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25 Wedding Planning Tips For Anyone Who Is Getting Married This Year Whether you love wedding planning, hate wedding planning, or are just kind of like "...Welp, I guess we're doing this" about the whole thing, you've come to the right place. Read on for the best tips/advice we've come across over the years, and that we're always shouting at our newly engaged friends/coworkers/strangers on the Internet. We hope this will inspire you and leave you feeling a little more confident as you enter The Year Of Your Wedding. 1. Read The Art of Gathering. It’s a great book in general (more on that here), but there’s also a ton of stuff in there that’s super relevant to wedding planning. We recommend it to all of our engaged (and non-engaged!) friends. 2. Don't let other people tell you how to feel about wedding planning. Depending on your friends/family/coworkers, you might be feeling pressure to be very excited about “the most! important! day! of your life!”...or you might be feeling pressure to downplay how goddamn excited you are to talk about FONTS for your INVITATIONS because AHHHH PRETTY PAPER! Or maybe you’re dealing with both! (People are cool!!!) Anyway, we're here to remind you that there’s no “right” way to feel about wedding planning, and it can be a huge relief to just own your feelings and be honest with people when they are pushing you to have a specific emotional reaction. 3. Know this: A wedding isn’t! Just! A Party! lot of people dismiss the emotional and financial realities of wedding planning by saying “it’s just a party.” But...it’s not just a party. It’s the forming a new family unit via a very public ritual that’s an intersection of class, social standing and expectations, gender roles, traditions, generational differences, taste, beauty, and the contemplation of one’s own mortality (at least for the parents of the couple). it's basically an emotional and logistical version of American Ninja Warrior, disguised as a party. And although “it’s just a party” often comes from a good "hey don't stress" place, it can also be used as a way of devaluing something that is historically feminine and telling women to relax (while still secretly expecting them to throw a perfect wedding). 4. On that note, the "wedding tax" is both real and not real. 5. Get in the habit of referring to “guests” as “our friends and family.” When you're planning a wedding, it's very easy to turn the people who care about you into an unknown mass of picky strangers with tons of terrible opinions and bizarre quirks, and then fret about what the “guests” or “people” will think of everything you do. So if you find yourself (or your partner or your parents) falling into that trap, it can be helpful to reframe the conversation. Who, specifically, are you really talking about here? Exactly WHOMST are these mythical guests who might be cold if you don’t offer them personalized blankets at your July wedding? NAME! NAMES!!! You don’t have to have get married under a pastel floral arch. Also, no one will die if you serve drinks out of mason jars because you like them. Let your own style dictate your wedding style! But if the trends inspire you, that's fine too! And we don’t mean that in a condescending “It’s just really about you and your partner” way because, like, sure, but also, you're an adult who knows that people you care about your partner and also care about finding the perfect string lights at the best price! This is more to say that there are so many little things that might be nice to have — personalized cocktail napkins, REALLY cute bridal shower bingo (vs, like, Microsoft Word bridal shower bingo), pretty balloons at your welcome bbq — and it’s easy to go down astonishingly deep rabbit holes on every single one of them. And even if you enjoy this kind of thing, it's still very easy to burn yourself out researching the small stuff. So we strongly recommend starting with the bigger-impact things. 8. Local wedding planning Facebook groups can be a great resource for finding vendors and venues, figuring out logistics, and discussing weather woes. And if you're getting married someplace that is not your hometown, it might be worth joining two. For example, if you live in Houston but are getting married in Austin, “Brides of Houston” would be a good place to ask for suggestions on where to shop for a wedding gown, but “Brides of Austin” would be a better place to ask for suggestions for limo companies. There's A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration ($13.60 on Amazon) and A Practical Wedding Planner: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating the Wedding You Want with the Budget You've Got (without Losing Your Mind in the Process) ($13.59 on Amazon). Both are great! 11. Remember that you don’t have to DIY all the things...or any of the things! Also, if you’re not naturally crafty, DIY can actually be pretty expensive and time-consuming. You will inevitably make mistakes and have to buy more materials, and you’ll likely spend more time/money than you think on practicing/redoing projects. (And then there's the possibility that you'll invest the time and money and hate the result, and just end up buying the thing anyway.) So basically: figure out what your time is worth, take the time to really price things out, and decide what you’re going to DIY accordingly. 13. Folks may try to push their feelings about families and weddings on you — e.g. "But your [abusive, hateful, absent] dad HAS to walk you down the aisle! It's your WEDDING!" They are wrong. To quote the wonderful Captain Awkward, "You also do not owe people the performance of a happy upbringing or family life. You do not owe them a wedding that fits their idea of what a wedding should be, or a picture of what a family should be like at this moment. Your wedding does not exist to spackle over or heal the relationships in your family. You do not owe them face-saving lies or keeping secrets to preserve 'the mood.' You don’t owe anyone preservation of their mental picture of who your parents are and what they are like." 14. A note on engagement photos: We get that they can feel kind of silly. (Like...*me*? Gazing into the distance in a sepia-toned field? Surrounded by *squints* vintage typewriters and empty picture frames and rescue puppies????) But! Here are a couple things to consider before you rule them out completely. A) They are often included as part of a photography package because it's an opportunity for you and your photographer to get to know each other for the wedding. (We'd actually argue that this is their primary purpose.) B) You don't have to put them on social media if you feel weird about them or don't like them. It's fine! C) The props have kind of gotten out of hand and you should feel free to skip them, but I will say — begrudgingly!!! — that having your picture taken is pretty difficult (especially if you're planning to come away with a lot of photos, which is typically the case these days) and having stuff to do or hold onto...helps. Like, a lot. So the props kind of serve a purpose, even if they look/feel kind of ridic. Ultimately, if you don't want to have engagement photos or can't afford them, don't! (It's your life!!!!) But learning the above things several years ago changed our opinion on engagement photos a bit. 15. Get comfortable with the idea that it’s perfectly OK to have an uneven bridal party and/or to have bridesmen and groomsmaids. 16. Use the “save” function on Instagram when you see wedding ideas/photos that you like. And actually take it a step further and organize them to "collections" — it's super, super helpful. It makes it much easier to be organized and share the work of contacting vendors, and it allows you to unplug from wedding related things when you want to. (Also: if you so much as look at any website like The Kn*t, you’re going start getting a ton of marketing emails from wedding vendors/brands, so it’s nice to have them all go into a separate email account.) Bonus tip: you can use this shared email address for your shared bills, to log into your cable provider, etc. 18. Don’t be afraid to buy things secondhand!
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