Having recently celebrated my first anniversary with my husband (still together, yay!), I thought it might be nice to reflect on last year and the many stresses and joys of planning a wedding. It can seem really daunting, as there are so many details to organise, and yet for us, it all felt pretty simple and stress-free until a couple weeks before the wedding (top tip: moving house a month pre-wedding is not advised). I don’t think stress can be avoided entirely; but you can definitely minimise it when planning. Here’s how.
First, and most importantly, remember why you’re doing this. Remember that you’re not getting married to have a wedding, you’re getting married to have a marriage. The wedding is a nice day to celebrate, and to bring family and friends together, but that’s all it is. Most of the details don’t really matter. In fact, the only things that really matter are:
– The venue, including ceremony, reception, food, and drinks
– The dress
Pretty much everything else is replaceable. But if you have wedding dress and a venue people can celebrate in, you’ve got a wedding!
I therefore recommend sorting these two things out first. In fact, my first tip is to book things early. This is because everyone books things early, so both venues and photographers, hairdressers, jazz bands, etc do get booked up. I personally got the venue sorted within a week of getting engaged, and the dress sorted within a month. After that, the rest felt like bits and bobs. These are listed below.
I should mention, at this point, the all-important notion of budget. Budget often shows up on the top 5 biggest wedding stresses, but one of the most important things when it comes to weddings is not to worry about things you can’t afford. It’s fine.
It goes without saying that the majority should go on the above; but of course you need to save for the things that matter the most to you. For us, it was the photographer. We needed someone we could trust to do a good job so we wouldn’t have to worry about getting photos on the day at all (and thankfully we got someone amazing fairly early on). I’d also recommend, as well as putting in extra money for the things that matter, seeing if you can get things that don’t matter so much “on the cheap”. Maybe you have some friends who sing or play the organ, or your bff is a photographer, or your mum is a pretty solid baker, or one of your bridesmaids is an expert hair stylist. Make use of these connections! I’m sure your friends and family would love to be included in your day.
BITS AND BOBS:
– Flowers or other decorations, including bouquets
– What the bridesmaids and groomsmen will wear
– Wedding rings
– Hair and/or makeup on the day
And that’s pretty much it! There are also a few legal things to sort in advance, but in terms of the day itself, that’s what my breakdown was. I’d also like to point out that many of these things don’t have to be expensive at all. In fact, most can be achieved at a couple hundred ££.
There are of course extra things you can add. Matching bathrobes for the bridesmaids; wedding favours; a buffet later in the evening. Here’s my advice on all those things: do them well, or don’t do them at all. There’s no point in doing a crappy version of something you can’t afford. I recently watched an episode of Don’t Tell The Bride (GREAT pre-wedding watching btw) where the groom made “wedding favours” himself consisting of some tacky looking sweets in what might have been a sandwich bag. Just don’t. Please. Do it right, or cut it.
On that note, I recommend avoiding DIY altogether. Keep things as simple as possible – I know those paper cranes you saw on Pinterest might look fun and simple to do, but I can guarantee that it won’t be so fun once you’re still on your first 100 with 400 to go. The only thing we really did as a “DIY” was our wedding invitations, which we hand wrote, and although many people commented on the nice personal touch, it did take FOREVER. And that was for under 100 invitations. So bear that in mind.
And this brings me to my top tip …Quality over Quantity!
There’s no need to have a wedding cake, for example, if you’re serving dessert. Sure, it’s a nice thing to have, but you don’t need to have it (most people don’t eat the wedding cake anyway). You don’t need live music. You don’t need fresh flowers. You don’t need diamond-encrusted wedding bands. Pick and choose what you want to invest in, and most importantly, make sure those things matter to you. Because otherwise, you’ll end up having second rate versions of the things you do care about – which would be super sad.
Happy wedding planning!