My girlfriend and I got engaged in June and we’re getting married quickly, over Christmas this year. Having to plan a wedding is such a short amount of time is causing so much stress between us. We are mostly paying for everything ourselves and our budget is also very small, just £1000.
I am doing a lot of the decorations myself to save money, and we’re hosting it in our own house (this is all whole other stress!) My sister is making the cake and we’re catering it ourselves. We’re both hoping to find second hand or high street dresses too. I don’t know how to cut costs more than we already are but we keep fighting about the expense of everything. I’m trying to convince her I’m doing the best I can, but we still argue constantly about the wedding.
I’m worried our wedding is going to be rubbish because our budget is so small and because I’m not as naturally creative as some of my friends. I’ve been to their weddings recently and they’ve all been SO COOL. I know it’s not supposed to be a competition, but I can’t help but feel our wedding is going to be uncreative and boring in comparison.
While getting married is supposed to be one of the happiest times of your life, there’s also a whole heap of stress that can come with it. Organising such a big event (even if it’s a small wedding!) is a part of that, but today’s couples also put a lot of extra pressure on themselves to have the most unique day possible.
While our parents might have worried about what their weddings said about their status or bank balance (the bigger the better!), modern day brides and grooms have a whole other set of pressures. Now, it seems that it’s more about using your wedding to show just how damn cool and laid back you are. “Oh no, it was so easy, I just threw this wedding together in a few weeks… and oh yes and I handcrafted everything completely on my own… in my sleep. I was such a laid back bride dontyaknow? Oh this old thing, it’s just something I came up with because it’s ‘so us’!”
I guarantee that all those cool as cucumber couples will have had their own moments of pre-wedding freak out too. So first of all, don’t beat yourself up for having moments of panic. It’s perfectly normal.
Here are just a few pieces of advice that will hopefully help you in your moments of dismay.
Realise that it’s just one day
Yes, getting married is a big deal, but as ironic as it might be for me to write on a wedding blog, it’s just a wedding. It’s only one day in your life and it’s supposed to be fun! Weddings are about celebrating your love and they’re a nice way to start married life. They are not compulsory. If you wanted, you could run off to the register office and get married quick as a flash! Everything else is just accessorising.
Just remember, how this day goes does not define the rest of your life. So chill out and stop demanding so much from yourself.
Ask for help
It’s almost impossible, especially with a low budget or DIY wedding, to do everything yourself. You are not Wonder Woman! While it’s awesome that your family are helping you with things for the wedding, I bet there are other things you can outsource too.
Even if it’s just the decorations; grab a few bottles of wine, gather your besties, and have an afternoon of crafting together. It will be much more fun than struggling with papier-mâché and sticky back plastic all on your lonesome!
You also need to ask for help from your girlfriend. Sit down with her and discuss how you’ve been feeling. Be calm and open and listen to what she has to say too. It is vital that you move forward together and you do this thing as a couple. There is a lot of “I’m doing this” in your email. It is both of your wedding days after all.
Don’t spend money you can’t afford
Whether you’re having a budget wedding or not, stressing about the cost of the day is the worst. The simplest solution is to not spend money you do not have. Set a realistic budget and stick to it. Starting off married life with a mountain of debt sucks.
Cut the guest list, ask people to bring their signature dish instead of paying for catering, buy a wedding dress from the high street – there are so many ways to have a wonderful wedding on a budget. Is it easier said than done? Undoubtedly, but it is completely possible to have a beautiful, special day without spending an utter fortune.
Remember what it’s all about
Weddings are not meant to be perfect because people are not perfect. You know this already, but remind yourself of what this whole charade is really all about. It’s about love. It’s about celebrating. It’s about making a commitment to another person and promising to be their partner for life.
Even if you had torrential rain, the food was horrible, someone dropped the cake and the decorations fell to pieces, the world would not implode. You’ll still be married and therefore the wedding will have been a complete and utter success!
So give yourself a break, you’re doing great, and in those moments of uncertainty, keep reminding yourself why you wanted to do this in the first place.
An earlier version of this article first appeared in issue 1 off Rock n Roll Bride magazine. Issue 4 is currently available in WhSmiths, independent newsagents and via our online shop.