12 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding,Part 8: Set Expectations

Cheryl of Cheryl Ford Photography is back with the the final post in her wonderful guest series on how to have YOUR dream wedding! Enjoy:

Welcome Back to Part 8 of my blog series on 12 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding. Over the course of these months I will be sharing with you a series of articles to help you have the most amazing day of your life. In case you missed it, you may want to catch up on the past articles:
Part 1 :: Money Talk
Part 2 :: Hiring a Photographer
Part 3 :: Hiring a Wedding Planner
Part 4 :: Plan Ahead
Part 5 :: “Pinspiration”
Part 6 :: Wedding Parties
Part 7 :: Be Good to Yourself

Read the full post after the cut!

I’ve written these articles to share with you my perspective on what you can do to have your Dream Wedding. A lot of this is just good old common sense and none of it is that much work. But I promise if you incorporate these ideas into the planning of your wedding day, you will reap the rewards of a beautiful, calm and fun wedding day of your dreams! Trust me.


I’ve talked about this before. Expectations. A huge factor in how a wedding day turns out is because of yours, your bride or groom’s, family’s, friend’s or other people’s expectations. Tacked on to their expectations is then how they react when things do or don’t go the way they have imagined it in their head.
And I’ve also talked about the high emotions during the wedding planning process and on your wedding day. You and your family and friends may seem totally calm during the planning process but then on the wedding day, they (or you, let’s be honest) can totally freak out and it can cause a lot of stress. And stress does not make for a dream wedding which is what we all want.
There are two areas that I see this happen. The first is with relationship conflicts. The second is about the logistics of the day.

Relationship Conflicts

Plan ahead for these situations and communicate with people. If you think there is a chance your mom (and I’m just using mom as an example) will cause you stress, do something ahead of time about it or be prepared to deal with it on the wedding day. For example, if your mom tends to “get in your business,” telling you what to do and how to do it and you know that it irritates you, it will be 100 times worse on your wedding day. Trust! You think it’s annoying on Thanksgiving? Think about a day when a thousand things are going on, 47 people are trying to talk to you and get time with you. You could talk to your mom about it ahead of time so a fight doesn’t break out on the wedding day or you don’t snap at your mom and then she feels bad and cries the rest of the day. Oh, you think that’s just something I made up? Oh, no. I saw that happen last summer at a wedding.

Let’s give mom a break. Maybe you have two brothers who don’t get along, one is in debt to the other, they get in fights and can’t be in the same room. It is OK to set expectations with them ahead of time that it’s not OK for them to argue about it on your wedding day. Then if they do start fighting, since you’ve already talked about it, it’ll be easier to gently remind them stop. You could say “Hey, David, I know that you and Brian are upset with each other about the money hey owes you but I would really appreciate it if you would set that aside on my wedding day and not let it cause an argument.”

It’s worth your time to think about these possible situations and talk to people ahead of time, politely and respectfully, obviously. You can’t plan for everything but you know where the hot spots are if you are honest with yourself.

Wedding Day Logistics

The other side is not so much with conflict, but with the logistics of your wedding day. Everything will not go perfectly. No matter what you do, no matter how hard you plan, no matter how detailed you are (and I’m going to talk about being detail-oriented in a later article). Just know that something won’t go according to the plan.

At my wedding – and I was a super detailed person – everyone had excel spreadsheets for where they were supposed to be and where to go and what to do. I entrusted decorating the reception space to a dear friend who then enlisted some help from some of the wedding party. I had extremely detailed directions for exactly what they were supposed to do with every item I gave them. But, inevitably, when I got to the reception space, she had gone a bit rogue and the tables were strewn with curled up white ribbons. They were everywhere. I am actually surprised I didn’t completely lose it, because that’s kind of the person I can be. But I decided to let it go, moved on and had a good time. You cannot control everything on your wedding day. Here are some other things that went “wrong” on my wedding day:


  • The woman who was supposed to do my hair and makeup had the flu, leaving me to someone I did not know and had no idea what we had planned.
  • My petticoat (sounds like I’m from the old west) was not the same kind that I wore when we measured the hem of my dress so the dress was dragging on the ground. We had to find another petticoat in a small town.
  • There was a ton of road construction and almost every single guest was late for the ceremony. I think we started 45 minutes late.
  • I don’t have a great relationship with my side of the family. They were invited to the wedding but at the last minute they sat up front for the ceremony which made me very uncomfortable.
  • Our photographer interrupted our first dance to move on to the parent dances – before our first dance song was even half over.
  • The ribbon fiasco I mentioned above.

Just know that someone might be late, the cake might not have the flowers on it like you expected, ordered and paid for (that happened at my friend’s wedding), there might not be enough chairs for all of the guests (same friend’s wedding). If you expect that everything will be 100 percent perfect 100 percent of the day, you are setting yourself up to be disappointed. Have a little flexibility, let some things go, promise yourself that you will have a great day no matter what happens.

Not that you should set your expectations low, but setting the bar too high can lead to a hard crash.

Setting expectations – yours and those around you – can really help to have your dream wedding, one that is filled with love and not riddled with stress and disappointments.

Great advice Cheryl, thanks so much for sharing! For more information about Cheryl Ford Photography, please visit her WeddingLovely Vendor Guide Profile or head straight to her website. Today’s post was originally published on Cheryl’s blog.

Do you have any questions or comments for Cheryl? Add them to the comments below!