Skip To Content

    25 Wedding Planning Tips For Anyone Who Is Getting Married This Year

    Whether you love wedding planning, hate wedding planning, or are just kind of like "...Welp, I guess we're doing this" about the whole thing.

    by ,

    So you're engaged and planning a wedding! 🍾

    Loryn Brantz / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

    Congrats! Welcome! We're so glad you're here!

    Whether you love wedding planning, hate wedding planning, or are just kind of like "...Welp, I guess we're doing this" about the whole thing, you've come to the right place. Read on for the best tips/advice we've come across over the years, and that we're always shouting at our newly engaged friends/coworkers/strangers on the Internet.

    We hope this will inspire you and leave you feeling a little more confident as you enter The Year Of Your Wedding.

    1. Read The Art of Gathering.

    amazon.com

    It’s a great book in general (more on that here), but there’s also a ton of stuff in there that’s super relevant to wedding planning. We recommend it to all of our engaged (and non-engaged!) friends.

    Get it on Amazon for $19.04.

    2. Don't let other people tell you how to feel about wedding planning.

    BuzzFeed

    Depending on your friends/family/coworkers, you might be feeling pressure to be very excited about “the most! important! day! of your life!”...or you might be feeling pressure to downplay how goddamn excited you are to talk about FONTS for your INVITATIONS because AHHHH PRETTY PAPER! Or maybe you’re dealing with both! (People are cool!!!) Anyway, we're here to remind you that there’s no “right” way to feel about wedding planning, and it can be a huge relief to just own your feelings and be honest with people when they are pushing you to have a specific emotional reaction.

    3. Know this: A wedding isn’t! Just! A Party!

    Twitter: @hotpatooties

    A lot of people dismiss the emotional and financial realities of wedding planning by saying “it’s just a party.” But...it’s not just a party. It’s the forming a new family unit via a very public ritual that’s an intersection of class, social standing and expectations, gender roles, traditions, generational differences, taste, beauty, and the contemplation of one’s own mortality (at least for the parents of the couple). it's basically an emotional and logistical version of American Ninja Warrior, disguised as a party. And although “it’s just a party” often comes from a good "hey don't stress" place, it can also be used as a way of devaluing something that is historically feminine and telling women to relax (while still secretly expecting them to throw a perfect wedding).

    4. On that note, the "wedding tax" is both real and not real.

    BuzzFeed

    You can read more on that here: Here's What My Parents' 1974 Wedding Would Cost In 2017 Dollars. But the gist is that most wedding vendors and venues aren’t out to scam you; most are small business owners who are charging more for the increase in time, attention, and ~perfection~ that couples and their parents have come to expect.

    5. Get in the habit of referring to “guests” as “our friends and family.”

    BuzzFeed

    When you're planning a wedding, it's very easy to turn the people who care about you into an unknown mass of picky strangers with tons of terrible opinions and bizarre quirks, and then fret about what the “guests” or “people” will think of everything you do. So if you find yourself (or your partner or your parents) falling into that trap, it can be helpful to reframe the conversation. Who, specifically, are you really talking about here? Exactly WHOMST are these mythical guests who might be cold if you don’t offer them personalized blankets at your July wedding? NAME! NAMES!!!

    Bravo

    6. Don’t live and die by wedding trends.

    Twitter: @DancesWithTamis

    You don’t have to have get married under a pastel floral arch. Also, no one will die if you serve drinks out of mason jars because you like them. Let your own style dictate your wedding style! But if the trends inspire you, that's fine too!

    7. Focus on the things that matter.

    Rachel Miller / BuzzFeed

    And we don’t mean that in a condescending “It’s just really about you and your partner” way because, like, sure, but also, you're an adult who knows that people you care about your partner and also care about finding the perfect string lights at the best price! This is more to say that there are so many little things that might be nice to have — personalized cocktail napkins, REALLY cute bridal shower bingo (vs, like, Microsoft Word bridal shower bingo), pretty balloons at your welcome bbq — and it’s easy to go down astonishingly deep rabbit holes on every single one of them. And even if you enjoy this kind of thing, it's still very easy to burn yourself out researching the small stuff. So we strongly recommend starting with the bigger-impact things.

    8. Local wedding planning Facebook groups can be a great resource for finding vendors and venues, figuring out logistics, and discussing weather woes.

    BuzzFeed

    And if you're getting married someplace that is not your hometown, it might be worth joining two. For example, if you live in Houston but are getting married in Austin, “Brides of Houston” would be a good place to ask for suggestions on where to shop for a wedding gown, but “Brides of Austin” would be a better place to ask for suggestions for limo companies.

    9. Start reading A Practical Wedding — it’s smart and thoughtful and practical, and has a truly lovely community — and pick up the APW books while you're at it.

    apracticalwedding.com

    There's A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration ($13.60 on Amazon) and A Practical Wedding Planner: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating the Wedding You Want with the Budget You've Got (without Losing Your Mind in the Process) ($13.59 on Amazon). Both are great!

    10. Also: bookmark APW's Google Doc wedding planning spreadsheets/timelines, which are the best in the game!

    apracticalwedding.com

    We have looked at a lot of different wedding planners/apps/etc over the past eight years, and nothing beats the free APW ones, particularly the budget spreadsheet and the day-of timelines.

    11. Remember that you don’t have to DIY all the things...or any of the things!

    BuzzFeed

    Fun fact: making/doing things yourself is not morally superior to paying people to make/do things for you!

    Also, if you’re not naturally crafty, DIY can actually be pretty expensive and time-consuming. You will inevitably make mistakes and have to buy more materials, and you’ll likely spend more time/money than you think on practicing/redoing projects. (And then there's the possibility that you'll invest the time and money and hate the result, and just end up buying the thing anyway.) So basically: figure out what your time is worth, take the time to really price things out, and decide what you’re going to DIY accordingly.

    12. Know that it’s OK to skip any and all wedding events and traditions that don't feel right to you.

    BuzzFeed

    The long weekend/vacation bachelor party isn’t a requirement. Neither is having a bridal shower, drinking out of a dick straw, or wearing a white dress.

    13. Folks may try to push their feelings about families and weddings on you — e.g. "But your [abusive, hateful, absent] dad HAS to walk you down the aisle! It's your WEDDING!" They are wrong.

    NBC

    To quote the wonderful Captain Awkward, "You also do not owe people the performance of a happy upbringing or family life. You do not owe them a wedding that fits their idea of what a wedding should be, or a picture of what a family should be like at this moment. Your wedding does not exist to spackle over or heal the relationships in your family. You do not owe them face-saving lies or keeping secrets to preserve 'the mood.' You don’t owe anyone preservation of their mental picture of who your parents are and what they are like."

    14. A note on engagement photos: We get that they can feel kind of silly. (Like...*me*? Gazing into the distance in a sepia-toned field? Surrounded by *squints* vintage typewriters and empty picture frames and rescue puppies????) But! Here are a couple things to consider before you rule them out completely.

    Martin-dm / Getty Images

    A) They are often included as part of a photography package because it's an opportunity for you and your photographer to get to know each other for the wedding. (We'd actually argue that this is their primary purpose.)

    B) You don't have to put them on social media if you feel weird about them or don't like them. It's fine!

    C) The props have kind of gotten out of hand and you should feel free to skip them, but I will say — begrudgingly!!! — that having your picture taken is pretty difficult (especially if you're planning to come away with a lot of photos, which is typically the case these days) and having stuff to do or hold onto...helps. Like, a lot. So the props kind of serve a purpose, even if they look/feel kind of ridic.

    Ultimately, if you don't want to have engagement photos or can't afford them, don't! (It's your life!!!!) But learning the above things several years ago changed our opinion on engagement photos a bit.

    15. Get comfortable with the idea that it’s perfectly OK to have an uneven bridal party and/or to have bridesmen and groomsmaids.

    16. Use the “save” function on Instagram when you see wedding ideas/photos that you like.

    giphy.com

    And actually take it a step further and organize them to "collections" — it's super, super helpful.

    17. Set up a separate shared email address for you and your fiancé to use for all wedding-related things.

    foxadhd.com

    It makes it much easier to be organized and share the work of contacting vendors, and it allows you to unplug from wedding related things when you want to. (Also: if you so much as look at any website like The Kn*t, you’re going start getting a ton of marketing emails from wedding vendors/brands, so it’s nice to have them all go into a separate email account.) Bonus tip: you can use this shared email address for your shared bills, to log into your cable provider, etc.

    18. Don’t be afraid to buy things secondhand!

    Chantalrouthier / Getty Images

    I assure you, there are tons of couples who got married recently who have, like, 250 unused votive candles, and who would be thrilled if you took them off their hands.

    Related: remember that you can re-sell a lot of your decor and other wedding-y items after you’re married. You shouldn’t exactly bank on this, but it’s worthwhile to at least try selling it before you throw everything away.

    19. Remember that you don’t have to buy a new outfit (or get your hair and makeup done) for every wedding event.

    slothilda.com

    Like, wear the same dress for your engagement photos and shower! Wear something you already own to your rehearsal dinner! It’s literally fine!

    20. When budgeting for things like decor, favors, and DIY projects, be sure to account for the cost of shipping, which is often a lot higher than you’d expect.

    spongebob.com

    A lot of the things you’ll want/need — like fancy crepe papers, 150 teeny tiny jars, and custom stickers — simply don't exist on Amazon Prime, and instead come from websites that have the kind of old-school shipping costs and time-frames that most of us now blanch at. (Think: $12.95 and 7-10 business days.) So it's worth it to calculate how much shipping and tax are going to add to the total price.

    21. Related: don’t forget to budget for tax and gratuity on the big-ticket stuff.

    Loryn Brantz / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

    These fees will be mentioned in your contract as percentages, but it’s worth it to actually calculate what that'll mean in real dollars. For example, if your venue has a $5,000 food minimum and charges a 18% “service fee,” that’s another $900 you’ll need in your budget — but it’s weirdly easy to kind of skim past things like that when you’re just looking for the big, visible numbers and/or hate math.

    22. Shop! Sales!

    Loryn Brantz / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

    Paper goods like invitations and save-the-dates are often on sale during major holidays (like Black Friday and Memorial Day). So are a lot of great items that aren’t *explicitly* billed as bridal party gifts, but that would actually make great bridal party gifts. And non-bridal formal dresses (aka bridesmaid-looking dresses or ones for your rehearsal dinner) tend to go on sale after prom season (April-June).

    23. If people offer to help you with anything, believe them.

    Twitter: @murrman5

    So many people will be excited for you and genuinely want to be given a job to do. So trust that they mean it when they ask if there is anything they can do to help. Not only is it practical, it makes everything feel that much more personal and communal.

    25. And remember this: on your wedding day, you probably won't be thinking about all the things that aren't.

    NBC

    YMMV, but for many people, their wedding day is one of the most *present* days in their life. It's highly unlikely you'll be thinking about the people who aren't there, or the things that didn't end up coming together; you'll be thinking about what is real and in front of you in that moment. The thing that always comes to mind for me is the Don Draper quote, "This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened." It will shock you how much the things that didn't happen at your wedding never happened.

    Happy wedding planning!