You’re engaged! Congratulations, your journey to the aisle has just begun! A lot of careful planning goes into creating a dream wedding. Beyond the essentials, is a world of little details not found in your average guide. I’ve gathered seven – “I wish I knew” moments from my own wedding – to help your celebration go smoothly before, during and after your big day. For more “just engaged” guidance as you start planning, dive into our wedding planning checklist for essential tips and tricks.
1. Cover Your Bling
Now that you’re sporting some serious sparkle 💍 it’s time to think about safeguarding it. However, it’s not as easy as simply adding your engagement ring to your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. You’ll need to purchase a separate rider otherwise, a loss or theft claim might affect your entire policy which could be costly. Alternatively, consider purchasing dedicated jewelry insurance. Either way, check the fine print to make sure you are covered in all scenarios including loss, damage or theft, and that you fully understand the nuances of your policy coverage.
2. Your Back Story
Just like the wedding dress silhouette, neckline, and waistline, the back (and type of back) of your dress is one of the most significant parts of its style. Your back is also likely the first view most guests see when you’re walking down the aisle. So, think about your dress with the back in mind and in turn, how much skin you want to show, the length of your veil, and even whether it might be better to wear your hair up or down. Looking for dress inspiration?
3. Register It
Creating your registry – here are 15 to choose from – is just the start of the adventure! Once you’ve curated your wishlist, the real work begins! Be sure to start early so that you can include your registry on your wedding website and/or send out a link to it on the mailing of your Save the Date. Consider registering for more gifts than you have wedding guests: a total of 2-3 gifts per guest as a good rule of thumb – and in a variety of price points. Double check the return policy for any duplicates, how often your gifts will ship out (consider using shipping pauses – especially if gifts are being delivered over your honeymoon), what the best shipping address is (reminder: some stores will not ship to PO Boxes – I learned that the hard way), and also what their completion program is. Keep in mind, your thank you’s should go out as quickly as possible and no later than 3 months after the wedding itself.
4. Petals with Purpose
Let’s face it, flowers are a huge part of the décor of a wedding and many of my brides ask me what will happen to the flowers afterwards. Thankfully, there are several easy ways to give back after your Big Day. If you get married in a church for example, ask to leave the ceremony flowers for congregants to enjoy during Sunday service. For the reception florals, instead of throwing those pretty petals into the trash, why not make the choice to donate them to a great cause? There are a number of organizations nationwide such as Repeat Roses who will pick up your flowers and donate them to healthcare facilities or shelters on your behalf. If you have a local one in mind, work with your florist to coordinate the donation of your flowers post reception.
5. Sweet Alternatives
I get it, not everyone loves cake but the whole cake cutting moment is a wonderful tradition – even if done privately. If you want a nod to tradition, but don’t want to eat cake, then considering ‘faking’ it. Many cakeries offer look-a-like cakes with a real tier for cutting and fake tiers above. Fake cakes are also great alternatives for summer weddings where you know your cake will be exposed to the heat for a while. Have your cake and eat it, too, by cutting into your real tier while the caterers cut into sheet cake in the kitchen. No one will be any the wiser 😉!
6. Give Yourself Some Credit
I’m often asked if one credit card is better than another for payments made during your wedding. If you’re selecting a new card for wedding payments, consider what your priorities are and how you want to use the card so that you can assess what the tradeoffs are between perks and annual fees. For example, will you pay off the card each month? If so, you can potentially tradeoff a higher interest rate for more benefits. If you will accumulate interest, then looking for a card with low APR rate is best. Do you want cash back or would you prefer points that can be traded in for travel, etc.? Nerd Wallet offers some good insight and comparison between popular credit cards available today.
7. Let’s Get Fiscal!
Staying on the topic of money, if you’re legally married as of December 31 of the tax year, the IRS considers you to be married for the full year (we were married on December 14). However, newlyweds don’t always need to file a joint tax return. While filing jointly can often add financial benefits, that’s not always the case. Check out the IRS tax checklist here, and make an appointment to consult with a tax account to review the benefits of filing both separately and jointly to see what saves you the most money.
Bottom line, you can never plan too much for your big day. While these wedding planning tips may not appear on traditional wedding planning checklists, they are just as important to ensuring your day goes off without a hitch. We pride ourselves in making your journey to the aisle and beyond a smooth one. Drop us a line or give us a call to talk more about planning your big day!