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Wedding season is right around the corner and with the holidays just passing there might be a lot of newly engaged women out there staring at their sparkling left hand! (I also have a friend who is shopping for rings this weekend for his girlfriend!).

Whether you are newly engaged or somewhere in the planning parts, getting to the wedding is a wonderfully challenging time. Having just gone through the process, I am kind of an expert. Here are some my best tips – based on my experience.

  1. Have great people around: its stressful being a bride! You have a lot of attention on you and people with opinions. I was fortunate to have my mom and a handful of friends that I could rely on and who would also let me vet. Set rules and boundaries though so that you can avoid dramatic moments. When we went dress shopping I had a rule that no one could say anything negative until after I commented on the dress – I didn’t want my feelings to get squashed if I loved something (it happened once and was the worst feeling).
  2. Pick the best vendors you can afford: ask around. Ask friends or family who they used in the past, ask other vendors in other areas who they like to work with. My caterer, cake person, florist, photographer, wedding day coordinator, make up artist, etc were all of my venue manager’s top partners. And they all knew each other and had worked on many weddings together in the past – this meant less stress on me. I definitely had the A team. Get the best A team you can afford.
  3. Think about the things that are important to you: those are the details you worry about. Is it the dress? The cake? The food? Once you know what is important to you, it is easier to delegate and have your squad take care of the details. If you have great vendors let them do the hard lifting. I gave my vendors examples of what I had in mind and then LET THEM DO THEIR JOB! Don’t micromanage – it will not give you a good look on your wedding day!
  4. Get your finance` involved: it his wedding too! Ryan was heavily involved in the process. He went to meetings with vendors, helped pick out things, took care of invitation assembly. If he was going to be my partner in life, he should be my partner from the beginning. Give him (or her) to do lists and let them take some ownership of the day. He should pick out, order, wrap his groomsmen gifts. He should write thank you notes too! Make sure you acknowledge the help and say thank you!
  5. Hire a day of wedding coordinator: with the age of Google and Pinterest I don’t think it is necessary to have a full-on wedding coordinator like Franz in Father of Bride. It’s easy to plan a wedding yourself. But you do need to have someone who can be in charge the day of your wedding. Lois was our coordinator and she was wonderful! She handled all of the vendors the day of, ran our rehearsal, got us all where we needed to be on time, and so much more. She was the emergency contact (and the bad guy if needed) so my mom and I could enjoy the moment. Budget this in – it is so important.
  6. Let it go: getting married is an emotional roller coaster. It’s a lot of fun but there is a lot going on and the emotions get overwhelming sometimes. Have other distractions, make an effort to do fun non-wedding things, and communicate. Towards the end of the planning process I got really overwhelmed (within the 6 weeks of our wedding I moved, hosted Christmas for 19 members of our family, and had a NYE party at the house) and my normal abundance of patience was reduced to a very short fuse. Especially around my mom and Ryan. Eventually I had to recognize that I didn’t have great control over my emotions and had deal with what I was feeling. Talk to your finance`- deal with it together. Then have a blast celebrating your union!

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Wedding planning is a lot of fun and there are some great resources out there to help you! Get a Pinterest board and share it with your squad so everyone is on the same page. Recognize that this is the most fun you’ll only want to have once so enjoy it!!

~Emily