Amy Jackson is a former bridezilla, current lifestyle blogger and lifelong lover of weddings.
Planning Your Own Wedding?
It goes without saying that planning a wedding is not an easy task. There’s so much to manage within a short amount of time, and as with most large family events, there is often a healthy pinch of drama thrown in too.
Wedding Preparation Can Be Complicated
Sometimes even the smallest details can present major complications that have the potential to turn you into a full-blown Bridezilla, which—let's face it—no one wants to see. I know this from experience. While my wedding day went off without a hitch, as most weddings do, there are a few lessons I wish someone had shared with me during the planning stage.
So, for all you future brides out there, here are the 10 most important lessons I learned while planning my wedding.
10 Things to Know When Planning a Wedding
- Get organised.
- It's never too early to start booking.
- Set your budget and stick to it.
- Buy your supplies online.
- Don't sweat the small stuff.
- Consider selecting a venue that does it all.
- Remember, you can't please everyone.
- Stick to your RSVP deadline.
- Take some time out.
1. Get Organised
Staying organised from the outset is one of the best ways you can keep your head above water when it comes to minimizing your wedding-planning stress. Here are some techniques that I found particularly helpful in retrospect.
Organisation Tips for Wedding Planning
- Buy yourself a bridal planner, nice notebook or folder. Keeping all of your notes and documents in one place means you’ll know exactly where to find records, contracts, receipts and other information whenever you need it.
- Create a folder in your inbox for all wedding-related emails. This way, you won't have to sift through piles of unrelated material to find what you're looking for.
- Enlist the help of some online wedding planning tools like those offered by Bridebook. Checklists, guest lists, supplier searches and venue considerations can all be managed and saved online.
2. Start Booking Suppliers Early
It can be difficult to know when to start booking suppliers when you're still in the early stages of your wedding plan. I can assure you, however, that it’s never too early to start setting things in stone. Many wedding suppliers can book a year or more in advance, and most are accustomed to taking early bookings from excited couples.
In short, if there’s a particular supplier you're sure you want to use, you should secure their services as soon as you can! Be sure to save all contracts and receipts, both physical and digital, in a safe place for future reference.
3. Set Your Budget and Stick to It
It can be tempting to get carried away in the excitement of planning your wedding, but this can easily lead to overspending if a detailed budget has not been established. This should be done up front with your other half prior to diving into the bulk of your wedding plan.
Setting a detailed budget that covers all aspects of your wedding (food, photography, venue, invitations, etc.) individually will make it easier for you to make informed decisions down the line. Discuss which aspects of the wedding are most important to both of you and prioritize these in your itemised budget.
Later on, feel free to move money around between categories as you make specific decisions, but try to keep your grand total the same. If you find yourself wanting to spend more on a specific component of the wedding, pull funds from one or two other categories to keep your total from skyrocketing.
How to Create a Wedding Budget
- Set your budget before you start planning.
- Make sure your budget is detailed and itemised—specify how much you are allocating to each component of your wedding.
- Stick to your budget's total. If you want to use more funds for the band, lower your budget for invitations.
4. Buy Your Supplies Online
While certain personal aspects of your wedding—your dress, your venue or your makeup, for instance—should definitely be selected in person, most of your wedding supplies can be purchased at a lower cost online from the comfort of your living room.
Use online shopping discount codes, shop through cash-back websites like Quidco and take advantage of auction and bulk sites like eBay and Amazon to further stretch your dollar. Your savings in the supplies category can be added to another area of your budget or be used to help fund your honeymoon! Here are some supplies to consider buying online.
Wedding Supplies That Can Be Purchased Online
- Table settings
- Party Favors
- Gifts for your wedding party
5. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
This may be easier said than done, but try to avoid panicking when you encounter a problem in your wedding plan. Working yourself up over the small details of the day won't help you, and mounting stress can detract from the fun of planning your own wedding. Instead of going into a complete meltdown, take a few minutes to think the problem through logically.
- Is this something I can control?
- Is it easily fixable?
- Is there someone in the bridal party I can delegate it to?
Taking some time to actually think things through will give you a chance to clarify your problem and work toward a solution. Confer with your partner, parents, wedding party or whoever is helping you plan. Multiple minds at ease are more likely to solve a problem than a single, overworked mind in the midst of a meltdown.
If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes an army to plan a wedding. You are not alone in this process—enlist the aid of your partner, friends, family and anyone else who would get a kick out of helping you plan your dream wedding. By delegating portions of your plan to family or bridesmaids rather than trying to juggle every task on your own, you allow yourself more room to enjoy the wedding-planning process.
Provide your suppliers with a list of your helpers' phone numbers, and provide your helpers with a list of your suppliers' phone numbers. In the event of a problem, someone else can step in and leave you to get ready in peace!
7. Consider Booking a Single Venue That Does It All
When I was planning my wedding, I found myself worrying about the logistics of my guests getting from the ceremony venue to the reception venue. While a multiple-venue wedding day is totally possible to pull off (as countless other brides have demonstrated), I still couldn’t stop myself from stressing. If this sounds like you, consider booking a venue that can host your whole day so you don’t have to worry about the transition from ceremony to reception.
There are so many gorgeous hotels, farms and country houses that offer wedding packages, and most employ a dedicated planner to take care of details while keeping you in the loop. Since these venues have hosted countless weddings, their experience can help take the guesswork out of your planning. Some venues may even throw in a few rooms for some of your guests as part of the package!
8. Remember, You Can't Please Everyone
With so many people involved, it's easy to let fear of upsetting or offending others influence your wedding plan. This issue can come up when you are choosing who to invite, deciding whether to have a child or pet-free wedding or trying to compose that dreaded seating plan. It may seem like there’s potential for drama everywhere you turn.
While you don’t want to seem unreasonable for standing by your decisions, trying to please everyone could ultimately result in a completely different wedding than the one you had imagined. This may seem like a tricky issue to contend with, but it doesn't have to be. In the event of an individual taking issue with a particular component of your wedding plan, such as the decision to host a child-free wedding, simply make your reasoning clear and remind them that it would mean a lot to you if they would attend.
Granted, there may be issues that involve family or are somehow closer to home (e.g. your parents are divorced and don't get along), and these may need to be handled a little more sensitively. If you need some tips on dealing with family problems at your wedding, this is a great article to help you approach things.
9. Stick to Your RSVP Deadline
Set a date that you would like your invitees to reply by and be strict with it. Feel free to send emails or notes that include a gentle reminder in the weeks leading up to your RSVP cutoff, but if certain guests have not replied by this date, don’t include them in your final numbers.
If invited guests who did not respond by your deadline approach you after the fact and still wish to be involved, you may be able to invite them to the evening reception. While ceremony attendance is usually fairly strict, you may have more wiggle room with your numbers during the reception depending on your venue.
Enforcing your RSVP deadline may seem harsh, but it will save you a great deal of stress in the long run. Finalizing your numbers early allows you to more easily and accurately plan the remainder of your wedding.
10. Take Some Time Out
Sometimes we can get so caught up in our wedding fever that we forget to enjoy stress-free quality time with our significant other. If wedding planning is taking over, set aside an evening or two every week during which you and your partner don’t discuss it.
Watch a movie together, go out for dinner or just relax and do your thing. Taking some quality time out will give you an inspiration boost and can be a great way to remind yourselves why you’re getting married in the first place!