To All Brides and Grooms: Wedding Planning Tips

May 27th, 2011

The musical composers of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers got it right when they wrote the song, “June Bride,” saying, “A day a maiden marries is a day she carries through the years.”

With springtime blossoming through, wedding season is in full swing and many brides and couples are taking on their first challenge: pull off a wedding both partners are happy with. So with the season prime for nuptials, I thought it would be fun and helpful to share some tips I learned 2 years ago when I got ready to say, “I do!”

In the book by noted marriage scholar Bill Doherty and his daughter Elizabeth Doherty Thomas’, “The First Dance,” they say that the first real test of a marriage is planning the wedding. And I totally believe it!

Although it is just one day out of your whole life together, all the preparations leading up to it can be difficult. You will need to balance each other’s expectations, learn how to make decisions together and learn how to communicate with your future in-laws. On top of all that, you are picking out bridal gowns, attendants outfits, cake samples and flowers. It’s a lot to take in.

So my first tip: keep each other involved and openly discuss your expectations. I remember talking to my husband (then fiancé) about having a certain kind of centerpiece for the tables. Though it doesn’t sound like a big deal to most people and maybe most men would brush it aside, my husband was actually concerned about how that would look. He told me that he pictured his wedding reception differently and continued to tell me what he expected. I know he would have been happy with whatever I decided, but I also know it meant a lot to him that I accounted for his feelings and ideas about the wedding. It made it feel like it was our wedding, not just mine.

Planning a wedding can obviously be very stressful. But it should be a perfect opportunity to grow closer together as a couple. That’s why my next tip is to start learning how to lean on one another for help and support. Even though your mother and mother-in-law may be helping to plan the wedding and paying for some of the expenses, they should not be the ones you run to for immediate help. Your partner is there to help you even with the little things. Talk to them and go to them first when you need help and then approach the family together. Bill Doherty said that once you are engaged, the marriage starts. Practice that by cleaving to each other during this period of added stress.

With learning how to help each other with problems, you should also take this time to have fun with each other. The best thing that my husband did for me when we were engaged is still take me on dates. A couple of days before the wedding as the pressure was building up, my soon-to-be husband asked me if I wanted to go to lunch and the movies just the two of us. For a couple of hours I didn’t think about bridesmaid outfits or how to do my hair. It was a perfect escape from everything and I felt so grateful to my fiancé for continuing to put our relationship first.

I think this last tip is one of the most important: expect things to go wrong. Those were the words my husband told me the night before our wedding. He said, “The day will be perfect and we will be married and happy, but other things might go wrong. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the problems and just enjoy the day.” That was the best thing anyone had ever told me. And it was true!

I got dehydrated the day of our wedding and threw up right before the reception, my sister forgot to grab my bouquet from the florist so we were standing around for hours waiting to take pictures, I dropped a sandwich on my dress and my niece was crying in all our family pictures. But I loved it!

In the end, I was married to my best friend and that’s all that mattered. The wedding day is beautiful and a wonderful celebration of two lives coming together. And the best part? We had spent just as much time preparing for our marriage as we did our wedding ceremony. So when the wedding day had come and gone, we were ready to move on just the two of us. And that’s what you should remember: it’s the two of you!

Hopefully some of the tips help you as you are getting ready to embark on the biggest adventure of your life. You can also visit Bill Doherty’s website “The First Dance” for additional advice to prepare for the big day.

What tips would you add? What tips helped you the most in your wedding planning? Tell us in the comments!