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.
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.
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.