Planning a wedding was one of the hardest but funnest things I’ve ever done. Here are the main things I learnt whilst doing it…
Do what you love. Because it’s your wedding / marriage / life.
Pad and I were pretty sure from the word go that our wedding wouldn’t be a traditional ‘cookie-cutter’ wedding. There were elements of tradition I love, but there are a lot of ‘wedding traditions’ that don’t suit us, and felt unnecessary. I never felt pressure to organise a traditional wedding day, but I know a lot of couples do, and it makes me sad for them. Do what you want. Do what will make you happy. I wanted a bright pink wedding cake with Haribo on, and Pad wanted a salted caramel cake with Rolos. So we got both. And then we bought 100 Krispy Kreme donuts and made another cake out of those. Because why the hell not?
Some other things…? I wanted bright pink glittery shoes. I didn’t care about what hairstyles the bridesmaids had, or that they all matched, just so long as they felt great. My Mum walked me down the aisle. We didn’t have 3-course meal, we had a big buffet of BBQ food.
These decisions might seem weird to some, but they’re all the things that made the day OURS. No one else had our day. No one else ever will. Everything we had or chose was because we loved it or it meant something to us.
Budget is Bullshit.
Pardon my language, but budget is such a wishy washy term. We actually learnt this lesson when we travelled the world a few years ago – but wedding planning taught it to me all over again. You might set a budget. You might have a figure in mind. But figures change so quickly and money gets spent so easily.
Whatever your budget is, add 20% and that’s your real budget.
If you don’t know what your ‘pet peeves’ are, you will after planning a wedding.
I think I mostly kept calm whilst wedding planning. I didn’t made irrational demands, I didn’t rope people in on 5 hour shifts to help fold napkins. As far as brides go – I think I was pretty relaxed 99% of the time.
That 1% exception? WHEN SUPPLIERS IGNORED MY EMAILS. I never knew how angry this made me before wedding planning – but I literally lose my mind if people take more than a week to reply to my emails. With friends and family, it’s different. But when it’s a supplier (someone you’re paying a lot of money to) can’t answer a simple email…. well, I just lose all patience with them.
It happened with one of our biggest suppliers frequently (I won’t name them), but it slowly drove me crazy. It actually made me start to dislike them. How hard is it to type a 4 word email and click send? Why have I waited 2 weeks for a response from you, especially after sending multiple reminders? Baffling.
The world still exists outside of your wedding.
Remember that the world is still going on outside and your friends and family are still living their lives. I was very conscious of this, so actually tried not to talk too much about the wedding – unless the other person asked me about first. Remember, even though the wedding is the most important thing in your universe – it isn’t in everyone else’s.
You are perfect just the way you are.
This is more to do with the dress shopping side of planning. As a curvy girl who fell outside of the standard ‘sample sizes’ I struggled to try dresses on in a lot of shops. For reference, I’m a UK size 16-18. Most bridal shops will stock samples in a size 8 and a size 12.
After visiting a couple of bridal salons in the early stages and feeling embarrassed of my body, or conscious of it (because hey – if you don’t fit into a sample size, you don’t deserve to look beautiful) – my self confidence was at an all time low. But f*ck that!
I love my body. I love my boobs. I love my long hair, I love my eyes. I love my mind, my courage, my sense of humour. And Pad loves all those things too.
Whether or not I can fit into a sample size shouldn’t change any of those things. Yes, I did lose weight for my wedding, 3 stone in the end, which I am proud of doing. But I realised afterwards, that I wasn’t a beautiful bride because of my dress size. I was a beautiful bride because I AM IN LOVE, I was marrying the person I love, and I was in a room of people I love and cherish.
There are so many things that matter more than size. And your happiness shouldn’t be dependent on it.
If it matters to you – always be descriptive.
If there is a certain part of your day that really matters to you – be as descriptive as possible and be as clear as possible. Upon getting back our wedding photos (as a side note – we were really happy with them as a whole) but I did notice the photographer hadn’t taken barely any of my little sister, and I had none of just the two of us together. She’s such a big part of my life – and maybe I should’ve been clearer with the photographer that this was important to me. I think I took for granted that it would be obvious I’d want photos like that.
Spreadsheets are your friend.
Spreadsheets / Excel / Google Sheets – whichever it is you use. Put everything on a spreadsheet. It’ll stop you waking up in the middle of the night in a panic you’ve forgotten something. It’ll stop you spending too much. It’ll help you track everything.
Cherish family and friends.
In the months prior to the wedding, the biggest worry I had about the day was the weather. We’d chosen to have a section of the day outdoors, and it was really important to us that it was dry and not wet (because rain ruins everything).
Oh how foolish we were, that weather was our biggest concern.
Four days before the wedding, my Nanny collapsed and got taken into hospital. Suddenly, I went from checking weather reports, to calling my Aunty for daily checks, and the hospital for daily checks. Nothing mattered to me from that point onwards, other than having everyone there. Healthy, happy and with us to celebrate.
My Nanny actually discharged herself from the hospital early and came to the wedding (so the story ends well), but I would’ve been heartbroken had she not been there. You think all these little things matter… Like weather, or timings, or the shade of pink the flowers are. You think it matters but it doesn’t.
What matters is everyone you love made it. That everyone you love is there. That you have love in your life, in the form of friends and family.
People do / will let you down. Deal with it and move on.
We’re very lucky that we only had two guests let us down at the last minute. It sucks and it hurts, but it won’t define your day. Deal with it politely, kindly and just move on.
How to prioritise.
Not many of us have an endless budget, so make sure you spend the most money on the things that matter the most to you. In other words – prioritise.
We wanted gorgeous views of London – so we were willing to pay for it. We weren’t too fussed about having real floral centre-pieces on our dining tables, so we found some cheaper fake flowers, and spent that money on a photobooth instead (something I really wanted). The photos below are our £2 each fake peonies from Amazon, and our home-made table names.
The photobooth turned out to be one of the funnest parts of the day, and gave us an amazingly hilarious souvenir album to keep after. The flowers would’ve just died and gone to waste, so it was money spent in the right place.
VAT is a thing.
ALWAYS ASK ABOUT IT. It exists, it’s out there and it’s annoying as f*ck.
As long as the registrar turns up, you’re all good.
At the end of the day? You’re there to get married to the person you love. As long as that happens, it’s been a success. In theory, at least! Remember that when you’re planning, and it’ll take off some of the pressure!