1. Do Your Research. Spending a little time early in your planning stages comparision shopping, checking vendor references, and exploring all of your options are guaranteed to save you time, grief, and expense in the long-run.
2. Get It In Writing. We cannot stress how important this is. For every vendor you hire, you should have written a contract outlining in the minutest of details what you’re hiring them for. Be sure to include things like scheduled breaks for DJs, Photographers/Videographer, and Musicians. Include specific set lists for DJs, exact flowers or combinations of colors for florists, a written copy of your ceremony or vows for clergy, timelines for photographers and DJs, etc. Document all fees, fee schedules, and compensation requests. You can never have too much documentation. All of this will help ensure nothing goes wrong during your wedding and, heaven forbid, should something bad happen, you”ll have legal documents to help recoup any expenses or damages should you need to take legal action.
3. Keep Detailed Records. Directly related to #2 above. Whatever you get in writing, keep copies of all contracts, receipts, quotes, credit card statements, cancelled checks, etc.
4. Never Pay With Cash. Why? Because there will be no traceable record of it. Use checks or credit cards whenever possible. This will guarantee a paper trail of some sort in case there’s ever any question of payment. Remember to get receipts for every transaction!
5. Delegate. This is possibly the most difficult thing for brides to do. We understand how hard it is to put absolute faith in other people to carry out your wishes exactly as you want. We also understand that being a control freak will cause you nothing but added stress and unwanted heartache. Whether you hire a wedding consultant or gather your most trusted friends to help, do get help. You’ll be happier, less stressed and more radiant come your wedding day.
6. Be Thankful. We are horrified by the amount of stories about Evil Brides. Weddings are voluntary events for your attendants, parents, friends, and guests. None of these people are obligated to participate but are doing so out of their love for you. No one owes you presents. No one should have to sell their soul or jeopardize their own personal lives to be in your wedding. Send thank you notes promptly, do not be a dictator, be understanding and respectful of other people’s time and commitments. Treat those around you with respect and dignity, please.7. Make It Personal. This is the one time in your life that you are able to create an unique statement about your love and your relationship. How you celebrate this day is entirely up to you and your fiance, so use this opportunity to say something meaningful and personal about your love. Whether your day is staid or whimsical, put something of yourself into it. It’ll be more interesting and inviting for your guests and you’ll always remember your day as something unique and special because it reflected who you are.8. Nuture Yourself. Weddings are stressful events that require enormous amounts of your energy and sanity. Don”t forget to take time for yourself to de-stress, collect your thoughts, and nuture yourself as you move forward. Get massages, go to therapy, treat yourself to a manicure… whatever it takes to put some focus on your well-being, do it.
9. Include The Groom. Guess what? Most grooms want to be involved in wedding planning. Afterall, it is their wedding, too. Encouraging them to select tasks, asking for their input, and sharing ideas and opinions insures they get to help create their dream wedding. This will be good tests of how well you work together, how well you collaborate, and how well you work through problems.
10. You’re Not Alone. Sometimes the stresses of weddings can make you feel isolated and alone. Not everyone understands the trauma of not finding the perfect gown or how discovering that you’re $1100 over budget is causing major headaches at home. You have outlets and resources online and off – make use of them. There are dozens of online communities, message boards, chat rooms, etc full of other couples having similar experiences. Most are great havens for brides-to-be.