10 Tips For Brides: What I Learned From Planning Our Wedding

Pronovias Wedding Dress

Pronovias Wedding Dress

Pronovias Wedding Dress

Pronovias Wedding Dress

Korean Han Bok Wedding

Korean Wedding Shoes

Lean Girls Club Wedding

NYC Wedding Lean Girls Club

NYC Wedding Lean Girls Club

NYC Wedding Lean Girls Club

NYC Wedding Lean Girls Club

NYC Wedding Cake

Solange Wedding Photo

Four months ago today, I married my best friend. When Mike and I got engaged last year, we knew that we didn’t want a big wedding. And no matter what, we knew we wanted it to reflect us as a couple and our beautiful city, NYC.

I’d planned many of my friends’ weddings and even start an event planning business with Nerd In The City for a while. Planning your own wedding comes with its own stresses. I wasn’t your typical bride that labored over every detail. However, it didn’t mean that I didn’t stress. Planning a wedding doesn’t have to be stressful. Today I’m sharing what I learned during the process of planning my own wedding. Whether you’re a bride or not, we can all apply these tips in our lives.

1. Change and transitions are difficult.
Don’t let anyone tell you that getting married isn’t scary. Also, admitting that you’re scared doesn’t mean you’re unsure of your partner. Any one who tells you those lies neither understands the magnitude of the commitment you are about to make nor do they have to live life in YOUR shoes.

Our bodies don’t like change. We like to stay in our warm, fuzzy, cocoons. Change forces the body, mind, and spirit to leave something comfortable and enter into a new, unknown space called transition. Transition is f*cking uncomfortable!!! But it’s how you know that what’s on the other side is amazing and worth having. Anything that comes easy is not worth having.

It’s the same with fitness. Eating and drinking are quite pleasurable, until one day you realize you’re 10 pounds heavier. Fitness, health come with price. We have to constantly force our bodies into uncomfortable (not painful) states in order for our bodies to change.

2. The Power of Three.
Only three things can be important to both you and your groom. No one has the mental bandwidth to deal with more than three things at a time and it’s mathematically impossible for everything to be #1.

Make a list of the top three things that are important to you when it comes to your wedding. And have your groom make a list of three things that are important to him. Hopefully there’s some overlap in the three. If not, take the #1 thing that’s important to you, the #1 things that’s important to him, and one you choose together. That’s how you’ll know what to focus on and what to spend money on.

Our top 3: Food, Drinks, and Venue.

3. You cannot do everything and you cannot be everywhere.
With my crazy job and work schedule, I found myself lacking inspiration and burnt out. Planning became another “job” and only stressed me out seeing the growing list of things I had to do.

One of my greatest flaws is that I think I can do it all because I have a tendency to think that I can do things better. By holding on to everything and trying to do everything alone, you’re setting yourself up for failure and withholding opportunities to experience love. Your friends and family want to help. There’s strength, and success, in numbers!

Accept help. Ask for it. And then let them be.

4. There’s always room for compromise.
When it came to wedding planning, I didn’t have to compromise much with Mike. We either agreed on most things, or he just let me do what I wanted 🙂

The person I had to compromise most with was my mom. At the start of wedding planning, my mom and I argued constantly. We fought every time the wedding came up. Through tears and frustration, I confided in my matron-of-honor Kara who gave me the best piece of advice:

“Remember that just as much as you’ve dreamed of this day since you were a little girl, so has your mom. She’s been waiting for this just as long as you have.”

So I wore the veil I refused to wear and it didn’t kill me for the 30 minutes I did. I asked my mom for her opinion and included her in the decision making process, which diffused many of our arguments. I allowed her to order the traditional Korean dress, the han bok and I’m so glad I did. She ordered a modern version of the dress and it looked amazing in photos…it also ended up being more comfortable for dancing.

5. There are no rules. In fact, break them.
When it comes to your wedding, you don’t HAVE to do anything. Tradition is what you allow it to be.

We didn’t have a cake topper. We didn’t throw the bouquet. We had both BBQ and kim chi, infusing a little Korean into our soul food. My bridesmaids didn’t wear bridesmaid dresses.

6. There is no such thing as perfection.
You will not lose 15 pounds before the big day (and if you did, did you keep it off? If so, good for you!), the day will go not as planned so be flexible with your timeline, something WILL go missing,

Perfection doesn’t exist. The more you try to achieve it, the more you will be disappointed and miss out on the amazing things in front of you.

7. You can always find it cheaper.
You don’t have to break the bank when it comes to weddings. I was able to find everything I wanted for less.

The Dress: Pronovias Mildred Dress (similar HERE)
Original Price: $2,200
We Paid: $1,200
How: I found a never-worn version from a small boutique in Maine on eBay

The Flowers
Average Price: $2500
We Paid: $900
How: I ordered all the flowers from Global Rose. My friends made the bouquets and center pieces, and I ordered all the corsages/boutineers.

The Food/Drinks
Average Price for 100 people: $15,000
We Paid: $7,200
How: Rather than a traditional three-course plated meal, we had Dinosaur BBQ cater our wedding. It was THE BEST decision we made when it came to our vendors.

For drinks, we ordered in bulk from Forager’s who delivered the drinks already chilled.

Cake
Average Price: $400-$500
We Paid: $290
How: I asked a co-worker’s wife who makes AMAZING cakes for our display cake and served sheet cake from Costco.

The best way to get a deal and the best service, is to support small businesses and your friends who own small businesses.

8. Do not plan anything for the day-after.
Months prior to the wedding, I signed up for the Queens 10k so I could qualify for the 2017 NYC Marathon. I knew I would be tired, but I didn’t think running a 10k would be a big deal.

Friends, do not plan anything for the day after your wedding. You’ll be more tired than you ever imagined and it’s a disservice to your new spouse. Enjoy the day sleeping in and head to a boozy brunch with your family. There are always more races but you never get this time back.

9. Eyelash extensions should be every bride’s “something new.”
They make your eyes pop and give you the right amount of glamour. They allow you to cry without smudging your eye makeup. And they don’t look like spiders unlike some falsies.

10. Capture your favorite moments.
On our wedding day, I didn’t take a single photo on my phone. I barely touched my cell phone, which is a big feat considering that my iphone is usually glued to my hand. I lived in the moment and made sure to capture some great memories to be stored only for me.

We had the most amazing photographers, but none of the pictures do justice to what I saw and felt that day. I won’t ever forget how my mom tied the bow on my Korean dress with such care, or how wide my dad smiled when we danced (because if he didn’t he would have made us both cry), or the look on my brother’s face when he saw his sister in her wedding dress, how close Mike held me during our first dance and sang in my ear, or how it felt like God was present in the flesh during our ceremony. Everything else in those moments is a blur. Donald Trump could have been on fire screaming profanities next to me and I would not have known!

Remember to stop and capture the moments that remind you that your life is worth living. It’s not something that can be shared on Instagram but rather in your soul.

So now, on to the best part…being married! Do you have any tips for brides, or a newlywed?

Photo Credits: Nick Urtega & Gina Palermo

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  • linda

    Congrats, Grace! You were a beautiful bride and the wedding photos are stunning!

    • @lindaadamsny:disqus- thanks so much for the kind words. I still can’t believe it happened but it was quite magical. Thank you as always for reading!