Planning a wedding should be the most exciting year/s of your life, not a stressful one. It’s a cliché, but our wedding day really was the best day of our lives. I’m no expert on wedding planning but I’ve been there and I’ve experienced all the emotions! Of course everyone will have their own opinions and thoughts, but here’s my learning’s and what ultimately worked for me. So if you’re at that stage of planning a wedding or hoping to in the near future, I hope I can offer some words of advice so you can have your own fairy tale day too.
1. Take your time
From the moment you’re engaged it’s natural that you’ll be asked a million and one questions. It’s completely expected; people are excited for you and want to know your plans. But don’t think this means that you have to rush straight into it. Even though you may feel completely overwhelmed with how much there seems to do – just breathe and prioritise. You’ve just become engaged! Enjoy this moment.
For us, setting the date and location were most important as we had overseas relatives making the trip and we knew we wanted to have it within the year. So we got straight onto it. And of course, we worked out the budget. But work out what’s important for you, and then the rest; enjoy taking the time to gather your thoughts and doing one thing at a time. There’s no need to put yourself under unnecessary stress! Everything eventually falls into place.
2. Research & Plan
No doubt you’ll be straight onto it (let’s be honest, you probably started taking mental wedding inspo notes years ago) but if you haven’t, get Googling! For all the cosmetic stuff, Pinterest, Cosmo Bride and Bridal Shows were my main sources of inspiration. Luckily I knew what kind of look I wanted before I started researching so this made it a little easier. But if you don’t – no worries, just get out there and see what you’re drawn to.
DJ’s, Photographers and Celebrants are a little harder so this is where word of mouth and recommendations comes in. Another great source of information for me was a local wedding group on Facebook – It’s actually managed by our Celebrant, Dru Soltys! This was such a great outlet to ask questions and communicate with other brides.
Lastly, talk to those around you. One of my colleagues I used to work with was married a few years ago and I always remember her photos and makeup looking amazing – so I reached out to her and she put me in contact with her suppliers. We ended up going with both of them!
3. Make a Wedding folder
Following on from the planning, start saving your inspirations and take them with you to your appointments. For every appointment I had, Makeup Artist, Hair Stylist, DJ, Photographer and our Event Coordinator, I brought along my ideas with me. Not only does this make it a hell of a lot easier for your suppliers to get an understanding of what you’re after and your expectations, but it makes a great reference point for you when you’re feeling stressed and need to visualise the bigger picture.
4. Listen to your own voice
Planning a wedding is such an exciting time, not only for you and your fiancé but the whole immediate family and bridal party involved – and so it should be! I absolutely loved having everyone closest to me involved in the process. It made it that much more special and memorable. But it can cloud your own thoughts at times. After trying on 25+ dresses, I finally found the ONE when I went by myself. That was one of the best decisions I made. I had time to hear my own thoughts and made my own decision that this dress was completely me. Always trust your own thoughts and creativity.
5. But don’t forget your fiancé's
This is his or hers wedding too – so don’t forget to include them in the decision-making! Some people are more than happy to be left out of the process but don’t automatically assume that this will be the case for all. Communicate and let your partner be involved if they want to. You’re a team.
6. You can’t please everyone
It’s your day – not theirs! Wanting to please everyone was one of the hardest struggles I experienced throughout the planning process. Being a natural people pleaser and not really knowing from the get-go what we wanted for the day, I had everyone’s opinions and expectations put on me from the moment we were engaged. My stress levels literally went from 0 – 100 within a day. After my second meltdown of the year, it all came to a head when my very wise (and sane) Hubby said to me - WHO CARES. Who cares what they think? This is our day – not theirs. This simple advice became my mantra and I started to put my foot down. You don’t need to be a Bridezilla about it all, just know that you’re in control!
7. Choose your invite list carefully
For many people making an invite list can be one of the trickiest things to do when you’re planning a wedding and for many reasons. Whether you’ve got a tight budget, a certain quota to keep within or simply just because you want only your closest there – you’ve got to do what’s best for you and your partner. For us it was all about the latter. For every person put on our list, we would ask ourselves “Have we seen these people in the last 6 months? (Obviously excluding overseas friends and family). This made our decision so easy and looking back, there isn’t one regret with whom we invited. It was the best. party. ever because those who were nearest, dearest and wanted to be there, were there.
8. Stay within your means
As a said above, one of the first things you should do is set a budget. When you start working with suppliers it can be very easy to keep pushing the budget higher and higher. I know, I’ve been there – you just want everything to be perfect. But have some idea of what you’re working with before you walk in that door. Of course, every girl wants (and deserves) the most spectacular wedding so don’t dull down what you really want. Bring your ideas and notes to the table and see what they can offer you. Be smart about it and get quotes. You never know.
A great tip our Event Coordinator gave us when I had all these great and wonderful ideas, was to write out my DREAM LIST, get a quote and then cull from there. This made it so much easier to work out the needs, the wants and wish list items. And really, looking back, I’m so glad we didn’t fork out $2,000 for a white dance floor. Nobody even remembers where they dancing at that point!
9. Look at the bigger picture
Don’t get caught up in the perfection of it all! This is coming from Mrs. Perfectionist herself and I know that’s so easy to say but seriously, constantly remind yourself what’s truly important. No matter how much planning and research you have done, weddings are never completely perfect. But do you know what, WHO CARES, the day is about you and your future Husband and the commitment you are making to one another. If something unexpected pops up, just shake it off and go with it!
10. Savour every moment
Rain, hail or shine – this is your day and it will only happen once! Be present in each moment and enjoy every single second of it. This was the top tip of advice everyone gave me prior to the wedding and so we both really made an effort to soak it all up. I can actually recall every single second of the day. It really was the happiest day of my life.
If you have any questions, just let me know in the comments below. I'm more than happy to help.