7 Things I Learned from 14 Years as a Wedding Planner

flower moxie founder amy mccord jones
Flower Moxie founder and former wedding planner Amy McCord Jones

Before I started my DIY wedding flower company or got hitched myself, I was hustling as an event florist and wedding planner. All the boob sweat, family drama, and gossipy bridal parties taught me what makes a wedding day unforgettable – good and bad.

Take my free advice or laugh along if you think I’m talking sh*t. Just know that I’ve wiped mascara goo from a bride’s eye –I know things. 😉 Here are the seven things I’ve learned as a wedding planner…

1. Larger budgets do not equal better weddings

I’ve seen $3,000 budgets blow the macarons off $50,000 wedding budgets. Some of the most beautiful, touching, FUN weddings have been planned on the cheap. And here’s why: Those couples prioritize the feel and don’t try to fake something beyond their means. Not to go all Nicky Sparks on you but a wedding is about clutching your bestie’s hand and saying HELL YEAH WE DO to the world.

Think of your friend who rolls a Mercedes but is car-poor. And how their entire month is ruined when they get door-dinged or need to replace a measly tire. That’s exactly like a bride saddled with debt who has a full come-apart when the invitations are the wrong shade of blue. Your entire life (and savings) shouldn’t be invested in those 5 hours. You don’t need a peacock wrangler, lovie. You need the people you love most watching you pelvic thrust to “Push It.” Save the budget for a killer honeymoon or house deposit. 

Meet the Expert: Amy McCord Jones is the founder of Flower Moxie, an online floral company that sells fresh, wholesale flowers that you can DIY for weddings and events, and gives you step-by-step tutorials on how to assemble your centerpieces, bouquets and more.

2. Long engagements suck

They only increase details, budget, stress, and post-wedding blues. I’ve seen it a hundred times. The Pam Beasley brides who get engaged and then wait two or three years to get married lose their identity. Why? Because key formative years of their life have revolved around place settings and chair covers.

So many of my long-term clients were a wreck after the big day and immediately threw themselves into trying for a baby. Hold on there. Let’s rewind and plan your wedding a year out max, pandemics willing. Remember: A typical wedding event is five hours MAX. And you will have an out-of-body experience that makes it feel more like 5 minutes. Don’t put your life on hold for three years to plan five minutes. You’re too cool for that. 

3. Karma is real 

Whatever you call it—bad juju, cosmic justice—just know that bad energy always comes back to you. My couples who were difficult to work with ALWAYS had the craziest unavoidable stuff happen. I know I sound like a crystal-clutcher, but it was a very real and troubling pattern.

I would brace myself for chaos when supporting difficult clients because I knew I’d have to pick up the pieces the universe gave them. Like the time a niece accidentally hurled a phone AT THE REALLY HATEFUL BRIDE’S FACE to give her a shiner the night before her wedding. Or the time the tent folks hit a waterline even though everything was marked…and in turn flooded the entire yard. Or the time the Vera Wang zipper broke an hour before the wedding and we had to sew the bride into her gown. I could go on.

Chill, friendly, gracious couples never seem to have these Full Moon problems. So put out good energy during your engagement. Treat everyone like superstars, from the mailroom clerk to the cupcake vendor. Actually, do this all the time. Life’s a lot better that way. 

wedding budget planning
“Remember that every guest has a price tag,” says McCord Jones.

4. Do not over-invite!

First exclamation point of the article for good reason. Someone (your MIL, your judgy grandma, the angel inside of you) is likely pressuring you to invite every third cousin’s significant other until you end up with 400+ people to feed. Why are we still doing this?

Remember that every guest has a price tag, and not just in the financial sense. The atmosphere changes when people are there for a buzz and to bounce. If they aren’t pumped to be there, they don’t deserve to be there. Your coworkers from three jobs ago can stare at their phones from the comfort of their own living rooms. You only make room for your biggest fans. 

READ MORE: How many people should you invite to your wedding?

5. Be yourself

Stick to who you are as a couple. Don’t try to suddenly be edgy or boho if that ain’t you. It’s your day! You should feel like the party is an extension of your relationship. If that means infusing your vows with humor or clipping carabiners into your bouquet or hand-lettering all the signage, do it! Personal details are panty-droppers.

Alternatively, I’ve seen a lot of expensive ballroom and country club events fall flat because everyone felt super awk. Book a country club if you, your family, and friends are country club people. But try not to let romantic notions run away with you. Example: Whenever I travel I pack “ideal me” clothing that actually isn’t me at all and I end up wearing the same 2 shirts from Target anyway. Basically, don’t try to Under the Tuscan Sun your wedding unless that is legit your life. 

YOU WILL HAVE A GOOD TIME. No matter what. Even if it rains all day, your hair falls flat, and the cake catches on fire. 

Amy McCord Jones

6. Vendors work harder for nice couples

People who are dreamy to work with get better service. Kind of a no-duh statement but it’s easy to forget when you’re stressed. Businesses will go the extra mile for couples who are kind and fun to be around. Even though your vendors are paid to be at your wedding, the mood is fantastic when they are *thrilled* to watch you get married instead of gaping at their watch willing 11 pm to roll around. Couples who are jerks get exactly what they pay for – nothing more. Your vendors will sit through your set-up/ceremony and wait for the second they can flee the scene. See point number three, bad juju.

wedding flowers couple
Wedding bouquet via Flower Moxie

7. Couples who are stoked about getting hitched have the best events

I know I’ve pretty much been saying this the whole. damn. time. But I’m going to say it again. Couples focused on the fact they are lucky enough to marry each other have the best events. Say that out loud. Write it on your bathroom mirror. Journal it. Make it your phone background. Maybe shave it into your dog’s fur. If you wake up every day during your engagement and remember how excited you are that this person wants to spend the rest of their life with you (!) YOU WILL HAVE A GOOD TIME. No matter what. Even if it rains all day, your hair falls flat, and the cake catches on fire. 

And isn’t this what it’s all about? Folks coming together to watch two people who are disgustingly in love make a commitment to each other?

If you take away anything from this article let it be this: Your wedding is what you make it. If you’re excited, your guests will be too. And if you set out to have a good time, everyone else will. 

Now go forth and be married! I believe in you!

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