Mazel tov to you, new bride! You may have been waiting for this day for a long time, and finally it has arrived. Get ready for your entire world to change because with the word “yes,” the whirlwind of happy, excited energy has just begun. There are a million and one things to think about, and it’s impossible to know where to start. Here are a few helpful hints to organize your special day so it will be as stress-free as possible.
1. Buy a cute wedding notebook or daily planner type of book. Take it to all meetings and keep all your notes in it. Use it to hold business cards and informational papers. This way all your vendors’ information is in one place. Weddings get out of control, and somehow you will find yourself on email lists and will receive invitations to bridal expos. These can be helpful, provided you remember when to go and where they are. The key to the perfect wedding is being organized.
2. Try to be realistic. Is that somewhat possible? I know it’s your special day and you want everything perfect. Make a list of the most important aspects of your wedding and decide where you want the money to be spent.
3. Come up with two words to describe your wedding. For example: Elegant and Fun. Perhaps you want the ceremony to be elegant. When you speak to your rabbi and hazzan, this word will help them come up with meaningful ways to organize the ceremony. The word fun could be used to describe how you want the reception. Picking descriptive words will assist your vendors in helping you create your dream wedding.
4. Pick your ketubah. Check the Jewish stores in your area and also look at the many websites. If you plan way in advance, you can even create a ketubah using your own designs or photos. Make sure to talk to your rabbi and see exactly what kind of ketubah you need. For instance, some rabbis might ask you to find one that includes the Lieberman Clause. There are so many options, it helps to narrow down what you need from the start.
5. Consult your Jewish calendar when you plan your wedding. Many rabbis will not perform a wedding during Jewish holidays such as Sukkot and Shavuot or during the counting of the Omer. So before you pick the date, be sure to check the Jewish holidays.
6. Make it personal. So what does that mean? The best weddings have elements of your personality in them, so be creative. For example, if you are a world traveler, instead of having an arrangement of flowers where your seating cards are, use a globe. You don’t have to follow traditions that are not meaningful to you – it’s your special day to design what feels right.
7. Dance Classes. It is never too early to take a dance class for your wedding. Try Arthur Murray’s dance studio. The teachers are fantastic and they have a wide variety of group or individual classes. Dancing with your soon-to-be life partner is a window into working together and trusting one another in a unique way. Not only will it be fun, but you will be able to wow your guests with a fun first dance or some snazzy moves.
8. Ketubah signing. Most people sign their ketubah in a small room with a few family members and friends. Perhaps incorporate the signing into part of your ceremony and turn everyone attending your wedding into your witnesses.
9. Under the chuppah. One of the most meaningful and best ways to include all of your family and friends in your wedding ceremony is to face the crowd. Have the rabbi stand to the side of you so everyone can watch your emotions. Perhaps friends and family have come from all over the world to be at your wedding; allow them a front row view of your most intimate moments. Not only will you make the wedding more personal, but your photos will be even more magnificent.
10. Turn on the camera in your head.You will have spent months, maybe years, planning your special day, and it goes by in a whirlwind. Try to focus your mind and notice as much as you can. Pretend you have a video camera in your head and try to record the magic so you can replay it. Many people forgo a wedding video, and often it is a huge regret. See if your budget allows for someone to record your special day. If not, find a good friend who is talented with the camera, and ask him or her to record at least your ceremony.
11. Don’t start the ceremony until you have five minutes to yourself to focus and relax. It is your day and you are the boss. Give yourself a few minutes to concentrate and be able to enjoy the moment – it will be over before you know it. Make sure to drink in the energy and remember it, as all these people have come out to be with you. Feel the love that surrounds you, whether it is 10 people on a beach or a ballroom of people cheering you. Savor the magic and the love.
Your wedding day should be one of the most fantastic, beautiful, meaningful days of your life. If you don’t want the added expense of a wedding planner, then plan it yourself, but choose vendors you really trust so on the day of your wedding you can just let go and enjoy yourself. The truth is no one will ever know if the flower arrangements were not as perfect as you imagined. If the music was not as planned, it is doubtful that it will make a difference. Your guests are there to celebrate you and your love. So enjoy every single minute and have as much fun as possible!
Masada Siegel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org