5 Tips From a Recent Bride

We’re excited to have a guest blog today from one of our recent brides. Julia shares her wisdom on how to plan your perfect wedding. Her wedding was gorgeous and she knows what she’s talking about. Read, enjoy, soak up her genius.

5 Tips From a Recent Bride

By Julia Hawley DuBay

Congratulations on your engagement! Feeling overwhelmed by pulling off the wedding of your dreams? I just had my dream wedding within budget and it was the coolest day ever. Here are my husband and my top 5 planning tips:

  1. Create a Ranked List

Before doing any further planning, write down all of the elements of a wedding: ceremony, cake, floral, photography/videography, decor, attire, venue, etc. With your fiance, separately rank the elements in order of what matters most to you down to what matters least to you. Create one joint ranked list by merging your individual lists and negotiating the final order of the wedding elements. Your joint ranked list should then be the guide for both of you through all of your decisions in the wedding planning process, both in time and money. You may find out that neither of you care much about cake, but really care about photography and videography. This knowledge will help you both justify spending more for a great photographer and videographer, but going very budget tight on dessert in the midst of beautiful gigantic cakes. The ranked list was the key to staying in budget for our wedding yet still going big on what we cared about most.

  1. Find a Way to Include Your Guests

Take a little bit of time to think about how to include your guests in your big day. My favorite ceremonies are the ones where the officiant gets the audience involved – by asking the audience to also say “I do,” to chant something back, to light a candle, whatever the couple wants. Your guests will feel special and you wouldn’t believe what a cool moment it is to feel the love from your guests during your ceremony. Take it a step further by incorporating photos of your guests into your decor or writing each person a small personal message. Afterall, besides marrying your love, the other coolest part of your day is getting all of your favorite people into one room – honor them!

  1. Plan Your Lighting

When touring your venue, pay attention to lighting options. Can the lights be dimmed? Can a whole set of lights be turned off? For great pictures and videography, you’ll want full lighting, but the best dance parties happen in very dim lighting. Your guests don’t want to dance when they think everyone is watching. Talk to your venue and coordinator or DJ about having full lighting during key moments, like toasts and the first dance, but then dimming or turning off the lights for the dance party. It makes a huge difference.

  1. Communicate Your Vision to Your Vendors

Take the time to explain your vision for the overall look and feel of your wedding with your vendors. Include photos of any specifics if you can. This will get you as close as possible to your dream wedding coming to life while you are busy getting ready and spending time with your family and wedding party. Also, let your vendors know about any special traditions, guest surprises, or anything out of the ordinary you are planning. This will help them be fully prepared to set up or capture the unique moments of your big day.

  1. Hire a day-of coordinator (separate than the venue)

Plan your brains out and then watch your stress melt away when you hand the reigns over to your coordinator a day or two before the big day. She has nothing but your best interest in mind. I met with my coordinator only twice before the wedding weekend and she made sure my complex wedding ran smoothly and to schedule. I got to thoroughly enjoy the day with nothing to worry about beyond if I was smiling :). Completely worth every penny. Tip: keep looking until you find someone who truly understands your vision. Shout out to Pam at Pam Zola Weddings.

Hope these 5 tips help you plan your big day for maximum success!






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