10 Things I Learned Planning My Wedding

Anne McAuley Lopez
4 min readMar 13, 2016

Planning a wedding is one of the most stressful life events, but it doesn’t have to be.

As a 42 year old first time bride, I wanted to keep the wedding as simple as possible. We selected a small, intimate venue where we could visit with guests and keep them engaged in the fun. We chose not to have a wedding party. My stepsons stood up for us and acted as ring bearers. All in all, I’d say our simple setup allowed us to focus on celebrating with our guests. It was a fun evening!

Here’s what I learned from planning my wedding:

  1. Focus on the marriage. The wedding is just one day. My friend told me this just after I got engaged, and that’s where my now-husband and I focused our attention. Seating charts and table linens don’t matter as much when you’re more focused on each other and the life you’re building together.
  2. Be respectful. Family traditions and personal preferences are topics of great discussion in the wedding planning process. Choose what’s important to you. We did not want an In Memoriam table. Instead we recognized my mother, who passed away 20 years ago, when my father and I danced to the song my mother and her father danced to at my parent’s wedding.
  3. You aren’t going to please everyone. Even if you did everything anyone asked, there would still be people who aren’t pleased — so don’t even try. Create a special day that suits you and your fiancé. The people who truly love you will commend you for creating a day that is uniquely yours.
  4. Don’t overthink. There are multiple decisions to be made regarding your wedding but try not to overthink them. From the dress to the invitations, you will make many decisions about details that no one else will really notice. I eagerly told my friends that the flowers on my dress were central to the selection of centerpieces, flowers, cake decoration, and collaborative artwork. No one noticed. Frankly by the time the wedding happened, I wasn’t focused on whether or not the flowers matched each other.
  5. Schedule wedding-related activities including the big day. We had a six-month engagement so each detail had to be tightly scheduled. From getting a wedding dress and finding a venue to setting the timeline for family photos on the wedding day, we kept everything on a schedule. I think it saved our sanity to see that each task could be completed in plenty of time. Once the wedding weekend came, we consistently ran about an hour ahead of schedule and never felt rushed. Our discipline to staying on schedule allowed us to get our romantic sunset photos; our must-have wedding detail.
  6. Select an all-inclusive venue. We didn’t want to search around for our various vendors, so an all-inclusive venue was the way to go. Make sure you understand what is actually included before signing the contract, or you could end up with a bill at the end of your big day. Flowers, cake, DJ, photographer, caterer, and bartender were all included for our wedding; all we did was stock the bar.
  7. Confirm everything. We met with vendors months in advance to choose colors and designs, but I didn’t realize we had to confirm with them prior to the wedding day. Oops! Thankfully the vendors reached out to us to request confirmations. We ended up changing table linen colors a week before the wedding (at no extra charge), and confirmed our original requests with the florist and baker.
  8. Let people help. Even with a simple wedding at an all-inclusive venue, there were still tasks we needed to be delegated like dropping off the alcohol, keeping the wedding dress out of the groom’s sight, and getting me to the venue. We took friends and family up on their offers and got everything done.
  9. Schedule in quiet time. Once the relatives start arriving, it’s going to be a crazed frenzy of parties and wedding details. Take a deep breath. You and your betrothed need quiet time as a couple-and alone-before and during the big day. Make sure that’s part of your schedule. It will help you stay focused on what’s most important: the two of you.
  10. Pick your battles. Every detail is not the most important detail. Getting photos at the right time with the right people was most important to us. We also wanted good music at the reception. To meet our goal, we made sure photos started on time, sent 60 songs to the DJ including special requests, and gave the florist carte blanche to create centerpieces. We were glad we make the most important decisions first because eventually, we came to a point where we just couldn’t make another decision!

I am only getting married once so it had to be special. We are relieved that it didn’t break the bank or stress us to the point of not enjoying our wedding. Ultimately, it was a great experience because we did what felt right for us and left the rest to our trusted vendors, family, and friends.

McAuley Lopez Wedding Vendors

Antique Wedding House (Michele)

LIA Photography Sophia Floral Design Graceful Cakes

Direct Sounds DJs (Jeff)

Studio Lilley (Tiffiny)

Goof Booth Photo Booths

Originally published at http://www.mcauleymusings.com on March 13, 2016.



Anne McAuley Lopez

Anne McAuley Lopez is an Author, Content Writer for marketing agencies, and Cancer Warrior. She loves dogs, wine, and fighting for what is right.