How to Not Go Crazy When Wedding Planning

Posted in Life| 4 comments

Wedding planning is nuts. Wedding planning when you’re a graphic designer: slightly more nuts. I’m the type of person that obsesses over every design detail – color palette, typography, texture, pattern… the list goes on. Luckily, I knew I was going to reel all the crazy in because, you know, budget. Budgets are a very real thing, and it’s really easy to blow them out of the water when planning a wedding. I did a ton of research when planning to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything, so, for you researching, visual types, here are my tips.

Wedding Moodboard
1. First things first, make a styleboard.

Well, you know, after you get engaged. After Brad and I got engaged (like, the day after) I made a styleboard that had the vibe we had envisioned for the big day. I knew a lot of this was going to be impossible, but darnit, I’m a crafty lady with crafty friends and I was going to try to have it all. I sourced images from my secret Pinterest board (shhh) and a smattering of wedding blogs, including Green Wedding Shoes. I knew I wanted a really graphic wedding with bold pattern and fun colors. Brad knew he didn’t care as long as there wasn’t “too much pink.”

My styleboard is up above. Note I have florals, venue inspiration, a color palette idea, and lots and lots of texture. A styleboard will help you see how all the things you like work together (and if they work together). Replace photos until you feel like everything looks badass together and you’re totally in love. And don’t worry, this isn’t set in stone! My color palette shifted quite a bit as planning went on.

Wedding Signage by Yeti & the Beast, Chairs by Junipter Rentals Emily Holt with Beauty and the Blush
2. Start finding your vendors.

Finding vendors is half the battle. General order of finding these should go something like:

  1. Venue (you need your date to book anyone else!)
  2. Photographer
  3. Florist
  4. Caterer
  5. Hair + Makeup
  6. Caaaaaake
  7. Rentals

We only looked at one venue (and knew it was the one immediately – such clean lines) and the caterer was baked in. Be wary of those kinds of deals and be sure you know all of the details! Our caterer gave us lots of heartache and headaches the week of the actual wedding.

The best advice I can give you is that it’s worth working with vendors that you would be friends with in real life! We loved everyone else we worked with. I want to hang out with them all of the time, and would if I could! They’re all listed here, and I can’t recommend them enough.

Oh, and that styleboard? Send it to your potential vendors! I sent ours to the photographer, florist, cake gal, stylist, and rental company. It gave them a feeling for who we were as a couple and the look we were hoping to achieve with our wedding! This is a great way to make sure you work with people who fit naturally into your wedding theme & vibe.

Swiss Dot Wedding Dress & Mint Shoes A Rose in Bloom wedding bouquet with Billy Balls
3. Set internal deadlines for yourself.

Figure out what you’re making yourself, and give yourself a deadline. Trust me, you don’t want to be painting 30 terra cotta pots the week of your wedding. I ended up having a girl’s night a few months before to do exactly that! We drank yummy drinks, had some treats, and painted to our heart’s content. It’s so much more fun to have your friends be a part of your planning. Plus, the ladies got to take their own pots with succulents in them home after the wedding!

Cakewalk Bakeshop dessert bar with A Rose in Bloom Florals Cakewalk Bakeshop Mini Cupcakes
4. Lists. Lots of them.

The day of our wedding, I had so many lists floating around (with my day-of-coordinator – which is worth the investment). Vendor contact info, floor layout, timeline, item list, task list… We didn’t have money to pay folks to set everything up for us, so our groomsmen, bridesmaids, and ushers helped out SO much. I’m so thankful everyone was so amazing. To make sure everything got done, we made a task list that said what needed to be done, who was doing it, and what they needed in order to do it. That way our day-of-coordinator knew what she needed to do to keep things moving, and Brad and I didn’t have to answer a bunch of questions during the hustle and bustle.

I also had an item list that said what needed to return from the venue and who it was leaving with. Remember, you’re not there during teardown, so if you want those framed photos of you and your fiancé back, someone needs to know to grab them!

Not a fan of making lists? It may be worth it for you to invest in a wedding planner. Seriously, they save so many folks from so many headaches!

Brad and Emily Holt at their Trinity River Audubon Center Wedding Trinity River Audubon Center Wedding
5. Remember what you’re here for.

Don’t lose sight of what all of this is for. In the end, you’re marrying the person you love. It doesn’t really matter if the napkins match your invitations. The actual wedding day is going to go by so quickly for the two of you. Some of my favorite advice I was given from a married girlfriend was to make sure we both took a few moments throughout the day to stop, breathe, and soak in everything around us. My clearest memory of the day was in the moments right before my brother came back to walk me down the aisle. I cleared my head and really thought about what Brad and I were about to do!

Oh, and go ahead and accept something will go awry. It happens, and chances are, no one is going to notice but the two of you. At our wedding it started raining right when the ceremony started. I was so caught up in all the emotions that I barely noticed, but the photos are kind of amazing. Our officiant (a good friend) cut out a couple things to make sure our guests didn’t get soaked, and everyone was still happy and cheerful!

Sunglasses Bar from Juniper Rentals Trinity River Audubon Wedding, Great Hall A Rose in Bloom and Yeti & the Beast Table Settings
6. Don’t skimp on the photographer.

Remember how I just mentioned how quickly the day will go for the two of you? There are definitely places to save money on a wedding. The photographer should not be one of them. I didn’t see 80% of the things in these photos on the day of the wedding. As a bride, you’re tucked away in a room (getting pampered, of course), but you don’t get to see all the details come into fruition. I didn’t even know the sunglasses table got set up! Seriously, you won’t get to see a lot of the experience and even the moments you’re there for, you’re not going to remember. This is a big day. Invest in a great photographer!

Wedding Party at Trinity River Audubon Center Mint Bridesmaid dresses with Mustard Shoes Groomsmen with Suspenders Groomsman with Succulent and Billy Ball Boutonniere
7. Surround yourself with people you love.

Politics have no place in a wedding. Don’t pick your wedding party based on who will be angry if they aren’t a part of it. You’re going to want to be in a warm, cozy cocoon of happiness and joy on this day! Surround yourself with your favorite people. Bonus points if they’ve seen you and your fiancé grow together and love you both.

Wedding at Trinity River Audubon Center, Butteryfly Garden PB&J Unity Sandwich Wedding at Trinity River Audubon Center, Butteryfly Garden
8. Make your wedding YOUR wedding.

Don’t feel like you have to follow all the traditions. This about the two of you as a couple. Brad and I are not your super lovey-dovey couple in public, so we wanted to make sure our ceremony had lots of humorous moments to make us feel like it was really for us. Instead of a unity candle, we had a unity PB&J sandwich. Before we kissed, Brad took his 365 photo. Our vows were serious and ridiculous all at once (I had to promise not to solve every problem with a potted plant). It was perfectly us, and yours should be perfectly you.

Sparkler Exit from Wedding

What do you think? Any advice to add for the lovelies still in the planning stages?

photographer: apryl ann photography // venue: trinity river audubon center // cake + cupcakes: cakewalk bakeshop // florist: a rose in bloom // hair & makeup: beauty and the blush // chevron bar and chair rental: juniper rentals // way-finding signage: yeti & the beast // photo booth: photo wagon

4 comments

Balloon Letter Love | The Dandelion Patch Says:

Posted on August 22, 2016 at 10:01 am

[…] Featured Below: Emily Holt […]

Emily Says:

Posted on June 5, 2016 at 12:01 am

Thanks, Jennifer! I'm glad you found it useful! Good luck helping plan your daughter's wedding – I hope it's a blast for everyone. :)

Jennifer Says:

Posted on June 3, 2016 at 6:06 pm

Hi Emily, I'm a fellow graphic/web designer and came across your website... beautiful work, beautifully written words. And, btw, thanks for this blog piece on wedding planning and how not to go crazy while doing it! I needed to read it, take note and pass it along to my daughter who is getting married in 2017. Best to you in your career and marriage, Jennifer

2015 in Review | Aimless Wonderers Says:

Posted on January 17, 2016 at 10:10 pm

[…] Month-by-month breakdown… January – We went to Disneyland for the first time ever! Spenser began his 3-month funemployment after getting laid off. February – Zoe was diagnosed with cancer, so that was a pretty big downer that hung over our heads for most of the year. March – travelled to Dallas for our friends’ beautiful wedding! […]

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