Wedding Planning: Checklist & Managing Stress!

Last year shortly after becoming engaged, I thought to myself, “I’m not going to be a crazy bride and stress myself out.” For the most part, that held true. However, the beginning of wedding planning felt overwhelming at times because we had also recently purchased our first home and began renovating shortly after. We picked locations for our ceremony and venue rather quickly, and were grateful for the smoothness of the process. Once that was done, we checked off the next big vendors – photographer, videographer, DJ, limos and florist {most of which came from family recommendations}. Checking these big “To-Dos” off the list felt good!

Next up was the engagement party planning and asking our friends and family to be included in our bridal party.  Our engagement party turned out perfect! It was such a fun day and I was able to incorporate my bridesmaids’ gifts into the party. I was able to use almost all of my engagement party decor for my wedding, which turned out to be a huge time and money saver.

After the engagement party, planning slowed down a bit. I found my wedding dress, secured an awesome make-up artist and picked out bridesmaids dresses. The bridesmaid dresses were harder to decide on than my own dress because I wanted the dress to be affordable, yet flattering.

At this point (February) I felt like wedding planning was cruising. I had put together a detailed To-Do checklist (download at bottom of post!) and eventually created a binder of wedding essentials. In April, we completed our Pre-Cana course for our wedding ceremony. By June, I knew I needed to start focusing more. I found my shoes, finalized our guest list and picked a suit for the groomsmen. I also picked our invitations – enter stress!

(Sidebar: Looking back, these are the things that I could have checked-off my list earlier:)

  1. Invitations
  2. Picked a hair stylist
  3. Finalized ceremony readings and music
  4. Finalized the DJ checklist
  5. Ordered Wedding Bands
  6. My Wedding Day Jewelry
  7. Order Favors

A lot of unexpected details went into the invitations. There are SO many options and styles to choose from. I ordered 6 samples from Etsy to figure out which style fit best with the theme I envisioned for the wedding. Proofreading the invitation itself seemed stressful, but thankfully I had family and friends to help me out, which resulted in many laughs in the process. Along with proofreading my invitation, I also had to proof read and edit the mailing addresses.

After many hours revising and perfecting the invitation, I loved the sample I chose. Unfortunately, the vendor changed the listing I purchased on Etsy and was not clear in communicating the change in the product. When the invitations arrived in August, they were not what I had expected, leading to a minor freak out and a few many tears.  Ultimately, I realized that if I ignored the sample they were still beautiful invitations {I actually received a lot of compliments}. I also needed to send the invitations out ASAP, so ordering new ones wasn’t a great option.

By mid-August the stress started setting in and it didn’t seem to be going anywhere. The invitation debacle threw wedding planning slightly off-course. I started to feel like I had so much left to do. By the end of the month, I wasn’t sleeping well and some daily activities that led to frustration even made me cry! I really committed to having 2-3 weeks before the wedding to relax. To do so, I buckled down and stuck to my To-Do list. I was able to get back on track, so by the end of September I was just about where I wanted to be with planning. The finish line was in the distance!

Overall, I actually didn’t think wedding planning was too stressful, but I did hit a few bumps in the road along the way. Towards the end, there were moments that certainly tested my patience. I’d wake up thinking about chipping away at my To-Do checklist.  I eventually made it through that rough period of time with 2-3 easy pre-wedding weeks, as planned! I have my checklist to thank for that. Organization is key in preventing wedding stress. I think having a plan and making daily goals are helpful in keeping wedding planning manageable.  It is important to remember to take a break when you need to and step back to soak it all in. It is such a special time in life that makes you appreciate and be grateful for all of your blessings. Try not to wish the time away! Go for a walk, get a mani/pedi, have a glass of wine or take a mental health day from work if you need to de-stress…happiness is key!

Download Checklist PDF: My Wedding Checklist

xo Miss Alyss

Gift Guide: Will You Be My Bridesmaid?

Asking the most special ladies in your life to be part of your “bride tribe” is so exciting, but it can also be stressful. I wanted to ask each of them with a special gift. I did not start any of my wedding planning immediately after getting engaged. I decided to wait a few months to soak in the goodness of our engagement before getting caught up in the wedding plans. My delayed start resulted in my bridesmaids’ gifts to arriving later than planned, but luckily before our engagement party. I didn’t want to go too crazy with gifts, so I decided on personalized wine glasses, nail polish and a sweet card.  Our engagement party was hosted at a wine and beer bar, so the wine glasses were the perfect gift. Both the wine glasses and cards were purchased on Etsy. Some of my girls had a good hunch they would be a bridemaid and others did not. It was so special to surprise them and ask them to be part of my wedding day. Nothing better than happy tears!

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The wine glasses and flower girl tumbler were by Weddings By Leann on Etsy in colors midnight and copper metallic. I also ordered a matching “Future Mrs.” and “One Lucky Mr.” wine and beer glass set for Mike and I to use the day of our engagement party. The seller was very responsive via Etsy messages which helped me to make sure the fonts and colors of each item were coordinated. The glasses arrived in 3-4 weeks and were wrapped so perfectly! Lots of bubble wrap, so all arrived in perfect condition. It’s been 8 months and mine is still perfect. I use it all the time, but only wash it by hand.

I ordered “Will You Be My Bridesmaid?” cards from The Lion and The Lark on Etsy as well. This seller was also very responsive via Etsy messages which helped me to order a matching flower girl card. This order was an instant download which I had printed at Staples.

With each glass I gave the girls a nail polish. The bridemaids got Essie Sole Mate (a perfect plum shade for fall) and my flower girl got a confetti polish by China Glaze.

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Photo by Annie Harris Photography