Written by Hailey Diane Williams
After a year and a half of dating, “IT” happened. I was engaged! As exciting as this time was for me, I had no idea of the stress that would fill my life in a matter of months. As a planner, I did not foresee me being a bride, that at the last moment would be nothing but nerves, but boy was I wrong because I was all nerves. As our procession was in line, I thought I was going to faint. It was not just that moment that pushed me to the lightheadedness, but everything that built to that exact time.
In order to really appreciate my haywire nerves and near complex, I will start from the beginning. My husband, Tyler, proposed to me on March 11, 2013, and we were married on August 3, 2013. For those of you who just did the math in your head, yes, that is less than five months to plan an entire wedding and reception meal. At the time, I thought it would be just enough time to plan the perfect Tennessee outdoor wedding, and with the help of some of the best women I know, it was. With each success story, is usually a backstory that, often times, does not get told. However, to understand the importance I place on having a wedding planner as a planner, I will share my stressful backstory that led up to a beautiful and perfect wedding.
Less than five months, and a less than extravagant wedding budget can leave you feeling desperate. I first began searching for the perfect location and assigning friends to the wedding party. After almost two months of searching, I found the perfect location for my wedding and reception, the Inn at Evins Mill. After a meeting with the owner and some of the staff, I knew that it was the perfect fit for my budget and wedding dreams. I chose to do an all-inclusive wedding, with the inn providing everything at my disposal. From meal, to set-up, to night-of accommodations, it had all been taken care of. The all-inclusive choice, something I had previously under appreciated, now became the only way to my timely wedding day bliss.
Our wedding party was what we in the event industry considers relatively small, three bridesmaids, three groomsmen, one junior bridesmaid and a ring-bearer. We wanted a small and intimate feel, but it was all we could do to recruit our party. With my fiancée in Indiana, my sister living in Mexico, a bridesmaid in Washington D.C., and groomsmen in Kentucky, we were all so spread out that it became a major stressor. Fortunately, I had decided on mix-match dresses in mint, and they all looked fabulous, but it was certainly a lot to handle.
With being a Do-It-Yourself bride comes a lot of responsibilities. I did almost every aspect of my wedding myself. I made all of the floral arrangements, centerpieces, bouquets, accessories, and decorations. It took months to complete, but it saved my parents a lot of money. As a planner and bride, I would like to offer some advice and hopefully some comforting news. The comfort comes with knowing that even wedding planners get stressed about planning and executing their own weddings. We are not immune to the stress, bridesmaid drama, family spats, or unwanted advice from the in-laws.
So, here is my advice to all the current brides.
- HIRE a wedding planner. Trust me, no matter how much you can do by yourself, you will want some help. Even if you only want a month of planner, they will be invaluable to you.
- PLAN accordingly to your budget. Often times I am asked about my budget and how I managed to have a four course meal and outdoor ceremony for a reasonable price, my answer is planning. If you look at the season deals vendors offer, you can usually save yourself some money.
- RELY on those closest to you to help out. I think this is where I went wrong. I depended on myself to do so much, but I never stopped to ask for help from those around me. Your planner, your family, and your friends all want to be a part of your big day, so give them a task and let them relieve some of that built up stress.
- FLOW with the punches. If your junior bridesmaid dress never arrives, and the family has to go find a dress the day before the wedding, that is okay. Sometimes, especially as a planner, we are thrown into situations that we cannot control, so just be flexible and everything will turn out beautifully.
- REMEMBER what the big day is all about. At the end of the night, when I was throwing my bouquet and sending off sky lanterns with all of my closest friends and family, I was reminded of just how special my big day was. It was not because the entree was amazing or that I held it together during my vows, but it was simply a celebration of love and commitment that Tyler and I made in the presence of our honored guests.
From one bride to another I can honestly say that wedding planners understand your stress. They have designed many weddings and are indispensable to your big day. Even as a planner, without Kelly and Susan of Decadent Details at my side before I walked down the aisle, I might have given into that moment of faintness. I could not have enjoyed my Vintage Shabby Chic wedding without some of the key players behind the scene, because a wedding takes more than a bride with a plan.
Pictures provided by Haily Daine Williams