This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust Bank. The opinions and text are all mine.
It seems hard to believe that I’ve been married 18 years. 18 years with the same person; 18 years of compromise, negotiation, annoying habits and a man who has seen me push a person out of my lady parts ( I made him keep his head DOWN THERE THE WHOLE TIME). 18 years of career changes, arguments about religion, dealing with the deaths of three of our parents and ultimately doing whatever it takes to keep building this life of ours together– as a team. We all know hindsight is 20/20, and yet if I could rewrite the past I’d do many things differently.
For starters I wouldn’t have been in such a rush to grow up- I would have basked in the glory of kid friendly pursuits more; I would’ve been extra silly and indulged in school girl crush worthy figures like New Kids on the Block. I would have savored more time playing cards and talking to my dad and I would’ve watched more movies in bed and stuffed my face with popcorn and gummy worms (as opposed to eating sensible apple slices). I would have appreciated every last second of days spent not worrying about the things adults have to contend with. But alas, that statement, youth is wasted on the young is so full of truth it seems almost criminal that kids don’t have the knowledge us adults do. If kids had that luxury, they could actually savor their childhood all the more.
And when it comes to my marriage, particularly the early years and that oh so important wedding planning, of course I have regrets and wish as a 43-year-old woman I could tell my then 25-year-old blushing bride-to-be which pitfalls to avoid, and of course that marriage is not a cookie cutter institution. Ultimately, happy endings and riding off into the sunset with a prince is relative to who and where you are in your life, emotionally, socially, financially and professionally– but if you are cognizant of certain key elements that could potentially derail your marriage, well you’re more likely to stick with it and dare I say it- be happy! That being said, if I had to choose a few things I’d change if I could do it ALL OVER AGAIN, there are just a few things I wish I could do differently (and blushing brides-to-be laminate this list and keep it close to your heart– learn from my mistakes!)
Ultimately every day of your marriage- which INCLUDES that all important Wedding Day should be a sunny day and should be spent enjoying all the moments that matter most to you. When it comes to our weddings we should all be planning for sunny days, happiness and peace. With that in mind– if you are ready to begin planning your wedding day– or you are knee deep in the process keep reading for some of my best advice about getting through your wedding planning process especially when it pertains to things I could have done differently on my wedding day that could have saved me money.
#1 I’d have an intimate party and only invite people who felt incredibly special to me. My husband and I felt this obligation to invite many people who we only knew peripherally, because, it was the right thing to do, never mind the fact that there are tons of pictures in our wedding album of virtual strangers. So what would I tell my younger self? To take tradition and convention and stick it where the sun don’t shine.
#2 Pair down the Flowers and Centerpieces: Neither of these need to be works of art or made from the rarest flowers. In other words, don’t put a massive part of your wedding budget into either of these expenditures. The truth is- your guests are more interested in the food and music and of course in you- and tea candles or even DIY centerpieces that you and your husband can jointly create ( which doubles as quality time for the two of you) are your best bets.
#3 Avoid expensive appetizers during cocktail hour. Sure a sushi bar is great– but at a wedding there is such an over-abundance of food and drink that it is unnecessary to splurge on overly expensive items when you can fill a cocktail hour with finger foods that will equally satiate your guests ( like dumplings and chicken skewers) and won’t hurt your bank account.
#4 Skip the six piece band and opt for a DJ. The bottom line is that most bands- no matter how great they are are pricey and ultimately play a watered down version of the songs your guests really want to hear at your wedding. Hire a DJ, for less money, and you’ll get the songs STRAIGHT from your favorite celebrities minus the hefty price tag!
#5 Avoid Top Shelf Liquor. It’s great if you have unlimited funds and you can afford a bartender who will serve guests from a bottomless bottle of top shelf liquor. However, since most of us are planning a wedding on a budget my advice is to keep choices limited and stick with generic brands. Guests will drink WHATEVER IS THERE and will be happy with the buzz regardless- and it will save you and your groom some much needed coin. Believe me in a year from your sunny wedding day- your bank account will thank you!
#6 Write your own vows. I look back on my wedding and while I loved the religious aspect of it– I wish I would have included some personal elements to the ceremony, namely I wish I would have written my own vows. There are so many things I would have liked to say to my husband as we took that monumental leap of faith, and I would’ve liked to say those words out loud in front of others who could bear witness to our love.
#7 Try and be really present and honest in every decision you make when it comes to your wedding as so many of those decisions have informed the foundation of my relationship with my husband. Most importantly remember to fight fair, to give up on the trivial things, savor the good stuff, laugh more and don’t take it all so seriously. It’s JUST A WEDDING. Remember no one’s wedding is perfection so just strive for happy not perfect!
Bottom line: We should all be planning for our sunny wedding days. Everyone deserves the financial confidence and control to plan and enjoy the wedding of their choosing and all the moments that matter most to them.
What does your sunny wedding day look like? Begin planning yours at yoursunnyday.com
At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you. They know we all live for the sunny days and want to you help you live yours.