Is there anyone in the world who gives better advice than a mom? I think not. I've turned to my mother to get advice on everything from makeup, to breakups, to what I should eat for dinner, to life-changing decisions, and she has yet to lead me astray. So naturally, when I needed
advice for how to plan a wedding, I turned to my mom — who better to ask than someone who has gained over 30 years of wisdom since her own wedding day?
My mom's advice: Really consider which expenses are worth it and which are not. When making your guest list, decide which friends you'd like to still be in your life 10 years down the road. Be discerning with plus-ones. Don't pick ugly
bridesmaid dresses. Enjoy the process, because it goes by fast. The only advice I didn't listen to was her suggestion not to use my dog as a ring bearer. I did anyway, and he was a star.
Of course, she isn't the only mom with wise words for brides-to-be. I combed through the
AskReddit wedding planning thread for the best advice I could find, and here's some of the words of wisdom I wish I'd heard before my own wedding:
Choose the right people and make the right expenses
Advice my mum gave me: When you are picking your guests, imagine walking around on your wedding day... only the people that put a smile on your face should be in the list! Also, spend on food, drinks, and music; save on bridesmaid dresses (give them a color, let them pick something that suits them); and save on flowers and decorations.
Stress isn't necessary and pictures aren't always worth it
I never knew a thing. Never cared. I had the venues booked a year in advance which was early then. Only years later did I realize that people stressed out about their wedding ... We are still married 38 years later. We never look at the pictures we paid $400 dollars for. My grandchildren do not believe that we are the ones in those pictures.
Prepare for the worst but hope for the best
Don't overspend on the wedding. You can have elegant without expensive; you really CAN control how many people come to your wedding reception; simple changes can go a long way. Do find a good wedding photographer. 25 years later and our kids still look at our wedding album (and laugh at us). Also: Have an AIRTIGHT, SIGNED contract with the facility that you are having your wedding and/or reception at!! Follow up with them. A bunch. Make sure that they cannot back out or book someone else at the same time or whatever. Remember that something will probably go wrong. DON'T WORRY about it going wrong, just know that whatever it is will be a part of 'your story' — a part of your wedding. (People still talk about our wedding because of the things that we DIDN'T plan.) By the way, we decided that we would use miniature roses as our wedding favors, and had them arranged and stacked in the center of the tables as centerpieces. It saved us a ton of money, it was different, looked great, and people were telling us many years later that their plant was still living. Just remember that there will be bumps in the road, with the wedding and the marriage, but that's all they are.
Cut the cost and cut down on stress
[Wedding planning] was stressful, then we made it less stressful by getting married cheaply ... Having children is a much greater, more permanent source of stress (both good and bad).
The best is yet to come so don't spend all your money in 1 place
I've been married 10 years, though, and from where I'm sitting, the wedding is a distant memory. Yeah, it was a wonderful day, but it was one day. After that came good and bad things and many, many challenges. Moving and getting pay cuts, having a child, buying a house, taking vacations, being promoted, buying and selling more cars than I can count, dealing with health problems and hospital stays, having to step up to help family members, going back to school, and right now starting to think about retirement, college fund for the kid, healthcare when we're older, you get the picture. It is tempting to say YOLO and have an awesome party, but I suggest that getting married is the moment in your life when you stop living exclusively for yourself and start doing it with/for somebody else. This is the time to start making plans and thinking about the future. I am not saying don't have a party. I am just saying, do something within your reach and that will not impact your financial future. It is hard enough to get started in life, without dealing with debt and/or lack of money. I don't know what your position in life is, but there are very few things that stress a marriage as much as not having enough money.
Prepare for your life together, not just your wedding day
A wedding isn’t a marriage. At that point, I was still in the 'newlywed' phase. Three kids, a house, several car payments, even more job changes, and two kitties later, things are still good. Even great. But it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Enjoy the wedding! Just make sure you’re dedicated to life together once the party is over.
When it comes to the expense and stress of planning a wedding, remember: It's a very special day, but it is only one day. Moms know best, and if moms say that wedding-planning is not worth the stress, I'm going to believe them.