10 Wedding Planning New Year's Resolutions for Every Bride

As you enter a new year of wedding planning, here are a few promises you should make to yourself.
Dancing at wedding reception
Photo by Robin Proctor Photography

1. I will not do anything... before the guest list.

It's not the most fun part of planning (and we'll be honest, it's one of the most likely to lead to a fight or two or twelve), but you shouldn't make any wed-day decisions before you have your wedding guest list somewhat firmly in place. Why, you ask? Well, do you want to have a nonrefundable deposit down on that cozy restaurant room that fits 75 when your mother-in-law's additions bump your list up over 200? Exactly. Once everyone's in agreement, then you can move forward. That said, this means that one of the parts of your wedding you can plan immediately (or at least talk over with your fiance) is what kind of atmosphere you'd like for your wedding. Do you want an intimate, close friends and family-only affair, or do you want to throw the event of the season for 300-plus people? Later, when you're in the guest-list trenches, this bit of planning will help back up your gut instinct about whether to say yes (or no) to guest-list additions.

2. I will not end up on YouTube for the wrong reason.

Adorable processional dance? Totally acceptable path to stardom. Bridezilla freak-out on the florist who delivers hyacinths instead of hydrangeas? Not so much. On your wedding day, all eyes (and camera phones) will be on you, meaning your every move is subject to instant Internet infamy. Mind your manners and keep your panic attacks quiet to avoid the wrong kind of publicity. But that video of your dad doing the worm during your father-daughter dance? Internet gold.

3. I will not realize that grape isn't my color -- with two months to go.

You should feel free to rethink, redo, and revamp any element of your wedding that you want -- unless you've accepted a ring from it (just kidding). This doesn't have to mean yet another huge investment or reneging on a bunch of contracts -- you'll be surprised how easy it is to make simple additions or subtractions and change your whole style. Already ordered those pastel bridesmaid dresses? Think about adding a bold sash or accessorizing with chandelier earrings to liven them up a bit.Unsure about the color scheme you chose? Pay an extra visit to your florist and work out changes to your bouquets and centerpieces -- adding new blooms in all of your arrangements will introduce a new color throughout the room. Same thing if you've already ordered the linens -- spice them up with bright table runners or overlays. If you decide you really can't live with it, chances are you can go back on your first choice -- just remember that it will have a cost. A good rule of thumb is that if you've already signed a contract or seen a proof, you will have to pay extra for any changes or additions you make. But if it's still relatively early in your planning process, don't be afraid to make the change. Remember, you're getting married to your husband, not your centerpieces.

4. I will not use my Facebook status as a personal wedding journal.

Okay, we know you're excited about planning your wedding, but that girl from your college history class couldn't care less that you finally booked a reception band (not to mention understand that passive-aggressive comment about the best man). We're not saying the everyday details aren't interesting -- we'd just recommend a different platform. Instead of overloading your Twitter feed with wedding details, create a wedding-planning blog for those who want to keep tabs on the ups and downs.

5. I will trust my vendors.

Before you start micromanaging every decision your wedding planner makes, remember one thing: You're paying them for a reason. Consider their experience and expertise an opportunity for you to relax. They want you to love the result (after all, your recommendation hinges on it!), so they're going to strive to please. And wouldn't you rather help someone who trusts your abilities rather than second-guesses everything you do? There's no harm in giving a good amount of direction at the outset, but asking for daily progress reports is overkill.

6. I will not feel guilty about having an adults-only wedding.

Whether you're worried about babies crying during the ceremony or just can't afford to seat entire families for dinner, it's your decision whether or not you want to invite the little ones. As long as you're consistent about this rule (no exceptions for your closest friends!) and upfront in your invitations and on your wedding website, you shouldn't feel bad if you have to tactfully put the kibosh on your second cousin who tries to RSVP for her toddler triplets.

7. I will attempt (at least a little) DIY.

Even the least crafty bride can undoubtedly personalize a few details of her wedding, and the bragging rights -- not to mention the savings -- will be well worth the effort. Try your hand at creating your favors or ceremony programs. If those tasks seem to daunting, keep it simple: Put your excellent penmanship to use and write out the escort cards, or make your own welcome bags for out-of-town guests with maps of the area and a few local goodies.

8. I will acknowledge that some people might not want to be the "guest book attendant".

You can't put all your friends in the wedding party, but there are usually a few people left over that you still want to honor...so you create "special" jobs, like cake servers and guest book attendants. Our advice: Unless your guest book is especially complicated, an attendant probably isn't necessary. Honorary jobs are still jobs, and chances are, they'll have a much better time if you just let them enjoy the party rather than having them stand guard by the guest book.

9. I will actually eat the dinner at my reception. (That includes cake!)

Make sure you take time with your new husband to really enjoy the party you worked so hard to plan. If you spend your whole wedding day directing the photographer and making sure the bridal party makes their entrance on cue, you'll be missing out on a lot of amazing memories. Even if you don't hire a day-of wedding coordinator, put a trusted relative or bridesmaid in charge of making sure things go smoothly on the big day.

10. I will look on the bright side -- no matter what.

Did your outdoor ceremony get rained out? Instead of panicking, throw on some cute rain boots, grab a big umbrella, and start posing for some adorable rainy-day photographs. The DJ played the wrong song for your bridal party's entrance? Chances are no one else noticed. After months of obsessing over the details, it's easy to get lost in them. Loosen up, keep in mind what's important (you're getting married!), and we promise that, even if the caterer serves twice-baked potatoes instead of mashed, it'll all be great in the end.