AHH! It’s less than one month to go until our big day, and although blog content has been a tiny bit slower than I’d like in the lead up, I wanted to do some kind of a catch up and q&a before I take a little break- eek! I asked on Instagram if people had any wedding related questions, and although it is safe to say I am absolutely no expert in anything marital (forever fumbling along as I go), wanted to try and shed some light on our own process and any tips and tricks I could pass on to anyone in a similar position! Although I plan on sharing a lot after the wedding- I wanted to answer some of the most asked questions in one place- in case anyone else is currently planning their big day and feeling a little lost or overwhelmed- because trust me, I know the feeling!
How did you shortlist venues when starting to look?
I think the most important thing about this is deciding what is a priority for you. Is it the location? Do you want a wedding abroad? A countryside wedding? Or something closer to home? Once you’ve worked this out I think it makes life so much easier! Listing down the priorities for your day is so important- as these all cross over in deciding which kind of venue is best for you. For example, some venues will have recommended suppliers that you’ll have to use, so if you want to do everything from scratch it might be worth looking at a dry hire (basically a blank canvas)- which although is lovely, can be quite an undertaking if you’re strapped for time and don’t have a planner! BUT! In short- decide on location, work out what’s priority (capacity, food, wedding style)- and gradually the venues start shortlisting themselves! We used sites like Hitched a lot for things like this, which was so handy!
How did you organise the schedule of your day, e/g time for photos, speeches?
A lot of this was aided by our caterers and the venue- they’ve been super helpful in structuring the day based on both ours and their needs, as they need to both coincide to make everything run smoothly.
Did you get a planner?
We didn’t! When we first got engaged we had a consultation with a brilliant planner and definitely thought about it- but have done pretty much everything ourselves. Over the last few weeks we’ve been working a little more with a wedding stylist and organiser though which has been SO helpful. We really wanted an extra pair of hands to help make sure everything comes together on the day how we’ve imagined.
What are you doing the month prior?
Oh god- just trying to keep on top of things! I have a couple of ~work projects~ I’m trying to get on top of, but am also trying to maintain the excitement for the big day by planning some nice little things to look forward to in the run up as I know how quickly it’ll all be over! I have my hen party this weekend (!), and then am also booking in a nice spa day and day out with my mum and a friend the week of too. Our anniversary also falls about 2 weeks before the wedding, so we’re also going to the seaside for a night, which should be lovely! Don’t worry about thinking that you need to do lots either. I think it can seem like the month before you should be cruising along, eating lots of fancy cakes and watching rom-coms when really, it’ll probably be filled with lots of last minute organising, tying up loose ends at work as well as juggling the day to day of everyday life.
How long have you been planning for? Have you felt rushed?
It feels like forever! We started planning near enough straight after we got engaged (which was July 2017), and initially wanted to get married the following September. But, having just moved into our home- soon realised we probably needed a little more time for saving and planning- hence moving it to this May! By the time we get married we would have been planning for just under 2 years. I always said I wanted a short engagement, because ‘what’s the point of dragging it out?!’ But really it’s been so lovely soaking up the excitement and planning things at our own pace, that I’m almost going to miss this little chapter!
How to deal with parental/family pressures in the planning when they have different views?
I think this is so tricky, but try to not let the opinions of others sway the things you know are most important to you. Although sometimes other opinions might be incredibly noisy, make sure it’s you and your partner making the decisions- or even talking about things together alone if you have to factor in family thoughts too.
What was the first thing you planned?
Stationery, Favours & The Rest:
Do you have any cost cutting tips for stationary?
Think about what you really need and want. It can be one of the most fussy decisions to make if you’re a perfectionist, especially when you start being asked questions about details you didn’t even realise you needed or liked! There are lots of things I think you can do, which in fact can be cut (in my opinion)! For example, save the dates. If you plan how you’d like your invites soon enough you can either send those out solo- or do an e-save the date (or a quick text/Facebook message to everyone invited)! We’ve also decided to not print a menu for everyone per place setting, and are also doing our table plan a little differently to avoid those costs!
When do you send out invitations? I am unsure about how soon to send them.
I think this totally depends on your wedding- but for us, ours only went out about 2 months before the actual date. We sent save the dates about 7 months before, but because our wedding is in London- it didn’t require people to book flights or even necessarily accommodation so we knew we could be a bit more relaxed about it. I think if you’re planning on getting married abroad- as much notice as possible is always so helpful as it gives people the opportunity to save up and book things, without it becoming too costly!
Wedding favours? Yes or no?
I think this is so subjective- and absolutely not necessary! They can really add up, and honestly- a lot of people won’t even notice if you don’t have them. Our caterers made a really good point in saying that sometimes if the favours are too large and people can’t fit them in a pocket/bag- they end up forgetting or leaving them anyway. It’s a really nice thought if you can and budget allows, but I do think the day can be just as lovely without them too.
How did you not get swayed by what other people do? There’s so many pretty and interesting weddings! Have you felt pressured to include things because they’re popular on Instagram etc?
Oh god this can be SO hard. It’s so easy to be swayed by trends or what other people are doing, but I think in your gut, you truly know what you like. I definitely tried to not spend too much time on Pinterest- and ironically, did find websites like Rock My Wedding really useful as they offer so many ‘real’ weddings which does make you realise there’s never a cookie-cutter one wedding suits all and the beauty of each day is literally because it’s yours. I also looked back on old Pinterest boards and wedding images I’d saved, as surprisingly, a lot of things hadn’t really changed in terms of what I really liked- and loved referring back to them as reference points for the things that I really wanted originally.
What will you be sharing online from your wedding?
Hopefully quite a lot! I think in a few months I’d love to do a ‘Wedding Month’ on the blog (like Carrie did, when she got married) to cover all the finer details!
Bridesmaids dresses! Help! I don’t want to spent a fortune!
This sounds super obvious, but the high street have some amazing options! (I saw this on Miss Selfridge yesterday and if I was doing this again would absolutely look at this as an option)! A nice way to do it, is sometimes pick a colour scheme, and let people browse the high-street/vintage shops themselves and then come back with options. This means everyone can be uniform, and it doesn’t cost the earth! I really struggled finding bridesmaids dresses I loved, and although am over the moon with what I’ve gone for- I definitely think checking back on places like & Other Stories, Mango, Zara and ASOS is so handy.
Bridesmaids- how to handle the friends who aren’t who think they might be?
I think just by being honest. It can be so hard, but if they’re a true pal they should hopefully understand that you can’t have everyone you like as a bridesmaid- otherwise all of your mates will end up being one! Try to let them know that it’s nothing personal, and perhaps drop hints beforehand suggesting that you’re keeping numbers down for whatever reason. You shouldn’t have to justify why they’re not a bridesmaid, but if you want to- making them feel included in other ways (e.g inviting them to the hen, keeping them up to date in the planning) is another nice way of keeping everyone included.
What things have you valued most that your bridesmaids have done in the lead up?
Just being there! I’ve had so much help with different elements of the wedding with them (which I’ll talk about more after the wedding), and by being able to get together and have six sounding boards has been SO helpful. I know how busy they each are in their own personal lives, but everybody has been so willing to help out when needed which means the world.
How many places did you go to try on dresses?
Five places (I think)! It was so much fun, but honestly I don’t know if I could have managed looking at too many more- as you end up confusing yourself with the amount of options!
How did you chose the dress?
I tried it on because it was unlike anything I’d given a go before. It was an ‘oh my god- can I quickly try that on too?!‘ moment and the rest is history…
What websites were your biggest inspiration?
I actually really loved using Instagram as a tool for collecting images and making boards! Some of my favourite accounts include London Bride (who although doesn’t post anymore has such a beautiful archive), Italian Eye, Worm London, Alexandra Grecco and Halfpenny London. I also LOVE nu_bride who are doing bloody brill things and I also love Rock My Wedding for endless inspiration, Together Journal (which although is NZ based, had so many great ideas- we even found our photographers through them)!, Brides online for covering more traditional elements and questions I felt overwhelmed by too.
I hope this helps a little with any last minute, or early stage worries! I’ll be sharing all the small details in a couple of months, and can’t wait to fill you in with everything- eeee!