Planning our wedding has been a roller coaster of emotions. I finally lost it about two weeks before the big day, throwing an almighty strop, similar to a toddler's tantrum. I have cried a lot, laughed a lot and felt so stressed out. I can look back at laugh at it now but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
There is so much to do
We set our wedding date for 18 months after we got engaged, yet the wedding came around a lot faster than we imagined. In the three months leading up to our wedding it felt as though all we ever spoke about, or worked on, was the wedding. I lived off lists for those 18 months
DIY takes longer than you think (& is expensive!)
Pinterest provides some great inspiration, but do not underestimate how long DIY can take. Our confetti cones didn't take much time, but the wedding favours took over a week to make. DIY is also very boring, especially when you have to make a lot of the same item. Buying the tools for DIYing can be just as expensive, if not more, than buying items outright.
I learned this lesson very early in our wedding planning. Our wedding cake was so far away from both my vision and our wedding theme, that every time I thought about it in the run up to the wedding, I would get unbelievably sad. It is extremely rare that you and your husband/wife to be will agree on everything, and you'll both have to make compromises.
Things that you care about at the beginning you'll soon stop caring about
I had some very set ideas about our wedding when we first got engaged, but as time went on I found that only three things were really important to me. Of course I wanted a perfect Instagramable wedding, suitable for Pinterest inspiration for other brides to be, but mostly I wanted to marry Tony and become his wife. Everything else didn't matter that much.
Friends and family are more than happy to help
I have lost count of the number of times that I have heard the phrase “let me know if there is anything I can do to help” and yet the only thing we asked for help with is Tony's mum making our wedding cake. I am kicking myself now that I didn't ask for more help along the way, but I was determined that I didn't want to be a bother to anyone. By denying those people the chance to help us out, they don't feel as though they are a part of our wedding, and rather that they are just guests. Their help would have helped us out greatly and given them a sense of being a part of the wedding.
RSVP dates mean nothing
We started sending our save the dates a whole year before the wedding, with our wedding invitations going out at least 6 months before the wedding. Yet, the day after the RSVPs were due there were still 41 people who hadn't bothered letting us know whether they would be attending our wedding or not. On our wedding day we still hadn't heard from 16 people. It is incredibly rude, but it happens. Our RSVPs clearly stated that if we weren't told by a certain date then the guests would not get any food, and once the final catering numbers were sent two weeks before the wedding, that was that.
Another aside to this is that people may verbally RSVP at any moment – don't kid yourself into thinking you will remember these and make a note of them straight away!
Guests will pull out
Whether it is a week after RSVPing, the day you send your caterers your final numbers or the morning of your wedding, people will pull out of attending your wedding for whatever reason – work, holidays or other. This was the thing I struggled with most whilst planning our wedding, as I took it very personally and was hurt every time someone told us they couldn't attend anymore. Voicing my disappointment about a previously close friend being unable to attend then led to her blocking me on Facebook, so you could find yourself in some very uncomfortable and unfortunate situations.
Wedding are expensive
Whether you opt for a luxury venue or a small ceremony at your local registry office, the whole day is an expense that you could probably do without. Try to come up with a list of absolutely everything you will need to pay for, not forgetting things like postage stamps, cufflinks and jewellery, and add a bit more onto your final budget for items you've forgotten or anything that creeps up.
Wedding suppliers aren't always professional
Our wedding cost us a significant amount of money, and therefore I had a high expectation of service provided by our suppliers. Some suppliers have been professional and friendly, whereas others we have had to demand our deposits back from and stop working with them. I have had to chase suppliers for invoices two weeks before our wedding (you would think they would want to be paid!). Don't think that because you are paying for a service that you will automatically get good service. Look for personal recommendations of suppliers to use and look out for independent reviews about them.
“The wedding” comes up in almost every conversation
I can't believe I turned into that person, but I found myself mentioning the wedding to anyone and everyone. It even came up in the vets getting the kittens micro-chipped! The thing is, it is extremely exciting topic, and it does take up a lot of your life. Therefore, talking about it lots is natural.
Record keeping is important
On more than one occasion I have had to refer to a previous email conversation with a supplier to remind them of something they had agreed to – whether it be a discount, a colour scheme or something else to do with the wedding. I hate to sound cynical, but I would strongly recommend that you contact your suppliers and venue via email, so that there is a paper trail. Remember that suppliers deal with a lot of couples, and therefore they may not remember what they have agreed to for your wedding.
Everyone has an opinion
From the cake (“so and so won't eat sponge cake” was met with “well so and so won't be eating cake at our wedding then”) to the colour of your bridesmaid dresses, everyone will have an opinion. They often don't mean any harm, but it doesn't mean that it doesn't sting a little. I have loved hearing everyone's ideas, but it becomes a problem when they won't shut up about this amazing bridesmaid dress they've seen when you've already bought your dresses 6 months ago.
There's always room to haggle
Getting the nerve up to haggle can be difficult, but more often than not there is something you can haggle for. It might not be a monetary discount, but perhaps your DJ could throw in a confetti canon, or your florist could do the buttonholes for free if you have a large order. If you don't ask then you won't get – the worst that can happen is that your supplier doesn't give you a discount or a freebie.
Breath and enjoy it
A few weeks before the wedding I gave in and bought some Kalms sleeping tablets and some Rescue Remedy sweets. The whole process is a really stressful one and I quickly learned to place a priority on spending quality time with Tony. The day itself was still perfect for us!
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