My Advice on Planning a Wedding

July 14, 2015 by NJPainter

I’m no expert or anything, but I had a friend who is getting married in a few months ask me the old had-I-known-then-what-I-know-now question… and I felt like I had some perspective that I didn’t necessarily read about or hear before my own wedding. Here’s my advice, in no particular order:

1. Hire vendors you like.
What I learned here is that the people whose personalities I liked, went the extra mile to understand/execute the goals of the day. Only welcome positive, friendly, accommodating people into your life that day. You don’t want to deal with anyone that has been annoying or rude or rubbed you the wrong way for the last year of wedding planning.
hair did

The people I hired were so excited to see the day come together.
Plus, weddings cost a lot of money. Make sure it’s going to good people.

Example: I originally went through Whole Foods for flowers but I liked the girl I met with at the store so much that when I emailed her a few months later and it bounced back, I google-stalked her and found that she had started her own floral business. I canceled my Whole Foods order and went with her instead and she gave me a little extra love for doing so.
cheap flowers

2. Accept this mantra: “You and me and screw everyone else.”
I struggled so much with trying to make other people happy. But guess what? YOU WILL NEVER ACHIEVE THIS. I promise.

You could throw an 18th century themed masquerade ball with  court jesters, gold flatware and send people home with winning lottery tickets  but that person in your life who always finds something to complain about (we all have one!) will still say, ‘the chicken was a little dry.’

3. Lite scented candles in the bathrooms.
A little lavender aroma can go a long way. The wedding coordinator said she was stealing this trick from me.

4. Hire a day-of coordinator
I thought this was so excessive when we were planning our wedding but Barry insisted on it. Looking back, I have NO IDEA what we would have done if there wasn’t someone to make sure chairs were set up or that the microphone worked or that the band was paid or the candles were lit, or that someone was making sure the toilets weren’t clogged or when, literally seconds before walking down the aisle, I realized I didn’t know where my bouquet was. It sounds like a crazy expense but it let us enjoy the day and throw every hiccup (and there will be hiccups!) her way.

5. Wear your hair up.
I really, really wanted my hair down with a retro Hollywood wave and it looked fabulous… for like, 20 minutes. I sweat through my hair so many times and by the end of the night, I look like a wet rat. I had fun and it showed. But I wish I would have just pinned it up.


6. Spend all your money on good food.
There is nothing (nothing!) more satisfying then over-hearing a guest say “this is the best food I have ever had at a wedding!” Everyone knows that wedding food kind of sucks, be a mold-breaker.


7. If you’re going with a no-seating chart policy, make sure everyone knows it.
People get nervous and uncomfortable when they don’t have a plan. That’s when you start hearing “I don’t get it!” “What do they want us to do?” and “Should we hold seats?” We wrote it right on the program that the only reserved seating was for our family and that everyone else should find a high top table/bench/corner and make a friend.

7. Nobody drinks rum or tequila at weddings, don’t bother stocking your bar with it.
We had so much left!

8. Two things not to spend money on because no one will notice but you (and if they do notice, screw ’em).
A) Save the dates or invitations
You are literally lucky if people even read them let alone remember how dense the card stock is.
B) The quality of your table linens, napkins, plates or cups
Make the food so good and the alcohol so accessible that no one cares about these things.

9. Break whatever traditions you want to break.
We skipped being introduced for the “first time,” first dances, parent dances, money dances, cake cutting, an official wedding party and bouquet/garter tossing. We even attended our own pre-ceremony cocktail hour.

Everyone we knew and loved was in one place having a good time and we didn’t want to miss a moment of that. Break whatever traditions that aren’t worth taking your attention away from the party you spent a year+ planning.

10. Order late-night pizza.
Because you probably won’t get to eat much and because it keeps everyone else from getting too boozy/sleepy so the party keeps going.


11. Take your new spouse by the hand, step back and admire your wedding from the edge for a few minutes.

The old cliche is true: it will go by so fast. Looking through our photos there are so many moments I barely remember. So just take a second and separate yourself from it. I promise you, it will be the clearest moment you will have to hold on to.