Thursday, 5 September 2013

Wedding | Planning like a boss

Ha, I jest, I am in no way a 'boss' of wedding planning and in fact the current wedding planning state of affairs is rather all over the place: magazines strewn across the floor, scrapbook bursting with random cut outs, a million web pages open covering everything from veils to shoes to cakes to invitations... But I have picked up a thing or two along the way and so I thought I'd put together my top tips for wedding planning (the 'like a boss' part basically serves as an affirmation to spur you on. You go girl! Etc, etc). 

Make a list. Make another list. The another. You're going to be the queen of list making by the time your wedding rolls around. 

Start with a HUGE list of absolutely everything you can think of that your wedding requires. Don't panic if you're certain you're forgetting things, just brainstorm away and see what comes up. There's a lot to plan, right?! Even a small wedding requires a certain degree of planning and preparation. Next you'll make little lists branching off from your bigger one, with headings such as 'bridesmaids', 'wedding cake suppliers', 'possible venue options'. Planning a wedding is a list makers dream! And you're about to become a pro. 

Grab a calculator and get budgeting 

I hear the word 'budget' and my eyes glaze over but boy oh boy is setting a clear budget essential from the get go. We're very fortunate in that we're receiving help from family to cover some of the costs of the wedding (thank you guys, we love you!) so we've incorporated that into our budget alongside the money we're saving too. It doesn't matter if your budget is teeny tiny or mighty monstrous, whipping up an excel spreadsheet and getting your figures straight makes it much easier to decide on potential suppliers and services. 

Prioritise and compromise

Sit down with your fiance and discuss the elements of your wedding that matter the most to each of you. Is it important to you that you write your own vows? Has your fiance always dreamed of an amazing cake or live band? Maybe you're determined to have the best photography money can buy? Lay your cards on the table and be prepared to compromise if necessary. Luckily Chris and I have similar opinions; for example we couldn't care less about the wedding cake provided a) it tastes nice and b) it's easy on the eye. No Cake Boss experience for us! Similarly we'd prefer a DJ to a live band as there are so many songs we want to be able to play throughout the night, and Chris's Dad is a DJ with great contacts. I did have to explain why Save the Dates are necessary (we're marrying on a Friday in winter and people may need to book the day off work far in advance) and why wedding photography is so expensive, but once I'd presented my arguments Chris was firmly in agreement. 

The best fridge magnet, ever. 

Now grab a Pritt Stick

Possibly my favourite part of wedding planning, I highly recommend starting a scrapbook and filling it up with pictures of things you feel are a good fit for your wedding. Mine is chockablock with photos torn from magazines, of dresses, hairstyles, suits, cakes, shoes, flowers, bridesmaid dresses, table centerpieces  decorations... Scrapbooking is fun, which is reason enough to dive right in, but you need an extra push I promise you it will make your planning journey run a lot more smoothly. Whenever I panic about not having ticked something off of the list, such as booking the florist (which we have done now, thankfully!) I flip through my scrapbook and am able to picture exactly what I'd like. Having a vision is very motivating. Did I mention scrapbooking is also really fun?!

Accept your artistic limitations

'Oh I think we'll arrange our own flowers and make all our decorations' I confidently told Alice soon after getting engaged. To which her expression was quite clearly one of 'what the actual FUDGE have you been smoking?' I've never been particularly crafty. Although I did once manage to get an A on an art project involving an old bandana, a lip liner, toilet roll and some spare brace elastics. Hmm. Truth be told, I don't seem to have an artistic bone in my body and the plausibility of me decorating my venue with wonderful home made items is, well, low to say the least. Wedding magazines love to tell you about new trends and the homemade wedding is certainly up there as a major one at the moment. Which is absolutely brilliant if you're willing and able, but if you're willing and not so able? It might be best to get some experts on board. Budget permitting, this might sound difficult but shop bought decorations don't have to break the bank and they don't have to mean a wedding void of personality or personal touches. 

I've decided to stick to a few decoration ground rules to help me with my shopping: a glass item, a silver item, a white item at each table. I'm thinking little photo frames, candle holders, trinkets that I can then customise effortlessly with photos, printed poems, lace and what not. I've planned special areas of our wedding reception to make sure it feels very much like 'our' unique wedding. I don't want to say too much as I'd like it to be a surprise... but you definitely can have an intimate and personal wedding without having to hand make everything yourself! We've also found an absolutely wonderful florist who is sorting all our arrangements, bouquets etc for the grand total of £500, which is cheap in terms of wedding flowers! I'm absolutely thrilled, as I'm not exactly a natural at flower arranging. Phew!

Similarly, as much as I love makeup and all things beauty (hence being a beauty blogger and all) I am in no way looking to do my own makeup or hairstyling on my big day. Not only would I be a nervous wreck, I can barely pull of a contoured eye without looking like I've been punched, so I'm more than happy to hand over control to a professional! 

I can't even manage to hold a makeup bag properly
for a photo let alone take charge of
applying the contents on the big day! Crazy eyes =
wedding planning frenzy

This is so not what I was looking for 

You're going to see a lot of options when planning your wedding. Some you'll love, some you'll hate. Don't be afraid to strike a supplier off the list if their style is quite clearly not what you're looking for. When searching for a florist I stumbled across quite a few websites featuring portfolios stuffed full of extremely structured floral arrangements adorned with all sorts of crystals and pearls. Lovely as they were, they were not what I was looking for at all and so I simply clicked 'x' and continued my search. This is where scrapbooking comes in handy, as you can remind yourself of the look you're going for, making it easier to spot potential suppliers who share your vision. I knew we'd found our dream florist when I viewed wedding pictures on her website and instantly recognised the natural, less structured arrangements featured in her work. We met and it turned out we had the exact same idea of what would work; we 'clicked' and I'm confident that she'll do an absolutely fantastic job. 

Call in the favours

Weddings are expensive, there's no doubt about it. Our budget is relatively small but things seem to be adding up fast and certain services are seriously costly. Most wedding photography in London is on average around the £1,000 mark and a basic wedding cake from a high street retailer such as Waitrose comes in at almost £250. It's time to make another list! Think of any possible contacts you have that could be of help, provided they're willing, of course. Perhaps your aunt is a wedding cake designer, or your cousin is a makeup artist? Maybe you know someone who runs a catering business, or a wedding dress shop? There's no harm in asking for mates rates or even, cough cough, an early wedding gift! 

Would you do me the honour of becoming my maid of, erm, honour?

Choosing your wedding party is pretty darn fun, especially if it's something you've spoken to your friends about before. I always knew Alice would be my maid of honour as she's the greatest friend in the whole wide world, and my oldest friend at that, but choosing bridesmaids was a little trickier. Not because I wasn't sure about our friendships, I hasten to add! But because I figured I'd either have lots of maids and not leave anyone else, or have only a few. I'm not super popular by the way, haha, this isn't a humble bag! I decided to have two bridesmaids in addition to my maid of honour as if I'd chosen seven or eight I'd probably be left with an embarrassingly bare congregation... On a serious note, I decided to have a best friend from school and a best friend from uni, with Alice being my best friend from childhood. I like having a friend from each chunk of my life so far and I know they'll be awesome at keeping me calm on the day! Plus they're all good at crafts which is handy because I'm really, really not... 

Don't forget to have fun!

I was convinced I'd never become one of those awful bridezillas, crying over minor wedding related details such as finding the perfect chair cover sash or shade of lipstick. I'd like to think I haven't quite undergone a horrendous transformation, but there's no doubt that sometimes wedding planning gets the better of me and before you can say 'confetti' I've gone and boarded the crazy train. Today I managed to track down the veil I've been obsessed with finding since I got engaged a year and a half ago. It's beautiful and I fell instantly in love, but I couldn't find it anywhere and I had almost given up when randomly I located it online at a major high street retailer  I'm pretty sure I'd checked the same website a million times before, but hallelujah there it was! I promptly burst into tears and sat at my computer weeping tears of joy/relief. Actual tears. Over a veil! 

Sometimes the idea of having to organise so many little things by one fast approaching deadline can be very overwhelming, so make sure you take some time to simply daydream about your big day and how awesome it's going to be. Hello, you're marrying your best friend, your soulmate, your perfect match! And all that jazz. It's a time for celebration and the run up to the wedding is a special time for you and your other half. Have a date night and indulge yourselves in talking about married life and all the great things you're looking forward to as husband and wife. These are the best moments of wedding planning, hearing your partner tell you how excited they are about your marriage and sharing your joy and excitement (and nerves!) with each other. It makes tackling the nitty gritty details seem a lot less scary. Don't sweat the small stuff! The key thing is you're marrying the person you're going to spend the rest of your life with. 

There you have it. If you follow the above steps you'll be a wedding planning boss in next to no time... Or at least you'll hopefully feel a little more prepared! And if not, don't beat yourself up about it. You've got the hen do to look forward to; willy straws and pink sashes at the ready!

Baci e abbracci, 
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  1. Great post to read although I am not wedding planning in the slightest haha, I think I will send this to my friend who is however. I see wedding inspirations on Pinterest all the time and just love having a nose!

    Belle x
    Mascara & Maltesers

    1. Haha, I am exactly the same, before I got engaged I always read up on all things wedding related! I even went so far as to buy wedding magazines... *blushing* I just love weddings! Glad you enjoyed reading, hopefully your friend will enjoy it too :) xx

  2. Brilliant, informative post! I'm loving planning my wedding but it is like a military operation - lists here, there and everywhere! :)

    Helen xx

    1. Haha, I totally understand! So many little things that have to come together to create something big, it can get quite overwhelming!xx

  3. I'm no where near getting married in my life yet, but these tips are great! I'm always picturing it and wondering what it will be like and I will have to keep some of these in mind!

    I love your blog beautiful! Gave you a follow

    1. Aaw thanks hun, I'm so glad you enjoyed reading! I've always been wedding obsessed so before I got engaged I was forever reading up on all things wedding related and imagining my own! It feels crazy to be planning it for real!xx


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