We have a truly beautiful lady kicking off JPE’s new blog series, Wives Tales.
Introducing Cheryl Balding …
Stunning right? And check out her husband Ty … Handsome devil I tell ya!
We asked Cheryl to share a bit about her wedding planning experience and here is what she had to say …
How long was your engagement / wedding planning process?
I got engaged in May 2013 and our wedding wasn’t until the following October 2014. I always knew I wanted a fall wedding and due to the fact that I was in school for another year, the decision to wait to have our wedding until the following year was a very easy one. I enjoyed having over a year to plan for a few reasons:
1) I could take advantage of Fall sales/trends from the previous year.
2) It gave me time to really do my research and make good planning and budget decisions.
3) Our schedules at the time were far too busy to try to cram it all in, so I could go at my own pace all throughout, easing everyone’s stress.
Not to say that you can’t plan a wedding in a shorter time, it just was best for us to take more time.
What was the most challenging part of your wedding planning process?
The most challenging part of the process was definitely working with the “unknown”. I hadn’t been to many weddings and not many of my friends are married so I felt a little in the dark as to what to do, when to do it and all the details that no one really thinks about in planning such an event. That’s where my wedding planner really saved my sanity! Who else knows all the answers to how to plan a wedding than a professional wedding planner?! My good friend was also in the planning process at the same time as me, so we would always help each other out. It made it fun to have a few close friends to work things out with, and bounce ideas off of.
The other challenging part of planning was determining the guest list. We knew we wanted a small wedding and our venue was small which put a definitely cap on numbers. Distant friends and family, and plus one’s really made it difficult to make cuts. It should be understood that the whole world cannot be invited to your wedding. I hope more people respected this. It’s never personal, just a matter of circumstance.
How did you deal with conflicting views from friends / family?
Ty (my now husband) and I were really lucky with our families throughout the wedding process. I have heard some stories about unfortunate circumstances, but we got through ours pretty smoothly. He is from a split family that both re-married so it was a small challenge working with two full families from his side. I have a single mother and a small family so my side was quite simple. If there was any sort of friction, it was easy to talk it out, try to compromise and usually there was an understanding. 90% of our guest list lived at a distance, so the hardest part (perhaps in a good way), was having everyone coming into town at the same time and everyone wanting to spend time with us the few days before the wedding! It was a bit of an oversight in the scheduling which made it difficult and we had to spread ourselves thin visiting with friends and family that we hadn’t seen in a while. We solved this problem by hosting an open-house brunch after the wedding so we could all visit with each other.
A wedding is an expensive endeavor. How and where did you cut costs? Do you regret cutting in the areas you did?
According to popular advice, we discussed our priorities and where we wanted to splurge. We did that. Our splurges were: venue (including food and beverage), music and photography. Everything else we tried to do with a more frugal mindset. It seemed to work really well for us. We also over estimated our food and beverage costs so we wouldn’t get the dreaded surprise bar bill post wedding and worked that into our budget as well. I don’t regret anything about how we worked our budget. Our splurges paid off and no one could have guessed our cutbacks. Having time on our side helped us save money by being patient for sales and sourcing pre-used items (cue wedding planner who always have inside hook-ups), deciding what DIY projects were worth it, and most importantly, recruiting the help of friends and family that have helpful skills. Never feel bad for this – they understand and more than happy to help you do whatever it takes for your big day!
What was your reasoning for hiring a day-of wedding coordinator?
It was a natural occurrence of events to hire a wedding coordinator. At first, I knew I needed help, but I didn’t think I needed a wedding coordinator. To be honest, I thought there was a stigma in hiring a coordinator – there must be “affluent funds” going into this wedding and that was just not our style. Ironically, hiring a wedding coordinator saved us money, TONS of time and above all, STRESS and that is priceless. In hindsight, hiring a wedding coordinator paid off three-fold. It’s a tough sell at first, but take it from someone that has gone through it – there is nothing better than having someone to reach out to for an objective and expert opinion, guide you through all of the major decision making and the little tidbits that you don’t think of, and someone to run the show day of. Our guests were even commenting how amazing our coordinator was and how flawless our days’ events turned out.
What is one thing you wish you did differently for your wedding?
There is only one thing that I would have done differently, and that is the bill payments. I knew that all the vendors required their payments within a few weeks of the wedding date, but I didn’t really think about the large sums of money that together, were owing all at once. No one really talks about this either. I would have spaced out my payments to the vendors over a longer period of time leading up the wedding. Not having all of those large bills all at once would have saved some significant financial stress. Having said that, it’s a little nerve-wracking paying for services in full when they haven’t been completed yet, but if the vendor bills are due before the wedding day anyway, you might as well pay them off on your own schedule.
How did you feel AFTER the wedding and how did you adjust to NOT having to plan anymore?
Truthfully, I was in withdrawal. It took me about a week or two to come down from the high, but then I realized that it was all over. That year and a half of consistent planning, anticipation, excitement was all over! It was sad for sure. Now that some of my friends are engaged, I enjoy the moments when they come to me for advice and I can relive the feelings that they are currently going through.
What was your favourite part of wedding planning and what was your least favourite?
All of it was my favourite. Browsing endlessly on all the different wedding blogs, Instagrams, Pinterests… Liking/disliking, dreaming. It was all wonderful for me. I am a pretty humble person so it was a little uncomfortable for me to be the primary decision maker, want everything my way and be the centre of attention. It was an adjustment, but there is no denying it. You’re the bride – it comes with the territory. I just added my twist to everything.
Finally, what was your favourite part of your wedding day, obviously other than the groom and marrying your best friend?
Without a doubt, seeing it all come together and seeing all of your guests having a great time! Our mission was to ensure that all of our guests were well fed and “hydrated”, felt loved and honoured with personalized details for them (we did hotel welcome bags with a little note), and that overall, they enjoyed their time with us. Everyone thinks a wedding is about the bride and groom, but your guests are the ones that make the party so make sure they’re happy too. I was so pumped when they commented that they felt so special with our little touches, and also had a blast!
Anything else you want to add? Tips / tricks / words of wifey wisdom for brides/couples currently planning their wedding?
Enjoy every moment along the way and cherish it. It goes fast and then it’s done. Don’t stress the small stuff either because it’s not worth it.
~ Cheryl Balding
… AND for all of your lovelies, here’s a glimpse into their day … more to come in a separate post!
** Thank you SO much to Cheryl for sharing her wedding planning experiences with us! You were a dream client and I am so thankful to have met both you and Ty! I cannot wait for the adventures to come! xoxo