesale prices and industry contacts, your event planner may be able to produce large quantities of something for a lot less than you think and with no added frustration to you. When you consider the extra time, energy, frustration you spend doing it yourself, not to mention the monetary cost of trial and error may see you spending everything you thought you'd save. The wedding of your dreams is about exploring your options - all of them!
Have a team, even if it's a small one.
All weddings have moving pieces, even if it is just you, your partner, a witness, and an officiant. Some of those pieces are logistical like local laws (for example, in New York State, you must have your marriage license at least 24 hours before you can get married) but take it from me - all of the emotions swirling around are enough to make you think you just don't have enough time. Having help, be it a wedding planner, an event day coordinator, all of your first cousins or just your BFF can take an incredible weight off your shoulders.
Planning a wedding is personal. Real personal. Like, the happiest day of your life personal. Everyone wants you to have an amazing day, but not everyone has the same idea of what makes a day amazing. So it's only natural for things to get a little... heated. If you are looking to do it yourself, be generous with your appreciation, compromise where you can but stick to your guns if it is something that really matters to you. Remember, this is your day.
If it is in your budget to engage a wedding planner or event day coordinator, I cannot recommend it enough. Having someone strictly on your team can provide an invaluable buffer and much-needed support. With as big a day as this is, sometimes you need someone to encourage you to follow your heart and remain true to the day you envision or to be absolutely honest with you when something you envision may not actually be as you envision it. Ever watch "Say Yes to the Dress"? Contrary to popular opinion, the consultant is not there to sell you the most expensive dress or tuxedo; the consultant is there to ensure the happiest day of your life truly is just that. An event planner or coordinator has the same goal; to put years of experience, intimate knowledge of the industry and to relationships with the areas best vendors to work for you.
Know the kind of experience you want.
Do you want something? Do you want something ? Do you want ? Do you want something with a focus on family? Do you want something big where the entire evening is ? Do you want something ? Your wedding doesn't have to be one thing or follow one rule, but if you can at least imagine the tone of your wedding the decisions you are going to have, and, the jigsaw puzzle that an event really is, will fit together much more smoothly than when you are trying to shoehorn (or crowbar) it to fit together. Having an idea of the bigger picture instead of just having a list of criteria will make a big impact on creating a well-rounded event and viewing it as a whole will allow you to make seamless adjustments that may be as good if not better than the original idea. Even if you want completely contrary things, if you are honest with the kind of experience you want, you'll be prepared to start considering how you have to get there. At resorts like High Peaks Resort or Lake House you have a huge number of options for your wedding in one place and an experienced member of our team who can help you put the puzzle together; the more options you have the easier creating your unique event will be.
There are always ways to make your dream wedding a reality. I come from an enormous - no, a gargantuan - family. On my father's side alone I have over 40 first cousins and on my mother's side there are over 25 and they are spread out all over the world. (My fiancé is the lucky guy who gets to remember all their names. I'm family, so it's just assumed I do...which I don't. Score!) I want to celebrate with all of them and I want a quirky, fun party where everyone gets to feel like a rock star. That couldn't happen with three times most budgets, so instead, I'm planning an intimate, quirky, fun party of just my closest friends and family where everyone gets to feel like a rock star and then over the next year or two I'm going to make my way around to everyone else.
Hire a photographer.
When it comes down to it, memories are the most important thing to every couple I've ever worked with; their memories, their family's memories. So memories are a given, but how you remember and how you mark importance and meaning; that is left up to interpretation. Most wedding planners, writers, and experts agree that photography is going to be the one thing you shouldn't even consider "getting crafty" with and I couldn't agree more; those photos are going to have the power of time travel. They will be able to bring you back to your wedding day and there is nothing worse than unflattering memories of one of the happiest moments of your life.
Make sure the photographer knows what is important to you. Something simple, like an article of clothing, may hold enormous importance, and it is not something that is necessarily the most obvious thing. My mom was a student of fashion and style. She was unabashedly eccentric in expressing herself through clothes that made her happy. She designed and made clothes, hats, and shoes and had just had her first runway show when I was 13. Since she cannot be at my wedding I'm asking all of the ladies to don one of her hats for the day and making sure my photographer gets a photo of each hat. And I'm wearing a pair of seriously fierce shoes which she would have appreciated. 'Cause it's about priorities, you know?
When it comes down to it, the most important part of your special day is that it is exactly what you want to remember and at High Peaks Resort your team is in place to offer you the backup you need to ensure your wedding comes off seamlessly.