Decisions, Decisions, Decisions – you’re making them daily as you plan and prepare for your Big Day. The budget, the venue, the vibe, the guest list, the menu. Who will you ask to be in the bridal party? Will you have assigned seating, a sweetheart table, reserved family space? Making these choices, and so many more may seem overwhelming. Some bridal couples find managing the countless pre-wedding details a struggle rather than a pleasure. A planning professional can certainly help alleviate some pre-wedding stress, but no one can relieve you of the necessity to decide. You can abdicate your decision making authority . . . give away your power to chart your wedding course and choose your ceremony and reception direction, but unless you want to accept what someone else might choose on your behalf, all the major wedding decisions are ultimately yours to make. Here are a few suggestions for successfully managing the decision making process in the months and weeks leading up to the wedding of your dreams.
Start Early. There’s absolutely nothing to be gained by waiting, so start the planning process early. You’ll have a broader range of options and a greater likelihood of securing everything and everyone you want on the day that you prefer. The most popular venues, planners, caterers, florists, photographers and other wedding professionals are more likely to be available when you make your inquiries and negotiate a contract well in advance. Meeting your rental needs is also easier when time is on your side. The longer you wait, the greater the chance that the place, company, person or rental inventory you really want may not be available to meet your needs or fulfill your wishes.
There are a myriad of other benefits to getting ahead of the planning curve. Early planning may afford the opportunity to take advantage of special offers or incentives provided by your various vendors. Stretching your financial wedding obligations over a longer period of time can help minimize sizeable “final payments” and enable you to better manage your wedding budget. And should a pre-wedding setback occur, having sufficient time to recover is a huge advantage. If problems or issues arise, you have more flexibility to devise creative solutions or search out other workable options. Remember this – you can never be too early, you can only be too late!
Utilize Your Resources. The internet is a veritable treasure trove of helpful wedding ideas and useful information. Peruse the various national wedding sites for ideas and inspiration. Comb the local online resources for vendor information and potential specials. Google “wedding planning tools” and you’ll be amazed at the no-cost and low-cost DIY planning tools. With a better appreciation of what’s involved in making your wedding vision a reality, conduct your own cost-benefits analysis and decide whether or not hiring professional planning help is the right move for you. Busy student or full-time employee, remember the value of your time and the stress you may experience come at a cost . . . don’t underestimate those intangibles when you’re weighing the benefits of outside assistance.
Willing and available family and friends are another resource upon which you may draw. Gather advice and ask for opinions. Don’t be afraid to get help when you need it . . . even if it’s just a listening ear or an objective sounding board. If someone you know and whose opinion you value has recently been through the planning process, ask what they learned or what they’d do differently. Benefit from the mistakes they might have made or the successes they experienced.
Be cautious if you decide to let others have their say. Occasionally, a friend or family member may feel that asking for their input commits you to following their advice. Make it clear that you’re in the “information gathering” stage and that your final event design is a work in progress. Avoid possible hurt feelings by thanking them for helping you think through your options and weigh your alternatives – but don’t leave the impression that you’re necessarily going to do things their way. The most important person to please on your special day is YOU. Although you especially want to please your partner, and after that your family, in the final analysis, it’s your day.
Maintain Your Perspective. Maybe you’ve heard the saying that the secret to staying cool, calm and collected is “don’t sweat the small stuff . . . and the corollary, “it’s all small stuff”. At the end of the day you’re going to have married your best friend. The two of you are going to spend your first night together as a newly married couple, and everything else are just details. Don’t let anything that happens during the planning process or on your wedding day rob you of your joy and happiness.
Twenty five years removed, when you’re celebrating your Silver Wedding Anniversary, it won’t matter that Uncle Bob had too much to drink and got a little rowdy or that Aunt Sally split her dress while dancing. Those stories will never ceases to amuse you. You won’t remember that one of the table linens was just a shade off from the others or that the roses weren’t at all the color you were expecting – – – you’ll only recall how lovely everything was and how your guests were so complimentary. Before, during, and after – keep the day in perspective. It’s important, to be sure, but pales in comparison to finding your one true love – your soul mate, your partner in life’s most amazing journey. Happy Decision Making!