It may seem a bit odd but I think the thing that has made the biggest difference to me in wedding planning is gratitude. It has kept me on the side of positivity, flexibility, and maintaining relationships. I remember reading research about the benefits of gratitude in college and have tried to incorporate it into every aspect of wedding planning. There’s nothing better for keeping your sanity, I promise!
I have tried to verbally and in writing thank every person helping us with wedding planning. I wrote thank you notes to every person who gave us a dollar, time out of their day, or an item to use at our reception or ceremony. It only takes a moment to write out a note and it feels excellent! I have a box of thank you cards already stamped in my wedding planning binder which makes it quick and simple.
We also wanted to make sure we did not forget to thank anyone for gifts along the way. To keep track of this we have a notebook that goes with our thank you notes. It lists everything that has been given to us and by whom it was given. I put a check mark next to the name when a thank you has been sent. This keeps everything from the mail, showers, personally delivered, time spent, or from the reception in one place. It has helped us tremendously in remembering all that people have done for us.
To express gratitude to our out of town guests we have made hotel welcome bags. I had a lot of fat quarters and spent a day turning them into totes to be delivered at check-in to those staying in the block of rooms we reserved. Inside each bag is an Arizona pen, water, snacks, directions to the venue, and a thank you note. These were really fun to make and I look forward to each person getting one upon arrival.
We wanted something different to give as favors to thank everyone for coming to the wedding. We saw an idea in a magazine to do lotto ticket favors. I loved this idea! Matt and I went out and bought 120 $1.00 lotto tickets. I admit that we may have looked a bit crazy at this point. We printed envelopes at home that say “Lucky in Love” and used double sided tape to stick a penny to each one. We put a lotto ticket in each one and sealed them with “Thank You” stickers from the dollar store. We are going to have everyone scratch them at the reception. The table that wins the least amount of money will get to go get dinner first. We hope this will get people talking because I would be dying of curiosity to know if anyone at my table won big.
The kids may not get too excited about lotto tickets, so I made them wedding “I Spy” bags. I made simple bags with fabric on one side and a clear window on the other. I filled them with wedding related items, mostly buttons and beads, such as shoes, bow ties, flowers, cars, rings, etc. I added a paper that has a list of everything hidden inside of the bag. I may or may not have spent several mindless hours looking through each one to find all the items when I became overwhelmed with wedding planning.
We had a great time picking out gifts for our parents and for the wedding party. I will not write out spoilers here, but I will say that we put a lot of time picking out something we thought all would like. We really liked the idea of getting everyone the same item, but personalized for them. Without giving away what we chose, we considered things like everyone gets a book or a perfume or a tool, but a different one that would mean something to them. We also considered getting everyone the same thing but different colors or personalized with their names.
To thank our vendors we plan to write reviews online and to send them any pictures of their work from the day of the wedding. We have had great experiences with everyone involved so far, although this may be because of the positive attitude fostered by gratitude. It is amazing what a difference being grateful can make not only internally but to the way people behave around you. Give it a try! You may be surprised.