Ask any couple that is recently married or even a couple that has been married for decades and you'll get the same response: The way to have an easy engagement is all in the planning. We'd be silly to suggest that things don't go wrong at every wedding but what we can say is that with proper planning you can definitely help minimize those things to be items and details that simply no one will notice. The idea here, folks, is the make a plan and stick to it. That doesn't mean make a plan and commit to it immediately, no. It means make a plan, refine it, and commit to it. Don't be scared of refining as you go through the wedding planning process either. There is, however, a difference between refining your goals and changing them completely. So below we're going to give you a handful of tips in order to help you plan the wedding of your dreams without the headaches of nightmares.
1) Find motivation.
To put it delicately, a lot of couples find that they're excited from a new engagement and lose track of what is most important; their wedding! Many couples enjoy the newly engaged photos, congratulatory messages, and parties that come along with being engaged without ever considering the time and work that it takes to efficiently plan the huge event for which they may or may not have set the date. Time passes by and before they know it, they're only a half-a-year out from the big day and they realized that they need to hire a caterer, find a limousine service, start dance classes, decide on their bachelor and bachelorette parties, choose center-pieces, find a general theme and colors, and so on. Sounds exhausting right? That's just the start of it. Our biggest tip is that it's alright to enjoy the newly engaged feeling but planning the wedding starts on Day one. Don't be lazy. Find the motivation and get to work!
2) Get organized.
This tip is closely related to our first. Sure it's easy to say that we think it's a good idea to get motivated and get to work but what if you don't know how? Not everybody is an organizational expert, we here at Chicago Party Bus sure aren't. We do, however, suggest that you get a calendar, a date book, or if going digital is your thing, create a specific cloud-based calendar for only wedding-related things. From there it's a matter of creating a plan, just as we mentioned early. To keep this easy on the brain, lets say that you were engaged in January and your wedding is in November. You might write in the calendar or date book that you would like the venue picked by the end of February. This gives you a couple of months to see a few places, gather the costs, and decide what one suits your needs the best. You might even need a bit more of a kick in the rump with weekly reminders to yourself to call venue X or Y in order to schedule a time to meet. If you are proactive and organized, you will have much more of a stress-free engagement.
3) Be sure to enjoy yourself.
Does that mean that wedding planning can't be fun? Of course it can. That said, that's not exactly what we're saying. Lets face it, you're going to be a busy bee planning the big day. Also be sure to schedule date nights and weekends where you and your significant other do no wedding planning. No talking about weddings, no planning of any kind. You just sit at home and enjoy dinner and wine, or even go out and have a night on the town. These days are important not only because bonding time is important in any relationship but also because an engagement can be an incredibly stressful venture and having a break from that can really help keep the stress levels down and the romance truly alive.
4) Say it with us, "Communication is key."
This is the case for any relationship but it's especially true for those who are engaged and want to remain that way until the wedding day. Communicate. Not keen on the color of tie he picked? Speak up now before you force anyone to make any last minute decisions. If you bottle up the fact that you don't like the tie and he hides the fact that he preferred center piece 1 over center piece 2 then down the road neither of you will be happy. Make sure to be open, honest, and non-confrontational and not only will you be able to make it through the engagement process but you might even have fun doing it, and that's saying a lot!
5) Stay on track!
Does the calendar say you need to have the center pieces picked within two weeks? Then you better choose them. "I can push it back a week" isn't a valid excuse. The reason you set the goal is to stay on track and voiding from that path only leads to trouble. First you're a week behind on the center pieces, then the tux fitting is not done in time, and now you're rushing to find a limousine company to chauffeur your wedding party and everyone is booked up! Procrastination holds no place inside of the wedding planning world. Write (or type) in your calendar and stick to it. Delegate tasks and take care of business. As you're checking off these items you will see how far you've progressed and you'll only be left with smiles! If you can't stay organize then there's no sense in getting organized to begin with.
6) When meeting with venues ask the specifics
Sure you might hire a wedding through an agency. They may have shown you a great band with a really good female singer who can really belt out the songs that your guests are going to dance to all night long. However, the contract fine print states that they'll provide "A band or group who contains a female singer." This happens all of the time with talent agencies. One could argue that it is the old bait and switch b ut in reality if you agreed to having a "a band or group who contains a female singer" and not "Band X" or "Group Y" then you agreed to their terms and no matter who they deliver they're not in the wrong. When meeting with vendors, be sure to ask questions like "So upon signing this question I will have Band X with members A, B, and C playing at my wedding from Start Time to End Time?" and when they say yes, ask them to point that out in the contract. If it's not there, ask them to put it in writing. This is your wedding day and there's no room for error. If a company is unable to provide you with the exact services that you requested then they are not the company for you.
All in all, wedding planning can be a great joy. It just takes some motivation and a bit of know how in order to make that planning go smoothly. Try and find the motivation to get organized. Stay on track with that organized. Veering off can only lead to disaster. Communicate with your significant other but be sure to spend dedicated time with them that has nothing to do with planning a wedding. Sit back, enjoy time with them, and love one another. That's what all of this is about and it will be the start to a great marriage, guaranteed.