Two-and-a-half years ago, Mr. Handsome and I planned a DIY wedding in just three months. It was a whirlwind, but we loved having a short engagement. I wrote several posts about our wedding soon after it happened, but I have since received requests to share more. Here are my top wedding planning tips:
Research and make a budget
Start by brainstorming ideas, looking things up online, and talking with folks who have had experience planning weddings. Write up some rough ideas, and then get together with your fiancé and anyone else who will be involved in the finances, and make a budget.
When we planned our wedding, we cut costs by DIY-ing everything but the side dishes. That allowed us to pull off an event for nearly 300 guests (we invited more than 400) at a small fraction of the amount considered to be the national average cost of a wedding.
Be kind to your wedding party
I can’t tell you how many stories I have heard from disgruntled bridesmaids and groomsmen who
have been asked to purchase exorbitantly priced outfits. While it’s important to choose wedding party attire that you and your fiancé love, selecting $400 bridesmaid dresses isn’t always a considerate decision. One of my friends had to bow out of a wedding because she couldn’t afford the dress she was told to buy.
Our wedding was shabby-chic. The girls wore matching knee-length gowns from Dress Barn ($35 each) with jewelry that we provided. The guys wore their own black suits (no suit coats), along with matching dress shirts and ties that we gave them as gifts.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Planning a wedding is no easy task. If well-meaning friends and family offer to help, take them up on it, and if they don’t offer, don’t be afraid to ask. Choose one person as a wedding coordinator (either a professional or someone close to you who has the talent of gently telling people what to do) and fill her in on all the details. That way, when the big day comes around and you’re busy having your hair and makeup done, your coordinator can take care of the last minute details.
Add special touches that you will remember for a lifetime
All too often, brides and grooms are so caught up in the details that make a wedding seem picture perfect from the outside, that they forget to add personal touches that they will remember for years to come. We were blessed to have lots of family and friends help with planning and setup, and we were happy to let them give opinions and suggestions. That being said, there were a few things that Mr.
Handsome and I weren’t willing to compromise on.
Mr. Handsome plays guitar, and ever since we started dating, I had been dreaming about him playing the song “Come Thou Fount” on guitar as I walked down the aisle. We received many opinions from people who thought we should add additional instruments to make it more interesting, but I’m so glad I didn’t allow them to change my mind. Walking down to him as he performed a fingerstyle version of “Come Thou Fount” that he had composed is one of my favorite memories from our wedding day. Mr. Handsome also wrote a song for me that he played during the ceremony. Not wanting anyone to talk him out of it, the only person he told ahead of time was the guy running the sound system.
Relax, and enjoy the moment
“The goal of a wedding is to join two people in marriage. Everything else is just icing on the cake.” This piece of advice was very helpful to me, and it applies to both the planning process and the actual wedding day. You can’t control the small hiccups that are bound to happen, but you can determine whether you let them change your mood.
Our wedding reception was outdoors on a hot and humid day, so we had written on the invitation that guests could bring casual clothes to change into. Well, we failed to mention that the wedding party should stay in their dress clothes at least until dinner began. You can imagine what was going through my mind as our party was being introduced in front of everyone, and one of the groomsmen walked out in shorts and a t-shirt! But I quickly composed myself and refused to let it bother me. Had I flipped out, it could have negatively impacted the tone of the whole reception. We chose to laugh it off, and it’s now a memory that we enjoy teasing the groomsman about.