Not that it makes me an expert in the field of wedding planning, but I have been engaged for nearly a year and a half and plans pretty much started straight away. I spend at least half my day reading wedding blogs, eye-balling photographers pictures and getting involved in forums, so I’d like to think that over the course of my time as a bride to be I’ve picked up a few handy tips that I can pass on to any newly engaged couples.
I don’t by any means have all the answers and I’m very much still learning as I go along, but I thought I’d share with you what I have learnt so far.
As soon as Has and I had a rough idea of numbers for our wedding day we booked appointments with a number of wedding venues and photographers. These were the two things we were going to be spending the most money on, and things we had heard get booked up pretty far in advance.
By booking early we secured 2009 prices for our 2010 wedding. We also found out last month that our photographer no longer includes engagement shoots in her packages and now charges extra for them. We have saved ourselves at least 10% on our venue too – it doesn’t sound a lot but anything you can save when you’re on a budget makes a huge difference.
- Take it slow and don’t get carried away.
Of course when you first get engaged you are beyond excited, walking on air and look like you’ve slept with a coat hanger in your mouth. It’s very, very easy to get carried away. I definitely did! Within the first few months I had ordered 50 magnets for our save the dates. I now how around 30 magnets sitting in a box that I have absolutely no use for!
You will change your mind on things too. I bought a lovely pair of ivory/white heels to wear on my wedding day, although they were a steal at £22 in the sale I’m now desperate for a pair of purple shoes to walk down the aisle in.
I was so excited to start planning and started buying things early, but you have to use your judgement. I have things that haven’t changed in price that have been sitting in boxes and spare bedrooms just collecting dust all because I was desperate to buy something for the wedding. Of course I’ve bought items that I considered to be a bargain and they were worth buying there and then, others… !
- Don’t measure your expectations by anyone elses.
A great example of this for me was wedding dress shopping. I started really early because I was so excited and had visions of prancing around in gorgeous dresses like the lead sweetheart in a film. If you’ve read this blog from the beginning then you’ll know my experience of dress shopping was a little short of sparkle. I had expected to love dress shopping and I’m sure most brides to be do. I just wasn’t one of them. I felt awful because I wasn’t enjoying the experience of taking my best friends and Mom shopping. It wasn’t until I spoke to another friend of mine, who was then on the verge of getting married herself, that I started to feel better. She hadn’t enjoyed dress shopping either, she felt the same as me.
If you don’t enjoy dress shopping, then it’s ok! It really is ok! Or maybe you feel like you should be doing your invitations/table plan – insert DIY project here – because everyone on the forums/in magazines/on blogs seems to be but you haven’t made anything yourself since the days of watching Blue Peter and collecting egg cartons or empty loo rolls. Then don’t!! Don’t feel like you have to do or enjoy anything just because you think most other brides do.
- Let the day reflect you and your partner.
This sort of goes hand in hand with the point above. Just because tradition says you should do it a certain way doesn’t mean you have to. Hundreds of couples are making their day their way. Who says you need to wear a white dress a veil or hold a bouquet of flowers?
The options for weddings these days are endless, if you can imagine it then you can create it. Just look at these amazing bouquets.
Pretty knob bouquet, Button bouquet, pom pom bouquet
I joined Twitter ages ago with little clue as to what to do, now I can’t stop tweeting! I’m a tweet-a-holic! I follow hundreds of suppliers, wedding gurus and other brides. You can learn so much from people on Twitter, plus loads of companies offer fabulous competitions to their followers. Get involved!
The same goes for wedding blogs. They offer huge amounts of inspiration and have usually been within the wedding industry for a while so know what they are talking about. (I’m not including myself in this category, I’m totally winging it!) If like me you start to follow more blogs than you can keep up with, get yourself logged in to Google Reader, best thing I ever did!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Planning a wedding is a big job! Don’t be too proud to take help when it’s offered or to ask for it. Juggling life along with planning your big deal is going to be overwhelming, if your bridesmaids are as wonderful as mine then you won’t even need to ask for help, they’ll be there as soon as you need them. Family members and close friends may be itching to help out too, so extend the invitation to anyone who is willing. Huge daunting tasks can be finished over a cup of tea and a gossip with your closest friends.
My invitations have called for a number of nights of me and the girls sitting around sticking, cutting and embossing. Something that would have taken me ages to complete on my own. With the help of my best friends they’ve been finished in no time!
The same goes for your fiancé too, whilst choosing flowers or deciding on bridesmaid’s dress may not be his thing, it’s his day as well. He should have some involvement. Our honeymoon has been researched, planned and booked all by Has. He’s spent hours working out the best schedule for the honeymoon of our dreams. There is no way I could have done it!
- Always, always shop around
It makes sense right? I had a game trying to find my pocketfold envelopes for our invitations and very nearly gave up on the idea as it was looking like it may be too expensive. I searched numerous websites and even contemplated buying from America, that was until I came across PDA Card and Craft and got a great deal.
I fell in love with my bridesmaids dress, their price… not so much! I contacted a few other local stockists and went back to the original shop where they were able to match the price of another. I bought my dress from a shop a week before they were due to display at the National Wedding Show. I knew that they offered very good discounts and incentives at the show, so I asked if they could do anything for me. Hey, if you don’t ask you don’t get right!? They gave me 10% off the cost of my dress and £100 to spend in store on accessories.
I’m sure most of these points will seem obvious to most people, but they weren’t to me when I started!
My last tip is, enjoy it! Enjoy the planning, not just your wedding day, but for your marriage – the rest of your life with that one special person, after all that is what it’s all about!