Mar 14, 2016

Wedding Q & A: Making the wedding day special & limiting stress

Today's wedding Q & A combines two questions asked by two different brides-to-be. They were similar questions, focused on decreasing stress with wedding planning and making the wedding day special, so it felt natural to combine them.  

Question 1: "I've been thinking a lot about how to make my wedding special, but not hectic. To celebrate with my loved ones, but not to put too many demands on them, and not make this event such a self-centered event. I'd like to know what married women think as they reflect back on their wedding day, what do they wish they would have invested more time/money on? What do they think was not significant?"

"I chose to enjoy my wedding day and celebrate our love with friends and family.  So I wasn't focused on "me" but rather on "we."   I suggest to look back at the weddings you've attended.  What stood out to you?  What, when looking back at them, do you realize really didn't matter at the end of the day?  Then approach your wedding with that perspective.  If you have fun and enjoy the day, your guests will too."
- Kimberly Bradley, married 7 years. Blogs at The Narrow Lens (

"We were so blessed in that a lot of the “big” things I wanted and couldn’t afford were gifted to us. I wish we would have invested more in our honeymoon than on the actual wedding since weddings are, in large part, for everyone else, but the honeymoon is just for the couple."
 - Anrita Elmore, married 22 years.,,

"The one thing I wish we had invested more money in was photography.  We hired students and regret it deeply!  I was a pretty low-maintenance bride, so I don’t think there was anything that was less significant than I made it...

I honestly had no problem making our wedding an “us-centered” event.  It’s pretty much the first and last time in a person’s life that that happens, so enjoy it!  Your family and friends are there to celebrate y’all and to support you in one of the biggest transitions of your life!  And if you’re concerned about making demands or having a hectic day, I think the best way to go about that is to KEEP it centered on the wedding itself, and you as a couple.  If you try and add too much more in to cater to all of your guests, it WILL get hectic.  Keep it simple and sweet.  Those are the weddings I’ve always loved best… simple, focused on the couple and God and the relationship among the three, not packed with too many “special” touches.  The classic wedding is truly beautiful.

One thing we did to make sure we got to spend a little bit of time with each guest was to forgo a receiving line and dismiss people from their pews row by row.  As they filed out, we could chat briefly, hug, etc, and then they were on their way to the reception.  It made for some really sweet, albeit brief, moments with the people we love, and took the pressure off us to make SURE we circulated enough at the reception. If your guests are up out of their seats, dancing and mingling, it’s tough to make sure you see everyone at least once!"
- Katie Hodge, married 6.5 years; blog:

"I tend to, um, try to do everything myself. I wanted to make sure I didn’t put too many tasks on the shoulders of my family… but in all honesty, I really just wanted everything done the way I wanted them done. It was a mistake. Not only did I totally stress myself out (the last few days before the wedding were a nightmare), but I pushed people away.

Asking for help is not self-centered- it’s a way to allow people to come and bless you. And they love it. They want to be involved. They care. Delegate, and then trust your family and friends to get it done. Maybe not the way you had planned, but that’s okay.

As far as making a wedding special- that goes back to the four things. Choose four important things about your wedding, and then don’t stress about the rest. I spent so much time trying to make everything perfect, but in the end, my favorite things about my wedding are things I didn’t plan for."
- Ally of The Speckled Goat Blog (; married 4 years

"I wish I had a videographer. Let me tell you, I was adamant I wouldn’t want one. But I wish I had taken the time to think through the types of photos I wanted & hired a videographer. Everything else is just extra. Don’t get caught up in the favors, or programs, or even the stationery…people want to have good food, a fun venue & everyone together!!"
- Alicia Murphy, married 4.5 years,

 I’m completely biased but do yourself and everyone you love a favor and hire a wedding coordinator, even if it’s just for the Day-Of. Think about your ideal wedding day – what do you envision? I bet it’s not a vision of you, your family, and your bridesmaids running around and making sure everything is exactly so, setting up tables and chairs and breaking them down again at the end of the night. You just have to trust me on this one!
- Mandy Billings, Owner/Head Coordinator of Timeless Wedding Designs

"I would say that this was exactly how I felt about our wedding, especially because our family and wedding party were from all over the states, and it would be so hard to ask them to spend money and quality time for just a day or two. I honestly felt like the solution we came up with was the best decision we could have ever made for our wedding day…We decided to rent a large vacation home for all of us to stay at for the whole week of the wedding, and to also hold the ceremony and reception at the home (with permission)! When you think about how much to rent a wedding venue is, hotel stays for each individual of your wedding party, yourselves, and your family, and transportation, you could spend that on a weeks vacation rental, no problem. We rented a 9,000 sq ft French Villa in Temecula, CA Wine Country, for a whole week, for $5000! The entire wedding party and our parents stayed there and we had a blast! We felt like it was a grand vacation, we were less stressed because we didn't have to go anywhere for planning, meeting vendors, or getting ready for the special day. We held our wedding there in the beautiful gardens at sunset, which was breathtaking, then we all didn't have to drive or be rushed out anywhere for the reception. We even had the guests back over the next day for brunch, so it was like we had two receptions. We had a wedding guest list of 75 people, and it was the perfect amount, we spent time with all the guests, and they all told us it was the best wedding they had attended because of the venue. I wouldn't have had it any other way, and that is the first thing I suggest to future brides I meet." 
- Jennifer Panehal- Pelayo, 11 years together with husband (5 years married). Blog:

2. What advice do you suggest to plan a wedding with little stress?

"Be flexible, always ask for help, and give yourself plenty of time. Planning your wedding can be really enjoyable and everyone's wedding experience will be different. My entire wedding was DIY and I worked on DIY projects my entire engagement. My wedding coordinator  was one of my closest friends.  I planned DIY parties where girlfriends came over and helped me. I asked every friend and family member I knew to pitch-in in some form or fashion. In the end, be flexible and know that not everything will be perfect. I initially wanted music as a part of our ceremony, but my wedding was outside, no where near electricity, and what we had planned ended up not working. That could have been a stressful situation, but I chose to let it go."
- Samantha Kakac blogs at

"If your venue does not provide a coordinator and you do not have the budget for a full on wedding planner, I suggest hiring one for JUST day-of services {which are significantly cheaper}. Having someone there to worry about who and what needs to go where and when, can reduce a lot of stress for you on the day of your wedding!"
- Justine @ Charm City Ciemny's, married 2 years.

"Planning a wedding with less stress... oh man. I've got tips for that. The most important thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. Remember why you're doing this, what the purpose is, and measure everything by that purpose. (See tons of my posts about wedding planning--"
- Ally blogs at  The Speckled Goat Blog (; married 4 years


Wanna catch up on previous Wedding/Engagement Q & A? Click HERE

And HERE are the posts on singleness from last month!


I love to hear your thoughts!

Elle Alice