Mind Spirit

Wedding Planning 101

Austin Wedding Photographer, Tara Welch Photography

2014 is a huge year for weddings and love, particularly because Andy and I are planning our own wedding! I’ve witnessed firsthand how stressful and difficult wedding planning can be. I’ve seen it from the perspective as a Maid of Honor, an Officiant, an attendee, a friend, and now as a bride myself. Now that I am halfway through the process, I wanted to take some time to share my perspective. This experience has been one of the most fun-filled and carefree times I’ve ever experienced with Andy. While there are challenging situations that arise, we are both enjoying this time together and don’t find it stressful in the least bit! So what’s the secret? There’s none! Read on :)


One of the first things we did after we got engaged is to sit down and set the tone for wedding planning. We created three mantras that we literally say aloud before we begin each phase of planning:

  1. Have an open mind.
  2. Keep it simple.
  3. Come from love.

These mantras have been essential in creating ease in our lives day to day and have created a wonderful atmosphere for our interactions with one another, our wedding vendors, and bridal party. Keeping an open mind allowed me to get input from all of my bridesmaids on what they will wear; simplicity allowed me to stay within budget for our florals; and coming from love has kept Andy and I from having not one “fight” throughout this entire time. In fact, this is the happiest time of our 11 years together so far!


This is the most important thing period. I cannot stress enough the importance of speaking clearly, talking face to face when possible, and being authentic. Anytime issues arise, I can guarantee that one of these ground rules was broken. Speaking clearly involves saying what you want – because the alternative is that you create unspoken expectations and then get upset that things didn’t turn out the way you hoped. So speak up. Being authentic means always coming from truth. Emotions can run high really quickly, but if you speak from truth, and from love, things will get sorted in the end.


  • Set aside time – Andy and I share a calendar and planned all of our tastings, viewings, and meetings around our schedules. It was a refreshing break to go on dates in the middle of the day to try caterers or have working sessions at our favorite coffee shops on the weekends to work on our website. I learned quickly that football time was not the right time to discuss the wedding 😉
  • Create a plan – Before anything, create a budget! Then you need a guest count, then you can look at venues, then you nail down a date, then select a caterer. As a project manager, this has been a fun thing learn in my job and in wedding planning. There are so many resources out there, but just write things down in order so that you tackle important things first.
  • Delegate tasks – Andy is an amazing event planner and has experience organizing formals for 200+ people. I am lucky to have him as my partner through this. I also know his talents and what he loves to do, so he’s in charge of our website, invites, music, and after party. It’s amazing to see him at his best! Of course he’s also happy to share his opinion whenever I need it, and vice versa.
  • Take one step at a time – There is a ton to do, and that’s no escaping it. Even with a wedding planner you have a ton of decisions to make. So know that this is the case, and focus on one thing at time. Once you begin to narrow down decisions, the ball is in motion, and you get momentum. Don’t multi-task, it will actually slow you down.


One of the best things about getting married in the same year as many brides (I’m one of four in my group of friends in Austin), is that we can plan together and leverage each other for our strengths and insights. Whether it’s sharing photographer information via googledocs, setting up joint dessert tastings, or dress shopping together, the camaraderie is priceless. Shout out to Jen, Debbie, and Liz!

Family Matters

This is probably the most challenging topic. Our families always have an opinion, emotions around this run high, and there’s no escaping difficult conversations. However, the solution is always to listen, acknowledge, and come back to your intentions. Then trust that everyone means well, and in the end, love will prevail. I’ve seen topics range from religion to guests lists to financial matters to everything in between. While I don’t have any simple answers, nor can we ever please everyone involved, we both work as a team and support each other. After all, in the end, we are creating a new family.

Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” – Michael Jordan

So in the end, there is no secret to planning a stress-free wedding. These ideas apply to buying a new house, making a big career decision, and anything else you may face in life. Set clear intentions and then stick to them. You alone have the power to manifest the actions that you take and the life you create. For me, it’s openness, simplicity, and love, all day every day. Simply because I choose it.


  • sherrienguyen January 12, 2014 Reply

    From Meredith Gunthorp Welch: Great post Sherrie! And love your mantras. It’s easy to let the wedding planning get out of hand and forget what the day is about. My advice – scour blogs for cost saving ideas. Photography was one of the things I really cared about and from looking at blogs, I found a photographer close to our venue who was amazingly talented and a great steal! Enjoy the process! It is over so very quickly!

  • sherrienguyen January 12, 2014 Reply

    From Ivy Truong: Agreed! Read a quote that said: “I’d rather have the right man than the right wedding.” Sometimes things will turn out differently than you imagined, but if you focus on the life-long marriage, and not just the wedding day, hopefully that stuff won’t matter. Strongly agree that communication and keeping an open-mind is SO important. Also, there are lots of choices to make, but sometimes the answer isn’t the 2 bad options, but a new, better one. Be creative. Take it one day (or week) at a time, and SMILE and enjoy this time. You’re getting married to your favorite person! Weeeeeee…

  • sherrienguyen January 12, 2014 Reply

    From Heather Le: Wow Sherrie, we followed a similar philosophy. We also have found this experience to be enjoyable. I’ve seen the sentimental side of Jimmy more regularly; let’s just say he cares more about some aspects of the wedding than I expected, but it makes me happy because he’s treating this process as a true partnership. We also identified task owners. It probably helps that he’s a developer and I’m a product manager. . Another thing we did in consideration of our budget was to discuss which 3 things were most important to us. In our case it was family, food, and photography. This really helped us maintain focus. Congratulations again! I’ve really enjoyed seeing you and Andy’s relationship grow over the years! He was great at marketing GB stuff and that was years ago, so can only imagine what you both will come up with!

  • sherrienguyen January 12, 2014 Reply

    From Lily Truong: Word sister. Word. Took the words right out of my mouth. I’ve shared this with many other people…but will share again. Always listen to YOUR heart. It’s hard not to listen to other’s opinions…but in the end, always make decisions on what works for you … Which I know you guys already do! It’s going to be a magical wedding sher-bear!

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