David and I got married on May 30, 2014 at Kokokahi YWCA in Kaneohe, Hawaii and after organizing everything from London and DC over our year long engagement, I’d like to think I learned a few things about wedding planning. Here are a few of my top tips:
- Set up a wedding-only email account ASAP. This allowed David and me to easily access all wedding related emails and avoid spam in our personal accounts.
- Set up a wedding-only Google Doc to keep things like your budget, guest list, schedule, to do’s, honeymoon research, vendor research, etc all in one place.
- Clearly verbalize your priorities with your fiancé early on. If you know what you’re not willing to compromise on from the beginning (mine was photography, his was the venue), it will allow you to cut back on other things that might not be as important later on.
- Sign up for giveaways on wedding blogs! I entered a zillion contests using our wedding-only email account and a special wedding-only twitter account, and I ended up winning 100 free personalized coasters, a pretty earring/necklace set, and a bag of bridal beauty supplies. Emmaline Bride has lots of giveaways.
- Shutterfly has promotions for free photo prints and photo books all the time if you’re on their e-mail list. We got tons of free stuff (including our guest book!) through them.
- Weekday weddings are cheaper! We got married on a Friday and saved money with our videographer.
- If you’re on a tight budget, just research, research, and research some more. Seriously, you can find deals within a reasonable budget if you just. keep. looking. I spent so much time emailing and calling vendors, and we stayed on budget for practically everything. We found a relatively new baker to do our beautiful cake, a crazy-cheap wholesale florist who worked out of his home, an officiant who normally only works at a specific resort, a venue that had just been renovated and was looking to amp up their wedding business, and we catered from a nice pizza place (read: not Domino’s) that had never done a wedding before so they were stoked to work with us. Ask around and keep looking.
- We opted to DIY our music with Spotify instead of hiring a DJ, and while everything technically worked, hardly anyone danced I wonder if a DJ might have gotten people more pumped up…my one regret…
- We purchased wholesale flowers and put together our own floral arrangements the day before the wedding, and I thought the bouquets and the centerpieces turned out beautifully! We paid $180 for everything from a local wholesaler and honestly, it was really fun spending time with my bridesmaids putting everything together. I would recommend the DIY route!
- We opted to do online RSVPs which worked well enough, but I would NOT recommend using The Knot’s RSVP service, since we had lots of technical issues with them and had to double-check a lot of our RSVPs.
- We used Wanderable as our honeymoon registry and it was great! Pretty layouts, easy to use, low fees. We only had positive reactions from those guests that used it.
- Ask family and friends for help. Seriously. We borrowed jars, speakers, lights, a fabric steamer, serving trays, and more. And we got 12 hours at our venue including tables, chairs, and tablecloths, for $225 (!!!) because my mother-in-law used to work there. It never hurts to at least ask what your family/friends might be able to offer!
- We didn’t have a wedding coordinator, and honestly it was fine. If you’re naturally organized and simply willing to spend the time managing things on the day of the wedding, you can do it too. Just mentally prepare yourself. Note: It doesn’t hurt to have helpful family members for this either 🙂
- If you’re on a budget, paper/plastic tableware isn’t the worst thing!
- My mantra through the whole engagement (heard somewhere on Pinterest): “Don’t worry too much about the little stuff that might go wrong on your wedding day. If you’re married at the end of it, then everything went perfectly.”
If you have any wedding planning questions, I’d be happy to try to help! Just ask in the comments below 🙂
All photos taken by Kpix Photography