I got married in 2017, and I literally poured my heart and soul into planning a wedding that truly reflected me and my husband. But I kind of had no choice than to do that, because we had chosen such a hands on wedding. We had three beautiful Tipis in the middle of a field, which in turn was in the middle of nowhere, so it took a lot of work, imagination and a lucky sunny April day to pull such a day off. Here are 10 of my honest tips to try and help you with your wedding plans.
1. Set a budget.
Make a realistic budget that you know you can afford with your partner. Your wedding is one of those really special times of your lives that you want to be perfect, but no day is worth putting yourselves in financial difficulty to start your married lives off with. There is a wedding possible for every budget, you might just have to accept that it potentially won’t include a golden horse drawn pumpkin carriage with doves and fireworks and all that jazz.
2. Find a venue.
Most venues are booked up in advance, sometimes up to three years ahead, so be prepared that if you have your heart set on somewhere you might need to wait or choose a different place. There are so many amazing venue types now, you can literally go to the local village hall or pub, a fancy stately home or use a marquee or a quirky tent for the big day. The possibilities will stretch as far as your budget and your imagination. Depending on the venue, you will have to take into account the workload that goes into it. If you get a package deal or a hotel venue then you probably won’t have to think about some of the stuff that you’d have to consider when having a tent wedding. It’s worth considering if you haven’t got the time.
3. Get hunting for suppliers.
This is so important when planning a wedding, especially if you have a specific person/image in mind. Get researching and contacting these suppliers as soon as you can, as these guys get booked up super fast, especially when it comes to a Saturday in the wedding season.
I recommend looking to get your photographer, caterers and registrars booked as soon as you can.
Think about the rest of your suppliers; cake, do you need to get this booked in if you want a fancy design? I didn’t do mine until last minute but thats because I knew it wasn’t going to be that fussy. Do you need to book a band or a DJ (or both)? These get booked up so fast so they need a good thought spent on them. Florist, some people opt to do their own flowers or use alternatives such as fake flowers or have a different bouquet made of fabric or paper. But if you do want a florist to create your wedding flowers for the bouquets and tables etc, you’ll have to get this booked in as soon as you can, especially if they will need to order a specific type of flower in for your wedding that is out of season or from abroad. Do you need wedding cars and transport for your guests? Do you need to book a hotel or hire a room anywhere?
4. Ask your guys and girls to part of your bridal party.
It’s so exciting proposing to your Bridesmaids and Groomsmen to be part of the biggest day of your lives. Why not try and do something different? I love seeing the way Brides and Grooms do it so uniquely. How about an Elder & Ivy gift box ‘wink wink’? Most girls and guys have already thought about who they would want to be a part of their big day, but one word of advice I would think about, is to choose people to be by your side that will be useful to helping you plan this crazy day! You’ll need all the help you can get!
5. Send out your save the dates, and get started on your invitations.
I don’t think it’s ever too early to send out a save the date, especially if you are really keen on having certain people there. High wedding season in the UK is in the summer months, where lots of people will have already started thinking about booking their holidays, so if you want them to come along it’s best to think ahead. I’d recommend sending your invitations out about 4-5 moths before the wedding. I know this sounds early, but the earlier people know, the more notice they have so that they can come and celebrate with you.
6. Start thinking about getting your dress and suits!
What an exciting time to start looking at one of the main elements of the big day. For the ladies, the dress is a really important thing. Make sure you book appointments with the bridal boutiques to avoid disappointment if you just turn up. Also maybe let them know how many people are coming and if you want it to be a special occasion, with a bit of fizz etc. Boys - you need to decide on your suits. Are you going to rent or buy? Do you know what style you want? You’re bridal boutique will guide you on when you need to come back for fittings and alterations leading up to the date.
On a controversial note, how do feel people feel about bridesmaid dresses? Does the Bride and Groom pay? Or does the Bridesmaid pay? Personally, when it came to me making that decision, I asked for the girls to pay for theirs and I told them to choose whatever they wanted really, but just to stick to a ‘light’ colour palette. As it happens, it worked out wonderfully and they all chose dresses that complimented each others, and my dress perfectly. I just felt like it was a waste of money to buy something that they could only wear the once. It’d be interesting to hear people thoughts on this?
7. Decorations and details
Do you know how you want to decorate your venue? Do you need help or a venue stylist to do these for you? Or are you going to try and do as much DIY as you can? Pinterest is a great way to get some inspiration for this, but try and stay true to your ideas too and you’ll end up with a really unique feel, rather than just a ‘Pinterest’ wedding. Also thinking about music is a good tip. I found it so hard to choose music to the key moments of the wedding as I didn’t want to choose music that was kind of ‘weddingy’, and then trying to agree on it with the husband was another task in itself. But you’ll always remember those songs even if nobody else does so it’s worth spending the time on it.
8. Hair and make-up
Are you wanting to have hair and make up done for the big day? It’s important to book this in and have a trial a few weeks before to make sure they make you look just as you’d imagine, there’s nothing worse than looking in the mirror after a trial and thinking ‘who’s that?’. You still want to look like you! Also it’s really good to get some tips off them and a professional opinion. I knew I wanted my make up doing as I’ve never been that great at doing my own, but I figured i’d just wing it with my hair. Thankfully one of my bridesmaids brought her hair stylist along and I decided on the morning of the wedding that I’d get some professional help. Thank God I did! During the buzz and chaos of a wedding morning, I don’t know how I would have managed getting ready and attempting to put a flower crown in my mess of wavy long hair. Sometimes we think cutting corners will be easy, but if help is there just take it!
9. Hen & stag parties plans
Well this shouldn’t be anything you need to be worrying about really. Best Men and Bridesmaids - this is your area OK? Whether you want to be heading off abroad for a final few days in the sun with the besties or having a cosy night in sipping champagne and reminiscing about old times, make your parties at least a few weeks before the wedding, just incase someone gets a crazy idea and does something they shouldn’t and comes home with half an eyebrow. Hopefully everything will come home intact, but if you’re anything like my husband, you’ll come home with severe sun burn (honestly you have never seen someones eyelids as swollen as that) and too many bruises from falling asleep on a Las Vegas side street and waking up at midday the next day. Thankfully there was time for him to recover before the wedding. It was a real life ‘The Hangover’ situation. [face in palm]
10. The evening before and the morning of the wedding
Make a plan with your bridesmaids and groomsmen on how you want the night before the wedding to go. If you’re staying away or staying at home before the big day, it’s nice to make a bit of a plan of action. The same goes for the wedding morning too. Speak to your hair and makeup people and the order you’d like everyone to go in, so that you will be getting the best time slot which will give you time to eat, dress and get yourself looking beautiful. It’s all about you! Just relax (which is easier said than done) and remember it’s all about you. You’re getting married!
Make Up: The Retreat https://www.facebook.com/TheRetreatHathersage/