Words From The Wise: Wedding Planning Advice for 2021 + 2022 from Real 2020 GWS Couples

couple with champagne

Sure everyone has wedding planning advice for you, but we’ve got great wedding planning advice from real GWS couples. While putting together our favorite wedding GWS inspiration for couples marrying in 2021 + 2022, we took time to reflect and look back on all the real weddings we featured in 2020 and how they planned during that cray year. From elopements in Ibiza to beachfront micro weddings, we’ve seen our fair share of magic come out of a tough year. Instead of focusing on wedding dress styles and tabletop decor, today we’re sharing some of our favorite pieces of wedding planning advice from GWS couples!

{photo above by Vinuthna Garidipuri}

Planning a wedding is a challenge in and of itself – but throw in a global pandemic and you’re talking about rough roads ahead. These couples not only worked through pandemic planning, but made it out the other side with a bright story to tell! We found these nuggets of wisdom particularly helpful, hopeful + empowering to planning couples looking ahead. So, grab your notebook (better yet, your Green Wedding Shoes x Erin Condren Softbound Wedding Planner) and jot down your fave wedding planning tips from these real GWS couples:

My biggest wedding planning advice is to understand that things will never go exactly as planned. It’s many different people working on many different parts of an event. There’s always something that will happen that won’t be exactly what you imagined BUT if the people you love are there to celebrate your love, then it’s all good!

from this Botanical Wedding in Philadelphia with Lush Plants + Magical Lighting | photo by Brittney Raine Photography

If there is something you feel like you’re doing out of obligation that “everyone does at a wedding” don’t do it. Make it YOUR wedding and not just what you think a wedding should be.

from This Couple That Got Creative with a $20,000 Budget for Their Woodsy DIY Wedding!

Channel your inner child. Would they be proud of the wedding you’re planning? If so, cool, you’re probably on the right track. If not, put your hand on your heart, take a deep and ask yourself what YOU want. Ask your partner to do the same and come together in unity to create something totally unique, special, and sacred for you. When you show up that day and see it is all an authentic reflection of you and your partnership, you’ll care far less about all the little things that will (inevitably) go differently than planned and be able to exhale into the overall tone and vibe of the experience. Your friends and family are coming to honor and celebrate you! It’s the perfect time to share who you are, without reservation or apology. Invite them into your world.

from this Spiritual + Celestial Wedding in an Abandoned Train Station | photog by Autumn Nicole Photography

Don’t get so stressed about all the little details. Be flexible. Remember what your big day is really about!

from this Adventurous Cliffside Wedding in Iceland with Blush Bridal Cape | photo by ISKRA Photography

Trust Your Wedding Vendors

Book everything early, so you aren’t scrambling before the wedding, and have a bit of downtime. We gave ourselves over a year! Think of what makes you unique as a couple, and find ways to incorporate those details. The key for us was finding vendors we clicked with, and explicitly directing them to be explosively creative! Trust their instincts, and have them evolve what you see from blogs and Pinterest.

Also… the day goes by so fast! You’ll get pulled in a ton of different directions, so take time to breathe + bake in moments to be alone or with your person (even if it’s for 5 minutes)!

from this Old World Festival Wedding on the Mendocino Coast | photo by Kristen Marie Parker

Try not to procrastinate or else everything will pile up at once. Something Garrett and I did before we picked out a venue or date was choosing our personal priority and making sure that gets fulfilled. Mine was photography and aesthetics. Garrett’s was good food and good booze. By prioritizing what each of you wants, you won’t get lost in the minutiae of it all. Pro-tip: hire a Day of Coordinator, you will not regret it!

from this Disney Artists’ Vibrant Indian Fusion Wedding in LA

My main wedding planning advice is to let the experts do their thing! I was fortunate enough to have a florist and photographer that were best friends of mine, and I gave them full freedom to do + create however they wanted! Don’t get too wrapped up in doing things the “right” way; this is your wedding, your day and it can be whatever you want it to be! My number one tip always is to find a wedding planner to help you.

from this Boho Wildflower Lakeside Wedding in Washington

Don’t feel like you must do all the things. We have no regrets about skipping paper invites, engagement photos, party favors, cake (ice cream sandos instead!) or wedding traditions that didn’t resonate with us.

We had exactly the wedding we wanted. We splurged on the best-in-class planner and designer who organized/executed/elevated our visions, always had the most encouraging attitude, recommended amazing vendors and negotiated some truly great prices for us! Seriously — don’t skimp on your planner. A professional planner has contacts and cache in the industry, and his or her sway and expertise can make things happen for you.

from this Jewel-Tone Greenhouse Wedding with Venice Beach + Moroccan Vibes | photo by Kindred Weddings

Come up with what YOU want, and invest in vendors you trust to realize your vision. Share your ideas, pick someone you believe in, and give them the space to make it happen. Hire a day-of coordinator. Treat your guests to late-night food! Oh, and plan an exit strategy. We forgot—shout out to our Lyft driver Karen for her patience while we loaded her Camry with all of our crap.

from this Eclectic Nashville Wedding with an Epic Rainbow Installation!

Be you and don’t think about others. Wear the dress you want and pick a place where you will feel most connected to your love. Pick a good photographer: your feelings will be so overwhelming that you might fully space out like I did and not even remember what your surroundings were like. Photos will capture it forever!

from this Beautiful Boho Elopement in Purple Fields of Lupine | photo by arina b photography

Tales from the Pandemic: Wedding Planning Advice from 2020 

If you’re thinking about going ahead with a wedding, DO IT! It’s different than what you were probably expecting for your wedding, but it will be so worth it… you’ll be married! I was worried that it wouldn’t feel like a “real” wedding, but I was so wrong. I honestly think this wedding turned out better than the wedding I was originally planning. It was simple, comfortable, filled with so much love, and just totally “us.” Keep it simple; wear a dress that makes you feel like a bride, find some pretty flowers, play fun music, drink champagne and eat cake, and seriously, hire a photographer that will document the day and make everything look beautiful!

from this Love Isn’t Cancelled: A Last Minute Elopement During Covid-19

It was the unplanned and spontaneity of it that really made everything so much better. As someone who spent a year and a half planning the “perfect day”, I realized that the perfect day is just being with the one you love and that’s the simple truth! Sometimes it is just the simple things in life that are the sweetest

from this Floral-Filled Backyard Wedding Ceremony in the Midst of the Pandemic | photo by Ashlyn Cathey Photography

If you’re planning a wedding and it’s being affected by this pandemic you have a right to be heartbroken, angry, and sad. But in the midst of adversity, seek joy. Joy that your wedding day will still happen; Joy that you still get to marry your best friend. I’ve realized that because we are all broken people living in a broken world, we are bound to still have brokenness even on one of the biggest day of our lives – it’s our choice to either find sorrow in that, or joy. And I choose joy. Another small piece of advice is if your wedding is being rescheduled, still get married on your day. Make it your own. Ask yourself what is unique to your relationship and go get married doing it!

from this Covid-19 Elopement in the Middle of the Ocean

My biggest piece of pandemic wedding planning advice would be: be prepared to change your plans…and change them again….and maybe again. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you’re committing yourself to your partner – all the other stuff is just extra. Decide which bits and pieces are the MOST important to you, and let the other things go. Our wedding did NOT happen the way we thought it would, but we still made the most of it and had a very intimate celebration. There are a lot of other things I’d wished I could have done – but now that I’m past it I’ve realized a lot of those details I was worried about really didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

from 100 Heirloom Pumpkins and a Rad Bridal Cape for this Harvest Wedding | photo by Cassie Rosch Photography

I think couples are required to be so much more flexible right now while we live through this pandemic, but our advice still stands: an amazing planner makes it possible to allow things to fall into place when the (inevitable) unexpected challenges come up. If you don’t hire a planner, pick your most trusted, organized friend to help get you through the day so you can be in the moment as much as possible and have fun! It’s your party at the end of the day.

from this Secret Society Wedding With Art Deco Influence

For more positive proof that love wasn’t cancelled in 2020, check out all of these REAL couples who said ‘I do’ in the midst of the pandemic.

Authenticity is Key

Don’t procrastinate. Figure out now what tasks are being done and divide them up fairly. A planner is 110% worth it, you will save money, countless hours of sleep, and some major headaches when you should be having fun. Some things going to go wrong and that’s ok! Nothing is perfect and that’s what keeps life exciting. Also, and this one is BIG, don’t do things just because it’s the norm. Really soul search, what do weddings symbolize for you, and why are you doing it. If you don’t do this I could see how the day could become a disappointment of trying to meet other people’s expectations.

from this Moody Boho Wedding Where the Groom Wore a Pink Floral Suit | photo by Megan Saul Photography

Be intentional about every aspect of your wedding day and choose elements that reflect who you are as a couple. If it doesn’t serve a purpose or feel like ‘you,’ then ask yourself if it is essential. Also, write your own vows. It was absolutely the best decision we made for our wedding day. It is the perfect time to write down all of the little promises you’ve been making to each other for years and tell your significant other how much they mean to you.

from this article where the Modern Bride Built Her Own Wedding Venue!

Although I know it’s cliché and probably said 1,000 times, my wedding planning advice is to think about what’s important to you and your person. Our most memorable moments — the wind through the canyons, the lunch together, and the sunset dance — would’ve never happened for us on the “typical” day that we initially planned. But now, those are the memories I would never want to give up. Focus on your priorities as a couple.

I’d also say just to take it in and be grateful. Taking in the little moments and being present in your surroundings really helps you remember how much to be thankful for on that day.

from this feature where They Traded a Big Wedding for a Romantic + Stylish Elopement in Utah

Carve out moments to enjoy your engagement season! Try to have fun away from wedding planning and know that no wedding will be perfect so you’ve got to be flexible. Ask yourselves “What’s TRULY important for us?” Then, the rest becomes trivial and it’s easier to make decisions.

from this Modern Art Wedding Day with an Artist Bride Who Designed Her Own Colorful Paper Goods

Check out more of our fave wedding inspiration for 2021 + 2022 couples!