How to plan a wedding
Where to begin with wedding planning? It’s enough to send even the sanest person into a spin!
From the ideal date, to nailing your location, selecting a gown and setting a budget – there is so much to consider.
Don’t stress, I’ve got your back. I’ve popped together a little guide to wedding planning that we hope will make your life as a future bride or groom that little bit easier. So sit back, relax and let me do the talking.
It may have been months (if not years) of hint-dropping, gazing at the bling that decorates the left hands of your closest girlfriends, or countless incidents of (not so subtly) passing your iPhone to your spouse, with an accidental wedding-related snap on screen.
He’s popped the question. You said yes! You’re engaged. The pair of you about to embark on the most crazy, exciting, wild ride of your lives to date.
The champagne flows, and excitement bubbles as you throw around wild ideas with your girlfriends about a totally insta-worthy hens weekend in Vegas (oh, imagine all the re-grams), a five-day wedding extravaganza, a reception that kicks on until 6am (none of this ‘finishes at midnight’ business).
That’s right – your wedding will be the very best yet. Forget Kim and Kanye – YOU are going to break the internet. You’re determined to show brides before you just how this wedding thing should be done.
And then as the champagne haze dwindles, reality – and your bank balance/lack of annual leave/family expectations – hit you square in the face.
Weddings aren’t always easy.
In an ideal world – we wouldn’t have to work to a budget, we could swoop our nearest and dearest up and hijack them for a full week that’s focused wholly and solely on you and your partner. There would be no opinions to consider, and no worries to shoulder.
So, where on earth does planning for what you’re promised will be ‘the best day of your life’, even begin?
Let’s take off those rose-coloured glasses for a minute, and get a little real. While wedding planning can (and at times, definitely will) be wonderful – there’s a lot that those glowing brides may not have told you.
Here’s my guide to getting your wedding planning started, keeping it real, and not losing your sh*t along the way.
SHOUT IT OUT
Of course, one of the first things you will want to do is announce to your nearest and dearest you’re engaged! Post proposal consider how you will share your news and how to contain the news if need be. Phone calls and texts to family and friends and if you’re social media savvy, an Instagram and Facebook announcement will see those red notifications go sky high. However, if you prefer to keep things private, suggest to your family and friends that they respect this and don’t go announcing your news on social media if it’s not your bag. Not everyone is a mind reader, so better to be on the front foot of this.
Social media etiquette will also come into play on the actual day, so here’s a little guide to handling this.
Remember from the get go that your wedding is about you as a couple. While it can be easy to get swept up in all the celebrations and planning, do remember it’s about you both, there’s no ‘I’ in team.
Sit down with your fiancé and talk about your ultimate dream day. Is it a DIY affair on a private property, dancing under the stars in a clear marquee, a swanky inner-city celebration, or a low-key beach bash? No need to discuss finances, write down how you imagine your dream day and what you want out of it.
SETTING THE DATE
When it comes to setting the date and a timeline, there are no hard or fast rules, though keep in mind to be legally married you must give at least one month notice in the form of a Notice of Intended Marriage that will need to be lodged with the person who will marry you (celebrant/priest).
Here are some things to consider when it comes to setting your wedding date.
- Set your wedding date in the season you most want to be married. If summer is your swag, then your wedding date will be guided by this.
- Be realistic about your finances. If it’s important to you to splash out on your celebration, then allow yourself more time to save.
- Look at important events that surround your wedding date. If you’re stressed by the silly season of Christmas, then steer clear of December and January and opt for months where you will feel calm.
- Ultimately your vendors, particularly your venue, will play a crucial role in setting your wedding date. Quality vendors will be booked out quite far in advance, so be prepared to move dates if you have your heart set on a certain wedding supplier or venue.
- If you’re set on a venue and a time of year and they don’t have availability, consider shifting the date to a day other than Saturday. Friday weddings are fabulous and magical mid-week weddings may just end up saving you some dollars also.
In real life, few of us are event planners so planning a wedding day takes a lot of organisation. First step is to organise yourself. Lucky for you, I am the perfect wedding planning. I you through your wedding planning step-by-step so you can keep cool, calm and collected every step of the way.
Bride Business has comprehensive checklists, space for you to set your budgets and guests list, record your RSVP’s, track your wedding supplier details, brainstorm your vows and magic melodies, a checklist for the all important wedding day survival kit as well as plenty of space for your notes.
There’s nothing boring about me and once you have her in hand, not only is she sleek and sassy but she will be the ultimate bride guide for bringing your dream day to life.
Wedding planning is made up of so many moving parts. From setting the date, sending invites, booking vendors, make up trials, managing RSVP’s, writing vows, choosing music – are you losing the plot yet? The list really could go on, so you need a comprehensive checklist to make your wedding planning go tick-tick-boom! Set your checklists early, consider all aspects of your planning and eliminate stress where you can.
At the end of the day, it’s all very well to shoot for the stars when it comes to wedding planning, but your budget will set your reality. No one wants to be a broke-ass bride so be realistic in what you can afford and what you want to spend. Prioritise this conversation with your fiancé, you need to be open and honest about your expectations.
It’s rare these days that parents pay for weddings, so don’t rely on this. However, if you think they will or can contribute, have a conversation with them about this and factor it into your budget.
When setting your budget, break it down into key areas such as ceremony, receptions, apparel, stationery, entertainment, beauty etc.
Set your budget for each aspect of your day and stick to it.
At the beginning of your planning, creating a guest list seems fun as you list everyone you would like to be there to celebrate your all-important day. However reality can sometimes bite and it’s really important to remember to consider a couple of things when setting your guest list.
- Venue – it’s no good planning for a lavish wedding of 200 guests if your venue only allows an intimate setting for 70 guests.
- Budget – can you actually afford the number of guests you are considering.
It’s important to handle the guest list before it handles you.
Once invitations have been sent, be sure to record your RSVP’s and dietary requirements. Doing this will save you headaches down the track.
You will be engaging a group of suppliers (your Tribe) that will make your day into the incredible celebration it is. Be sure to store all their contact details in a safe place as you will be needing these throughout the planning process, particularly in the lead up and on the day. It’s sometimes handy to pass these contact details onto a trusted friend or bridesmaid on the day should you need it.
Need help with choosing your Tribe? Here are my top hints and tips.
Fact is, you’re getting married and making a lifelong commitment to the person you love. Within your wedding planning you will need to write your wedding vows. Take some time out to do this and ensure it’s not at a time when you’re feeling stressed. Here are some quick tips when it comes to writing your wedding vows;
- Stay true to you. Don’t write something that doesn’t sound like you or reflect the kind of person you are and your love.
- There’s no right or wrong, if you want to write a lengthy love ode, go for it. If you’re a straight shooter, write a few sentences. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do.
- Lean on your officiant for support if you’re stumped. Your officiant will have no doubt officiated many weddings, so they are experts in this area. Don’t feel bad about asking for help, not all of us are perfect poets.
Music sure brings the feels on your big day so it’s important to think about what kind of tunes you want to help set the mood. There are some key songs that you will have to determine in advance, and they are as follows;
- Processional – what song will you walk down the aisle to?
- Signing of the register – when you’re signing your legal documents, what song will you play?
- Recessional – choose a song that will have you exiting your ceremony in style.
- Reception entry – the party has officially started, choose a song that reflect this.
- First dance – will you choose a party anthem or something that will bring a tear to the eye?
- Reception exit – leave your guests with a song that will have them wanting more!
Consider whether you will have live music or if you will use a DJ or iPod. Your budget will come into play with this. Your music will really set the mood of your day, so it’s important to get it right.
Weddings can definitely bring stress on even the most cool, calm and collected couple. It’s important to ask for help and this is what we like to call the delegation situation. While we all want to be a hero, the reality is you can’t do it all. Or rather, you shouldn’t do it all. Take a load off by delegating some tasks to family and friends. Trust us, they want to help you, so give them something to do. Set your tasks early and save some stresses down the track.
WEDDING DAY SURVIVAL KIT
It’s important to pop together a kit that will see you throughout your wedding day in case any little emergencies arise. Be it Panadol for a niggling headache from all the on the day excitement, or a mini sewing kit for any last-minute alterations. Your wedding day survival kit will help eliminate any stresses from your sensational celebration.
I have covered off quite a bit here, but here are some final hints and tips when it comes to celebrating your big day.
The colleague that made mention of his or her wedding being a ‘total waste of money’, oh, and their advice of ‘put your savings elsewhere’.
Trends. What works for your effortlessly boho best friend, may not work for you. Just be yourself.
Your fourth cousin on your dad’s side who will hold a grudge if they don’t make the guest list. It’s okay to say no.
The look of disappointment on a parent’s/grandparent’s face when you tell them you have opted for something that bucks tradition (be it dress, cake, ceremony style or venue). Your day, your way.
The many and varied opinions you may be offered when dress shopping.
Competition. Just because ‘Sally’ rode out of her ceremony on an elephant doesn’t mean you have to. It’s not a competition. At the end of your ceremony you will be handed a marriage certificate, not a gold medal.
Negativity. Surround yourselves with people that are positive, supportive and love the two of you. It will make a world of difference when it feels like everything might be going wrong.
Wedding planning books, lists and spreadsheets are your friend. Document, save, and re-save every little thing.
It is okay if your friends forget to ask how your flower choosing/cake tasting/napkin viewing appointment went. Life must continue to go on around your wedding bubble. They DO still care. We promise.
You don’t have to be an expert on flowers and know the floral calendar by heart. Take a deep breath and leave that to the professionals.
Seating arrangements aren’t anybody’s friend. Have a glass of wine at the ready.
Your husband/wife to be. Make sure your day isn’t centred solely on one person. Ensure you inject both of your personalities and styles into the day.
Your bridesmaids love you. They don’t mean to make you want to scream.
It is all worth it.
At the end of the day, you have landed yourself a husband or wife, you get to marry your best friend, and you are so very loved, and lucky.
To really take your planning to the next level, purchase your copy of Bride Business, here.
Photo: Jenna Fahey White