Broke-Ass Category: Wedding Advice

3/17

organized wedding

Raise your hand if you’re a disorganized hot mess most of the time … yep, me too! Now where are my Type A friends who get anxiety when someone even touches something on your desk? There’s news for you, too. No matter where you fall on the messy-organized spectrum, putting together an orderly, executable system for wedding day set up is going to save you a lot of anxiety while you get all pretty (Is everything there? Are they doing it right?). It’s also a huge kindness to the people working their tails off so your day looks perfect.

Whether it’s a backyard gathering for 20 or a ballroom gala for 200, you probably have some feelings on how you want your wedding to look. When other people — whether they’re friends and family or hired event staff — are doing the set-up without proper guidance, you’re forcing them to make decisions for themselves. By setting up a detailed plan of action that your set-up crew can see beforehand, you take the guesswork out of it, giving everyone some peace of mind.

Don’t expect people to read your mind.

You may think everything is perfectly obvious, but that unlabeled box of personal photos and candlesticks was supposed to be divided among the guest tables, yet Aunt Jane assumed they were supposed to go on the shelf in the entryway. Your box of extra, in-case-of-emergency candles got mistaken for desired decor, so your cousin just kind of stuck them wherever he thought would look good. They’re both reasonable assumptions, but it’s not what you wanted.

So how do you deal?

Make diagrams and either print them out or email them to the people helping. The easiest way to do this is set up a mock-up somewhere in your home and take a picture. If there are items you’re renting and don’t have stashed around your home pre-wedding, grab a stand-in item and make a note that (for example) the water glass will actually be the 9-inch cylinder vase at the venue. This way, everyone knows what your plan is.

Separate items by table, not by decoration type.

This is a foolproof way of making sure things go where they need to go, especially if your tables will have different decor. Rather than putting all of the candle holders in one box and hoping for the best, put three candleholders in a box with the respective candles, the two photos of you and your partner at 3 years old, the #3 card, a holder for the card, and, if you have them with you, the linens and centerpiece vase. Label that box (visible from the outside) Table 3 and repeat as necessary. Separate other decorations like the buffet tables, desert table, sign-in table. Not only does this make it less confusing, it saves precious time and you’ll ensure all the things for each table are present and accounted for.

Assign people to take home you items at tear-down.

True Story: My husband of well over a year and I bought a plain white puzzle for our guestbook. I have not seen this since I lovingly admired a few of the messages at our wedding reception. I have no idea who took it home or what box it could be in. Learn from my mistake! Since it’s unlikely you’ll be doing the packing up yourself, have a list of what needs to go home with someone and ask specific people to be in charge of it. This way you know that Uncle Jim loaded all of the table decor into his Suburban; Mom has the gifts and cards; your best friend grabbed your bouquet and all the flowers … you get the picture. Of course, make sure that these people live relatively close so you can coordinate to pick things up after the wedding.

Make clear what was rented and needs to be returned.

Renting items can get pricey. The last thing you want it to get hit with a replacement fee after the wedding. Since the people helping tear down may not be the same people who helped you set up, make sure there’s a list of rental items so everyone there can easily identify what goes home with you and what gets returned. If you’ve rented from multiple businesses, separate the lists and make note of what will be picked up and what needs to be taken back personally.

Providing all of your helpers with a plan takes less work than you think. Simply knowing how you’re going to pack your boxes can be less stressful than cramming things in arbitrarily and trying to figure out what else will fit. Plus, in all honesty, people will love you for it. The less stress you put on people before your wedding, the happier they are once the whole shindig kicks off.

If that level of organization isn’t your game, find someone who color-coordinates their closet or alphabetizes their book shelf. Organized people usually love to help other people get organized, so it’s a win-win. Knowing where to find your precious memories in the days after your wedding will be well worth it!

Do you have any other organization tips? Let us know in the comments below!

  • 2/17

    Finding the love of your life and taking that next big step towards forever is a blissful time of your life, but what happens when someone you love has life experiences that are giving them a broken heart?

    caring for friends

    Whether it’s the ending of a relationship, loss of a loved one, money, job or health troubles, certain struggles can zap the celebration spirit right out of a person, even if they love you dearly and share your joy. It’s ok to feel disappointment and to go on with your excitement, but taking the time to specially care for your loved one in their time of need can make the situation better for everyone involved.

    Remember their pain is not your fault.

    You didn’t cause the pain your friend is feeling, and even though it can feel unfair to go one with your happiness while someone you love is hurting, it’s really not. They almost certainly don’t feel it is, either. Being sensitive to their needs can help dissolve any potential bitterness and may even give you a needed break from all of the weddingland craziness.

    Let them set the pace.

    Everyone reacts to tragedy differently, so don’t be shy about asking how involved they want to be and make sure they know they can change their minds. Assuming someone doesn’t want to be involved in fun trips like outfit shopping (or, in my case, anything followed by the word “tasting“) can hurt more than it helps. Extend the invitation, but be gracious if the answer is no.

    Set aside time just for them.

    This is just a good practice in general, but loved ones going through a rough patch or all-out heartbreak really deserve the extra attention. Help out by taking care of a need — whether a daunting chore or a fun night out — and focus your energy on them, rather than wedding plans.

    Show up for the big things.

    The mean curveballs life can throw often come with life-altering events that are an excellent opportunity to show your support: medical treatments, funerals, an unexpected move … stopping your day to be there may sound like a given, but it goes a long way to someone in need of that support.

    Honor their requests for discretion.

    When you’re going through a time of personal trouble, one of the hardest things can be to keep positive while well-meaning outsiders ask questions. If your brother is going through a divorce or your best friend lost her job, they may not want to share the details with the people they meet through parties and get-togethers that sometimes accompany an engagement. Unless they ask you to pass on their regrets to others, keep the bad news within their circle and allow them to put on a happy face if that’s what works best for them.

    Be mindful of money troubles and help where you can.

    This is especially true for people in the wedding party. It’s no secret that being a part of the wedding can rack up some serious dollar signs, so whether their expendable cash is simply lacking or their money troubles are rooted in outside trouble, look for ways to keep costs down. Besides, choosing budget friendly options for wedding attire and party destinations never hurts!

    Be prepared to let them off the hook.

    It’s never easy to back out of a commitment, so if it gets to that point, understand they’re likely as disappointed as you are. Give them time to heal and look for other fun ways to bond and celebrate the special relationship you have. Being flexible lets them know how important they are to you and spending time together is a good reminder for you that even though times might be difficult for them, they still care about you and your happiness.

    Have you run into a sticky situation while planning your wedding? Need some advice on how to handle it? Let us know in the comments below!

  • 2/3

    MadHatterPartyBox Camp Bubbles Party Favors Etsy

    Camping Bubbles Party Favor, starts at $1.35 each from Etsy seller MadHatterPartyBox Decorating your wedding is a big job on its own, but reader Kacey came to us looking for some Broke-Ass advice on how to make 60 rustic camp cabins feel a little more like home for her wedding guests. She writes: Dear BAB, I want to say we're soul sisters but don't want…

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    1/31

    Real Bride Ciji's DIY Project

    My Pinterest board is filled to the brim with ideas. I've considered everything from building an altar from used pallet boards to growing my own rose garden and assembling the bridal bouquet. It's time for an intervention! I've known for years, well before I was officially engaged that I would be a "do it yourself" bride. Not just because of the cost savings but also…

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    1/30

    20170127_203120

    Free notebook from Cornell Catering I love shows and conventions; there is always swag, raffles, and free snacks. All things right up my alley. Good news my fellow brides and bros, bridal shows are huge and plentiful. Now, I’m essentially done planning my wedding, but I still like going to shows for inspiration and a few last minute vendors I need. Here are some tips…

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  • 1/20

    DSC_0058

    If the new year brought you a new big step in your relationship, congratulations! We're so happy to have you! As you jump into the world of wedding planning, know that it's totally normal and very much ok to be feeling a little ... overwhelmed about where to start, to say the least. If your head is feeling like a giant cloud full of tulle…

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    10/28

    dinosaur centerpieces

    Weddings -- planning them, paying for them, putting them on -- are kind of an ordeal. Even the simplest of soirees can have a lot of moving parts and when those parts get to rolling, the unsolicited advice starts coming in. Seriously: death, taxes, unsolicited wedding advice. Plenty of people out there have already explained that it's important not to take these opinions (or thinly veiled…

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    10/18

    Real Bride Ciji's Paperless Post Save the Date announcement

    Some ladies dream of the perfect wedding dress, others dream of the Prince(ess) Charming that will meet them at the end of the aisle and many dream of the minute that they will say "I do." Before I joined the sorority of engaged ladies, I too dreamed of the above but the most pressing dream and the images that keep me up at night are the…

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  • 10/14

    Cash Wallet by BlackArrowStudio

    Cash Wallet, $56 by Etsy seller BlackArrowStudio I've been wracking my brain to come up with some truly epic wedding advice for you, BABs. This being my last advice post for The Broke-Ass Bride for the moment, I'm feeling some (self-imposed) pressure to get it right! ? I hope you enjoy it, and remember that you can always reply in the comments or email BAB directly…

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