If you’re reading this you’ve probably recently added a new word to your vocab and for some of you, there’s a new sparkle in your eye that’s not just from your ring finger…so let me firstly start by saying CONGRATULATIONS! Getting engaged is one of the most exciting and loved up periods of your life, but with everyone being equally excited around you, it can be overwhelming at times. All the questions and wedding planning shifts your brain into overdrive and you find yourself in a panic asking ‘what the hell do I do now’?
But don’t fear! Planning a wedding is a fantastic & fun adventure…with the right information to help you along the way! So let Wendy + Peter you will be able to navigate all the ups & downs from dress shopping to finally walking down the aisle!
Each week I will be sharing my own engagement, relationship & wedding planning experiences in our content series, ‘Tales of an Unconventional Bride’. But to help get your started, here’s some To Do’s and ‘Maybe Not’ tips that I learnt along the way for the newly engaged:
Put the social media posts & your mobile phone down!
We appreciate that the first thing you want to do is shout your new engagement from the social media rooftops! But if you do this too fast, you risk offending family & friends so think before your tweet! When I got engaged we were on holiday and had families in 2 respective countries and time zones. My husband and I wrote down a call schedule and bundled family and friendship groups into team Facetime and WhatsApp group sessions. This allowed us to see & share their excitement from across the pond while also cutting down on time in the process, so we could get to posting to our hearts content a lot faster!!
Set a budget….and then another one…It’s not a matter of ‘if you overspend’ it’s a matter of ‘by how much’
There are many factors to consider when setting a date, whether it be anniversaries or planning around holidays, but one very important decider will be…your budget! Put the kettle on, fire up the excel and pop a Prozac because you’re going to have to sit down & have a frank conversation about budget and money. Start assessing your current spending, your monthly savings- have a realistic think about what you could comfortably put away & what sacrifices you’re willing to make for it. Then you need to do another contingency budget, because it’s not a matter of whether you’ll overspend, it’s a matter of by how much!
Use your budget to plan how many guests you can afford, not how many you want to invite!
Writing a guest list is one sure way to realise how many dear friends you’ve made along the way in your journey as a couple. Once you put $150 on a head, or are left with the predicament of inviting either a friend or a family member, it quickly makes you assess your friendship and how much their involved in your current life. It sounds horribly harsh and cut throat, and that’s because it needs to be! Sadly, it is your budget, not your heart that determines who comes to your wedding. So once you have that set number in mind, you need to stick to it.
By all means over invite to compensate for drop outs- especially if your wedding day is a destination wedding or during a holiday period when guests might be away- but also be prepared to not have as many cancellations as you think! We had 65 guests with only 3 drop outs, way less than what we were expecting! We found that by asking our guests to provide a ‘pre RSVP’ when sending our Save the Dates that this meant we could continue to budget and plan with current accurate guest numbers, which was a life saver for our final budget (and payments!).
Be realistic when planning your wedding party – budget before you ask!
It’s easy to go on a bridesmaid asking rampage straight after getting engaged, of course you want all of your best girlfriends to have a special role in your big day! But unfortunately, bridesmaids and groomsmen cost money and therefore need to be an integral part of your budget. So NOW is a good time to have a think about what, and how much you would like to ask your BM’s to contribute.
If you are in a financial position to pay for their outfits, hair and make-up on your big day that’s awesome! However some couples may have to compromise, and so are nervous about having ‘the conversation’. Please don’t be! With today’s increased wedding costs this is completely normal, as it’s a rare occurrence for the bride to cover all costs! With this in mind, it’s a good idea also to take your friends’ financial and job situation into consideration before asking them. Work with each BM individually on what they can afford to contribute and what you can bring to the table in a private, non-judgemental prosseco-filled environment.
Don’t buy decorations too early – 30 table centre pieces don’t fit in 1 bedroom apartments
If you’re like us, you live in a shoe-box flat in a concrete jungle and don’t have much storage space. I started to buy decorations when I found things that I couldn’t live without or they were at the right price point, and have no regrets! But we did run out of space quickly & it was hard to keep track of everything I bought…and spent! As our wedding theme evolved, some of the decorations I bought at the beginning were no longer needed & that was a waste of money that we could of used on other decorations & styling…so try not to jump the gun!
This isn’t a dress for the Christmas party, it’s your WEDDING DRESS!
For fellow shopaholics, or brides that have dreamt of trying on their wedding dress since the beginning of time, I can appreciate that the first thing you want to do is enter the doors of the one group of stores that have been a ‘no go zone’ for your whole relationship! BUT remember, this isn’t a dress for your next party, this is your wedding dress! So as a bride who had 4 YES 4 wedding dresses, my advice is to not buy too early. Many factors of your wedding could change such as venue, styling and theme, and in my case, country and season! So have fun trying on dresses & enjoy the moment, but ensure that your plans are locked down before handing over the plastic fantastic.
Don’t let the cray cray out too soon!
I waited 9 years for my darling husband Paul to propose. 9 looonnnnggg years…which is probably why I’ve started wedding blogging because I don’t want the dream to end! But you can imagine that when we finally did get engaged, I was pretty pumped!! I made a promise to Paul via our Warriors grip handshake (this handshake is stronger than all pinkie promises put together) that we would chill, we wouldn’t get married too soon & take our time to just be engaged. 3 days later, I let the cray cray out, calling him to request that we get married in August as it was mid summer with the highest opportunity for warm weather & sunshine…which he reluctantly agreed!
The moral of the story is that it’s important to take your time, enjoy being engaged before the proper madness begins, because time will fly faster than you believe & you may look back & wish you had taken the time to just be in the moment so take an engaged pause and enjoy this fantastic new phase in your life!
Get screenshotting! Start finding your inspiration & reading wedding blogs!
If you’re like me, you’ll be doing a lot of your research and decoration shopping on the go on your mobile. Screenshotting images to remember the brand name and style was beyond helpful for me. I could favourite the ones I loved, file them in their own sub folders on my phone for easy access, so I never forget something I wanted to purchase later on.
Bridesmaids that pin together, stay together! Stay connected with your crew while planning
The best way to find out your likes & dislikes is to see other people’s weddings! Read wedding blogs, and lots of them! It’s amazing how many weddings have sparked ideas that have developed into my own. They also help you discover your own style and what you want your special day to look like. Pinterest is an absolute dream and a great way to interact with your bridesmaids from across the UK or overseas…because Bridesmaids that pin together, stay together!
Don’t find yourselves stuck in a wedding conversational trap! Remember you two before you were planning a wedding!
When you’re having fun exploring this new thing called engagement, it’s easy to let many of your conversations to drift into obsessive wedding-planning territory (i.e. where your brain now lives). You’re both excited and you want to talk about it and that’s great! But it’s very easy for your wedding to become THE ONLY thing you talk about. Set dedicated times for wedding planning chats, spend the rest of the time having fun and remember what this is all about- committing to be each other’s lobsters for the rest of your life. And don’t forget the most important part…LOVE.
So there you go! With lots more pages to come, Wendy + Peters will give you the tools you need to take the wedding planning bull by the horns &, ride your way into the glorious excel spreadsheet sunshine!