The Five Essential To-Do's you Forgot to Put on Your Wedding Planning List

The Five Essential To-Do's you Forgot to Put on Your Wedding Planning List

Planning a wedding and feeling like you might be forgetting something? With all of the details that go into planning a wedding, it is almost guaranteed that something will slip through the cracks, especially if you're doing it all yourself! Today I wanted to share five things that I've found essential to a successful wedding day, and that most couples tend to overlook, and how to get them done!

Your Wedding is NOT a Competition. Period.

It's Wedding Wednesday! And time for another #TMETip!

This one is a core part of the TME philosophy.  Your wedding is NOT a competition. Period, point blank, end of story.

Weddings are fun, and weddings are pretty.  Weddings are a great opportunity for friends and family who haven't seen each other in years to get together and spend time reminiscing about old memories and making a few new ones.  Your wedding is a great place for you and your fiance to showcase who you are and tell your story.

One thing your wedding is not, and never should be, is a competition. Let me repeat that for the people in the back. Your wedding is NOT a competition. It's not about doing it better than your cousin or your sister or your co-worker's best friend. It's not about impressing your father's boss. It's not about outspending your neighbors. As a planner, I see a lot of couples get caught up in the "This will be the most amazing _____ they've ever seen! So and so will be so jealous!" It's not about that.  It's a wedding. It's about getting married, and love and family.

There is a popular wedding reality show, that happens to be filmed in New Jersey a LOT. I've been contacted to submit couples to this show- and I never have. I don't even ask my couples about their opinion of it. Why? Wouldn't it be great publicity? Maybe, but my couples' weddings are not about me.  And I do not like the premise of having brides compare themselves to each other. Especially not on a day that is already fraught with emotion and tensions about what other people think. I just can't get into the idea of people judging someone's day like that. If the guests had a good time, and the couple had a great time, then it was a success, no?  There is something fundamentally wrong, in my opinion, with a media outlet that encourages women to judge each other. That liminal moment of becoming "wife" is so important to the formation of a new family- and I think women need and deserve support from other women in the same space as opposed to judgement.

It is hard to escape the temptation to compare your wedding to others- but you have to resist it. For your own sanity. Social media is a great place to find inspiration and ideas (I'm looking at you Pinterest!) and it's a wonderful place to connect with people - but don't be so quick to grab likes, and re-pins that you forget the whole point.  It is not about what other people think- it is about you, your fiance and your love.  Remember, comparison is the thief of joy.  Do not stress over the must haves and have tos. Keep the love and the celebration in focus, and you'll be just fine.  If it works for you, go for it, and I give you complete permission to forget the naysayers.

'Til next time- Keep Celebrating!

Note: This post is a re-write of one I did back in January 2014. I liked it so much I edited it for you. Enjoy!

SERIES: 5 Causes of Wedding Planning Stress - Part 4

Welcome Back! We're on Part 4 of the secret causes of wedding planning stress. We've already been through expectations of perfection, not knowing what you really want, and dealing with everyone else's expectations. This one is a doozy, because it can blindside you. It can mess with the foundations of the entire REASON for this celebration! 

Fourth Major Stress Point: Ignoring Your Fiancé 

It’s really easy to get caught up in planning out your ideas for the wedding and ignore the fact that your other half has a say too, but that can only lead to one thing- a grumpy fiancé. Many couples experience an increased incidence of pre-marital spats as the planning progresses, and that can lead to all kinds of stress. Don’t let this cause you to second guess- your partner's probably just feeling a little lonely! It’s important to remember that the day is about *both* of you. If you're handling the bulk of the planning, you can tend to get giddy over teeny details… 

Instead of forgetting all about your fiance's input, ask what they think! Include them in all the major decisions- otherwise, they're liable to think you’re more interested in the wedding than in them! And of course that’s not true, but if you’re gushing more over the custom ribbon that just came in than you have over him lately- you can’t blame him!

If he has concerns regarding something wedding-related, hear him out. Listening is an important skill to cultivate for the future.

Set aside time for the two of you to be together sans wedding planning. Go out to dinner (or cook together if you’re budgeting), go for a walk, watch a movie and just be together. It will help you remember why you’re getting married in the first place!

SERIES: 5 Causes of Wedding Planning Stress- Part 1

SERIES: 5 Causes of Wedding Planning Stress- Part 1

We're starting a new blog series today, all about wedding planning stress. Even when you're the most even keeled person on the planet, planning a huge event can take it's toll on your sanity. Read on for stress relieving planning tips, starting with figuring out what you want!

Money Monday: Planning your Wedding Budget

Happy Monday!!

Today we're going to chat a bit about planning your wedding budget. Can you do this quickly and easily? Yes indeed you can! Below, I've listed a super basic breakdown of the items most commonly included in a wedding budget, and their associated percentages. Use this template to get your budget off to a fantastic start! 
Based on your priorities, you may spend more or less in each category, but usually you should expect to spend around these averages.

Almost half of your total budget will go to your reception costs- venue, food and beverage. The remainder is divided amongst all of your other wedding pros, photography, videography, florals and decor, entertainment, attire and music.

If you find that one of your pros doesn't quite fit these expectations you'll need to compromise and move money from one category to another. OR you can adjust your budget up to make room. Remember your budget is a living document- it can and should change as you get more information about what your vendors cost.

Looking for a spreadsheet template to use? Click here to download the TME Quick and Dirty Wedding Budget Template. Perfect for getting those ducks and dollars in a row the easy way!

tmeweddingbudget njweddingplanners

8 Ways to Infuse Culture into your Wedding Day

Multicultural weddings are our speciality - and in a state as diverse and rich in culture as NJ, almost every wedding is multicultural!  Today I’d love to tell you about my 8 favorite ways to infuse your global flair into your wedding day. 


The Food
My number one suggestion for adding culture to your wedding day is the food. This one’s a no brainer- make the menu follow one or both of your cultures.  Fusion cuisine is incredibly popular right now. If the cultural dishes clash a little too much, consider doing one culture for the cocktail hour and the other for dinner- or have one featured a the rehearsal dinner and the other for the reception. You can even have elements of each other’s cultures cuisines spread throughout your entire engagement period- have cultural food at the engagement party, the shower, the bachelor and bachelorette parties. Jazz it up and have fun with it- the food is one of the best and most memorable parts of any special event!

The Music  
This is another easy one.  Music adds great atmosphere and emotion to an event.  If your fiance is Caribbean, walk down the aisle to a steel drum band- if you’re hispanic, some Spanish inspired acoustic guitar for the cocktail hour, African drums for your grand introduction- You can add cultural music to your ceremony and to the reception- you can have as much or as little as you’d like- from one song, to an entire dance set.  

Speaking of dancing, that’s our number three!  So many cultures have traditional dances that are performed during weddings and other milestone celebrations. Do the hora, the tarantella or any other traditional folk dance.  Not only is it a ton of fun, it’s a great way to get both sides of the family involved and learning about each other’s backgrounds.  In fact you can have your families learn a traditional dance together- or bring in dance instructors for the reception to get your guests in on the action too! Sounds like a fun pre-wedding activity to me!  

The Decor
Here is one of my favorite thing about planning and designing multicultural weddings- they tend to be just GORGEOUS! Culture usually translates to color, texture and pattern, and your wedding day decor can totally pull that in.  If you’re having an interfaith ceremony, say, Hindu and Christian - you can still marry under a gorgeously decorated mandap. If you’re having a Jewish ceremony, talk to your florist about designing a chuppah with elements of other cultures infused. Your flowers can reflect lucky colors, your centerpieces can incorporate sacred symbolism, even your stationery - from the invitations down to the menu cards, can pull in a cultural motif. 

Your Dress
One of the easiest ways to bring in a cultural motif is through your big day attire.  So many cultures have traditional wedding costumes- they can be incorporated into either the ceremony or reception.  Maybe wear the Western style gown for the ceremony and then you can do a costume change for a special moment, and create a whole new feeling for part of the evening.  If you were ever looking for a reason to get that 2nd dress, this could be it!  You can do a costume change for a special dance, or ceremony- or you can have your parents dress in traditional attire and set the tone that way.  Or you could switch it- wear your traditional costume, be it a sari, a gele or obi, for the ceremony and switch into western style for the reception.  You can also rock traditional wear all night long.

Another way, is to find designers that incorporate a traditional feel into their western style gowns- perhaps one with an obi sash or dramatic sari-style draping.

The Ceremony
In current pop culture there tends to be a lot of glossing over of the ceremony (an idea of let’s get to the party!), but in my mind it’s VERY important (it’s the reason for the party after all!)  Some people don’t realize this, but you can customize the heck out of your wedding ceremony these days.  There are wonderfully talented officiants who specialize in creating and customizing ceremonies to your exact cultures, history and love story. This is awesome for multi and intercultural couples because you can have a ceremony that reflects where you came from AND where you are going, and make it just as fun as the rest of the celebration!  You can add ceremonies to the main ceremony- a celtic handfasting after the ring exchange, or jump the broom when it’s all over.  You can even add elements from other religions- breaking the glass if one of you is Jewish, crowns if one of you is orthodox christian, walking the 7 steps if one of you is Hindu.  
Ceremonies can also be added to other parts of the wedding celebration- a mendhi ceremony for the bride and her maids, a Chinese tea ceremony to honor your parents.

Another great way to bring in culture is through Entertainment - bring in dancers, musicians, performers, acrobats, anything that you think would pique the interest of your guests and agree with the culture you are emphasizing. Entertainment is an often overlooked part of weddings, but it really does well to fill in the slow moments that tend to happen between grand introductions and dinner being served.  

Other celebrations - when planning a multicultural wedding, don’t discount the other pre-wedding celebrations. You can add any of the previously mentioned aspects to all of the other festivities as well- the engagement party, the shower and other family gatherings.  

A few things to remember- first, this wedding and marriage is about both of you coming together to create something greater than either one of you separately.  Don’t forget to give equal billing to each other’s cultures, as it’s probably a big part of why you are together today.  
Second, American IS a culture!!  So if you’re feeling like maybe only the “ethnic” side of the equation is getting attention, speak up for your regional culture too (a love of New Orleans Jazz could lead to quite a unique ceremony or reception)!  You’re embarking on a great journey of love and excitement and compromise- enjoy it!