With the Christmas period over and a new year started, it's highly likely that many of you will be continuing with the planning of your wedding for this year. First of all, I will expect a full report WITH photos from all of you (!) and secondly, I wanted to share with you some personal tips for coping with the stress of it all. There is no doubt that somewhere along the way you will hit a bump in the road or be faced with a decision you'd rather not make, but that's all part of the rollercoaster...
Use Your Time
My first port of call when meeting with a potential client is to determine how much time I have in which to bring everything together before the big day and how best to utilize it. I've planned a wedding in four months and another in two years and while I wouldn't recommend putting together a big celebration from start to finish in less than six months, it can be done if you get organized and you're realistic about your expectations.
• Prioritize. Identify the most important and time consuming aspects first, such as writing your guest list, choosing your venue and arranging the legalities before you turn your attention to the details. Yes, these are important of course, but without the bare bones you won't be able to build on them confidently.
• Timeline. Most planners will divide tasks up in a month by month timeline, starting (as above) with most important and finishing with the little bits and pieces that need tying up. It's always nice to try and have everything ready and signed off at least a couple of weeks before the big day so that should anything else arise, you have a little extra time to deal with it and to generally relax and prepare. But who am I kidding? I was up at gone midnight the night before the night before finishing our programs and packing everything!
Create Your Team
It's important that you and your fiance have a good support system around you, from friends, family and suppliers...
Family and Friends
You will always have the odd family member or friend who just won't care if you're panicking over finding the right shade of napkin etc. and you have to remember to try and keep the wedding talk in moderation, as not everyone will find your wedding the most exciting event in history (unfortunately). However, it's generally said that "everybody loves a wedding" and in my experience relations of the bride and groom are always more than happy to offer up help in whatever shape or form, so use it and get them involved!
Make sure you have a really good think about choosing your bridesmaids, best man (or men) and ushers as they are there to make life a little easier and to shoulder some of the responsibility on the day. Don't choose a rather unreliable friend to be chief bridesmaid/maid of honour as you will end up worrying if she'll pull it off on the day. The same can be said for the best man-if he's a bit of a prankster and you think your fiance will end up naked tied to a lamppost 70 miles away from you on the morning of the wedding, then it's probably a good idea to reconsider your choice!
Don't try to do everything yourself. If you're making your own stationery, make a day of it, get the girls round and create a production line! If you happen to have musically talented friends, ask them to create your playlist for the evening reception or play you down the aisle (as ours did). Perhaps you could give your fiance the job of booking the honeymoon and arranging the transport. Just remember that you're only human and providing you share the load you'll get through it just fine.
Take the time to see at least 3 suppliers for each area you're covering so you can gain better scope of what is available to you. Don't be afraid to negotiate fees either as most suppliers should be happy to cater to your budget within reason. Make sure that you discuss your choices thoroughly with your fiance and be totally secure in your decisions before you book anyone. View their recommendations, portfolios, taste their produce and check out their legalities before you go ahead. These people will make up a large portion of your team on the big day so you need to be able to trust them.
Watch Your Budget
Money can be a really touchy subject, particularly when it's in short supply. I won't kick start the planning process until I'm absolutely certain my clients have set their budget. It determines everything-from the size of celebration you can have to catering, entertainment-the lot. Don't kid yourself either. There's no point looking at designer florists if there isn't enough budget to cover one, so divide up what you have wisely and prioritize. I had to forego my vintage car and chair covers so we could stretch our budget further...and did anyone notice? Nope!
Don't forget your contingency either-this is a little safety net should you come up against any added costs along the way and is generally 10% of your budget.
Time Out to Talk
It's very easy to let things get on top of you and before you realise, the flavour of your cake has taken presidence over your entire relationship! Remember the reason why you're marrying in the first place and give it some attention. Spend the odd weekend together where wedding talk is strictly banned and get back to doing whatever it was you did before you got engaged! If things are worrying you, get it all out in the open and work from the same page together. Communication is absolutely the key, be a team!
And if all else fails, I can totally recommend Bach Rescue Remedy!
**The wedding of Minhee and Truman at Martha Stewart Weddings