“WHAT I LEARNED IN PLANNER SCHOOL IIIIIISSS…..”  (SpongeBob Reference)

Do you ever sit there and play the “shoulda, coulda, woulda” game with yourself. Asking questions like “what could have happened if I tried this?” or saying things like “if only I would have done this”. I do ALL THE TIME, especially after something as complicated and convoluted as planning a wedding! I married my best friend this past November and planned the entire shindig on my own (with the average amount of assistance from the groom of course). Let me tell you, it was a chaotic eight months. On one hand, I really enjoyed being so involved in our special day, but on the other hand, I wish I had taken a step back to truly enjoy and relax during this once in a lifetime experience. As an event coordinator now, I am constantly learning new things from both my boss Norma, and the vendor world in general! It is mind-boggling how much my bridal journey would’ve changed, had I known what I know now. This is where I’d like to jump in and recuse any of you lovely brides out there struggling with the same issues that I struggled with so darn much! I’m going to share some of my “wedding day hiccups” with you, in the hopes that you will avoid them and have the most stress free wedding possible.

First thing, the importance of hiring a coordinator! Now, I’m not just saying this because I am now a planner myself. I’m saying it because of the snags that could’ve been prevented if I had hired someone to keep everything under control. I had my tias, tios, parents, in-laws, bridesmaids, and groomsmen all helping me at 8am the day of my wedding! Everyone was running around trying to get things done, so naturally, by the end of the night every single one of them was exhausted for the wrong reasons. You want the people that mean the most to you to enjoy alongside you!

Now speaking of getting things done, NEVER assume anything is going to go on schedule! Give yourself some major wiggle room. I am like a lot of you out there, planning things down to the minute. That morning I was sure that we were all functioning like a well-oiled machine, but sure enough, by the middle of the reception we were running almost an hour behind! Makeup took an extra 20 minutes to get done, post ceremony photos took an extra 30 because so-and-so disappeared into the reception, family introductions ran longer than expected, etc. Little things like that add up and take time away from your schedule; plan accordingly!

Next, have a fix for nearly everything. Have you ever had your wedding veil fly off during your outdoor wedding ceremony because you didn’t clip it in right? Or did your wedding video stop midway because the disk/USB you brought wasn’t fully compatible with the venue’s computer? Maybe perhaps you had to cut your wedding cake with your brother’s pocketknife because you forgot a cake-cutting utensil? I sure did! I most definitely could’ve avoided all of that, had I had a back up plan. Moral of this rant, think ahead even if the situation seems outrageous.

If you know me, you know that I am not a huge spender. My husband and I did a pretty good job of setting a budget and sticking to it when it came to the wedding. Although that is an amazing accomplishment, there are a few things that you should not be frugal with. I personally regret not shopping around more for a wedding dress. As a coordinator, I’ve gotten the opportunity to visit some beautiful bridal gown boutiques. I chose to go with one of the basic chain companies, and I’ve noticed that those places are inclined to treat you like just another number. Yes, they tend to be cheaper, but you don’t get that exhilarating feeling that you should get when trying on the dress of your dreams. All brides deserve that “I said YAS to the dress” moment! Another thing, if you can, use real flowers instead of fake. They simply look so much better in pictures and waaaay more elegant. The floral design side of this job has definitely taught me that! Last but not least, invest in a good photographer!! That is one thing that I am so thankful we did not skimp out on. Those photos will last a lifetime, so you want them to look stunning! Plus, it feels great having a reliable third party member that you can truly trust to have your back when all your family gets a bit too demanding for pictures.

Before I end this novel, I want it to be known that I loved my wedding day and I’m so grateful for the experience. It wasn’t perfect (obviously), but no wedding is; things are bound to go a little haywire no matter what! I just hope that you can take my struggles and learn from them. Avoid my mistakes and make your day unforgettable. And if not, we can just learn to laugh about it when it’s all said and done!

-Chantal