Wedding planning for the newly engaged couple!
He got down on one knee, you grinned and he popped the question! Great, your engaged. The overwhelming feeling of life falling into place, happiness clouding your judgement and the sight of that ring on your finger! Life could not be better. Then the wedding planning starts! Whilst this can seem like a daunting task, here are some great ideas for making your wedding planning much easier!
What you do have to do, whatever your time frame or budget, is get yourself organised. Now.
I’m a huge fan of lists and breaking things down so they’re less intimidating. Have a think about what you want to value the most in your wedding and book the top three. These are the things that either take the longest, get booked up the soonest or set the tone for the rest of the wedding. They are the venue, your photographer and your dress. Get those three sorted first and everything else will fall into place around them. Be aware that good makeup artists, florists and hair stylists in your area may book out quickly too – some 8 months in advance. Canberra is a small community and the best are often grabbed up quick!
However, before you can start any of that you need to make some decisions. Set some time aside, just the two of you, to sit down and have ‘the talk’. You need to decide what kind of day you want, when and where you’re going to hold it and how you’re going to make it all happen.
Think about what style of wedding you both really want. Will it be big or small, religious or civil, on a beach, in a marquee, a manor house or a pub? Do you want to D-I-Y everything or is that your idea of hell? Do you want a big bridal party or do you want it to be just the two of you up there? What is most important to you both? What are your biggest priorities and what is completely non-negotiable?
Secondly, it’s time to think about the theme. Recently this has become a bit of a dirty word, but these days thinking about a theme doesn’t have to mean you should be picking accent colours or deciding whether you’re more of a glamorous, retro or modern couple. In fact I’ve lost count of the number of weddings I’ve seen recently where the couple say “Oh we didn’t really have a theme; we just had stuff we liked”. Perfect, great – that’s your theme then!
This is the fun bit. It’s time to write down anything, and everything, that makes the two of you tick. What is it that makes you both unique? Are you really into sci-fi, or gaming, or food? Have you always dreamt about getting married outside, or by the ocean, or in a cave? Is music your biggest passion? Are your pets the light of your life? At this stage, write down whatever you want on this list and don’t restrict yourselves. I always think that the most successful weddings are those that are really unique to the couple and a share a mash up of how they are in everyday life.
Of course when it comes down to actually putting things in the wedding, you don’t have to include everything, but making a list like this is a really good way to get those ideas flowing before you really decide what’s going to work for you both.
Where and When
So you’ve got the bare bones of the ideas for your wedding, now it’s time to think about the logistics – basically when and where this blessed event is going to take place. If you don’t have an obvious date in mind already, refer back to your ‘what’ list as one may affect the other. If, for example, your dream is an outdoor woodland ceremony surrounded by wildflowers and with your pooch as your ring bearer, you’re unlikely to want to have a religious ceremony in Thredbo in July. Find out when it would be best for you and your husband-t0-be to have time off for a wedding then the honeymoon. Remember, the week prior is advisable to take a holiday for all those last minute planning details!
Oh this is the dirty word…. the budget
As much as you don’t want to think about just how much you’re going to spend on this one day, having some sort of idea of a budget is vital. Sure, you may well blow it, but you do need to have one as a guide… I mean how else are you going to know if you can stretch to that giant octopus balloon sculpture or not?
There are entire reality shows that revolve around the pain and horror of the wedding budget, but yours needs to become your best friend. It will keep you in perspective and make you pay attention to what you actually really want. Sure, the idea of the heart balloons is awesome, but can you really stretch to spending $600 on actual hot air? Most importantly though, your budget protects your future. After all, you’re planning for a marriage here – not just a wedding – and you really don’t want to start married life under crippling financial strain.
Ugh this one isn’t so fun either, but just like the budget, it’s unavoidable. A lot of couples don’t, but it really is worth thinking about a backup if something doesn’t go to plan. I’ve heard way too many horror stories from couples where the wedding photographer didn’t show, or the venue cancelled a few weeks before (this happened to us!) or the inebriated best man loses the rings on the stag do. I don’t want to scare you, and nobody wants to think that anything is going to go wrong on their big day, but – and I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news – something might.
For my wedding, it was a few weeks prior to the Brisbane floods on the Sunshine Coast. At 4:30pm on the dot, as my ceremony began, a huge storm moved over our garden gazebo ceremony location and poured like Noah’s Ark. Luckily, we could move into the reception venue for the ceremony – my advice, make sure you are backed up!!!
Why – the engaged couple!
Wedding planning can be tough. It can be stressful and expensive and put unexpected strain on a relationship. Wedding planning can also take over your life if you let it, and after a while apathy, or even resentment, can start to creep in like a creature in the night. The DIY projects mount up, the bills keep coming in, and you can begin to lose sight of why you even started to do all this in the first place.
If you feel like you’re struggling, take a break from the planning. Spend some time together as a couple. Rediscover your passion and nurture the love that makes you want to go on this journey. At the end of the day the cake will be eaten, the flowers will wilt and the dress will be relegated to the back of your wardrobe. When you’re old and grey the wedding you had won’t matter anymore, but the person you married forever will.