Back in October last year, Aled proposed! We’re going for quite a long engagement because we’re both finishing our PhDs right now, so we don’t have a huuuuge amount of free time. And as someone who loves planning and researching and organising things, I want to relish in all of it (hehe). So, 9 months into the planning process, I thought I’d share some of the things that I’ve learnt so far. Personally, I’ve found blogs to be one of the most handy wedding-planning resources (alongside Pinterest…obvz… but more on that later), so I hope this is helpful for any other brides-to-be! By the way, you might want to go make yourself a hot bev, because this is probably my most rambley post to date :p
Things I’ve Learnt Planning A Wedding
1. To be true to what’s important to US
It’s SO easy to get bogged down in what you think you should do, or what other people think you should do, or what tradition says you should do while planning the big day. Let me just say now that weddings are BLOOMIN’ expensive (it actually makes me feel a little bit sick when I think about how much it’s costing us…. think a lifetime of holidays…. or a big chunk of a house deposit…. and we’re actually below the ‘average’ wedding cost that’s quoted in bridal magazines….. seriously, 50 shades of CRAY!). So, if you don’t want to completely break the bank, you have to prioritise things that matter to you the most. For example, for us the venue and the food were the most important part of the wedding because we want our guests to have an amazing time, and this is definitely where we went over our budget. We almost didn’t go to see our venue because it was so pricey… but when we stepped inside we both fell in love and nothing else compared. I can honestly say, hand on heart, that even if I was the richest person in the world, I would still get married at our venue. It’s so freakin’ dreamy *insert heart eyes emoji here*.
So, because we spent a heinous amount of money on our venue, something had to give. The first thing to go was the wedding cake, which people seemed weirdly mortified about. The general conversation was this:
Me: “we’re not going to have a wedding cake. They cost over £500, it’s crazy!”
The (now horrified) person I’m talking to: “WHAT?! but you have to have a wedding cake!”
Them: “For the cutting the cake photo”.
Yes, the cake cutting photo is cool, but it’s not going to be the one that I look back on or want to frame. “Hey, honey, do you remember when we took a knife to that exquisite-looking, sickeningly expensive cake?”. Also, there is gona be a LOT of food at our wedding, so people probably won’t even want to sit and eat a massive cake. So, we scrapped it. Well, we’ve actually replaced it with something much more fun *winky mysterious face*. And saved a crap load of money. DOUBLE WIN
2. To not get bogged down in guest politics
You aren’t going to please everyone. Just accept it. For example, we’ve decided to have a pretty small wedding. Therefore, it would be weird if we had a MASSIVE bridal party…. more guests would be walking down the aisle than sitting next to it (!). (Okay, maybe not, but it still would have looked unbalanced and weird). Anyhow, it still meant that we couldn’t ask all of our close friends (who we love and appreciate very much) to be involved. Initially, this was super stressful. But honestly, all the stress came from us! People who are real friends will be fine with it (and secretly happy that they can just have fun at your wedding without any duties or obligations!). Especially those who have planned a wedding themselves – they get it.
3. That I initially underestimated the importance of my dress
When we got engaged, my dress was weirdly one of the things I was least excited about. I was more interested in what my bridesmaids were going to wear, the colour scheme, and the venue decor. I think I was avoiding thinking about my dress because I’m quite fussy and indecisive, I didn’t think anything would look that nice, and I thought the whole process would be an expensive hassle. I was wrong (except about the expensive bit), and should have been more interested from the start! I went on my first dress hunt a month or so ago, and found THE dress. It was a surprisingly fun and easy experience for me. HALLELUJAH! I went with my bridesmaids and my mum, and we had a really lovely day. My one piece of advice for dress shopping would be to have a budget and stick to it. If you can’t afford it, don’t take it off the hanger! The reason the title of this section is that with hindisght, I wish I had looked for my dress sooner. The one I picked has a SMIDGE of colour (eek – NEVER thought that would happen because I’m normally rather tradish). But, now we have to change the colour scheme of the whole wedding because my dress wouldn’t go otherwise (oops… sorry Aled).
4. That I’m all about the pen and paper
My friend bought me an absolutely gorgeous wedding planner as an engagement gift, and I LOVE using it. It’s been really useful for brainstorming ideas, listing everything I need to organise, and keeping track of suppliers. It’s also going to be such a nice keepsake when I’m older – for example, I printed out a load of photos from my day trying on all of the different styles of dress (I didn’t print out a picture of THE dress…. that would be incredibly risky!)…. but it’s such a great way of remembering that really special day.
5. To do things myself
My biggest tip for the budget bride is to get your hands dirty. There is such a big premium on all-things-wedding it’s ridiculous. So, instead of paying someone else to not do very much, just do it yourself. For example, do you REALLY need a wedding planner?! Just pick up the phone, and sort it on your own.
We’re also making our own save-the-dates and invitations. If you have Adobe Lightroom, or any other publication software, learn to use it! Designing them yourself makes it all so much more personal, and it’s cheaper!
6. That Pinterest is amazing for inspo, but can end up just making you more stressed
I have many wedding pinterest boards. Seven, actually. It’s seriously addictive. Pinterest is an AMAZING resource when wedding planning. It’s an endless (and not to mention free) source of inspiration. But sometimes, just sometimes, you can get sucked into a time warp and emerge feeling slightly overwhelmed. I’m trying to use it for broader themes, like colour palettes I like, or hairstyles I think would look great with my dress. To avoid getting sucked back into the online vacuum again and again, I’ve started printing out my favourite ideas using my HP sprocket, and sticking them into my planner. I’m also a bit wedding magazine-crazy. But, through my obsession with one magazine in particular, we have been featured in said magazine twice, and I got gifted a tonne of free make up that meant I found my wedding day foundation. Hurrah!
7. That live music seems like a fantastic idea, until you tell them it’s for a wedding and they triple the price
*Eye Roll*. This is one of my pet peeves. WHY IS EVERYTHING WITH THE WORD WEDDING CHARGED AT SUCH A RIDICULOUS RATE?!?!?!? SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS TO ME???
We reallyreallyreallyreallyreally want live music at our wedding. But when you look for bands online, it’s a bit of a minefield. Sometimes…. their recordings sound kindof naff, and you wonder how they think they can charge what they do. For example, we found a band that seemed OKAY, and they wanted around £300 for an hour or so. So we emailed them, and their response was “Oh, it’s for a wedding? That’ll be £800 then”. *spits out tea*. I’ve actually inserted a screenshot of this quote below, because I know you’re going to think I’m exaggerating. Their reason for committing this daylight robbery? “They need a different PA system for a wedding than a party”. I’m pretty sure my wedding is smaller than most birthday parties. So naturally, I angry tweeted about it. Our new tactic? Whenever we’re in town, we listen very carefully to buskers – you know they sound good live, and hopefully they’re not divas. I’ll let you know how this venture turns out in my next wedding chat post.
So, those are the main things I’ve learnt over the last few months. I’m still VERY MUCH on the wedding planning train, so I’ll try and do a second update post nearer the big day. Also, if any other brides-to-be / happily married lovely people have any nuggets of wisdom or know of any awesome bridal blogs, pleaaaaaaaase message me / comment blow 🙂 x