Since getting engaged, I thought it would be fun to start a wee wedding series here on my blog where I can document the planning, tips and tricks that I've been learning along the way. I'm hoping that this might help some of you out there who have recently got engaged or are planning your big day but aren't really sure where to start or how to begin. When Sam and I got engaged in January, we soon came to realise that it was all well and good having a fab pinterest board and amazing intentions, but we actually had no idea how to bring these ideas to life. We didn't really have anyone to ask either because we're the first of a lot of our friends and family in recent years to get married. If you're reading this and are feeling the exact same, then I hope that this little list of things that Sam and I have learnt in the first stages of wedding planning so far will help the task seem a little less daunting.
1. The easiest way to begin is by writing out a basic list of the initial things that you know you will need for your big day. Our first list included: Ceremony venue
As you begin planning and figuring out your budget, you can then start to break down each of these categories and make decisions on the finer details. For example; flowers; do you want the full shabang? Or would you prefer simple bouquets along with a few table centrepieces? Venue; will you need to rent your cutlery, table cloths and glassware or will they be provided? Stationery; do you want to send out save-the-date cards, invitations, location maps, rsvp cards along with having name cards, menus and itineraries for the day? Or do you want to keep it simple by only having a few of these things?
2. Decide on your budget. For Sam and I, when we started, we had no clue what weddings cost or the prices of the individual elements, so we started with a rough figure in our heads and then when we began researching, we were able to break the budget down and realistically plan out how much we were going to spend and how long it was going to take us to save.
3. Decide what the most important expense is for you - what are you most willing to spend money on? Is it your venue? Is it your dress? Your photographer? For us, our videographer and photographer were the aspects that we were most willing to splurge a little extra money on - afterall, the videos and photos are what you will have to look back on for the rest of your life! Just make sure that you and your partner are on the same page and be willing to compromise since the day is about the two of you.
4. Don't underestimate your partner/ assume that they won't want to help. This is something that I had a sudden realisation about the other day. I wasn't really aware of it before but I've come to learn that I am someone who will just try to do everything themselves without thinking about sharing the responsibility or letting someone help me...it's not that I don't want the help, it's just that it doesn't even occur to me sometimes that I don't have to do everything myself.
Sam has been amazing with regards to lots of aspects of the planning so far but when it came to the DIY elements, I got myself into a bit of a zone the other day. Our plan at the moment for our wedding cake is instead of buying a big expensive one, we're going to get some plain ones from Costco (because Costco cakes are delicious) and decorate them ourselves. When I was talking about this with Sam, I kept saying how I would be decorating them etc etc and he stopped me and asked if he could help decorate them because he really wants to be involved with every aspect. It seems like such a small thing but I was actually really touched because I hadn't even thought that he would want to help. Even though it's only a cake, it made me realise that I'm not going through this alone. Sam is right there and willing to help with everything, I just have to let him.
5. Shop around. Take your time in finding what you want, for the prices that you want. I know that we got a lot of things sorted quite quickly for our wedding but that's not because we just booked the first things that we came across. Sam is actually a pro-researcher when it comes to things that involve spending money so he spent a lot of time trying to find the best quality services for the best prices.
What we quickly came to learn as well is that if you find something you like, for example a fab videographer, but they're a little out of your budget...chances are you will still be able to find one just as good somewhere else for a more budget friendly price. Sometimes all this means is simply clicking through a few more pages on the Google search page rather than going for the first results that it throws out at you.
6. Don't be afraid to get started early. Sam and I had actually discovered our venue and photographer before we got engaged. We just happened to come across them on Instagram and as we knew we wanted to get married eventually, we didn't see the harm in just keeping a note of them for the future. This meant that when we did get engaged, we just decided to get straight to work.
I've had quite a few people asking me about the wedding planning and they always seem a little surprised at how much we already have sorted, but honestly, I'm so glad that we started when we did because the availability for some of these wedding services book up so quickly!
7. Watch some wedding planning videos on Youtube or read some blogs to learn tips, tricks and gain advice. This is what I've been doing almost every night since Sam and I got engaged. They're so incredibly helpful and there's something really lovely about hearing what people learnt through the experiences of their own weddings.
These are some of my favourite wedding youtubers that I've discovered so far:
8. Enjoy the process. It can be scary at first, thinking about the expenses or figuring out how you're going to get each thing crossed off of your list but it's possible when broken down into manageable chunks. I know that marriage is the main aim but don't forget to enjoy your engagement too and have fun with the planning process! It's an exciting way to bond with your partner and you may even learn little things about them that you never knew before.
- S xo