Hi Dolls! I’m excited for this post because it involves being a “guest blogger” for one of my old friends from WAY back in high school! Her name is Emily Ryan and has the SUPER fun blog called Manhattan Emily! Lot’s of Top Ten lists about the most random and interesting things. Such as Top 10 reasons why she loves the Kardashians, top 10 reasons why Twitter is her favorite form of social media, and much, much more!! Emily and I went to the “Fame” school here in Charlotte… Northwest School of the Arts! And what Emily never knew was that I looked up to her so much! She is one of the nicest, most fun, and most TALENTED people I’ve ever known! To me, she was the friendly, humble version of Rachel Berry (Lea Michelle’s character on ‘Glee’). When American Idol first started I remember thinking that she would be perfect for it! But anyhoo (Yes, that’s meant to be spelled HOO), I’m excited to be guest blogging for her and letting everyone in on MY opinion of the Top 10 must-haves for planning a wedding!
1. A VERY patient, forgiving, and laid-back Fiancé!! – Now, this could just be in my case. Why? Because I’m pretty much psycho! Yes, I admit that! My number one excuse for my dramatic and emotional behavior is the fact that I’m a Virgo. I’m a worrier. Not all brides are, but I am. My poor, poor fiancé has put up with many break downs, arguments, and hearing a lot of “I don’t want to go into a marriage like this!”. Again, this is me being dramatic. My advice to newly engaged couples (especially if you’re like me!), have a conversation up front with your significant other that the next few months are not going to be easy! Let them know that you need their support and compassion. Because, my God, you’ll need it! Let them know that you will be stressed dealing with all of the little details so you might be a little “testy”.
2. A good wedding planner to, at the very least, guide you through the process – This was a hard one for me because I know how I want my wedding to be. And I want to be in control of EVERYTHING! But since we’ve hired the amazing Nancy Usuff with I Do Wedding Consulting, I’ve received a lot of good advice and planning tips up until the last 2 months and she will take care of everything! She’s helped me find a vendor for all of our wall draping and given us great ideas for a rehearsal dinner. I don’t recommend a day-of coordinator because they don’t really know the logistics like a “mending the end” type of package like we have. I do have to say that I have a bit of an advantage than most brides because I’m in the wedding industry and have met so many amazing vendors so I knew exactly who I wanted to use for everything! But since couples will start the wedding planning process cold turkey, then I would have to say get a planner! They know the best of the best and can work with any budget! Do it! You won’t regret it!
3. IBUPROFEN – Do I really have to explain this one?!
4. A knowledgable esthetician – I’m really not trying to self-promote! I’m being serious! Stress will make your skin do CRAZY things! And do you really want huge zits all over your face the day of your wedding? I would recommend looking into estheticians that own their own business because 9 times out of 10, they’re very experienced and well-rounded. If you go to a spa (especially a “chain” spa) you’ll take the risk of getting a facial, chemical peel, or a brow wax from someone straight out of school. The only good things about these chain spas is they have great education so the esthetician grows. Trust me, you don’t want to get the skin around your brows ripped off because the wax was too hot or your bikini line all bruised up a few days before your wedding! If you’re wanting to start hair removal for your wedding night and honeymoon, start at the very least a couple of months before the big day. If you’re on a budget and look at facials as a luxury instead of a necessity, then save up until 2-3 months before your wedding so you can get one facial for a good deep cleaning and the esthetician can recommend the best skincare routine for you to keep away any blemishes.
5. Your girlfriends AND your mama! – My mom has been my ROCK! She has kept everything organized for me so I can remember all the details from the vendor contracts. She’s gone with me to all of the first meetings because Matt couldn’t care less about decor and flowers! Which makes me happy!! I get my dream wedding because he doesn’t have an opinion! Woot Woot!! My bridesmaids have been awesome! 4 of them (you should know who you are!) are so calm and are good with calming me down with just a few sentences in an email since all of them don’t live in Charlotte. The other friend is exactly like me! She gets things done QUICK! I have a good balance. This is how neurotic I am… My friend, and brother’s significant other, wrote an email from all the way over in LA letting me know that she had been looking for dresses and asking if it was okay if she cut bangs. As I was reading the email, I CRIED!!! Why?! Because I was so stressed and just the thought of her letting me know what she’d been up to and asking about her bangs (which I told her to go for it!), made me feel special at that moment. I don’t suggest becoming a Bridezilla and asking everyone to do everything for you, but if you need help or having a stressful day, if they’re a true friend, they’ll help you in a second!
6. $ Money $ – Sad, but true. Especially with websites nowadays like Pinterest and Etsy. Most of the wedding inspiration photos on Pinterest are simply that. INSPIRATION. I quickly found this out once we started getting quotes from different vendors. Weddings are EXPENSIVE!! The average wedding cost in the USA today is around $27,000. I thank The Lord every day for my mom and dad for hosting our wedding and allowing me to have my dream wedding! Luckily there are ways that you can cut costs down on your wedding. Have your wedding on the “off season”. These months are pretty much the winter months. December through February. Matt and I are doing this by getting married on February 1st. Vendors aren’t too busy so they’re more than likely going to give you a discount on services. If you want the traditional spring wedding, have it on a Friday or Sunday. But DON’T, and I repeat, don’t ask if a vendor can lower their pricing packages unless they bring up the subject first! I find it very rude, honestly! The vendors have their prices for a reason. And that reason is that they are worth it! We base our pricing on time, travel, talent, product usage and replenishment, etc. To sum this up…. Weddings are expensive!!
7. Sleep – I’m sure you’ll have lots of sleepless nights worrying about if your dress will get here on time, where you’ll get the balance money for the caterer, what songs you want to have played, and the list goes on! If you’re like me and have bouts of insomnia then try an all natural sleep aid. If that doesn’t work, try Tylenol PM. And if THAT doesn’t work, go see your doctor and they can prescribe you a stronger sleep aid such as Ambien, Xanax, or Klonopin until your wedding is over! I don’t condone drug use AT ALL and some of these prescriptions can be highly addictive so make sure your doctor keeps a close eye on how many you’re taking by only prescribing 3 refills at a time and then paying them a visit to see how you’re doing.
8. Forms for the Budget, Guest List, and Wedding Timeline – Your wedding planner can give you all of these! Or if you’re a self-planner then you can find most of these documents online. Another great source is Martha Stewart’s Wedding Planning book. It has all of the documents you need along with other fun things such as folders to keep contracts in, bags to keep business cards in, and photos of different flowers!
9. A gym, workout routine, and a good diet – Once I got engaged, I jumped on the bandwagon and started Crossfit! After the first workout, I was questioning my sanity. But I kept up with it for the first month and fell in love! Well, a love-hate relationship! I hate every single second of the workout of the day but I’m seeing the difference in my body and how I feel about myself and I love it! The hardest thing for me is diet. I have the worst sweet tooth and can’t turn down candy or a cupcake if its offered! So I have my underarm jiggle and lower belly to still work on. It’s just hard to say no! You’ll find yourself working off stress at a gym or a spin class or just going for a simple run at least 3 times a week if you’re not into torturing yourself at a Crossfit gym. And you’ll feel so hot for your wedding!! Also, make sure you stick to a good diet. Maybe cheat one meal a week so you’re not depriving yourself and hating your life! If you’re like me and not a cook, look into healthy food delivery services that deliver your weekly meals to your door every week! I’ve started with Racing Edge Fit Nutrition. The meals aren’t frozen, they’re made fresh and all you have to do is stick them in the fridge and warm them up when you’re ready to eat! It’s the best thing EVER and not expensive!!
10. A photographer that SEE’s your vision and can add to it – I know, I know, I talk about my photographer ALL the time! But when I tell you that photography is the ONE thing you want to spend your money on, I mean it!! You’re going to have these photo’s for the rest of your life! Or at least until your second or third marriage. I chose Richard Israel because, to me, he’s the BEST! He’s so knowledgable and worldly. If you haven’t read any of my other posts, our wedding is going to have an Old Hollywood theme. Richard shoots a lot with film. It fits perfectly with our wedding because our photos will look aged with the texture and color of the prints. Choose a photographer will allow you to let them know what you want and they can add to that vision! Don’t let the photographer talk you into doing something you aren’t comfortable with such as doing the “first look”! I can’t stress enough, this is YOUR day! Stand your ground if you want to see each other for the first time walking down the aisle. So many photographers want to do the first look because it’s easier for them. I could be completely wrong and a photographer is reading this and hates my guts now! But in my opinion, the photographer can easily get all of the family and bridal party shots done between the ceremony and reception. This is where the planner comes in! They keep everyone on track! My advice, meet with different photographers, ask them a ton of questions, and see if all three of you understand each other!
Thank you Emily for allowing me to write a Top Ten list for you!! This has been so much FUN!!