As fun and exciting as wedding planning is, there can (and probably will) be moments of ‘OMG-what-do-I-do-now?’ – with the odd bridal meltdown coming as standard. But forewarned is forearmed, so check out our guide to the biggest potential stress-spots… and how to sail right through them (no Prosecco required).
Whatever the size of your wedding budget, the monetary aspect of wedmin has the potential to make you want to lie down in a dark room. From working out how much to spend on each item, and who pays for what, to bickering with your fiancé(e) about whether or not you <really> need that Champagne tower/string quartet/firework display, it’s a mix of maths, reality checks and compromise that’s nowhere near as much fun as trying on wedding dresses. Boo.
Ace it: First, establish who is paying for what: are you raiding your joint account or allocating items to pay for separately? Are parents contributing, and if so, how much? Are you both on the same page about what the total cost should be? Next, sit down and discuss what’s non-negotiable for each of you, and what you can compromise on – for example, would you rather have a pared-back wedding and a no-expense-spared honeymoon? Nobody likes talking about money, but once these convos are out of the way, you’ll feel so much better – and know exactly what you have to play with. Keep on top of expenses with a spreadsheet (or try a cost-tracking app such as Cost Track, free on iTunes), and remember: there’s always a more budget-friendly way to get the venue/gown/decor you’ve set your heart on, be it booking mid-week, visiting a sample sale (keep an eye out for Brides’ legendary events) or asking talented friends to lend their skills.
The guest list
However large your wedding venue, it’s likely it won’t fit everyone you and your partner would ideally like to invite (not to mention their children and plus-ones). So, not only are you going to have to start pruning the list, but there’s also a chance you won’t automatically agree on who should make the cut.
Ace it: Again, this is all about working out the non-negotiables, and compromising on the rest. If you and your partner have similar-sized families and social groups, then it might be fair to allocate an even number of guests each. If that’s not appropriate, look at each potential guest on their merits. You might feel that a child-free wedding is the way to go; or decide to skip ex-colleagues you haven’t seen for years, old friends you’ve lost touch with or family members who are so distant you wouldn’t recognise each other in the street. Look at it this way: if you wouldn’t mind not being invited to their wedding, chances are they’re not expecting an invite to yours.
Planning your wedding involves (deep breath): sending the invitations, ordering your dress, hiring the venue, commissioning the cake, booking the photographer, choosing the menu… and the list goes on. There’s no getting away from it – wedmin is basically a whole bunch of tasks that need to be done in a certain order and by a certain time. It can feel like a full-time job (albeit a pretty fun one), so how to keep on top of everything without your very own bridal PA?
Ace it: This is another area where a spreadsheet or tracking app won’t go amiss. But first, make a note of these rules of thumb: invites should be sent out six to eight weeks in advance of the wedding (don’t feel pressured to have traditional paper invitations – there are plenty of cool paperless ones available online, and it’s also acceptable to ask for RSVPs to be emailed to you). Wedding dresses and cakes can take months to be made and delivered (check with your boutique/designer/cake maker), whilst venues and photographers can get booked up years in advance – so make these a priority. Contact all your suppliers as soon as possible to find out exactly how much time they need to process orders, and check in with them regularly to make sure everything is on schedule.
The Ultimate 12 Month Wedding Planning Countdown
From paper blooms to bunting, flower crowns to handmade stationery, there are a billion ways to personalise your wedding with DIY touches (see some of our favourite wedding DIY ideas) and sometimes, that’s the problem! It’s easy to get carried away (whether for budget reasons or because you love the idea of putting your own stamp on your day) and decide you’ll cut, fold and glue every element of your decor yourself. Cue last-minute panics in a puddle of glue.
Ace it: Be realistic about what you can achieve, delegate tasks to creative bridesmaids or family members, and if you’re not at all crafty, delegate the whole lot! And if you do want to literally Do It (All) Yourself, make sure you leave plenty of time. A little bit each weekend is a much healthier option than pulling an all-nighter two days before the wedding and having nightmares about glitter.
Sometimes, the hardest part about creating your dream wedding isn’t finding exactly the gown/tableware/decor you want… it’s deciding between the three (or thirty) options that are all making your pulse race. However decisive you are in ‘real life’, wedding planning is a whole new ball game – after all, you don’t get multiple shots at this and you want every element of your day to be just right. And whether it’s a gown, a cake or a marching band, chances are, as soon as you put down that deposit, you’ll see something ‘better’ on Instagram. Curses.
Ace it: When it comes to dealing with choice overload, it’s important to trust your instincts. It’s fine to ask for others’ opinions and to take them on board, but deep down you know what’s right for you, so don’t put every decision out to a committee vote. Sure, your best friend and that Insta influencer might look great in strapless wedding dresses – but if you always imagined yourself in sleeves, don’t be swayed! And remember that there’s more than one route to ‘perfect’ – and whatever choices you make will be the right ones for you (plus, nobody will know what the alternatives were! Your guests will be too busy ooh-ing over your foliage arch to wonder whether you’re regretting not choosing a flower wall – so why torture yourself?). Once you’re at your chosen venue, in your chosen dress, surrounded by the people you love and preparing to marry the person you’ve chosen out of EVERYONE IN THE WORLD, you won’t give the other options another thought.