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As we approach our first wedding anniversary, I have few regrets about our engagement and the wedding as a whole. I enjoyed the wedding planning process, celebrated at every suitable moment during my engagement, and loved being a bride. The wedding went by (almost) without a hitch, and of course, at the end of the day I was married to the man of my dreams who I’d been in love with for almost ten years…

However, looking back on those ten years, and especially that busy, exciting year of my engagement, I’ve already forgotten so much!

Fortunately, after telling the proposal story (over and over) after we got engaged, that one’s permanently into my memory. But not the excitement of sharing the news with my friends, asking my bridesmaids to join our bridal party, planning my engagement party, struggles I had during wedding planning (and there were many) … and that amazing week in the lead up. Just… gone.

For that, and so many other reasons, I now tell all my brides-to-be to at least make a few notes in a journal or note book along the way, if not keep a wedding diary.

I’ve also made it easier for them, and others, by creating a wedding organizer, diary and keepsake of your engagement, the little white book. But for now, are nine reasons why you should keep a wedding diary and organiser.

1. It’s good for your brain!

Yes, your grey matter is going to be tested during wedding planning… whether that’s working on the wedding budget, doing tetris-like reshuffles of the seating plan, or making no-end of decisions, your brain is going to get a workout.

The practice of recalling events and memories and writing them down is so beneficial to train your brain to make stronger connections with that information and you will have an easier time recalling it – brain training at its finest.

2. The practice of writing (and also what you write) is great practice for your vows and wedding speech.

Writing a wedding speech, along with writing your own vows, can be one of the most challenging things for a bride or groom to do – it’s not as “easy” as making a decision, as most wedding planning requires.

However, if you’ve practised writing by keeping a wedding diary, not only will your skills quickly translate to the process of writing a wedding speech, but you’ll already have so much material to work with! Virginia Woolf herself said that writing for no audience – writing just to write – is great practice. “It loosens the ligaments.”

Make a note of funny anecdotes, a joke you think of, or something you admire and respect in your fiancé, will make writing your wedding vows and making a speech will be a breeze.

3. You can be truly, brutally honest, and no one will ever know.

Sick to death of wedding planning? Wish you’d just eloped in the first place? Don’t put that stuff on Facebook, but don’t bottle it up either. Reflecting by putting pen to paper can be incredibly therapeutic.

I even like looking back on my struggles, to see how far I’ve come, how I got through them, and know that what I’ve survived already will strengthen my future – “this too, shall pass”.

“In the diary you find proof that in situations which today would seem unbearable, you lived… admit the courage of our earlier striving in which we persisted even in sheer ignorance.” Franz Kafka

4. The months will fly by, before you’ve had a chance to stop and breathe…

Weren’t you supposed to book your florist sometime during the last 6-12 months…? You remember pinning your ideal bouquet onto your Pinterest board… and you’re pretty sure you sent a couple of emails to potential vendors, but you don’t actually recall whether you followed up in the end…A wedding diary helps keep your thoughts organized and comprehensible.

I tell my brides, as soon as they’ve set a wedding date, to work backwards in their yearly planners or diaries, and input the key bookings they need to have in place by those dates. As their wedding dates approach (or loom, in some cases…) they can’t miss the notes they made at the beginning, in big, bold letters “Book Florist”, “Choose Caterer”, “Finalise invitations” etc.

5. Winning ALL the arguments…

You can take the girl out of the law-firm, but you can’t take the lawyer-mindset out of the girl… and while I can’t recall verbatim any conversation we’ve had that’s more than a few days ago, frequently my diary can!

Where was it that we had that amazing meal in Sydney..? No… it wasn’t Madam Q’s, I’m certain of it! Or better yet “That’s not what you said on January 18 2016.”

6. A keepsake of your engagement

Taking notes about the milestones along your journey won’t just reward you now. One day, you can look back at your wedding diary and relive the excitement of planning your wedding day. Better still, you can pass it onto your children. I can’t tell you how much I would value being able to read my mother’s experience of getting married, especially as she died before we got engaged. It would be so interesting to compare what life (and weddings) were like in the 1980’s, to now.

“In a journal I do not just express myself more openly than I could to any person; I create myself.” Susan Sontag

7. A stress-saviour!

Writing down your feelings acts as a release and can be very cleansing. If you are able to put your anxieties, frustrations and pains on paper, then you are less likely to harbour them inside, which creates stress. Expressing yourself in a wedding diary is a positive way to free tension you may otherwise internalise.

Writing down lists of to-do’s is also amazing for stress, and your diary is the perfect place to keep them. Scraps of paper get lost, your ‘wedding planning book’, if it’s not also a diary, will end up unused and under the bed, as will your all important lists!

A journal skill I picked up recently is ‘bullet-journalling’ which is an ideal way of working with lists, easily transferring incomplete tasks to the next list to deal with in the following days. It’s a wedding-planning tool I recommend, and your wedding diary is a good spot to start.

8. Out of sight, out of mind…

If you were kindly gifted, or bought yourself a wedding planning book, or diary, as soon as you got engaged, filled in your groom-to-be’s name, together with your bridal party, and then tucked it into a drawer to update later when you’ve got a few bookings in place… that’s exactly where it will stay.

The benefit to keeping a wedding organizer and diary is that you’re literally using it every day, whether it’s for your day-to-day schedule, even your work meetings, as a point of reflection, or as a gratitude journal at the end of each day. What’s important is that you have a reason to write in it every day, as much or as little as you like, which actually keeps you on track with all the wedding planning logistics you’ve got to do too.

9. You don’t realize how much you’ll forget, until you begin to write it down.

 To quote Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Regular journal keepers rave about the ability to relive their most wonderful of memories, and reflect on their regrets. Wedding planning is such an exciting time of your life, there’s so much to appreciate and enjoy – and hopefully later reflect on, because you took a few moments to write it down.

“People who keep journals have life twice.” Jessamyn West.

 I was working as a lawyer, wedding planner and blogger while planning my wedding, so I know how busy you feel now, but you’ll never regret keeping a diary. You’ll only regret not doing it more often.

Images by The Official Photographers 

Ms Chinoiserie Says: Keeping a diary is such a special keepsake of how you felt during the months, weeks and days leading up to your big day!

About Megan: Megan is the founder of She Said Yes and creator of the little white book. It’s a wedding organizer with a 12 month countdown diary designed to integrate wedding planning in your day-to-day life and ensure a stress-free engagement!

Image by Love from Luff via Allie & Nathan’s Romantic Casuarina Wedding

Your Wedding Gown: Before the Big Day

Whether you went for a extravagant ball gown or an elegant slip, the delicate fabric of your wedding gown requires attention before the big day. At Wedding Gown Specialists, we find many brides are unaware of this, but storing your gown in a plastic bag is a big no-no!

Instead, wrap the wedding gown in a clean sheet or unbleached muslin, and hang it somewhere out of the reach of children, pets, and any unforeseen disasters (we’ve heard too many horror stories about flooded basements and carelessly stored wedding gowns!)

If you are travelling for your nuptials, consider getting a destination wedding kit to ensure the safe arrival of your gown.

Now that you’ve got this covered…let’s make a list!

Image by Someday Somewhere Photography via Cherie & Shawn’s Autumnal Marybrooke Manor Wedding

Begin with the essential things you’ll need and go down to last-minute emergency stuff. For instance, it is good to have safety pins on hand for that quick fix, or a pair of flat shoes to replace those fancy heels in case they get too uncomfortable.

Compiling this list will help you organise your thoughts and calm your nerves.

Next, you should figure out whether your wedding gown is silk or polyester—we really cannot emphasise enough just how important this is. Certain stains on polyester fabric can be rubbed out with water but silk is not liquid-friendly.

In other words, water could damage your dress if you do not do your homework!

Alterations should be done about three months to six weeks before the wedding day. Stick to this general timeline when it comes to getting those final touches added to your bridal attire, and you should be good to go. Do this too early and you might gain or lose weight in the meantime before your wedding; do it too late, and your seamstress might not have enough time to alter your gown!

Greasy stains, such as lipstick, are not water-soluble. In a pinch, Handiwipes/Wetwipes or equivalent can be applied to polyester dresses—granted that you first try it out on an inside seam—but you should never do this to silk. Try using baking soda or baby powder for spot treatment on a silk gown.

Have one of your bridesmaids familiarise herself with your wedding outfit so she has an idea on how to save the day in case of a sudden style emergency, should it arise. You can find more suggestions for treating wedding gown spills by clicking here.

Image by Chen Sands Photography via Jasmine & David’s Black Tie Mural Hall Wedding

Your Gown: After the Wedding Day

Get your gown professionally cleaned and preserved. If you hesitate and wait with this step, you run the risk of allowing the stains to set in, which renders them virtually impossible to get out.

Rather than spending a fortune some years down the road, invest in a quality preservation now to make the dress last a whole lifetime.

  • A dry cleaning company that does its own work on-site is better than one that ships your dress out elsewhere.
  • The cleaning process should be geared to dissolve latent stains.
  • If your gown has beading or other fragile details of this kind, make sure you select a cleaner that knows how to handle it, or you might end up with one destroyed mess of a dress!
  • It should be perfectly acceptable for you to see your gown before it goes in the preservation chest or box.
  • You want the chest or box to be made of acid-free material, likewise the tissue paper that it’s stuffed with.
  • Check for a guarantee that the gown will not tarnish while it remains inside the preservation chest.

 

Ms Chinoiserie Says: Such great advice – particularly about removing a stain straight away before it sets.

About Wedding Gown Specialists: Click here to find the Certified Wedding Gown Specialist near you!  Our members, represented in more than 500 cities around the world, offer very special care for wedding gowns, both old and new. Our award-winning gown care includes your personal inspection, a museum-quality container, and a written international guarantee. Restorations return yellowed and stained vintage gowns to the true colour.

A How To Guide On Sending Save the Dates For Destination Weddings

At Be My Guest, designing wedding stationery for couples usually begins with their Save the Date cards. These are usually sent out around six months before the wedding, but there’s one notable exception – when you’re having a destination wedding.

Planning a destination wedding begins well in advance for most couples. And planning to attend your wedding needs to begin well in advance for your wedding guests too, since there’s usually travel and accommodation plans to be made – as well as putting some money away for ‘destination wedding’ activities and new outfits.

One solution many couples go with is to send out their wedding invitations really early. The problem with that is you might not have all your wedding’s details ironed out (like ceremony timing). You also get procrastinators – people who set the invite aside, as it seems like it’s so far away… so you need to send a follow up anyway! Plus you don’t really need to get RSVPs from your guests a year out – so what do you do?

Having a destination wedding is the perfect reason to send Save the Date cards. They are used to notify wedding guests that you’ve set a wedding date – and that they’re invited! When you’re getting married overseas and guests are going to be doing a fair amount of travelling, these optional extras become essential to having guests turn up.

For a wedding close to home, Save the Dates are sent out around six months to up to a year before the big day. But with a destination wedding, I’d recommend getting them out to guests around a year in advance – as long as you’re certain on the date and the location, you should be good to send them. Remember that you usually can’t book flights more than a year in advance, so sending Save the Dates really early, expecting people to book their travel ASAP, won’t work.

What Should You Include In Your Save the Date?

Since you’re usually sending your Save the Dates out pretty early, keep the details vague, since there could still be changes. You’re not constrained to the rigid wedding etiquette rules that come with wedding invitations, so you can have a bit of fun too! Stick with the main details, such as:

  • Who the wedding is for (in other words… your names)
  • A message to save the date for a wedding.  (For example: Save our date! / Save the Date / Pencil our wedding in.)
  • The wedding date! If you have a range of wedding related things happening, perhaps including a list so your guests know when to book travel for.
  • The location – essential to share not just the country, but the specific area, so that guests can work out how much money they should be setting aside, and for booking flights (if necessary).
  • A statement “formal invite to follow” so guests aren’t confused by the lack of detail.
  • Your Save the Date is a good place to include your wedding website URL if you have one too.

Optional Extras On Your Save The Date

With a destination wedding, there’s usually a tonne more information to communicate to guests.  Getting this information to them sooner rather than later can help ease any objections to travelling they might have.  The following bits and pieces are optional extras, and if possible I’d suggest including them on a wedding website, or on the reverse of your Save the Date.

  • Accommodation booking details. If you’ve ‘pencil booked’ some rooms at your wedding venue, let them know before they head out and book at a hotel that’s an expensive taxi-ride away.
  • Travel suggestions (or your travel agents details, if you have one that’s going to coordinate your wedding guests).
  • Your contact details for any questions.

I hope this Save the Date guide helps those of you planning a destination wedding – enjoy!

Images and designs by Be My Guest.

Ms Chinoiserie Says: Great advice about sticking to the main details for Save Your Dates – and having some fun with the design too!

About Be My Guest: Hey everyone, I’m Amanda! I am the wedding invitation designer and lead coffee maker for Be My Guest. Creativity has always been an outlet for me. It’s not just creating something I enjoy, but the challenge of problem solving. I love the process of creating… taking raw materials, lines on a screen and turning it into something beautiful, practical and awesome.