As I mentioned in my recent post about our wedding, we actually only booked our venue about 7 months before the date, so this meant that the planning started right away and didn’t ease up until the big day. There are loads of great wedding advice articles out there with helpful tips for brides, but I thought I’d share my own experiences. There were some things that ended up being much more stressful that I’d expected!
4 Things I Found Harder than Expected when Planning our Wedding
1. Choosing a Venue
I spent a lot of time and energy assessing all of the wedding venues that exist in Manchester. I’m now aware of every single one of them, their price range and what their packages are. This is because I really thought we’d be getting married in Manchester. We visited quite a few Manchester venues and really did like 2 of them, but neither were exactly what we wanted so we couldn’t choose, and they also stretched our budget quite a lot. Then we thought about it and decided we shouldn’t have to compromise on what we really want whilst also spending more than planned… It was only when we eventually widened our search area that we found our dream venue outside Manchester! Eaves Hall was the perfect venue for us and you can read about the reasons why in our wedding post. The lessons of this tale are:
- You’ll probably get more for your money outside the city centre.
- If you can’t choose between 2 venues, it’s probably because neither of them are the right one.
- It’s never a bad idea to think outside the box.
Yes, the most stressful thing about organising a wedding is other people. This is something that a lot of brides seem to agree on. From people not sending their RSVPs, to those who say they are coming, then change their minds, and then do a U-turn and decide they actually want to be there at the last minute! Then there’s having to create seating plans and rooming lists (and constantly changing them as people decide they are/are not coming). And not forgetting those people who layer their own logistical problems on top of yours (if you didn’t have enough to worry about, you now have to work out how they will be getting there).
To be honest, I’m not sure this sort of thing can be avoided, short of not inviting anyone to your wedding! My advice would be, try not to let it stress you out. Most venues and suppliers are very helpful and flexible enough to account for the awkwardness of your wedding guests. And sometimes (not to be mean) it is wise to delay getting back to the people who want to make their problems your problems. Most of the time they are more than capable of sorting themselves out and will do in the end. There are very few issues that are really worth getting stressed about, so just work through one thing at a time. And remember what your wedding day is really about – you and your best friend getting married! Nothing else matters.
3. Finalising Invitation Designs
I’ve written a full post about our DIY calligraphy invitations, and looking back at the finished items it’s hard to believe the stresses I had over them. It was all fine once I’d decided on a format, a size, a paper weight and colour, a design and worked out how they’d be made, but getting there involved a seriously long list of choices. Pinterest is not always your friend, and when it came to invites I think it caused more problems than it solved – simply because there are so many nice invites in the world and you can only choose one concept! Plus, if you want your invites to tie in with your whole theme, you have to have all your creative ideas in place right at the start!
Just remember though – invites are not the most important thing, so just try to make decisions and stick to them. Don’t regret all the beautiful invites that you didn’t pick. You can’t have everything on one invite – that would look awful! And if your theme completely changes after your invites have gone out, who cares anyway?!
4. Sleeping the Night Before
I knew I’d be too excited to sleep the night before. I actually have no tips for this situation – nothing worked for me and I ended up having about 2 hours sleep in total!
However, I do have some advice for what to do if it happens…
- Don’t get upset. It’s happened so just go with it. Adrenaline will absolutely get you through the day, and makeup can cover any appearance of tiredness too.
- Prepare in advance. I expected to have trouble sleeping (although it was much worse than I’d thought) so I thankfully had some Liz Earle Soothing Eye Lotion with me. I’d even stored it in the fridge! So I simply soaked some cotton wool pads with it and relaxed with them on my eyelids for 15 minutes before my makeup artist got started. It really help to refresh my tired puffy eyes!
And 4 Things I Found Easier than Expected
1. Finding a Dress
I was panicking because apparently you’re supposed to go dress shopping 6-12 months before your wedding, and we were already 6 months before when I started! Luckily I found what I was looking for on the first trip. My advice would be don’t just consider expensive bridal boutiques. There are some really nice off-the-peg styles to be found out there!
2. Choosing the Look of… Everything
Thanks to Pinterest preparation our wedding colour scheme, style of flowers, centrepieces etc, all fell into place very easily. Pinterest is a such great resource, but just remember when you’re pinning away that most of the amazing wedding shots you’ll find are professional shoots rather than real weddings, and that’s why they look a) perfect and b) like money is no object.
3. Keeping track of budget
I can’t lie, the money side of things gets stressful. But arm yourself with a spreadsheet with every possible wedding expense listed on it and and then make sure you always keep it up to date.
4. Not spending a fortune
There are so many ways to have a traditional-style wedding whilst making sure you don’t go overboard with costs. Here are some of the ways we did it…
- We got married on a Sunday and we also booked a late availability deal with our venue.
- We didn’t have a huge guest list – just 50-60 of our closest friends and family.
- We are creative people and made use of our talents with DIYs.
- My dress was off the peg and our (only) bridesmaid’s dress ended up being a great price in the sale too.
- Discounts. I’ll admit I made use of my staff discount for extras like jewellery, underwear, etc. My amazing shoes were just £12 guys!
- And in general we focussed our budget on things we really wanted and that would be appreciated. You don’t need everything, even though the wedding industry will lead you to believe otherwise. Example – we didn’t need or want wedding cars, which saved us a few hundred pounds!