Wedding Hacks: How to Take the Stress out of the Planning Process

With just five months until her July wedding, Birchbox co-founder Hayley is through the hardest parts of the planning process. (Now on to the fun stuff—like choosing custom cocktails!) Like most brides, she's found the experience to be exciting but also stressful, especially on top of a demanding job. We asked her to share her best tricks for managing all the decision-making and even saving some money along the way.

1. Pick a multitasking venue

Having her nearest and dearest (including her fiancé’s family members from Norway!) in one place for the weekend was a priority, so she chose a venue that could accommodate the rehearsal dinner as well as the reception.

2. Play the telephone game

Ask your venue if there are vendors (catering companies, photographers, etcetera) whom they trust. Hayley also asked those vendors whom they like to work with on weddings. You want to assemble a team that’s already comfortable working with each other.

3. Pay your bar tab per person…

…or per hour. If you pay per drink, you wind up financing all those half-full cocktails that get abandoned when the DJ starts to play “Crazy in Love.”

4. Rethink dinner

Hayley wanted her guests to have lots of choices, so instead of a sit-down dinner, she’s having her caterer serve the food family-style. Conveniently, this also eliminates the need to keep track of meal choices on your RSVP cards.

5. Be strategic about flowers

Love peonies, but they’re out of season? Choose local flowers for the majority of your arrangements to save costs, then place a few of your favorite blooms in your bouquet.

6. Consolidate your registry

Eyeing plates at one place and utensils at another? Want to start a honeymoon fund? You can do it all on Zola, a new site Hayley used to register for gorgeous things like Fouta towels from Nine Space.

7. Simplify the invitation process

Hayley has been relying on a guest list template like this (courtesy of Lovely Little Details) to keep track of invitees’ contact information and responses. And she ordered her invites through Minted, which uploads your addresses.

8. Buy, don’t rent!

Hayley wanted to have parasols for her guests (to shield them from the blazing July sun), and found that it was cheaper to buy than rent them. Check out restaurant supply stores for things like napkins. Bonus: You can resell many items after the wedding!

9. Take advantage of your makeup trial

If you’re getting engagement photos taken, set up your trial that day so you can test how (gorgeous) you look on camera.

10. Go with a dress that gives back

Our other fearless co-founder, Katia, found her gown through a nonprofit that resells designer dresses and donates the proceeds to education for disadvantaged children. Inspired, Hayley is planning on shopping there too.

Photos: Top Right: Revel Blog, Bottom Left: Tipozero, Bottom Right: West Elm

Looking for more brilliant bridal ideas? Check out our Wedding planner for thoughtful gifts, beauty must-haves, and special offers for the big day.

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