Wow, okay, this part two definitely took me longer to write than I had initially planned for, but let’s just go ahead and make that the first lesson of this DO’s and DON’TS entry:
DON’T expect things to happen exactly the way you plan them.
Expectations are resentments under construction and the more you come to peace with the fact that not everything will be perfect, the more you will be able to enjoy the process. I cannot tell y’all how many times I envisioned myself walking down the aisle, holding my dad’s arm as one of my favorite songs played smoothly in the background. I think I must have gone over that moment in my head (and micromanaged my poor planner about it) dozens of times. As it turns out, that was one moment I didn’t get to enjoy much at all because my frkn veil kept getting stuck on the cement floor. In the end it didn’t matter much and my dad and I made it safely to the other side but it certainly wasn’t the smooth, sentimental walk I had planned for so long.
DO take the time, even if just for a couple of days, to visit the venue, meet with the vendors in person, set up tastings for the food/drinks and get excited about what’s to come!
Getting to experience that mini taste of our wedding week, just the two of us, was by far my favorite part of the wedding planning process. It was not just a great bonding experience for Nicky and I but it really eased our minds from the stress and pressures of wedding planning. Being able to meet everyone in charge of making that day amazing and seeing how they work in advance is an absolute must DO.
DO create a wedding website as early on in the planning as possible.
I created ours using Minted and I made sure to match it to the style of invites I wanted. Minted offers “fill in the blank” type websites so it was super easy to build. I didn’t have to research what information was pertinent to share with guests or set up any categories myself beforehand. Everything I needed my guests to know was built into the template. Aesthetically, Minted had hundreds (if not thousands?) of style options you could choose from. I chose to go with the theme “Clean & Modern” which had a minimalistic style and offered matching Letter Pressed invitations (a must for me). Since we decided not to send Save the Date’s, the first thing I did after completing the site was text the website link to our guests (this was about 10 months in advance) and I’m pretty sure it saved me from answering dozens of questions and details about dress code, times etc.
DON’T leave the invites for the last minute.
Even though I had texted our website’s link to the majority of our guests in advance, revisions to the guest list are inevitable and one way or another some people always fall through the cracks. The mailing system is also far from perfect and when you send 100 invites out you can be sure some of them will not get delivered -or at least not in time. People also tend to wait until invites come to book flights/hotel so just another reason to get ahead. I sent mine out just about 4 months before the day and felt like that was pretty behind. Essentially, the earlier you get those invites out, the less complaints you will receive from guests regarding bookings/timing, the sooner you’ll be able to get an idea of who’s coming/who’s not and the smoother things will go for everyone.
DO strive to have your wedding dress ready and in your arms at least 3 months before the wedding.
This is something I didn’t do and because my dress was being designed from scratch in Puerto Rico and more than a few unexpected adjustments had to be made, I ended up not seeing the final result until the week of the wedding – which was beyond nerve wrecking. I would also suggest buying/getting your dress made locally because more often than not brides go in for more adjustments than what’s initially estimated. Every bride I know has had anywhere from 1 to 3 extra adjustments and this is obviously a huge inconvenience when you live in one place and your dress is being made in another.
DON’T forget to bring shapewear!
I had planned to wear some under my dress but totally forgot last minute and I was very bloated from eating and drinking all week. I knew the moment I put the dress on that my belly was sticking out more than it had all the times I had tried it on before and I was pretty bummed because there would’ve been an easy solution but it totally slipped my mind.
DO a first look photo session with your dad instead of your groom.
People have a lot of different opinions about this one and I know many brides who have done the first look sessions with their grooms and find it super special. I personally wanted Nicky to see me for the very first time as I walked down the aisle. The solution? Have the first look session with my dad instead. It was truly a special moment (that ended up making up for the not-so-special walk down the aisle) and the photos came out absolutely incredible!
DO let your coordinator know you want to have one last dance alone with your husband after everyone has left the reception venue. This was the single most emotional moment of the day/week/year and maybe my life? Nicky and I were balling our eyes out the entire song (happy tears) and we still get emotional anytime we talk about it. The song we chose was “Lover – First Dance Remix” by Taylor Swift.
The four months leading up to our wedding day were wonderful in many ways and extremely testing and challenging in many others. Throughout the tough times it really helped to put my problems into perspective with the rest of the world’s and remind myself that whatever issues I was concerned with were issues I was lucky enough to have. Telling myself “I get to worry about this or that” really allowed me to feel gratitude instead of anxiety since I knew I was the one in control of my narrative.
So, to any bride (or anyone else, really) feeling like they’re going through a rough patch: don’t forget that you are in control of the story you tell yourself. It takes a little will power but we all have the ability to switch gears and we can do so in order to choose a state of gratitude and peace over one of stress and worry.