Your special wedding day

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All photos thanks to Thunder & Love Photographers.

Getting married is a truly magical experience but wow, it can be expensive, stressful and over the top! There is so much to consider; from family and friends, food, venue, weather, and the list goes on forever!

Having gotten married myself almost a year ago I have the following advice to offer…

Make it nice, not perfect

Wedding bowtie and suspendersIt’s really easy to fall into the trap of trying to be perfect. Weddings are meant to be the once-in-a-lifetime fairytale experiences of love and romance and it’s the most amazing event you’re ever going to host. And yes, there’s truth to it all but then there is also the reality of life.

Striving for perfection really maxes out the stress levels and you need to remember that everyone attending are your friends and family. If you are so concerned about what they might say then perhaps they aren’t the best people to have in your life. People are there to celebrate this special day with you and sure it must really be nice, but not perfect!

It’s your day

This is YOUR day (the plural as you’re a couple). If you like waffles and ice-cream, then you can have that. If you want to be barefoot, then do it. The day needs to be special, meaningful and happy for you and the last thing you want is to spend months of planning and stressing and then be doing things and having things that you don’t really like and that don’t reflect you as a couple. Traditions and norms are not requirements.

Get someone to help!

This is a biggie! Although it costs more to have a planner or helper, I would suggest you do it. Even if it is just for certain aspects of the day having someone (not a family member) around on the day who has been part of the planning and who you trust to sort out issues and make alternative plans is a huge stress relief. You need someone who can just make it happen.

On the plus side is the fact that an event planner will have contacts, ideas and experiences of things you may not have thought of. And they are great with sticking to budget (well, ours were!)

Don’t overstress it

I don’t know how else to say this other than “Don’t over stress!”. In the greater scheme of things your wedding is just one day of your whole life. So if the invites go out a week late, that’s ok. If the flowers you wanted were out of season and you needed to choose others; that’s really fine. And if you trip while walking down the aisle it will certainly make it a memorable day! Just let it be.

The speeches

I attended a wedding recently where the brides mothers speech was really awkward and quite out of place. She was airing dirty laundry which was completely unnecessary and out of place. If you are worried about someones speech but feel that it’s important to have them say something, ask them for a copy of the speech upfront. I really don’t think it’s too much to ask to see the speeches beforehand, unless you are 100% confident that it will be a “happy and loving” speech reflecting what you as a couple want.

Talk about money

Don’t be scared to discuss (and possibly argue) over money issues. This is only one event in your whole future life together so if you and your partner aren’t able to discuss money now, it could become a big issue in the future.

Before you start all the planning, think of what you can realistically afford and set yourself a budget. When deciding on a budget, take into account elements of the wedding day that are really important to you and get cost estimates. Also, think about what your priorities are for the day. If there any family traditions or dreams that are really important to you then you will need to prioritise those costs above others.

And finally in your money discussion, think about the future. Are you willing to go into debt for this one day which may cause hardship and stress to pay off over the next ten years? Would you rather put money down as a deposit for a house or rather spend it on the wedding? Would you rather travel overseas or have a huge wedding? These are tough questions and discussions that are important! Unless you’re loaded with money you need to chat about these things upfront.

Negotiate with service providers

In my experience, anything to do with a wedding is double the price than for any other event. It may not really be so, but it certainly feels that way when you receive quotes from service providers. We did a lot of negotiating!

It’s worthwhile spending the time on the phone (or in person) discussing options and asking the questions like “if we take this out and rather do that, how much will it be then?”. Or “okay, but if we do all our hiring with you could we get a discount?”.

One provider wanted to charge a really steep delivery fee even though they operate from the same premises where the reception was being held. We found it completely unreasonable and after a call or two they dropped the charge.

Call in favours

A wedding is a big deal and it is definitely a good time to call in favours! Within your fiends and family I am sure you can find at least some people to help with the following:

Wedding flowers

  • a graphic designer for the invites
  • someone in catering with good contacts
  • a web developer to make a small but personal website for wedding info
  • someone who can do floral arrangements
  • someone with a big vehicle who can drop & collect things
  • someone who can get a good deal for you on drinks
  • a minister or someone to officiate (we had our yoga instructor do that)
  • people to make desserts

Some of these things obviously depend on the venue and what you are allowed to bring in yourself.

Be creative

Let all those creative juices flow. Have a time where you and your partner write down all ideas (silly or not) and discuss each one to see if it is worth doing (and even possible). Ideas on cost savings, decor, music, etc; don’t be shy to voice your ideas and listen to each others thoughts.

Stick to the budget

It is really hard to stick to the budget I know! Especially when people keep telling you that this is a “once in a lifetime” event and the “most special day of your life”. Service providers are really good at playing on your emotions and alluding to the stress that could avoided by paying the extra amounts.

Be strong! Your overall budget should be maintained so if you go a little over in once area you’ll need to make a plan to underspend somewhere else. The details can be fluid.

Capture the moment

I’m really pleased that Nathan insisted on the lovely Thunder & Love photographers as the photos are absolutely amazing! It’s really important to capture the moment with a professional photographer! It’s also worth the time and effort to go through websites and portfolios to find someone who understands your style and the type of look you want.

Wedding pic

Enjoy

The most important thing for us was to enjoy the day and be in the moment throughout the whole day. Once the planning, budgeting and stressing hs been done, take the day as it comes and enjoy it all!

Take it all in and have the attitude of “whatever happens happens”. It’s highly probably that things will go wrong and something will break or the DJ will forget to play a certain song. Don’t let it spoil the day! Enjoy every moment as it happens!

Got any more tips or advice? Please share in the comments…

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