Are you getting married soon? Have you begun planning already? Here’s some advice from someone who has just been there and done that – Me.
My man and I started hitting the local wedding fayres about 9 months before we actually married. We had no set date in mind, we had an idea of where we would like to possibly do it but were open to suggestions, we both had polar opposite ideas of what kind of wedding we wanted and my bloke was only accompanying me to the wedding fayres because I’d lured him with the promise of free cake samples.
At each stand we visited, the question was always “So, when are you getting married then?” We would shrug, collect a leaflet and a sample of whatever and move on. At home, we would sift through the leaflets, discard any that didn’t suit us and then google the survivors. If we still liked what we saw by that point, then we kept them in the wedding box file, and binned the rest. No pressure, stress free planning tip number one – don’t dither, just ditch.
My fella and I have both been married before and had very different ideas on what kind of event we would like this time. He wanted an intimate beach abroad just us and the kids, and I wanted Christmas in Chirk Castle, big massive festive tree, elves, tinsel, candles, Santa – think Robin Hood, Blackpool Illuminations and Lapland in one explosive bridal blast; yep, sounds amazeballs doesn’t it, but my family weren’t convinced, boring buggers.
One thing that we both agreed on however was that we wanted a fabulous party, with lots of dancing, entertainment, food, drink and fun for all our family and friends. One leaflet in the box was for The Oriel Hotel in St Asaph, which offered a wedding party night. Perfect we thought, a fabulous party with a quick ceremony thrown in and to add to the romance factor, it just so happened that the hotel was the place where we had first met. No pressure, stress free planning tip number two – if it feels right immediately then stop looking, stop ‘what iff’ing’ and trust your gut.
After countless episodes of Don’t Tell the Bride, Four Weddings and Say Yes to the Dress, my Hubs had happily deduced from my dry-eyed romantically-challenged tutting, that the stereotype girly, princess, everything must be pretty and perfect gene had obviously passed me by. He also knew that planning our family Halloween parties freaked me out, so anything as huge as this he assumed would be beyond my capabilities. “Leave this to me” he told me, “You just show up and the rest will be taken care of”. I know to many women, this would sound more like a horrifying threat than a blessing but this is where no pressure, stress free planning tip number three comes in – Let your new hubs/ wife organise the stuff that matters to them, do the boring stuff together, and you handle the stuff that matters most to you by yourself. It will eliminate the potential for arguments or disappointment.
Hubs booked a meeting with Michelle, the wedding director for the Oriel House. We didn’t have a date in mind so we went with what was available. As we intended to have a party night, we chose a Friday and pretty much let her guide us on which Friday. It was abundantly clear that this woman knew her stuff and that she had a good idea of how to make this wedding something really special for us. We left an hour later with a booking for a full day wedding, traditional in every sense, costing twice what a party night would have cost and a sneaking suspicion that this woman could sell sand in a desert. No pressure, stress free planning tip number four – Listen to the professionals advice, they know what they are talking about. We still had a fabulous party, every element of what we had wanted was included, but we also had a well coordinated, relaxed and romantic ceremony as well. If we had done it our way, it would have probably been a ‘blink and you miss it’ event.
The dress. The ultimate no pressure, stress free planning tip (and number five on the list) – don’t get anyone else involved at the start. Yes of course, browse Pinterest and Instagram and spend hours dreamily looking through bridal magazines and watching hours of TV wedding shows, but do not ask for anyone else’s opinion. When I decided to start looking for The Dress, I sat with a brew, looking at the websites of Bridal Shops near to me and chose the dresses I wanted to try. I phoned the shops, asked them to put the dresses on hold for me and made an appointment to come in and try them on. I had 5 per shop and left enough time between visits for a prosecco stop for myself and my girls. I found the dress that I knew was The One in the first shop, a stunning Maggie Sottero, and so…. see tip number two. Here’s the thing, if you look less than Wow in something, you will automatically defer to other people’s opinions, in which case, your internal answer is already No. If you try on a dress that lights you up and you feel incredible, then that is your answer without needing to question – again, other people’s opinions are not needed, so tell your girls that they are there to give “Ohhhs and Ahhhs” only.
Next, my hubby and my son’s suits. Well I figured its them that’s wearing the suits and I wanted both to feel confident and happy, so I left them to choose what they wanted. I wouldn’t accept their opinions or demands on what I was to wear, so why should they expect me to make demands of them? I followed them from store to store, said “Phwoar” and “very handsome” a number of times, but on the whole, they already knew what they wanted. So, for our Midnight Blue and Silver themed wedding, my Hubby chose an English Gent bright blue checked suit with a pink tie and my Son chose a black suit so that he could look like James Bond. No pressure, stress free planning tip six – if they are happy with how they look, then they wont sulk all day and night and change into jeans and t-shirt at the first opportunity. So what if people don’t match on the photographs? At least they will be smiling and enjoying themselves! Wouldn’t you be sulking if you were forced to wear something that you weren’t confident in?
Our flowers and decorations we chose during an enjoyable half an hour at Angelic Events following a recommendation from a gorgeous friend of mine. Again, we let the professionals give us advice and so the results were beautiful. I showed them my Pinterest board entitled Wedding Flowers, they created exact replicas of my favourites in silk flowers, as real ones would have given me the snots; I wanted to say I Do, not ACHOO!
We sent my Pinterest board entitled ‘Wedding Cake’ to a friend who then designed and created samples of a beautiful two tiered cake and delicious cupcakes. They were perfect, so we booked her immediately. Disco, photo-booth and sweet-cart came as part of the wedding package and came recommended by uber wedding coordinator Michelle, so we knew Sparks Entertainment would be great. My Dad’s gift to us was a handmade doughnut wall which he crafted himself and it was bloomin fantastic! I then pinged my Pinterest board entitled ‘Wedding pics’ to my photographer friend Jason Samuels, who has taken some fantastic photos for my blog previously, and I knew I would feel 100% confident with him on the day. He is incredibly passionate about his work and I knew that my family and friends would like him too, as apart from being a really nice bloke, he is also an Armed Forces veteran, as was 75% of our guests. No pressure, stress free planning tip number seven – Always go with enthusiastic recommendations from friends or people you have had great service from before. If you don’t want to be worrying about the reliability or results of a company you have never used before, stick with who you can trust.
No pressure, stress free planning tip number eight – Pinterest boards. Browse for ideas and collate them together in collections whilst you are relaxed and enjoying some down time. Edit as often as you want until you have a group of boards full of pictures that depict what you would definitely love and no maybe loves left. Then, before you head out to shop for anything, be that the dress, stationary, flowers whatever, apply rule number one and then download what’s left on your board. This way, you can show the professional / shop assistant / well meaning but too opinionated friend exactly what you have in mind. You don’t have to stick to it, but at least you have a starting point.
So friends, that’s how my Hubby and I managed to have a relatively stress free lead up to our wedding. Be open-minded and try not to get hung up on the stuff that five years from now will not matter, like whether the thank you cards match the guest book, or that the bridesmaids want dresses that reflect their personality rather than your theme. At the end of the day, the only thing people are going to remember about your wedding is whether or not they had a good time, and how happy you and your new spouse looked together. Bonus no pressure, stress free planning tip – Your happiness is all your guests care about and if its not, then strike them off your guest list.
Smile, relax and enjoy – happy planning xx
For more wedding planning posts, click here Saying Yes to that Dress
For the Hen parties post, click here Hen parties, Races and the Cheese Factor
For the proposal, click here The Easter Proposal
* I have received no payment / discounts/ freebies or incentives of any kind from any of the companies featured in this blog post. I am happy to recommend based on my personal experiences.
Pictures with * have been taken from Pinterest linked sites including Destination Wedding Magazine.