Congratulations, you’re getting married!! Now you can start living, breathing, sleeping and dreaming wedding bells!
Your wedding will become a huge part of your life, and it is easy to spend anything up to three hundred hours just in the planning alone. It sounds daunting, but relax and let me guide you through this exciting time.
From the joy of getting engaged, right up to the day you say “I do”, the roller coaster of emotions can be overwhelming. But no two weddings are the same so you will need to plan to some degree, and even if your wedding day is planned for over a year away, there are always things that will trip you up.
So here’s some thoughts to get you ahead with your planning. It’s a lot of information, but can you afford to turn down good free expert advice? More importantly, you need to know that you are not alone!
You and your partner ARE going to disagree
OMG! Really? Don’t be shocked when I say that you may not always be on the same page as each other on every element, but do believe it!! One of you may like the Bridgerton style theme, whilst the other has been dreaming of a festival style wedding. This is where I say, remember what the day is about and don’t stress the small stuff!
Things like themes, activities, games etc are added touches to your day but in rality they make no “emotional” impact on your day! And this means that you don’t really need worrying them!! If you can afford it, have it! If you want it and can’t afford it, wait to see how much you have left the budget after all the important elements have been considered.
Having your friends and family there with you, good food, flowing drinks, and a great celebration party, is really all you need to make your day a great success.
Choosing your date
Don’t choose a date that is going to put you under financial pressure. You really don’t want to start married life in debt, so it’s better to give yourself two years to plan and save then try and cram it into one year and miss things you really want. That is just going to put you both under pressure that you don’t need during one of the most highly intense times of your life!
Make sure you spend on the most important elements
A wedding is a one-off life event and for that reason we all tend to go mad on it making sure we have the best day possible. However, make sure you concentrate your budget on the things that mean the most. Spend on the most important elements to you as you can always DIY the elements that perhaps matter less.
Start your planning by making decisions together on what is the most important elements to you both. Note them down and make sure that you agree on them. Chances are – given a little tweaking – you will both be on the same page, that’s what has made you click as a couple.
It may be that you want a venue that will hold ALL of your friends and family and that is key, or that you are both massive foodies, so excellent top notch catering is really important, or you like a good party, so a Band and DJ is key. Whatever the important elements are is where you want to concentrate your budget on first.
Don’t let those all important elements suffer because the non-important items like a photo booth or candy cart is taking some of that budget away.
There’s always plenty of cost effective ways of making your own photo booth up with some props, an empty frame a camera, or even a whatsapp group to capture pictures you wont get to see!
If you have lots of kids, make your own sweetie table that is much cheaper than a candy cart provider! There are so many things you can do yourself and don’t forget google is your friend here to help find how-to tutorials.
You can design your own website on wix.com for free, get a Canva account and save yourself on wedding stationery! The list of savings is endless once you start thinking about it.
You will offend at least one person during your planning
One of your mates consider you a bestie, and are probably hoping to be selected to be part of the wedding team OR you only have a limited amount of space for day guests and have to cut people from the guest list or end up with an evening invite only.
Maybe you have an extended family or parents are separated with new partners and who is going to go on the top table or you don’t want your sibling to go because of a personal reason. Just remember, whatever anyone says, it’s your wedding day. It is the one day in your entire life where this one day is about YOU and YOUR partner. Don’t even try to please everyone because you won’t!
So this leads nicely on to the fact that you will never please everyone
The more that you understand that you can’t please 100% of the people 100% of the time, the more you will enjoy your wedding planning.
In addition to the invite and roles to play on your wedding day, there will be plenty of people trying to get involved in your planning – not to mention give you free advice. But it’s worth discussing together early on if you are going to plan with your family, or get friends involved, or keep control yourselves. Obviously if you are both crazy busy, you may even opt for a wedding planner to help you keep on track, but if you have plenty of time on your hands and you organise yourselves well you can tackle one supplier at a time in order of importance and you’ll be good to plan your own wedding all day long.
Make sure you find the right suppliers for your wedding day
So your friend got married and said that their caterers were amazing, or their florist was really cheap, or their photographer was the best and their photos were beautiful, which is great. However, not only do you not want a cookie cutter wedding that everything looks the same as your friends wedding, or if you want something different from your day then you may just find that these suppliers won’t suit your style of wedding. So whilst recommendations go a long way remember to continue to find what suits you and your day the best.
Make a Checklist of Photos You Want
Talking of photographers, despite what style of photography you opt for, remember to have a list of the most essential, even if minimal, pictures that you want. I.e. with parents, groomsmen, bridesmaids, page boys/flower girls etc. Best mates, work colleagues, all sorts of pictures that you want to have as memories, make a list. Once the day is over, you can’t get those all-important pictures again. Create a list of the photos that you want and share it with your photographer well before the big day so that they are happy with the requirements and can tell you how long they need for them.
Skip the Rituals That Don’t Really Matter to You
Don’t feel under press to follow tradition. If you don’t want to throw the bouquet for the next bride-to-be to catch when in reality you want to keep it, then don’t build it in your timeline. Or get an extra hand tied made for this purpose.
If you don’t want to cut the cake, then dont… in Fact don’t feel obliged to include anything on your wedding just because it’s tradition or you feel that it is expected of you. Every wedding I plan is different and nowadays tradition is often thrown out of the window to opt for a more unique day that suits the happy couple.
You may want speeches first so that everyone can enjoy your food, or I my case, if could have stopped my Dad from getting tongue twisted from too much alcohol hoping it helps his nerves. My dad made a toast to the Broom and Gride! Double Gasp!
Plan for the worst or hope for the best
No matter how much you plan, something will deviate from the plan on that day. Have a backup of everything possible. So if you are saying your vows outdoors, make sure there’s an equivalent place indoors to do this. Most registrars will make the ultimate decision if the wedding goes ahead indoors or out. So have a backup plan in case it’s raining and consider that you may need to move everything inside.
Make sure you have seen to everyone’s dietary requirements to prevent any nasty reactions. Also, for the guests, have an emergency kit in the bathrooms with sunscreen, piriton, stain wipes, sanitary items for the ladies, and safety pins
Whether it’s the weather, the large gathering of incompatible people, or just Murphy’s Law, something may go wrong, and whatever it is, don’t let it take over or ruin your day and delegate what you can….
No one likes asking for help, but if there’s one time you can use more help, it is during the planning if you are finding it overwhelming on a daily basis, don’t make life stressful if you don’t need it to be.
If you have friends and family you can really trust and they are happy to help, you can find things on your checklist that you can delegate to, take the stress away where you can. Make sure your planning is a fun experience. Oh and don’t expect your spouse-to-be AS excited as you. Quite often, one is more in to it than the other and they don’t always want to pitch in, but don’t exclude them, because before you know it, they’ll want their say when they feel excluded and will avoid unnecessary quarrels.
Don’t lose sleep!
Seriously, take care of yourself and try not to stress. Your wedding day is going to be amazing. Whatever is causing your sleepless nights in the months ahead of your wedding day, there will be an answer, and that may be hiring someone like me to manage our wedding day to take away every bit of stress for you on the day and the run up to your wedding day, or ask a friend, just remember why you are getting married.
The main things is that you have a perfect wedding day with your friends and family celebrating the two of you tying the knot. Some food and drink, to share your first meal with your family and friends, and a great celebration. Everything else is a nice thing to have to make those little touches special, but should not be your be all and end all.
Have a backup budget for those last minute extras
If you want your band or any supplier to set up earlier to avoid disruption to your day, try and organise this early as many suppliers may demand more money when you were not expecting it to arrive earlier or have to collect when the venue wants instead of when they want. Or, one of your suppliers have had an accident and you need to hire someone else at the last minute. It’s rare, but always best to have a contingency.
Trust the experts
If you are stuck for ideas or unsure whether something will work or not then ask the professionals around you, they’ll reassure you one way or another and may even make great suggestions that you hadn’t thought of yet.
Just remember, if you have a dry hire and taken on so many different suppliers that is making your day highly complex and you don’t want the hassle of managing your wedding day yourself, you can always give BusyBrides a shout. Not only does hiring a wedding day coordinator save you time and effort, it also keeps your wedding day run perfectly all day and completely stress free. Meaning you can enjoy your day, and the run up to the wedding, in matrimonial bliss with your partner. Something that you definitely cannot put a price on!
So there’s a handful of tips to start your planning off on the right foot and if you feel that your wedding is spiralling out of control financially, don’t be scared to re-evaluate and remind yourself what your day is about and take a small step back on some of the unnecessary extras that you really may not need!
I hope you found the above advice useful and I wish you the most enjoyable time planning your wedding.
This post was written by Sian Belton of BusyBrides