Wise wedding planning words from real couples
It’s so hard to imagine your wedding day and how it will all play out, until you’re actually there in the moment, soaking it all up with your nearest and dearest, embarking on your happily-ever-after.
So, in a real chicken-before-egg situation, it can be difficult to know what you’re supposed to know when it comes to wedding planning, unless you’ve been through it.
Thankfully, we have an abundance of clever, creative and generous real couples who have not only shared their gorgeous days with us but also their words of wisdom when it comes to playing your role in planning and enjoying the moment.
Get scrolling for some hints and tips when it comes to getting the most out of your sweet celebration, before, during and after the fact.
Even though I had a strong idea of what we did and didn’t want within our budget, I still found myself getting caught up in expectations and ideas from Instagram. Stick with what you really want, what is important to you and within your budget.
Give your phone to a member of your wedding party for the day and ask them to take random snaps and videos of everything because the day goes by in a blur and you won’t remember a thing!
Do your research and choose amazing vendors that know the business and spend the time to get to know you. A lot of our stress was alleviated because we were working with amazing people on the day.
Our friend Josh gave us a surefire way of ensuring you invite the right people to you wedding. It’s called the ‘porch test’. If you can’t imagine yourself having a wine on the porch with them in five years time, do they really HAVE to be there? It helped us out a lot when we were agonising over the guest list.
You can’t control the weather. Definitely organise a back up plan if you’re having an outside ceremony, but if you’re an avid weather checker and you know you’re going to stress about it (like Helena) then book an inside ceremony at a stunning venue. Potential crisis averted.
Include as much of yourselves as you can in the day. Personal touches really make a wedding for both the guests and the couple! We loved having friends sing and play music and having Andy’s parents’ wine with our customised labels during the cocktail hour was amazing. We used photos of our guests as name place cards in the table which people said was a nice touch. We had very detailed vows full of fun stories which often do a better job of explaining what you love about someone rather than listing their attributes.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your loved ones, they are so happy to help and you would do the same thing for them! Our wedding was such a team effort and it just would not have happened without the kind contributions of so many people. It was amazing to have them involved and we are so grateful.
You spend a huge amount of time with your hair/makeup, photographer and videographer on the day of your wedding and so pick awesome people who you like as people as much as you like them as suppliers. We felt so grateful to have spent our day with really lovely and warm people (who also happened to have been exceptionally talented!)
Don’t fear the first look! It was one of the best decisions we made. Yes – it meant our run sheet was a bit different to those who don’t opt for a first look but it worked! Seeing each other for the first time, in our own private moment was everything for us. We can confirm that walking down the aisle and seeing each other after the first look is just as special because in that moment, you have all your friends and family looking on and experiencing it with you which adds another layer of special.
Control the controllables – You can’t do anything to impact things like the weather so take it out of your mind (and ask people not to text you daily the 28-day forecast)
No matter how much planning you have done, once the day starts you just need to let it happen. Don’t get caught up in the things that might not go as you had planned/imagined, you have invested time and money into this day so enjoy it all, even the mishaps!
Anthony says, find a future partner who does it all for you. He’s only half kidding, but also listen to your fiancé when she says try your suit on several weeks prior to make sure it fits, oh and check the dry-cleaning more than 24hrs before the big day.
I’d say don’t sweat the small stuff. I think I stressed out a lot over small details that in the end didn’t matter. Focus on the big things and just remember that it’s only one day so make the most of it. It’s about the memories, not the material stuff.
Try and make a fun dance floor a priority! This involves researching good quality entertainment and ensuring you work with them to create a playlist to remember. We actually extended our wedding by one hour (best money we spent) and had a round of espresso martinis served at 11pm, just as an added touch to help perk up those guests who might be starting to get tired. We also gave our guests the opportunity to request songs that would get them dancing on their RSVP’s prior to the wedding, which really encouraged everyone to get up. In the days following we had a lot of wonderful feedback from guests that it was the ‘best wedding they have ever been to’ and we honestly think the dance floor really contributed to this.
If you are wondering whether you should get a stylist for your wedding I would say to 100% get one. They have so much experience and are trained to help create a style that reflects you both as a couple. It alleviated so much stress and extra work for me – I didn’t have to worry about picking things up, setting up and packing down on the day – it saved me so much time and it was just so nice not to ever have to worry about how the wedding would look because I knew it was in the hands of professionals. Worth. Every. Cent (which was actually more reasonable than you’d think!)
Talk everything out. Decide what is most important to you both in terms of larger ticket items (for us it was the photographer, food and drink) and find solutions/compromise on the less important things if needed.
Spreadsheets are your friend – learn to love excel.
Everything has been done before so ask for help – ask others for their run sheets, tips and tricks and ideas.
Remember, no one else knows what you had planned or what you were thinking in your own head, and to be honest, no one else cares – so when things don’t work out or change, and they absolutely will – try to let it go. It’s your day; life is supposed to be this good, so let it be.
Also, sometimes wedding planning sucks. Sometimes your day isn’t the best day of your life. That’s okay too. It’s one day, and you’ve got a lifetime of wonderful moments and times, but I truly hope this is one of those days, as it was for us.
On a practical level, if you are getting married in late December or January (as we did), be sure to take into account how busy the festive season is and be mindful that some suppliers may take some time off during this period. The final weeks leading up to the wedding were super busy for us, especially between finalising our runsheet, confirming logistics/details with suppliers, ticking off our multiple checklists and trying to spend any spare moment we had in between with our families.
As a little gift for our guests, we hand wrote personalised notes for every guest to be placed under their plates when they were seated at the reception. It was so special to see everyone reading them at the same time. We just wanted to thank everyone but also to make it personal.
It will take more time than you think. Do your research, but once you find something you like, you’ll know it’s the right option, and just lock it in and move on. Trust your decisions.
Do what feels right to you, and what feels authentic to you. Comparison is the thief of joy. Stay true to yourself.
Make sure you keep the traditions that you love and ditch those that don’t really work for you. That goes for styling as well – if you love everything, your personalities will shine through and make your day unique and a reflection of you as a couple.
Enjoy the planning process and don’t feel pressure to buckle to tradition or the expectations of others; you do you. Also, hire a videographer if your budget allows – we are so grateful we did!
The best advice we were given was to make a Pinterest board that reflected who we are, our relationship and what we love. It’s so easy to get carried away with other people’s weddings, but the best weddings look and feel like the couple. Use it as your North Star.
Go on your honeymoon straight after the wedding – there is nothing better than the post wedding-bliss – make it last as long as you can!
Factor in a rehearsal dinner or a recovery (for the guests who have travelled or want to extend the celebrations) so you get to maximise the time with your guests and also your new husband/wife.
A few of our friends also gave us the advice to take a brief moment together some point throughout the wedding to just be together and take it all in. We were lucky enough to do this during our sunset photos and we are both so happy we were able to take a step away together and appreciate what we were finally able to do and have the wedding of our dreams!
Book and pay things as soon as you can, it takes a lot of the stress out of things later. Mostly, just enjoy things as they come. If things go wrong (which they will, that’s just weddings!) embrace it and try to resolve the situation, or get one of your wedding party members that you trust to help with things. Delegate a couple of things to the mother’s, so it makes them feel involved – they don’t have to be major aspects, but just little things that help.
HAVE FUN AND RELAX, it is the most fun and best day of your life. Also don’t get too caught up in trying to talk to all your guests. As long as you two are having fun so will everyone else
- Plan, Plan, Plan! Every day there will be an email sent, just get used to it! Ha!
- Lists – Create lists for your photography, your bump-in/out items as well as delegate family and friends who will be taking them home after the wedding
- Morning schedule – create a schedule and send it to your hair and makeup artists as well as your bridesmaids
- Make sure you either inform your suppliers when there is a crossover or get your suppliers to speak to each other
- Create a contact page list – make sure that all your suppliers have one, so if there are any issues on the day, they can contact that supplier straight away – and sort it out before you even know about it!
- ENJOY! Don’t be that relaxed bride (or groom) leading up to the event thinking everything will sort itself out, it wont. Plan the hell out of your day, so when the day comes, you are free from anything and absolutely enjoy every second of it!
If there is a vendor that you have your heart set on, make sure to get in early!
The couple being married sets the tone; if you are running around like a headless chicken, then everyone else will be too. Keep calm; there is only so much you have control of, and when it comes to the wedding day, you just need to let it happen. There is nothing you can do once the day starts. And make the day what YOU want, be true to yourself. If you want to do your own make-up, then do it! (I did my own!) – go with your gut feeling.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Guests don’t care about the colour of the plates or what is decorating the table. The best advice I got was to spend money on good music, good food and plenty of alcohol and then it will be a great wedding. Spend money on things you want, not what every wedding is expected to have. For example: we didn’t have a wedding cake. We don’t eat cake and its not important to us, so we put that money into other things. And no one noticed.
Lean on each other. Planning a wedding is not an easy task, but at the end of the day, you are planning the most special day of both your lives, and you both need to be involved and help each other out. It really is the first step in your marriage and working together is so important.