I don’t know if you can be considered an expert after planning a grand total of one wedding. However, having had what can only be described as a bloody good time at ours, I thought I would share a few bits of advice that may come in handy for anyone thinking about getting hitched.
A simple Internet search brings up pages of daunting introductions and long checklists. “Twelve months before the big day…”, “The organisation can be overwhelming”, “For the wedding of your dreams, don’t forget…”. Serious stuff, it seems. But here’s my advice: relax. I had probably spent approximately 3 seconds of my life picturing my dream wedding day before getting engaged. It was pretty easy to figure out that we wanted a chilled wedding and that also meant the last thing we wanted to do was get stressed planning it.
About 4 months before the big day, I was asked where our wedding folder was. “What, this?” I said, opening our single page spreadsheet. **nerd alert** I quite like Excel. I plan my training, I play fantasy league and I like To Do lists. None of this geekiness was reflected in our wedding planning. I can genuinely say that the only time I felt remotely stressed was during a 10-minute window on December 31st when we realised we had forgotten to pick up our brownies i.e. “The Cake”. And to be honest that was mainly because I was worrying the lady at the bakery was missing out on a NYE party. (#browniegate was fine in the end although I forgot to eat one on the day as I was having too much fun dancing…)
Speaking of dancing… I am an occasionally enthusiastic but unskilled dancer. If you’re cursed with two left feet – or in our case, four – don’t feel like you have to do a first dance. It’s up to you which traditions you buy into.
Here’s a few things to bear in mind:
- Booking the ‘big things’ early – like a place to get married, someone to marry you (I mean a registrar/celebrant, not a partner), something to eat – definitely means you can chill later… And write down what you’ve booked and paid for as you go along.
- What’s your main priority? Ours was having fun, in case you haven’t guessed. We referred to our wedding as “the party” throughout.
- If you want to save money, recruit a couple of creative friends, collect jam jars and ribbons, go to Hobbycraft and discover your inner arts and crafts elf.
- If you want a good party, you need good music. The band/DJ is key. Google is your friend.
- We aren’t particularly comfortable in front of a camera and having a photographer who makes you feel at ease is important. The smiling all day part was pretty easy, even for someone with a slight case of resting bitch face…
Having successfully consumed an early glass of Winter Pimms without any spillages, I stuck to clear drinks thereafter: Prosecco, champagne, sparkling water, sambuca. Varying levels of classiness there, but what the hell – my dress survived and so did I.
Finally, for the first and probably last time ever I am going to offer up some fashion advice: Be yourself. For me, that meant choose a dress in half an hour and indulge my trainer fetish. Yes, you want to look pretty/beautiful/suave etc. But I would have looked ridiculous if I had worn too much makeup. And what can I say? I look good in trainers.
A wedding can quickly become pretty expensive, so of course some planning can be very important. But remember – it’s your day. Even if you’re getting some help paying for it, it’s your love you’re celebrating (thankfully, I didn’t get close to saying a line that cheesy on the day) so try to do it your way. Figure out what ‘your way’ is… if it means elaborate flower arrangements and a big white dress, go for it. If it means a pair of trainers and a load of your mates dancing in a barn, that’s okay too. Have fun!