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They say you can’t do it all, but with a little time management and a whole lot of hustle, I think you can.

I work full-time, go to the gym 3-4 times a week, and run the Southern Style Diaries… all while trying to maintain a (very) small social life and hang out with my fiancé and family. Did I mention I’m also planning a wedding?

It can be really overwhelming sometimes when I look at my to-do list. But, I’ve found a way to mostly manage my schedule and balance all my activities so that I don’t lose a lot of sleep, and I don’t take away time with my loved ones.

I know this isn’t a unique problem. People tell me constantly how stressed they are with managing their time, and I always say I get it— because I do, and I used to be that person. I still am occasionally, but not nearly as much!

Today I’m going to share several tips of mine on how to balance work, home, fitness, your side hustle, and whatever else you have going on!

I hope this helps you when you feel overwhelmed, and please leave me tips in the comment section about how you manage your time!

Have a bed time

I know, we’re not 8 anymore. But, when I started scheduling myself to go to bed every night around a certain time, everything changed. I have more energy to get things done during the day, and I sleep without tossing and turning through the night and waking up exhausted. Its all about your body clock and getting that regulated. If you are going to bed at midnight one day and 8 p.m. the next, your body gets so out of whack it doesn’t know when to be tired and when to be alert. Get yourself on a schedule where you’re getting between 6-8 hours a sleep every night, and stick with it. You’ll get so much more done during the day, and when bedtime comes you’ll sleep like a baby.

Eat, but eat well!

If I skip meals or don’t eat, I get incredibly cranky. Not only that, but I get killer headaches and feel lightheaded… meaning, I usually have to lay down and totally waste the rest of the day. I hate not feeling well and missing out on a perfectly good time to finish a blog post or to have dinner with my family! That’s why I make sure I’m eating something small every few hours, and I don’t miss meals. I buy prepped meals for my lunches and dinners during the week (I’m planning to do a post on that soon!) so they are portioned out based on calories, carbs, protein, and veggies. Getting all those nutrients in my system makes me feel so satisfied, and I get energy that I wouldn’t get from shoving McDonalds in my face (which I sometimes still do). I firmly believe if you put good things in your body, it’ll do good things for you!

Write everything down

This is another necessity for me! Every single thing gets written in my planner, and I mean everything. My gym schedule, work deadlines, when to fill out my time card, when bills are due… My planner looks like a ball point pen exploded, but that’s ok! If I write something down, I’m more likely to remember it. Also, I need to be able to look at my week (or month) and see what needs to get done and when. If you’re not a planner person, try using Post-It notes or a legal pad. Or, get a desk calendar and use the daily boxes to plan your week ahead.

Stick to a gym schedule

Lots of folks don’t want to hear this, but schedules are key to consistency with anything. To ensure that I don’t  get “too busy” for the gym, I have a hard schedule that I almost never break. Knowing what days and times I workout lets me plan around it, and I also exercise harder because I’m not thinking about the 17 things I have to do when I get home. That’s an hour where I just focus on me and my body, and it’s such a stress reliever! I can go into the gym worried about 90 things, and leave feeling like I can conquer them all and more. I need that for my physical AND mental health.

Have a plan, but don’t freak out when it goes up in flames

No matter how much you plan and schedule, sometimes things just go to hell. And that’s okay! It’s inevitable. You’ll have car trouble, or be sick, or your friend is in town and you really want to have a drink with her. It’s okay to step back for a minute and remember, you are human and things happen. Give yourself permission to take a day or an afternoon off, and take a break. If you don’t, you’re going to burn out… and that’s one thing I know for sure. It’s all about balance— and of course, having a little fun too 🙂


Ya’ll know I’m a drugstore girl at heart. While I have some pricey-er items in my makeup collection, the majority of it is from the drugstore! There’s so many great, affordable options, that it doesn’t make sense to shell out your hard-earned money for things that just have a popular brand name.

With all that being said, I try a lot of drugstore makeup… and occasionally, I try some not-so-great products. Keep in mind that what doesn’t work for me may very well work for you, but these are items that just didn’t work with my skin and with my normal makeup routine. No offense to any of these brands either, because I own things I love from these lines!

Have you tried any affordable makeup products that just didn’t work for you?

Happy drugstore shopping!

makeup, beauty, Ivana Hrynkiw, Southern Style Diaries

L’Oreal Paris Visible Lift Radiance Booster

I wanted to like this product so bad! I love the way it feels, and I love the way it makes my bare skin look. It feels so hydrating, yet not over-greasy on my oily skin. The problem is that any makeup I put over it— trust me, I’ve tried every foundation I have— falls apart! Foundation that normally looks amazing just totally crumbles on top of this and slides off my face. It also moves around when you try to put powders on top, which is annoying. I tired everything to make this guy work but sadly, I just don’t think it’s meant to be for us. I’m tossing!

NYX Gotcha Covered Waterproof Concealer

Ya’ll know how much I love NYX, and I was so excited to try this. It seemed at first glance like it could be a dupe for IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye…. sadly, it is not. I have the shade Ivory, and it still isn’t as light as I would like it to be for under my eyes. The consistency and texture is similar to BBU, but the coverage and staying power is not. You definitely can still see my dark circles through this, and you have to seriously powder to make the product set. Then, just several hours later its breaking apart. While usually NYX makes my holy grail products, this is going in the trash.

Maybelline Total Temptation Mascara

Eh, this isn’t necessarily trash… but it’s not something you need to spend your money on when there are SO many great mascaras right now at the drugstore! I was really excited for this product after one of my favorite YouTubers raved about it, but I’ve just been disappointed in the results. It’s not awful, but I don’t think it does anything for my lashes compared to other inexpensive options like Lash Paradise and Rocket Lash. The brush is also really big, and I somehow always get it all over my lid. I am going to finish the tube, but won’t be repurchasing.

Wet N Wild Eyeshadow Primer

I swear, this used to be so good! I used to use this all the time, and within the last several months I bought a new tube and it’s terrible. It comes out ok and goes on nicely, but it dries like glue and gives all shadows you put on top a really chalky finish. It also makes a very distinct line for where you have primer on, versus where you don’t… it’s hard to explain, but there’s no way to get clean lines for your crease color or your inner corner highlight! Not that I go super crazy with my eye shadow looks, but it’s still annoying to me. It’s also incredibly hard to take off, and I don’t need that in my life. I’ve already tossed in place of my Maybelline Fit Me concealer that I use as a primer.


I am not usually a person that wakes up and says, “I need a new purse.” But I did that the other day, and it came in the form of a round, straw purse.

Normally, I typically carry big purses that can fit literally everything during the day. If I’m going out at night or on a trip somewhere, I’ll use a small card holder in place of my big Hobo wallet and swap into a small cross-body bag. During the summer I use these smaller purses more often, because I feel like I’m out more and doing more things where having my purse across my body and being hands-free is more important. And, it’s no secret that straw bags have always been a summer staple.

Now, I have plenty of these smaller bags for this… including several Kate Spades I am obsessed with. I often get purses as gifts from my mom or my future mother-in-law, so I don’t even remember the last time I bought one!

But lately, I have caught on to the round, cross-body bag trend. I thought they were cool, but when I saw a straw version, I knew I had to have it for summer. This is something I am limited to wearing in the warm weather months, but it’s worth it completely.

I love that they’re big enough to fit my phones (work and personal), my card holder, and a lipstick. These small bags are also good for summer events, because the security now at many places make you open your bag and show the contents. If you have a smaller bag with less things, you’ll move through the line faster!

Here’s my three favorites I have found— they’re similar in style, but some of the details differ.

Straw, straw purse, purse, Southern Style Diaries, Ivana Hrynkiw

From left to right:

Urban Outfitters Small Circle Straw Round Crossbody Bag

Sam Edelman Giuliana Round Straw Tote

Etsy: Round Circle Capri Crossbody Purse

Are you into this trend? Which is your favorite of the bags I listed?


This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own. Photos are courtesy of sellers, and some links may be affiliate links.


It’s no secret that a watch is one of the best pieces of arm candy you can have during the warmer months! When you’re most likely wearing short sleeves (or no sleeves!) all eyes are on your accessories, namely jewelry. Here’s where a good watch comes in: You want one that’s functional, but also something fashion forward. That’s true for both men and women.

I also like to make sure my watch is easy to pair with my favorite bracelets (I’m loving ones like this and this for spring!) and one that goes with every outfit. My fiancé feels the same way about making sure it goes with everything– once he’s hooked on something, he’s not going to change it just because I say that it doesn’t look good with gym shorts.

PS- At the end of this post, you can enter my giveaway to get yourself a cool new watch this spring!

For me

For me, that’s my Apple Watch. I know, I know— I swore I wasn’t going to jump on the bandwagon, but I did and I do not regret it! No regrets though, I absolutely adore my Apple Watch. I have the rose gold face, with the pink sand silicone band. The band is the perfect blush color that goes with absolutely everything, and doesn’t even look weird with a pink top!

I love that this watch can be worn to the gym and still look good enough for date night. Not to mention, it’s so useful that it’s not even funny. I check emails, texts, and even make calls from my wrist. The 21st century is coming at us hard!

For him

Mitri’s favorite is a new watch from JORD, and its all wood! Yes, the whole thing! Its the Frankie Series watch in Dark Sandalwood and Emerald, and he is obsessed with it. The dark wood color is dressy, but the colored face keeps it from looking overdone with shorts or a more casual outfit, which is what he normally is wearing if he isn’t working.

Typically, we can NEVER find watches for Mit because of his large wrist size, but JORD carries up to a size 27 3/4 in this bands! He is wearing a 26, for reference. (Here is a nifty measuring guide for watches, if you need it)

The Frankie Series men’s watches are splash-resistant, feature hard sapphire crystal glass facing, and the wood is pretreated with tung oils. All this is relevant because like most men, Mitri is so hard on watches! Another great thing is its SO lightweight, it doesn’t even feel like you’re wearing anything.

Oh, and I think he likes the engraving too! (Also done by JORD) JORD, watches, jord watches, wood watch, watch, Ivana Hrynkiw, Southern Style Diaries



If you like this watch and want one for yourself, the people at JORD were kind enough to let me host a giveaway! Enter the giveaway by April 1 for a chance to win a $100 gift code to get yourself a new watch! The best part is, once a winner has been chosen, everyone else who entered will receive a 10% off coupon! Seriously, what’s there to lose?

Enter the giveaway here! 

What are your favorite watches for this spring? Are you a smart watch person, or a unique watch person?

This post was sponsored by JORD; all opinions are my own.

Wooden Wrist Watch


Spring is here, and nothing gets me more in the mood for warm weather than cute tanks, shorts, and swim suits. The problem is when you have accumulated so much junk in your closet that you can’t even see what you own!

To me, getting your closet in check is the main purpose of spring cleaning. I recently had a closet purge and I have felt so good about it every day since! Now, I can finally see what I own without having to dig for a certain shirt, and I know where each type of clothing is. I also color-coordinated my hanging clothes, which makes getting dressed for work so much easier!

Having a clean closet this spring has made me so happy, and I know it will make you happy too.

Here are my top 5 tips for cleaning your closet! Happy cleaning! 

Ivana Hrynkiw, closet, spring cleaning

Baskets are closet cleaning’s best friend

I know I say this a lot, but baskets are life, ya’ll! I bought five matching square wicker baskets from Target when I started my closet purge. They don’t have to match if you don’t care, but make sure they have some sort of handle so you can easily pull them out and see what’s in there! I also have separate baskets for my boots, my flip flops, and my bathing suits.
Keep in mind that variety stores like HomeGoods or Tuesday Morning always have tons of baskets, and will probably be more affordable. I just didn’t have one of those stores near me when I got the itch to spring clean my closet, so Target was my saving grace.

Trash versus donate versus keep

This is the part everyone hates, but its the most necessary part! Maybe you don’t realize it, but there are so many things in your closet you don’t wear anymore or probably even have broken zippers. If you keep stuffing these things in the back of your closet, either vowing to wear it or planning to get it fixed (but never do), it’s time for it to go. Remember, not every thing you don’t want is suitable to donate! Anything that’s broken, badly stained, or has holes in it, throw it in the trash. For me, the easiest way to differentiate these was to have three piles on my bed, and toss articles of clothing in each as I decided.

Sort, sort, sort

For me, this was a vital step. I sorted tank tops from short sleeve shirts and put them in separate baskets. I also separated t-shirts I sleep in from t-shirts I work out in, and put them different places. This helps me every morning to quickly grab the type of shirt I want without messing up every top in my closet!

You don’t need 17 gray sweaters

Again, this is a hard one and goes back to the donating versus keep step. As you’re sorting and putting everything in its new home, remember that you probably don’t need several different types of the exact same thing. A tan cardigan is a tan cardigan— you only need one. This is definitely how my closet gets overstuffed in the first place, because it’s so hard to resist! There’s nothing wrong with having several white t-shirts or a few black camisoles, but something that isn’t a staple doesn’t need to come in multiples. (No, jeans don’t count. I can’t stop myself on that one)

Find a system that works for you

Everyone is different, and everyone has a different vision for their dream closet. If you want everything hanging, find a way to install a second or third hanging rod or buy a standing rack to keep in your bedroom. I like to have some things folded, which is where my baskets came in handy. And, I HATE having pants hung so I keep mine on a separate shelf where they are easily accessible. My point is, find what works for you and stick to that! If you’re more comfortable hanging your shirts, then you’re more likely to do it… which in turn keeps your closet from looking like a hurricane hit.

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own.


Spring is quickly approaching, and I couldn’t be happier! The season brings some of my favorite clothes, and it feels like such a good time to shop for warm weather items, without being already worn down from the Alabama heat!

I often get asked about what I’m wearing at the time, or trends I’m into, so I thought it would be fun to out together a little spring wish list for ya’ll! These are some things I love and am interested in picking up or copying, from some of my favorite stores.

Because I get asked this a lot too, I wanted to share some of my favorite places to shop. Many of these products are from those places, but here’s a list of my top stores: TJ Maxx, Madewell, Forever 21, ASOS, Free People, Nordstrom Rack, Target, and H&M.

Enjoy, and happy spring shopping!

Products mentioned

1. Madewell High-Rise Denim Shorts: Button-Front Edition 

2. Vince Camuto Wide Lace Up Leather Espadrilles

3. AE Next Level Seamless High-Waisted Jegging Crop

4. Bed Stu Somalia Platform Sandal 

5. Elodie Ruffle Sleeve Striped Print Shirt

6. Free People Moab Jumper

7. Madewell Bandana 

8. Punto Vita Made In Italy Leather Oval Bead Belt 


If you’re planning a wedding, you know your registry is one of the most fun things to think about.

We haven’t officially registered yet (fingers crossed we’re going tomorrow!) but we have a list of things we know we want so the process can go a little bit smoother and we don’t go sticker crazy with things we don’t need or have room for. We’re planning on registering at Bed Bath and Beyond, Macy’s, and either William Sonoma or Amazon. Haven’t quite nailed down that third one!

Here is a list of the top things I can’t wait to register for! If you’ve gotten married recently, what did you register for and what has ended up being the most useful thing you received?

Southern Style Diaries, registry, Ivana Hrynkiw1. AERIN Sea Blue Floral Salad Plates

Blue and white china is my FAVORITE china, and I think it looks great in a fancy situation or for a casual dinner party. There is so much you can do with this set and these colors, and I think it would look so pretty in our cabinets! Now, I just need a glass cabinet for them…

2. FirsTime Shiplap Wall Clock in White

The farmhouse obsession strikes again! I love shiplap, especially in this color combination. Wall clocks are the perfect combination of function and style– I have one in the kitchen, and we used to have a big one in the dining room, but it fell and we never replaced it. I think this would look so cute over our dining room table, and go so well with the wood detail on those walls!

3. Lucky Brand Embroidered Ikat Comforter Set

Bedding is something we always need (hello, sleeping with two dogs) and this cute Lucky Brand set is one of my favorites. I love white bedding, but the black detailing on this set won’t show as much dirt as a plain white comforter would. Also, the pattern is interesting without being overwhelming… which means I don’t have to redecorate our entire room to make this work!

4. OXO Stainless Steel Salad Spinner

This is the one thing my fiance wanted on our registry, so I don’t think I have much choice about including it. But, these are super helpful for mixing together a big salad and dressing so you can stick it in the fridge and eat on it for several days.

5. Fiesta Dancing Lady Cookie Jar

Ya’ll already know I have a Fiesta obsession, which you can read more about here. But, I don’t have this fancy cookie jar and I think I need it in my life. To be honest, I’m not sure if this is a typical registry item… but I’m going for it.

6. Magnolia Home Lucca Area Rug in Terracotta/Ivory

The line is by Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper, and the farmhouse look is my obsession, so this is a perfect line for me! I love rugs like this, especially to give a pop of character to an otherwise plain room. I want this rug in our bedroom underneath the bed, and I’m already visualizing it with the bedding mentioned above! Plus, I think most women will be excited to see her line on our registry so they can browse for themselves, too.

7. Philips TurboStar Digital Air Fryer

No words for this one. I have wanted one of these since I saw Living With Landyn (check out her blog if you never have!) use it in her Instagram stories, because she literally took everything in her kitchen and fried it. Being a southern girl, ya’ll know I love fried everrrrything, so this is exactly the kitchen gadget I need. Fried okra and fried Oreos are first on my list.
This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own

I love podcasts.

I love turning on a podcast when I’m doing my makeup, or getting dressed, because it’s the perfect time to completely zone into a show without sacrificing time I already have trouble finding. Also, I love listening to podcasts in the car because it makes time go by so fast– especially on long trips!

I put together a list of my top 6 podcast favorites so you can check out what I’m listening to, or if you’re a podcast newbie, you can find your new favorite. Happy listening!

Southern Style Diaries, podcasts, Ivana Hrynkiw

Heaven’s Gate

Heaven’s Gate was not what I expected it to be. The show is about a cult, named Heaven’s Gate, where dozens of members committed a mass suicide in the 1990s in a California mansion. The podcast starts at the beginning, with background on the founders of the cult and how they started the group. Host Glynn Washington, who actually grew up in a cult environment, shares some of his experiences too… and it’s fascinating to hear the story through his perspective. Washington talks to members who left the group before the suicide, including some who still believe in the group’s ideals. It was weird, sometimes creepy, and fascinating all at the same time. If you’re into dark movies and shows (hello, me) then you will love this!

The Influencer Podcast

This podcast comes from Julie Solomon, the Goddess of internet marketing and blogging. While I am in no way caught up in this show, I love taking an hour or two out of my week to hear her advice and tips on how to successfully grow in this ever-changing, sometimes scary, and amazing thing we call the internet. The show is done in an interview format with a new guest each week, and I love Julie’s interview tactics. She always asks the questions I want to hear and has a great knack for picking up on key takeaway points from each week. I always learn something during this podcast and I love being able to implement it in my website immediately! Even if you aren’t a blogger or influencer, you can see the passion Julie has and how carefully she studies the field.


As a crime reporter myself, of course I got sucked into Serial. The format is a little different than I expected it to be, but each episode hooked me even more. Season one of the show is about a man named Adnan, who was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend in 1999… but, he may have got a raw deal. Season two is about Bowe Bergdahl, which I thought I wouldn’t like, but I ended up loving. Both seasons are fast-paced but also give you every detail you need, and each lets you make up your mind on what you think really happened.

Up and Vanished

This podcast took over my life! It’s about an murder in Georgia that’s been unsolved for more than a decade, and the case is allegedly the largest in GBI history. It’s a long show, but host Payne Lindsey talks to everyone involved in the case from start to finish. He talks about tons of crazy theories, and his investigation actually led to an arrest in the case last year. Now, the case is unfolding in real time, which is fascinating. Again, it’s looooong, but I was interested in every episode. I hope Payne updates the show as the alleged killer goes through the court process! He’s got a new podcast now, called Atlanta Monster, but I am not as into it as I was UAV.

A Killing on the Cape

If you liked Serial, you’ll love A Killing on the Cape. The podcast is from ABC’s 20/20 team, and is about a murder in the early 2000s on Cape Cod. The victim was a single mom, who was also a fashion writer for top magazines like W and Vogue. After years of investigating, authorities arrest a man and convict him of her murder. The story is intriguing and heartbreaking, and truth be told I have more questions now than I did before listening. That being said, it’s worth it.

Becoming Fearless

Similar to The Influencer podcast, Becoming Fearless is the Style Collective podcast by SC creator Annie Spano. You don’t have to be a SC member to access the show though! It’s also in interview format, and features Annie talking to marketers, influencers, motivational speakers, and more. While it is a lot like Julie Solomon’s show, I think Annie’s focuses a little less on the business aspect of entrepreneurship and more on the mindset. She talks a lot about spiritual wellbeing, meditation, and how to get in the right head space for starting a blog or an online business. I get a lot of inspiration from hearing Annie’s conversations, and I think you will too.

This post was not sponsored; all opinions are my own.


Hi ya’ll!

I recently filmed a video on my first impressions of the new Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation. There were some highs and some lows, but you’ll see in the video! Overall, I love the finish of this product, I just need to see if I can get past the blending issues. If you want an update, just holler and I’ll tell you my thoughts! 

Please let me know if you like this video and want to see more like this!

P.S. I’m still getting my feet wet on the tutorial videos, so please helpful comments and suggestions!

Till next time—



If you’re planning a wedding, I feel you. It’s hard work, and it’s stressful…but, it’s also the most fun thing in the world!

I’m planning my own wedding, with the help of amazing family and friends. I have done SO much research about topics from flowers to linens to chairs, and I also joined a wedding library in town that gives me helpful tips and recommends popular vendors to me. While I still have a little way to go, I feel like I have gotten so much done in a relatively short amount of time!

To be truthful though, I had no idea what I was getting into when I started working on my dream wedding. Here are my top tips for planning your own wedding, so you can hopefully learn from my mistakes and have a stress-free experience! The most important thing to remember is to breathe, and have fun!

Happy planning!

wedding, wedding planning, Southern Style Diaries, Ivana Hrynkiw

Get organized immediately

Start off on the right foot, and keep everything organized from day one. Immediately after getting engaged, you’ll start paying more attention to weddings you attend or see in magazines, and chances are there will either be something you love and want to copy, or something you want to avoid. You’ll need a place to keep all of that so you can look back at it, and also add more important documents for safe keeping! My wedding planning binder is from the ladies of Southern Weddings, and it’s precious. It comes with the cutest little tips and tricks, and reminds you to enjoy the planning process! It also has plenty of room to add in pages (with page protectors… I learned the hard way!) or stuff folders in, which you can tell I took full advantage of.

Know the basics (of what you want)

I don’t mean you have to know what color your bridesmaids dresses will be or what your date is. But, I do think it’s wise to have a basic idea of what you want your day to be like— outside or inside? Church or a swanky ballroom or a rustic barn? Winter, or summer? Things like this will make it easier to envision your day, and then your details can start to come together in your head. Everything is so beautiful, it can really sway brides when looking at venues if you don;t have any idea what you want. Things will change along the process, but if you go ahead and know the basics your life will be a lot easier.

Don’t panic when you get your first round of prices

Learn from my mistakes— stuff is expensive. You *think* you understand that, but when you write everything down for your budget, suddenly you are hyperventilating and that’s not going to help anything! Be aware of the price ranges that wedding things cost. You can easily find this online or in a wedding planning book if you purchase one— just for a general idea, reception venues can be $3000 and up, while food can range around $20-30 a person. And don’t forget your tables, chairs, servers, bartenders, etc… it adds up fast, so be mentally prepared.

Pinterest is your best friend

If you already have a wedding Pinterest board you started way before you even thought getting married was in the near future, I suggest either deleting things that you can’t truly see yourself doing/wearing OR starting a new board. When I got engaged and got a general idea of what I wanted (see #x above) I realized that all the poufy dress and the flower walls were beautiful, but they just weren’t for my dream day. Having some kind of vision board, if you don’t use Pinterest, is insanely helpful to both you and your vendors! I use Pinterest and I cut out pictures from magazines and keep them in my binder.

Get help of a trusted family member, friend, or wedding planner

I’m lucky enough to have an awesome mom, aunt, cousin, and mother-in-law, along with tons of friends, that have helped me tremendously through this process. They’ve kept this whole thing moving! I’m pretty convinced no one has it better than me in that department, but if you do, use them to your advantage! Most of your family members will want to help you in some way, so it will help you and make them feel good if you give them a job. Also, this isn’t their first rodeo, so they know better than I do. If you don’t have any family/friends that you want to help you, get a wedding planner! It will take so much work and stress off your plate.

Venue first, then everything else

Venue, venue, venue! Do not book anything else until you do this. Sometimes certain venues require you to use certain vendors– so if you love the venue, you have to play by their rules. Don’t get into a situation where you’ve committed to a vendor and have to back out, or you have everything except your dream venue and it’s booked on your date because you didn’t start looking soon enough. Just save yourself the trouble and trust me, book it first.

Do everything earlier than you think you need to

I know someone will disagree with me on this, but I jumped ahead of the typical planning calendar guidelines by like two months. I am a person that needs to know details ASAP, and to me, there was no sense in waiting. Once I had the venue, I was excited to start looking into other vendors and getting them secured for my date. Sooner is better than later in my opinion, always. Plus, it’ll save you so much stress when you have your dress a year in advance, rather than running to every bridal store in one weekend trying to find the perfect gown.

You’re not going to buy the dress you think you want

I wanted dress A, and I ended up with dress Z. If you think you know exactly what you want, chances are you’re going to get it on and say, “eh,” and go back to the drawing board. All I’m saying is be open minded and don’t set your heart on something until you have it on your body!

Break tradition…or don’t.

Your mom, aunt, cousin, and sister all wore grandma’s wedding dress… but you want a Hayley Paige studded gown. Or everyone is very religious and got married in a church, but that’s just not your thing. Sit down and talk with your family, and explain to them your concerns. Just because everyone else did something does not mean you have to do it! You wedding is hopefully something you only do once, which brings me to my next point…

It’s YOUR day!

Remember that, and own it! Don’t be a brideszilla, but keep in mind that your opinion is the most important. It’s not selfish, its making sure that your day is what you want. I had to be told this several times, and stop putting everyone else’s feelings and wants in front of my own. And you know what? They were right. While I have kept everyone’s opinions in my head (and sided with 99% of them) I have had to make several calls that were different than what some people would have preferred. If you’re like me, you might feel bad in the moment… but that’s better than being disappointed on your wedding day.