You’ve been planning this day since you were a little girl. The dress, the flowers, the venue (or at least what it looks like), the groom, the music, the photos, the cake, the food, the guest list, seating charts and who can’t sit next to who, not getting to talk to everyone, missing your cocktail hour because pictures ran over time… wait, WHAT? This isn’t the wedding of your dreams… and Bridezilla is headed towards the reception!
Don’t let her crash your wedding! First thing to do… BREATHE! Planning a wedding CAN be overwhelming but like everything in life, with a little organization (okay, a lot), and expert advice from other brides and special event planners, your I Do day can be a smooth saunter down a rose petal-strewn aisle.
Washington DC wedding planner, Arney Walker of Arney Walker Studio, is known for her seamless execution of every logistical detail. Whether you’re planning an intimate brunch or a tented affair for 400, her goal is to have you enjoy the party of a lifetime while she takes care of said details. And she’s picked up some wonderful tips to help make your wedding less stressful and more unique to you. We’re lucky to have her share a few pointers that ring true with Lime and Leaf’s “simplify your life” philosophy:
*Streamline your guest list. We all know you want to invite everyone you've ever known but the more guests you have, the more budget dollars you have to allow. This is the first thing you need to do as it sets the tone, affects venue and overall finances. Plus, you could end up spending your entire reception just trying to say hello to everyone if there are too many people. By talking through priorities and cutting back your guest list, it makes for a more enjoyable and intimate wedding, and you’ll feel like you got personal time with each guest.
*Keep a master spreadsheet of guests names, addresses, spouses / significant others' names, which events they are invited to, if they have given you a gift, if you have sent a thank you note, etc. Keeping all of this in a google doc will make it easier for you to access everything you need to know in one central location.
* Have multi-purpose floral design and décor. For instance, have a ceremony piece that can double as an entrance to the tent or reception later, or reuse the cocktail arrangements for the late night party or next day’s brunch. It can help stretch your budget and it goes along with today’s social efforts of being more mindful and less wasteful.
*When planning your registry, think about the things you need or would like that you wouldn't necessarily ever buy for yourself… Things like luxury sheets, bedding, towels, etc. make a big difference in the comfort of your home in the long run. Put them on your registry.
*If you are getting married at your home, one of the things to make it more personal is to make the tent or reception area an extension of your home. Use china, glassware / crystal, even create a décor similar to what is in your house so that it truly feels like you are welcoming guests into your personal space.
*A popular way to personalize your wedding is to have your pet participate! They can be a flower girl / ring bearer, you can have a specialty drink named after your pet, or have a cocktail napkin made with their portrait. This is just a fun way to put your own stamp on your party… and people are sure to remember it!
*Have a favorite food from a local bakery or restaurant brought in for the big day. That could be a late night chili fries station or a dessert bar of your favorite cookies (think Levain Bakery in New York – Mmmm, heavenly!).
*A recent poll in a large moms’ group on Facebook asked what would you do differently at your wedding, and what would you spend your money on if you had to do it over again. Overwhelmingly, the women said they would hire a planner so they could enjoy their wedding, as well as the best photographer within their means. Don’t go cheap on your memories!
*Wedding sites like The Knot contain helpful wedding planning tips, tools and apps that are perfect for staying organized and minimizing stress. Whether you hire a planner or not, having a plan and sticking to it will help make the entire process more pleasant for everyone.