This is the second part of a 23 point list so if you’ve not read yesterday’s post which covers the first 11 things that helped me, perhaps read that one first?
Otherwise, let’s get on with it! Brides-to-be are busy ladies, after all 😉
12. Having a wedding website.
I set up a password protected WordPress site with all the details of the venue, accommodation options, gift list and so on. There was even a section for people to leave song requests, which was rather eye-opening! I included the URL and log-on info in the main invites and it cut down our stationery costs pretty dramatically. I’ll blog about our wedding stationery separately as I was somewhat impressed by my thriftiness.
The website became really useful and I set up an FAQ page so people could find answers to things like “how long is the drive from the church to the hotel?” and “should I have a massive breakfast, what time will I actually be fed?” because I know these are the types of questions I always want to know ahead of a wedding. Like srsly, do I need to pack a sandwich or not?
We used it after the wedding too for sharing our wedding pics privately as we didn’t want them on Facebook.
This was a great option for us as I had the “know-how” to do it but even if you don’t have any bloggy/tech skills at all there are LOADS of companies that offer bespoke wedding websites. Just make sure you weigh up the cost of doing it if you are using a company.
13. Deciding not to bother with favours.
I hate wasting money and, if I’m completely honest, I think wedding favours are a waste of money. I don’t want to offend anyone with that statement because I know a lot of people put a lot of effort into them, but I just saw it as money I could spend elsewhere in the wedding budget.
I considered doing something homemade but even that would cost money and it would DEFINITELY take up a lot of time. Time which I really didn’t have.
I wanted to do *something* though, so I bought scratch-cards for everyone and placed them in little envelopes (florist envelopes, if you’re searching for them on eBay or Amazon). It was fun, less than £85 for everyone, and fulfilled my childhood dream of seeing LOADS of scratchcards played at once. We had a few £1 and £2 winners dotted around the room and bizarrely there were four winners on one table – all sat next to each other. ST’s sis won a WHOPPING £20. Drinks were on her, natch.
14. Changing photographers.
I didn’t like the first photographer we had. We hadn’t gone so far as to actually book him, but he’d tentatively reserved the date and we’d met and been round the venue and stuff. It had taken me ages to find someone I liked and I LOVED his work, but when we met we just didn’t get on. Ya know? I really went back and forth on this decision more than any other, because I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to find someone else who I liked and then I’d end up with someone worse. But after consulting pretty much every married person ever on the importance of liking your photographer, I decided to find someone else.
I am so glad I did.
15. Creating an epic call sheet.
I was teased for doing this but I felt like the easiest way to get an idea of how the day would run – the only way I could figure it all out in my head – was to make a call sheet as if it was a big shoot. It had everybody’s numbers, travel arrangements, responsibilities and arrival times and was planned near enough to the minute from the days leading up to the wedding through to the first dance. (Of course once the wedding actually started, it was up to the guy at the hotel to keep it all on track, I wasn’t running around in my dress and a head mic barking at people).
Everyone knew where they had to be. Nobody was confused. Everything ran perfectly to time. The pre-wedding prep was actually ahead of time! So going all Monica Gellar does work, even if people will say you’re “over thinking it”. (These are the same people who will later tell you what a perfectly organised wedding it was btw. Revel in this moment).
16. Not letting other people get involved in the seating plan.
Seriously, just do this yourselves. Do not give people the opportunity to request or protest where they sit.
17. Keeping the top table small.
Our top table (which was a round table near the middle of the room, no different to the other tables) just had me, ST, my parents and his parents on it. It was nice this way as it was more intimate for us and I didn’t have to worry about “favouring” anyone by putting them on the top table. It also meant that our best man, sisters, bridesmaids, ushers etc could sit with their partners and mates, so it was better all round I reckon.
The best man was on the next table pretty much back to back to ST anyway, so we were still nice and close for the speeches but for dinner we had more space. (And if you saw my dress, you’ll know why that mattered!).
18. Having the wedding ceremony later in the day.
Our church would only do one wedding a day, so once we booked the date they basically told us to say when we’d like the wedding to be. We hadn’t really considered this before. What time should a wedding be?! We chose 3pm in the end and I am SO glad we did.
We didn’t have to worry about the wedding dragging on or people getting restless and it meant that people who were travelling from far away (and most people were) could travel down on the day rather than having to book a hotel for the night before. This was especially important for us as we weren’t inviting children, we didn’t want parents to have to find babysitters for two nights.
Plus the later start meant nobody had to have their hair done at 6am…and I know bridesmaids who have had to do this at other weddings. Not ideal with a hangover.
19. Going to church a lot.
I like going to church anyway but I really loved driving out to our wedding church in the run up to the wedding, it just meant we got to know the reverend so much more and we became much more comfortable in our surroundings.
On the wedding day itself, our reverend delivered the most wonderful sermon which she’d tailored perfectly to us as she’d gotten to know us as a couple. It was definitely one of the highlights of the day that we’ll remember forever.
20. Letting the bridesmaids have their hair as they liked.
I had six bridesmaids, all of different ages and all with different hair lengths. I felt like I should be “a good bride” and organise a hairdresser for them all to give them one sleek bridesmaidy style, but the more I thought about it the more I remembered that I actually really dislike “bridesmaid hair” (you know what I mean: the shine, the curls, the pins, the looking like anything but yourself) and that I was sure they’d much rather wear their hair how they liked. Did they all need to look the same? Of course not, they’re very different women.
So just as they could style their bridesmaid dresses differently (blogged about here) I encouraged them to style their hair however they liked. They wore different shoes too, all nude, but whatever style they wanted.
It made planning easier for me because I didn’t have to stress that anyone was going to hate their hairstyle, but it also meant not having to worry about finding time on the wedding day morning for six people to get their hair done. (It also saved a lot of money, if I’m being completely honest here!).
21. Taking Pinterest, mags and blogs with a pinch of salt.
If I had a pound for every time someone mentioned Pinterest during the planning process, we could have had the wedding twice over. (Maybe I’m exaggerating but we could have definitely had evening guests).
I didn’t use Pinterest because I wasn’t a Pinterest user then, but I did read mags and blogs and I had to approach them with a very level head. Some of the themed weddings you see online are ridiculous – not ridiculously bad but just, I dunno….they give me mild panic attacks just looking at them. Our wedding didn’t have a theme (further than “nice”) and that’s PERFECTLY FINE. I may write a blog post just about wedding themes actually, or rather the case for not having a theme.
Use them for inspiration, sure, but remember your wedding doesn’t have to be that polished. Have you ever been to a wedding like the ones in mags? I haven’t. And I’ve been to some amazing weddings.
22. Deciding not to work with any PRs.
This is a very blogger specific point but I wanted to include it anyway as I do think it was important to the overall enjoyment of our day. With the exception of my French Sole shoes and my hair (I was working for TONI&GUY at the time), I didn’t take any “freebies” or blogger discounts for the wedding. I was approached with opportunities to work with brands on my dress, flowers, make-up, honeymoon and even venue but after a *lot* of debate, ST and I decided it wasn’t right for us. Or rather, ST decided we weren’t doing it and I begrudgingly agreed…but now realise he was definitely right.
It’s a really tricky point this one, but all I’d say to any bloggers who do have the opportunity to work with brands on their wedding is to *really* consider it. Is the cost saving worth the fact you might owe a brand a tweet on your wedding day? Will you really get your dream dress/honeymoon/flowers or will you get what the brand wants you to have? Do you want to be on honeymoon worrying about the fact you owe a brand a blog post? Do you want to be thinking about blog photos when you should be thinking about wedding photos? And, most importantly, what does your fiancé think? Everything “free” comes at a cost, after all.
I don’t judge any blogger who decides to snap up the freebies for their wedding, lord knows it’s a bloody expensive process and ordinarily people would encourage you to cut costs wherever you can, but for me – for us – I’m glad we did things exactly as we wanted and were therefore in complete control of our day.
In the end, I blogged about the wedding anyway. But I didn’t *have to*. And that’s the crucial part.
23. Trusting my instincts.
Lastly, but most importantly, you have to trust your instincts. This point has been touched upon in lots of the other points really but it’s really key to remember that this is YOUR wedding and if you don’t want to do something or if something doesn’t feel right or if an idea seems too good to pass up, act on it.
EVERYONE will give you their two cents during the planning process, from well-meaning family to complete strangers (and, errrrr, randomers on the internet like me) but only you and your fiancé know your relationship inside out. Every relationship is different, every family is different, every style is different, every budget is different and every wedding is different.
You do you. Then go and live happily ever after.
You can find all my other wedding posts here.