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Congratulations if you have just got engaged!! It is engagement season and this time last year I was saying “yes please” to a very exciting question (I literally said “yes please”…not very cool).
I have about 4 months to go; 126 days. That’s 18 weekends between now and the wedding and I already know I am busy with wedding stuff for 15 of those. It makes me feel a bit tired just thinking about it, but also super excited because in 19 weekends I am going to be a WIFE. But don’t worry, for those of you just starting to plan, it doesn’t get like this until the end, I’ve spent the last year wondering if there was something I should be doing!

By no means do I have the whole wedding planning thing sorted, but I have managed to pick up a few good ideas/bad ideas along the way and I hope that they help, at least a bit:

Things to avoid:

– Don’t believe that it has to be “soooo stressful” or that any of it has to be anything but lovely. There are lots of elements to pull together and lots of people to think about, but you are more than capable of getting it done and actually enjoying it, it’s such a joyful time.

– Don’t let anyone else dictate the big parts of your day. Obviously, there might be more constraints when your family/his family are paying for part or all of the wedding. I think it is always realistic to expect that a few compromises will need to be made to keep important guests happy (I’m talking v significant family members here!) but the big things should be a decision for you two only and your guests, however important, should (and will) respect that.

– Don’t worry about your girls! What I mean is that if you can’t have everyone as a bridesmaid and those you don’t pick will understand. If I had all my best friends and closest family members I would have 15 bridesmaids which is just overkill. Everyone totally got it and weren’t in the slightest bit offended. I have 3 which is a much more manageable number!

– You don’t have to do things/not do things because they are traditional. No cake? No first dance? Want to give a speech/have your maid of honour make a ‘best man’ speech (because it is not only men who can talk at weddings – that has always struck me as odd?!)? Don’t care if all the groomsmen have matching suits? All of that is fine.

– Oh, and you don’t have to lose weight!!! OMG HE FELL IN LOVE WITH YOU LIKE THAT STOP BEING SILLY.

Things to remember to do:

– Try to include your fiancée. Not in every decision (obvs you should if they want to be – mine would not enjoy that) but “our” wedding can very quickly become “my” wedding when planning. Remember that the point is that you share your lives after the big day. We have done the ‘big’ planning together then I have mainly been in charge of details. So far all my decisions have gone down well, save for the one about having bottled water on each table when apparently jugs would be perfectly adequate – the jury is still out…

– Get carried away then reign yourself back in. The OMG I’M GETTING MARRIED stage should happen and it should be wonderful and joyous and you should be having prosecco every night, spending too much money on bridal magazines and setting up a Pinterest account. But, trust me, with a few months to go you do not want to be co-ordinating the arrival of the pick ‘n’ mix trolley with the magician, giant light up letters and the champagne fountain. There is enough to do (and spend money on) without the things that you will probably barely notice on the day.

– Talking of spending money and talking to your fiancée…make a budget and try to stick to it. Do this however works for you. For us, it was a detailed spreadsheet. Obviously the importance of this for you will depend on who is paying for the wedding but whoever that is, it is important to have the discussion sooner rather than later so everyone is on the same page.

– Along the same vein, you will be able to negotiate the price for most things but there are also things that you might think ‘this is too important’ to start messing around with. We have managed to negotiate the price for most things at our venue but we have done so in a positive way – your wedding isn’t the time to start throwing weight around and getting angry at suppliers about price. A firm but fair attitude has served me well.

– The dress!! I thought dress shopping was going to be hell on earth, but it turned into one of the nicest days! I took people I really trusted, make 5 appointments, interspersed with a few coffee breaks, with light lunch in the middle and a big dinner and cocktails after. It was full-on but really fun. We started at a shop that was less pricy with a huge selection and I tried on about 12 dresses of all different styles (that’s so important, you never know what will surprisingly look stunning on you…or bad…we learnt the fishtail dress is not my friend). Trying lots on gave us a good idea of what looked good and we could be more picky as the day wore on. By shops 4 and 5 I had 2 contenders and 5 minutes after walking out of shop 5 I knew it had to ‘the one’ in shop 4. It happened, just like that.1 day and the job was done.

 

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