Wedding Planning Advice for the Newly Engaged

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You’re probably feeling a heady mix of emotions right now – excitement, anticipation, joy, terror!? While everyone you speak to will kindly remind you that this will be the happiest time in your life, you’ll soon be feeling that inevitable wave of panic too. It’s perfectly normal to be a little bit scared and overwhelmed at this stage. I mean, how on Earth do you even start to plan a wedding!? Yes, there is an enormous amount to do in a relatively short period of time but come on, if I can do it, you certainly can too.

The most important thing to remember is that this is just one day. Your wedding will not define the rest of your life. It should be a nice starting off point for your marriage. But I know how it feels, and once the happy glow of getting engaged starts to wear off, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of hyperventilating over guest lists, seating arrangements and finding that one perfect dress.

So relax.  Try not to think about everything you have to do right away, instead break your tasks up into manageable chunks and tackle them one at a time. The wedding industry is notorious for scaring you about time frames and budgets and blah blah blah. But often they’re more worried about their own bottom line than actually helping brides and grooms navigate the muddy waters of planning ‘the biggest day of their lives’ (cynical but true). On the Rock n Roll Bride blog I’ve featured weddings that were planned in a matter of weeks and weddings that cost under £1000. So whatever your timeframe and budget, it can be done.

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Get Organised

What you do have to do, whatever your timeframe or budget, is get yourself organised. Now.

I’m a huge fan of lists and breaking things down so they’re less intimidating. My only advice other than that would be to make sure you have your priorities in mind and try to book the big three first. 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/or videographer, if you’re having one) and your dress. Get those three sorted first and everything else will fall into place around them.

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.

What

Think about what kind 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 hand make 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 the unique little snowflakes that you are? 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.

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Seriously Pretty Nature-Inspired Rooftop Wedding

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Lacey and Josh didn’t want to have a stressful time planning their wedding. Initially they wanted to elope, but instead decided to have a wedding that was relaxed and intimate, and that truly reflected them as a couple.

“We wanted our wedding to be about us and the commitment we were making to one another”, began Lacey. “We didn’t want all of the added fluff that comes with the most traditional weddings. Instead we focused on having a very small, intimate (but still awesome!) celebration with our closest friends and family.”

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“Initially we desired to elope on a cliff-side or in a forest because we wanted to celebrate our mutual love of the outdoors. We decided against eloping (you’re welcome mom!) but we still tried to incorporate a lot of woodsy aspects into our wedding. These included lots of moss, greenery and wooden accents.”

The ceremony took place on the rooftop of Automobile Alley in Oklahoma. “This was the site of the most automobile warehouses and dealerships in the 1920s”, Lacey explained, “and the rooftop had the most amazing exposed brick walls which acted as our backdrop. We added fresh greenery and an outside bar built from reclaimed tin and wood.”

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An Elopement Planned in Six Weeks

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Princess and Davis wanted to elope, but they also wanted to include their families – so they did both! The couple got ready together in their own home, the bride wore a dress from Modcloth (currently on sale for $32 by the way!!) and she even assembled her own bouquet.

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They very much wanted a non-traditional wedding so they planned it in six weeks! They also went against all the traditional aspects of a wedding day. They woke up together, got ready together, and were able to enjoy every moment of their day together.

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Colourful Mexican Inspired Wedding in Perth

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Jessika and Brett’s October wedding had a small budget, but that didn’t hold them back! They were married in their local park and had their reception in the bride’s father’s back garden. Both these things saved them a lot of money and meant they could transform the spaces to fit the rainbow wedding of their dreams!

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“Our Mexican fiesta theme came about because we wanted a low key wedding with a party atmosphere”, explained the bride. “We both knew that we didn’t want a sit down wedding and this allowed us to focus our money and design efforts on the music, food, drinks and decorations. Collecting all the decorations was actually easy as it seemed as soon as we sent out the save the dates we just saw Mexican themed things everywhere we went!”

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Fantasy and Fiction Wedding

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Lauren and JP’s Glasgow wedding was based on their mutual love of Scotland and literature. “Our inspiration was really just stuff we like”, Lauren wrote. “Medieval mixed with Scottish mixed with books mixed with 50s mixed with tattoos mixed with pumpkins! It was lucky that our mish-mash just worked in the space together! There’s nothing like that moment when you see your vision for the day come together so well.”

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“If I had to describe the theme to someone I would say ‘fantasy and fiction’ as books really ended up as our main theme. We had the tables named after our favourite authors, bookmark favours and many other little nods to authors like the card box in the shape of the luggage from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld book series.”

“The cake was made by my brother and was decorated with spines of books we have read and loved. It was a chocolate and whisky sponge and looked amazing! The cake was my big surprise on the day as he kept his plans a secret. My brother is a pastry chef and has worked in some pretty prestigious places so a lot was expected of him, and he certainly delivered! After the wedding he tweeted pictures of his cake to some of the authors featured on it and they responded!”

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An English Enchanted Forest Wedding

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John and Lucy were married at Larmer Tree Gardens in Wiltshire in September. They chose it because it had the pretty outside space that they wanted, and they were able to say their vows outside (which isn’t always possible in the UK!) in their covered pavilion.

“We are both artists, I paint and John is a photographer, and we are both deeply inspired by nature”, said Lucy. “I am also borderline obsessed with the vision of an enchanted forest so we wanted our wedding to feel like a blurry childhood memory of a place that was so beautiful and fantastical that you’re not sure whether it was real or not. We fell in love with Larmer Tree Gardens the minute we clapped eyes on it. There were peacocks and parrots roaming around so we used a loose theme based on the colours of the peacocks plumage by having the boys in teal and the girls in royal blue.”

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For entertainment they had giant lawn games, badminton and space hoppers! They kept the decoration in the reception space simple and reflective of the gorgeous outside area. They had slices of oak with the guests’ names on for place cards (which John made), gold painted animals (also DIY), toadstool candles and ivy.

“I DIY’d the confetti as I really wanted the colours to pop in the photographs but also to be eco-friendly”, the bride continued. “My friend and I sat round with a bottle of wine and mixed the petals and stuffed the bags, it was really fun! All the decorations were DIY. We cut the place names from birch and hand painted the golden animals for the tables. It was a mad rush the day of the wedding rehearsal to do the ‘find your seat’ board. Our parents were waiting outside our house whilst we were still painting the board. It was very nearly forgotten about!”

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