I've been itching to post photos of the wedding but every time I get to sorting them out, I end up reminiscing and going through all of them and having to start from the beginning!
Now that I've shared some of my pre-wedding sentiments on the first post of the wedding series, here are some more practical tips (9, to be exact!) that I picked up during this season.
After deciding on a date and venue, the next most important thing you and your fiancè should discuss is budget. How much are you wiling to spend on the wedding and the reception? Will it be a big gathering on intimate affair? Different couples/families will have different set ups. So just make sure that you are all on the same page before you start booking your dream team lest you be left with a budget for 5 guests max. :p
I’d like to think I was a pretty chill bride-to-be. So chill, in fact, that my mom had to remind me that the wedding wasn’t going to plan itself. Haha! I think I had too much fun being someone’s fiancee that I totally forgot that my cramming powers wasn’t going to cut it this time. So my advice: work backwards.
Pull out a calendar (or a planner, or one of them free
printables on Pinterest) and mark the day of your wedding.
Then work backwards. Count one month back, and list down all the things
that should’ve been ticked off your list by then.
Then count another month back and do the same thing.
There are a lot of helpful wedding checklists available online to serve as your guide. Remember, 2 weeks before the wedding, the only thing you should be worrying about are random zits that decide to surface a few days before the big day. It happened to me. Cry.
Again, I think Pinterest is the best thing since sliced bread. Gone are the days of cutting out magazine clippings and saving them on a wedding scrapbook (although I am totally the type to do this). It’s so easy to go crazy finding pegs for your dream wedding. And what’s good is that there so many ideas out there to match your personality and your budget! So have fun and pin away!
But after a while you’re going to have to narrow this down to a specific theme or colour motif so make sure you don’t overdo the pinning.
I had to stop myself at some point because I was just confusing myself, my florist and my wedding coordinator. Haha! We eventually decided on a classic estate wedding theme. In my head, it was Meet Joe Black-meets-Sabrina-meets-My Best Friend's Wedding. #sigepushmoyangirl
It will also help to plan as if you were one of the guests. Go through the day in your head. Will it be a good idea to serve refreshments upon arrival? Or will be too close to cocktail hour? Are the bathrooms easy to access? Do you prepare umbrellas in case of rain or is there a shaded area you can quickly move the ceremony to?
Our wedding was quite a distance from those living in the north, so we had a cold towel service, cold beverages and some finger food waiting for them as they arrived. I'm thankful my team thought of this as we had to wait for the sun to go down a bit before starting.
While Pinterest is great for getting new ideas, make sure that you still make it your own. Don’t go copying EVERYTHING you see online.
Make sure your choices still reflect your personality as a couple.
I found so many cute rustic elements online, but BJ and I are really the more formal, black tie, evening gown kind. We both like being inconvenienced for the sake of making porma. Haha! So no matter how cute those mason jars were, we didn't want our wedding to be chopsuey. I had to stick with what went with the rest of our theme.
Collaborate and Compromise
I met some of the most creative and innovative individuals during the wedding planning. I know we all have this vision of the perfect wedding, but sometimes, your team will have better ideas that might not have occurred to you.
Take advantage of their creative genius by collaborating with them
instead of just dictating and insisting on what you want. Be open!
Be clear with what you want, but still be open to collaborating and compromising. (“Uhh, Ms. Nikki, parang hindi po bagay yung Drunk in Love for first dance…”)
Most of your entourage will genuinely want to help during the wedding period. Avail of this! Involve your friends in some of the preps. It makes it so much more fun as well! Face it, there’s only one YOU.
You don’t want to spread yourself too thin by trying to do
everything on your own. Delegate! But make sure to assign
the important ones to your more responsible friends. Haha!
BJ and I are so grateful to have such helpful and generous friends. In fact, two of our favorite couples even gave us their Excel sheets to serve as a guide on what to do/prioritize. It saved us a lot of time and money!
Another thing we're glad we spent on was an RSVP company called My Inviter. I discovered them through my friend Cesca Litton. Filipinos typically don't RSVP. We get the invitation and wait until the last minute to confirm attendance. OR, we confirm attendance, and decide last minute not to show up. OR, we decline the invitation and show up anyway leaving the host scrambling for where to put us.
RSVP's are a big deal especially for formal events, because every head/plate is paid for. If 15 guests fail to attend, multiply that by how much your caterer charges per plate, that's how much money is being thrown out the window. :( So basically, My Inviter does the following up for all the guests who failed to confirm attendance after a few weeks of being given the invitation. Yes, they will be kulit but they will be polite and formal. You can also monitor their progress in real time online. This is not a sponsored post! We just really got our money's worth with their service and would like to share it with you brides-to-be! :)
Pray and Pick
It took BJ and I a while to come up with our entourage. We prayed and made sure every one in the wedding party was important to us. Our principal sponsors are our Titos and Titas whose marriages, careers, or parenting styles are worth emulating.
We wanted Ninongs and Ninangs we could call for advice on raising
our kids, dealing with our spouse, guidance in our spiritual lives,
and all the other #adulting issues we might encounter.
Our bridesmaids, groomsmen, and secondary sponsors were friends/family who have seen us at our best and at our worst. We picked friends who we know will be with us as we journey through this new life. Don’t go throwing these positions away to random people just to fill up the list. If you only have two good friends you can think of, then just have two bridesmaids! Fewer but deeper friendships are better than a handful of acquaintances.
One of the most important processes BJ and I went through in preparation for our marriage was marriage counselling. Our pastor, Ptr. Gus Lising and his gorgeous wife Auntie Sally, met with BJ and me in the span of seven months, to talk about the joys and challenges of marriage.
We talked about God’s original design for marriage, sex, handling finances, handling arguments, enjoying each other and raising children.
BJ and I were able to avoid random arguments because of our learnings from these sessions.
I have been blessed with loving parents who best modelled what a successful marriage is. But even then, I discovered that there were many things I didn’t know about being a wife. Take those sessions seriously! Use the time before the wedding to talk to married women you look up to! Absorb and learn as much as you can. While every marriage is different, it won’t hurt to learn from those who have been down this road before.
One of my good friends, Shaina Magdayao, taught me how to savour special moments. “You have to pause to take it all in every once in a while.” She must have learned this from her many travels, but I found it most useful during my wedding day. One minute you’re on the make up chair having your hair and face done, and next thing you know, you’re walking out of the venue and into forever. Haaaay! So make sure despite all the chaos, you pause every once in a while, as if confronting a nice juicy bacon cheeseburger, and savour every bite. :)
Photos by Pat Dy
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."
If you’re currently planning your wedding, I hope you find these useful. :) If you’ve learned from your own wedding planning, feel free to share your thoughts below! I’d love to hear from you.