The five things I wish I knew when I started planning my wedding

Morning everyone – it’s just over three weeks now until the big day (as you’ve probably twigged by my notable absence on here lately) and right now, with almost everything sorted, it seems like a time to reflect on the mad rush that has been the last year and a half of my life! So if I could start again, would I do it all differently? 

The five things I wish I knew when I started planning my wedding planning

Budget cautiously

We made what I’d call an optimistic budget. We tried to pay the bare minimum for everything and probably subconsciously blocked out things like VAT, alteration charges, beauty treatments, all the extras that we thought we’d worry about later because they didn’t fit our budget. It’s important to be realistic when you budget for things, ALWAYS overestimate, start saving as soon as possible, any extra cash you get, put it aside and take all the help you can get (if you feel comfortable doing so, of course)!

There are good wedding packages out there

I’m a creative soul, and I knew I’d have to be a control freak about every little detail – which led me to ignore the multitude of fantastic, vintage-inspired wedding packages out there in favour of a blank canvas. While I’ve learned a lot over the last year and a half, it would also be nice to be relaxing right about now, safe in the knowledge that someone else was taking care of everything.

A stylist / planner will save your life!

I have a wonderful stylist – but I wish I’d booked her for a full service from day one! Not only does a stylist save you tonnes of money (trust me, they pay for themselves as they will know where all the wonderful discounts are, not to mention most stylists have a store of props to use that will also save you money on decorations) but your stylist / planner will save you so much stress. I don’t know what I’d do without Jennifer Sue Weddings, I just wish I’d found her sooner!

You’ll find out who your friends are

Ouch – some painful lessons to be learned here. If I could go back in time I’d tell myself not to be so eager in appointing the wedding party and inviting guests. Hindsight is 20:20 but there are some people who, either through the pressure of a wedding presenting a sort of social deadline, or through the natural growing apart that’s to be expected in life, turned out not to be friends at all. In fact, I can think of at least five people off the top of my head who aren’t friends any more. I don’t think I’ve ever shed so much of my social circle in such a short amount of time. As hard as it is to keep your enthusiasm in check, don’t send out your invites too early, don’t give your cards away too soon and be selective about who you share your special day with. A good way is to gauge your friends’ reactions when you break the news that you’re engaged – it will usually tell you everything you need to know.

Take care of your health

I didn’t. I’ll be honest – I lived off of Red Bull trying to get everything done, I skipped meals, I let myself get stressed and angry all the time. And I’ll be even more honest – I’m paying for it now. As we speak I’m wrapped up in bed, my back in agony from months of gritted teeth and hunched shoulders, with a cold from a weakened immune system. Take time out every day, don’t sweat the small things, don’t let people get to you. I know it’s easier said than done (believe me) but I wish that someone had just told me that all these small stresses won’t matter in the end, but what will matter is feeling really unwell in the run-up to the biggest day of my life. Keep reminding yourself that all that matters is the marriage – it’s so easy to lose sight of.

Nearly-brides and newlyweds – what do you wish you’d known before you got into the swing of planning? I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

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