Getting engaged is VERY exciting – all you can think about is how amazing your wedding day is going to be. It’s a wonderful thing 🙂
But, beware! There are people out there who want to take control of your wedding. I know what you’re thinking – who are these monsters and why would they do this?? Well, OK maybe calling them monsters is being a bit harsh, but the fact is, whether it’s a well-intentioned family member, bridesmaid, dressmaker, venue, or perhaps even your favourite wedding blogger (d’oh!), sometimes they forget what the wedding is all about… YOU!
The reason we created this website (and even wrote a book about it) is to help you, yes YOU dear engaged person, to navigate the wedding planning journey without being pushed and pulled by those around you, so you end up with a wedding day that makes you happier than than a happy thing.
So, here are our top tips for truly owning your wedding…
1. Align Your Dreams
As a couple, decide at the very beginning what your main hopes and expectations are for your wedding. This can be just a short list of your very top priorities, written by you and your partner, perhaps even framed and hung on the wall, so you never lose sight of it.
This might not be easy – you may find you both have very different views on what the wedding should mean and what sort of day you have. But, you will need to get through this stage and find common ground – and it’s a lot easier done at the beginning of the process rather than towards the end.
It will help guide your every decision along the way, and hopefully stop most arguments long before they kick off.
If you’re really bored, you can read our actual wedding wish list here (but please don’t judge 🙂 )
2. Count Your Coin
Ok, so it’s not very romantic, but talking budgets is important. But whyyyyyy (I hear you ask)?? Well, sadly, weddings don’t grow on trees, despite what you may have seen on Pinterest. The scale of your wedding will be down to how much you have to spend, or more importantly what you agree that you should spend.
This is the time to check your savings, and perhaps speak to your family if they have offered to help. You need to consider many things, but most importantly remember that this is just one day – you need to also plan for the rest of your (happily married) lives too. So think carefully about how much you are happy to spend, making sure you can genuinely afford it. Write this figure down. You will be tempted many, many times to increase it, but just remember, every time you add something to your wedding budget, you might be taking that money away from something else (perhaps the deposit for your new home?).
We had a Goldilocks budget (not too big, not too small) which was based purely on how much of our savings we were willing to spend. We just about stuck to it – you can view it here if you’d like to see a real-life budget breakdown.
3. Ditch the Traditions (If You Want to!)
You know how sometimes work can totally suck because you have to do what your boss tells you, even if it makes no sense whatsoever? Well, the good news is that when it comes to your wedding, YOU are the boss! You get to say what happens, when it happens and how it happens, even if it makes no sense at all to anyone else!
So when someone tells you that you “must” or you are “expected” to do something, please ignore them.
This doesn’t mean sticking two fingers up to traditions – but you get to pick and choose which to keep and which ones to ditch. Plus, you get to make up your own – how cool is that?
You want wedding decorations made 100% from Lego? Do it!
You want a pizza buffet for your wedding breakfast? Do it!
You want to arrive by parachute, fully kitted up in your wedding dress? Do it (but please be careful)!
Hopefully you get the point. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend thousands of pounds/dollars/euros on the biggest party of your life, so make the most of it!
4. Say No to Awkward, Troublesome and Obligation Guests
Nothing adds to the stress of a wedding more than the guest list. Family feuds, bridesmaid envy, awkward friends from a former life. They all have the potential to throw a spanner in the works.
If nothing else, my one piece of advice would be this: Only invite people to your wedding who you truly, and I mean truly, want to be there. Just because someone shares a smidgen of your DNA, doesn’t entitle them to a free pizza buffet. Just because you once borrowed your neighbours’ hedge trimmer, doesn’t give him the right to see you sky dive in your wedding dress.
One simple test that we came up with was this: we decided to have a printed photo of each of our guests on the table for lunch. So, the test was – if we didn’t have a photo of them, which helped to remind us why they were special in our lives, they weren’t on the guest list.
As a bonus – the smaller the guest list, the less it will cost, and hence the more you can spend elsewhere on making the rest of day uber special – win! We ended up with 80ish guests – you can check out our guest list spreadsheet here if you’re really nosey.
5. Be a #Bridechilla (and #Groomchilla)
This one is courtesy of the wonderful Aleisha McCormack, host of the Save the Date Wedding Podcast (the no 1. wedding podcast in case you’re wondering).
The concept is simple – take a deep breath, and chill the f**k out! There you go, doesn’t that feel better? (Sorry for the swears – I blame Aleisha).
Wedding planning can be a lonely place at times – perhaps you’ve fallen out with everyone, including your partner, but the plans still need to be finalised. Perhaps you’re starting to feel that nobody cares about it all, and it’s all on your shoulders.
This is the time to reach out to the thousands of others out there going through exactly the same thing. Listen to Aleisha’s podcast. Send her a voice message. It will make you feel better, I promise.
Do you have any other tips for keeping your sanity during this epic wedding planning journey? We’d love to hear what you think!
Take care, and happy planning!
PS – If you’d like some wedding planning help, check out the free section of our funky downloads page 😉