So in typical Anna fashion, this year I decided to start a company, graduate from business school (while my fiancé starts business school), move to a new city, AND PLAN A WEDDING all at the same time. CLASSIC move on my part.

brains over blonde wedding planner
The best part is, a few months ago I actually said “wedding planning isn’t stressful” out loud. WELL I WOULD LIKE TO RETRACT THAT STATEMENT. The engagement period is a perfect storm of high expectations, family dynamics, budgeting, life-altering changes, and emotion. Since we’ve been engaged, Tracy and I have had some of the happiest moments of our relationship to date. BUT we’ve also had a few lil squabbles over sexy topics like CHAIR RENTALS and BUDGETING. I’ve pulled all-nighters researching how to modify sexist traditions like the bouquet toss (I mean… are you surprised?). And after WEEKS of meticulously selecting bridesmaids dresses – the designer ran out of our fabric.
brains over blonde wedding planning

I take a lot of pride in being independent and self-sufficient. When it came to wedding planning, I thought Pinterest and I had it all figured out on our own. Until I realized the toll it would take on my TIME and SANITY (which I value. Highly.) As “chill” as I think I am, I’ve learned that one doesn’t just plan a wedding without having one (or one hundred) full-blown mental breakdowns. (Real talk… can Xanax count as my “something blue?”) That’s why if you value your sanity, I suggest you invest in a wedding planner.

Christine Garrison of CMG Events is helping turn my Pinterest boards into reality (she also moonlights as our therapist and spirit guide). I partnered with her to get you the behind-the-scenes juice that wedding planners wish brides knew.

5 secrets wedding planners wish brides knew…

1. In the end, I’ll actually save you money.

Christine: Wedding Planners aren’t just for the rich and famous. Wedding planners are for those who want expert guidance, and everyone needs some. Most people have never planned an event this big for this many people before, and weddings are a breed all their own. We’ll save you money in the long run through our vendor connections, which typically cover our fee. Vendors frequently discount rates for planners they work with often.

Anna: When you realize that every aspect of planning a wedding is 4X the price you thought it would be… it’s tempting to cut the wedding planner when you can just “do it yourself.” Lol. All I can say I’m SO HAPPY I DIDN’T DO THIS. I’d recommend getting an established, well-connected wedding planner for discounts as Christine mentioned – but even if you go with someone green, you’ll save yourself a little time and sanity (worth it. trust me.)

2. I’ll do whatever it takes to make your day perfect.

Christine: Wedding planners have seen it all, the good, the bad and the ugly. No matter how perfectly we plan, something inevitably goes wrong… but we make sure you NEVER know about it. I’ve dealt with lost groomsmen, the wrong cake being delivered, crying bridesmaids, broken down shuttles, forgotten marriage licenses, ripped pants, missing bridesmaid bouquets… the list goes on and on. Know and trust that we’ll go to great lengths to make sure nothing dampers your day! Keeping some of the day of disasters quiet is one of our best-kept secrets to making sure you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy your day!

Anna: To our groomsmen reading this… do NOT go missing.

3. I want you to stay present on your big day.

Christine: I know everyone says “your wedding day will go by so fast,” but seriously… this is SO TRUE! When the big day gets here, take in every single moment, stop and notice all those around you, and don’t worry about the details (we have those handled). Just live in the moment, because it really will be over in the blink of an eye. I also like to give my couples the pep talk of, “No matter what happens, you get to marry the love of your life.” That puts everything in perspective because at the end of the day that’s all that matters. Don’t let anything ruin your day! I’ve seen brides who have let little things (like a bridesmaid running late, hair and makeup taking too long, someone not showing up, etc.) really affect their mood for the whole day. It makes me so sad because you can’t get this day back.

Anna: Totally – I love this advice. And by the way, your wedding is one day. Marriage is for the rest of your life!

4. Trust me – I’ve done this before.

Christine: Trust us! Trust in your vendors! You hired us for a reason. We’ve done this a time or two and we know what it takes to pull off an amazing wedding (this is what we do for a living.) We love your feedback, but when it comes down to it, trust in our abilities, recommendations, and advice. We only want the best for you!

Anna: Are you saying my fireworks idea isn’t practical?

5. I LOVE what I do.

Christine: I wake up every day excited with that “live for our clients” type of love. We are so honored you chose us to join you on this journey, and we don’t take it for granted. We give up our weekends gladly to be apart of your special day. It’s not just a job for us – it’s a passion.

Anna: One of my favorite things about Christine is that she’s a self-boss who left the “big corporate” wedding world to take a leap out on her own. She worked long days, faced countless no’s, questioned her choice, and wondered how she was going to make rent. She hustled every single day and flash forward to now – she has teams in SF and LA that that serve all of California and beyond. She built a successful career out of passion, and now leads a team of like-minded women that are taking CMG Events to the next level. Flex, girl.

The CMG Events team! (Christine Garrison is second from the right)

All I know is on my wedding day, if the cake isn’t delivered, I DON’T WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT. I just want to live in the moment and enjoy the day I marry the love of my life. This year is crazy enough as it is – and I’m so happy we made the choice to work with a wedding planner – so Tracy and I can save our mental energy for the fun stuff.

Who else is planning a wedding? Share your best practices and questions below (happy to answer!)

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Originally published at