October 29, 2009

One Swan a Swimmin'...on Bee TV!


Hey all!

Join me for some fun conversation as I make my Bee TV debut next Monday evening at 7PM EST! With a few months of newlywed-dom under my belt, I'll definitely try to share some insights with you about life after the wedding. Also I may even whip out some dancing, but I can't make any promises :) I'm excited to "see" you all on Monday!

October 5, 2009

The Streamlined Bride

As I said before, my biggest piece of advice is to make sure that you have fun during your wedding.

I spent a lot of time looking like this during our reception:

BUT I feel like it took a lot of work on my part to make sure I was that way. I think it's because I really took a scalpel to our wedding and really tried to capture the essence of what we wanted it to be.

Whether you're at the beginning, middle or end of your wedding planning experience, there is often one word that keeps rearing in the back of your brain (or at least it did in mine). That word is: MORE. I need to do more. This wedding NEEDS MORE! I'm gonna let you know that you don't need more. You'll be just fine.

When Mr. Swan and I set out to plan the wedding, we were in agreement that we were just going to include things that were important to us. When contemplating the things that were important, we knew we wanted to make the process as easy as possible. We're simple people at heart with a clean, modern style anyway, so it wasn't going to be too hard. Also with all of the traveling I did over the first seven months of the year including a work trip TWO days before the wedding (thanks, boss!), I knew that I couldn't really mentally and physically (at least with my hands) devote a certain amount of energy to planning. That's why in the end, I called myself "The Streamlined Bride." Sometimes I think my approach may have made my wedding less "interesting" or cool, but I can safely say that I had a relatively stress-free planning process and that to me that was worth lower cool points.

How did I cut to the chase during our planning process? Here was my plan:

1. Do it early and often :) - This is pretty simple and common wedding planning advice, but if you can get a wedding task out of the way earlier in the planning, then do it. By tackling tasks early on, it really allows you to see whether various elements are really necessary at the tail end of planning. I think having an overall vision and having the determination to sticking to that vision as best you can will help ease your process in the long run.

2. Know you can't have it all - I assure you that I would love to have had certain items as part of our wedding. Let's take a lovely letterpress invitation suite as an example. Instead of having that we had one piece invitation with a small insert. It made putting together our invitations a lot easier. We could have DIY'ed something pretty special, but y'all know me (see below). There were just things we couldn't afford, realized that we could not fit in, or just plain didn't want it. My early realization that I wasn't going to be able to have it all made me really focus on the elements we were going to incorporate and to try to find a way to make them even better.

3. Less participants - As some of you may have noticed or remember, I had no wedding party. I know this is not an option for everyone, but it definitely eased the coordination aspects of the day. I'm sure I come off as cold on this one, but I incorporated my friends and family in other ways during our wedding.

4. No DIY - Writing that felt like I was blaspheming Weddingbee, but for me it actually reduced my stress. I've already said that being crafty is not one of my traits. If wedding planning has taught me anything, it's that you have to be true to yourself. If you're not a crafter, then don't become one for the sake of the wedding if it will cause you to lose time and energy that you can spend focusing on something else. As a friend would say, "DO YOU!". Your wedding can still be personal and special if you don't have handmade items. At the same time, if you've got the time and energy and it will help your budget, by all means whip out the craft paper and make a run to the flower market.

5. Research, research, research - Researching things beforehand allowed me to know the universe of what I was dealing with in terms of vendors, wedding goods, etc. By knowing what I wanted when tackling a portion of the to-do list, I was focused with my time. With the exception of venue and dress shopping (okay and maybe our photographer), I really pared down my vendor interviews and kept my other wedding related trips to the bare minimum because I did the research beforehand.

6. Just because someone else does it doesn't mean you have to - I'm talking about wedding traditions here. We actually only had one person ask us why we didn't have a bouquet toss, and it was a single dude (um..really?! Did you want my bouquet?)! Again another personal call, but if you don't want certain wedding reception traditions, don't have them or pick and choose which ones will actually enhance your day.

7. Extra stuff you think you need - We didn't have toasting flutes, a special cake knife, no special bride hoodie, or favors (Again, I know this last option may not be for everyone). It's okay not to have these items too you don't want them, have the time to look for them or they just don't fit into your budget. My budget noticed that these things were missing, but I don't think anyone else did.

8. Delegate to the professionals - We were of the mind that if you can afford it, sometimes it's just okay to have the professionals do it for you. Our venue and lovely coordinator had everything under control that day. If you can't afford that route in your planning, rally your willing family and friends. At the same time, don't feel like you didn't keep it real because you paid someone to do it for you whatever it may be.

So that's my little commentary on trying to de-stress and streamline your planning process. It's not for everybody, but I hope it helps to see that sometimes less can be more in wedding planning.

Are there any things that you're doing to make your wedding process a little less hectic?