Like many of you reading this, we got engaged over the Christmas holidays. We went to Florida on holiday (I (Lisa) am a total Disney nut) and Carl, complete with a Mickey Mouse ring, that I still have a cherish, popped the question in the rose gardens of Cinderella’s Castle.
We always joke about how I thought Carl was in a funny mood that day, it turns out that he was just super nervous about proposing. I said yes and later in the holiday we replaced the Mickey Mouse ring with something more permanent.
We finished the holiday on a cloud of happiness and came home. This is when the realisation dawned on us, we would be planning a summer wedding that year. This sounds easy when you’re in the land of princesses and Mickey Mouse, but it takes on a whole different level of “where do I start” when you are back to the reality of your day job. It's then you start to realise that most people take far longer than 8 months to plan their wedding, especially when you read wedding blogs and planning guides telling you to do certain things 12 or even 18 months in advance. Please don't panic reading this though, it is totally possible.
We know many of you are at that exact point right now. Starting to plan can be daunting to say the least, so here are our top five tips that we learnt from planning our own wedding that we hope you find useful as you plan yours:
1. GET ORGANISED
Whether you are a spreadsheet type person or someone who prefers a series of ring binders, the most important thing is that you get organised. Make sure you have lists and make sure you know where to find them. We (I) had a notebook that I sectioned off with tabs for all areas of the wedding. That book went everywhere with me for the whole 8 months and was my life!
2. GET A WEDDING EMAIL ADDRESS
We learnt this one the hard way. When you email suppliers or give your email out at wedding fayres, be prepared to be bombarded with emails. This is great when you are planning your wedding, but you are usually on the suppliers email list until you unsubscribe and continue to the get emails long after your wedding. The best thing to do is to set up a Gmail (or similar) specifically for your wedding. This also helps with point 1 above as you have a single place where all your emails will be stored.
3. INVITE WHO YOU WANT, NOT WHO YOU THINK YOU SHOULD.
One of the biggest headaches when planning your wedding is who to invite. The quickest way to ramp up the cost of your wedding is to invite more guests. Unfortunately sometimes you need to get ruthless when planning and trust me, we know how hard that can be. How far into extended family do you go? do you invite the aunty thats not really an aunty? and do you really want to have to not invite those friends just so your second cousin twice removed can attend? You could cut out plus ones (which feels a bit harsh), or think about which friends and family would be best to invite to the evening reception only. It’s not easy and, unfortunately, there could be some upset people. But your budget is not limitless and sometimes you need to make tough decisions. We had a very small wedding with only 40 guests and it was hard, we did invite more to the evening reception but in general, we know that everyone understood. We always kept the Dr. Seuss quote in our heads when planning
“Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.”
4. ACCEPT THAT THERE MAY BE IMPERFECTIONS
Carl is a total perfectionist so for him to accept this was really hard. We decided to write our own vows. The plan was these would be read at the church. We both spent hours crafting these in secret from each other, ready to read on the big day.
As the day came, the service began, we had our notes all ready and then…. The vicar forgot! It was suddenly time for Carl to kiss the bride. We came out and gave each other a weird look of “we did remind the vicar about this”. But you know what, we were married, who cares.
We did continue to be slightly annoyed about the effort we have put into this and it not being heard by our guests, or more importantly, each other. Dad then actually suggested that we read the vows to each other in front of our guests before dinner starts. We agreed this was a great idea.
Looking back on it now, it was perfect. Reading those vows to each other in front of our closest friends and family, in a much more relaxed setting was perfect. We made each other cry, laugh and it made what initially seemed like the low point of our wedding day, so much more special.
Things will, and do, go wrong, accept it and don’t get upset, because what happens instead is always more magical.
5. REMEMBER, IT'S ABOUT YOU!
It is so easy to get caught up in trying to keep everyone happy for your special day that you can easily forget about yourselves. Make sure that you have the things you want, not the things you think (or friends and family advise you) you must have. The amount of times we had to explain why Carl was not going to wear a tie and was going to wear his favourite trainers with his suit, why I was going to walk down the aisle to the song “Beautiful Freak”, or why we were going to have a big BBQ served on mismatched cutlery instead of the traditional wedding breakfast. It can be easy to get dissuaded from doing things and sometimes, people are right, so do listen to advice, but never forget to forge your own path. We had our own reasons for each of those things and it still means so much to us that we did it. Never lose sight of the fact that It is your day.