Wedding Planning, the best life lesson you can get
For many brides, the time between the poignant proposal and magical matrimony is consumed with event planning, guest list organizing, theme choosing, budget juggling, cake tasting, hen party problem solving and most importantly DRESS FINDING. Surprisingly what a lot of brides seem to forget is that they actually have a groom, a partner who they plan to spend the rest of their life with after the wedding day, for which the day is just as important.
Since a partnership is based on trust, mutual respect, and common goals, wedding planning for a perfect day should serve as a platform and practice for the rest of your lives. Don’t get consumed by the wedding day stresses because it is just that, a day, a single day that serves as the first day of a whole new chapter in your combined lives. Never again will you both spend so much time deliberating over decisions from budgets to themes, food to music or family to friends relating to one event. However this journey will teach you so much about yourselves and each other and how to work together on important future decisions. A good start to your married life, because all great partnerships involve a lot of compromise!
The yellow brick road to a happy wedding day is paved with emotions and important lessons that every bride (and groom) should learn.
1. Start with the big things, they lead to the little things
When you first sit down with an empty screen or notepad in front of you ready to start planning your wedding, relax. The start of planning an event of any scale has stress associated with it, but the only way to handle it is to simply start with the big things first. Don’t start thinking about colours, wedding gowns, table plans, etc. until you tick off the big things first because with these confirmed everything else starts to fall into place.
Stage 1 Planning List
- When do we want to get married? (Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter – this is a good start as it dictates whether you are looking at under a year or over a year to plan things)
- Where do we want to get married? (Do you want to get married at home or would you prefer a foreign nuptials)
- What type of venue suits our style? (Do you as a couple suit a slick city hotel, a country manor or a glamping extravaganza)
- Do we want a religious or civil ceremony? (Are you religious and opting for a church wedding or do you want a non-denominational intimate ceremony)
- What is our ideal budget, what is our maximum budget? (Be realistic, yes this is a once in a lifetime event, but you and your groom still have the rest of your lifetime to spend together, don’t start it with the pressures of debts and loans. Look at your time period to getting married, what is an ideal budget to aim to work to, and if worst case scenario something came in over budget but was a must have, what is your absolute nonnegotiable maximum budget that you will not exceed.)
Each of these decisions brings numerous smaller items to the floor, but as you work through it, each smaller decision gets easier and easier. Remember, the best swimmers, runners and cyclists take all big events one stroke, step and revolution at a time. It’s good training for future married life, when you come up against difficult or intimidating things, take them one step at a time.
2. Prioritise what matters for your day
At first it is all too easy to start making lists of everything that you want included in your big day, but slow down because number one, remember this is all taking place over the space of just a few hours on the wedding day, and, number two, you have a budget to stick too. After discussing all the things that you and your husband would like to include in the day, write down the top 10 or 20 items that are still on the list. Price them all individually and then together decide what is the number one most important ‘must have’, that moves to top of the list, work your way down it like this. Seeing the price of some items and having to discuss whether they truly are must haves or would ‘like to haves’ can change your perception of value. The wedding day is all about declaring your love for each other and intentions for a lifetime, some items that have special memories or meaning to you both will have more worth on the day then something that just seams like a nice idea for at a wedding. Are chocolate favors really going transform your day into the most memorable, meaningful day?
3. People matter most.
Guest Lists are one of the most argued over topics when planning a wedding but they really shouldn’t be. There is no law in terms of who you must have at your day. There are a number of topics to consider,
- Venue Location (realistically, you are not going to invite 200 people to the Caribbean)
- Venue Size (What is the minimum and maximum seating capacity at your chosen venue of choice. If you are limited to a number then it makes it easier to prune the list)
- Family Size (If you both only have extended families of 10 people then it’s easy to invite everyone, but if one of you has 50 cousins plus partners then you need to rethink this and perhaps just invite ‘friends’ and immediate family. This way you can still invite those you are close to but exclude those you haven’t seen in twenty years!
- Social Group Size (Do you have a mutual group of friends or are you both part of 20 different clubs, it may be necessary to cut them out)
- Wedding Theme (Are you going for small, intimate and vintage or are you going for large, carnival and majestic)
- Personal Preference (What do you both as a couple want, surrounded by 20 people in your favorite restaurant or 220 people in a venue)
Don’f forget that the guest list is compiled from two sides and it can’t be one sided. At the end of the day, it’s about the bride and groom and them alone. Never feel pressured or influenced by outside influences to invite people you don’t want to, every single person at the wedding should be of immense importance to you and your groom and someone that you want beside you to celebrate your big day!
No matter where, when or what the wedding is, the wedding gown is still the most important decision any bride will make. Choosing ‘the’ gown is an emotional right of passage to be experienced with you closest, your mother, sister, bridesmaids. There are so many things to consider when choosing your gown that again all revert back to the main questions, where, what type of venue, when etc. But aside from this you have to take into account your silhouette, your sin tone, your hair, your height, the dress you start of wanting is normally not the dress you choose, so don’t be discouraged if the ball gown doesn’t suit you, the experts in any boutique are there to help and will find a number of styles to suit you. Most brides are surprised to fall in love with a gown that is the opposite of what they expected, but this is part of the wonderful experience. When you put on ‘the’ gown, you will know. But don’t forget as important as the wedding gown is to the bride, every groom has their own important thing. For some grooms it is the suit, for others it’s the car, for others it’s the stag party, for some it may be the band and for others it could be theme. Just as they don’t understand how important the dress is and yet support you following your heart, don’t forget this is their ‘thing’, embrace it, it’s an extension of them, it’s something they are passionate about and it’s another lesson in life, supporting the other when it’s something your partner is passionate about, compromise, compassion, content!
5. Life goes on.
In the run up to it, the wedding feels like the be all and end all, but after 24 hours, life goes on. The wedding planning is no longer a topic of conversation and you need to be prepared to move on to just being married and basking in the post planning period. Don’t forget that all of the planning and time was spent planning a day to celebrate you both spending your life together but of course there can be a bit of a anti-climax afterwards. Plan a weekend away a month or two after the honeymoon, to have something to look forward to, and also to allow you both to spend some relaxing, romantic time together during. It’s important as life settles into normality and routines that you remember just how much love, respect and mutual interests you have together and keep that romance alive. After the wedding, it becomes the little things in normal life that become romantic, thoughtful and meaningful. So enjoy and relish them, because you have a lifetime of them ahead.