It’s no secret that every where you turn at this time of year, someone has just announced their engagement. So with love so very definitely in the air, and the prospect of so many weddings on the horizon today I have 10 tips for newly engaged couples who may be slightly overwhelmed at the prospect of the months ahead!
1. You can enjoy being engaged without planning a wedding for as long as you like
I bet one of the first questions you were asked when you announced your engagement was “What’s the date?”. There can be so much excitement around having something set in stone, but honestly, take your time, soak up the engagement bliss! You don’t have to decide anything quickly!
2. It’s helpful to create a wedding mission statement
This is the fun part, sit down with your beloved and a good glass of your favourite something and dream about your wedding day. What does it look like? What does it feel like? Who is there? What is the most important to you? What do you not care about? Write it down!
By creating a mission statement, you keep your focus and can eliminate stress when things go awry. If something comes in over budget, or someone asks you about a tradition you don’t care about, your mission statement will be able to guide you towards the decision that works for you.
3. Your own personal likes and loves as a couple are the best place to start.
Our biggest love at Polka Dot Bride, are seeing weddings which reflect the couple. Take your life together and look at what you love. Do you spend your weekends at a favourite cafe? Do you adore a certain restaurant? Can you always be found on a farm? Do you eat cake or prefer wine and cheese? Do you always have fresh flowers? Do you love a certain food? You can include each of these elements in your day!
If you are a city loving couple who loves nothing more than roaming the urban streets – then look towards the city for your wedding venue. If you hate going out at night and adore long lunches, maybe a lunch time wedding is the style for you. Everything about a wedding style, theme and location is as negotiable and flexible as you want it to be. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be yours.
4. Talk money first
Money is always a difficult subject, but it’s also a grown up one (there’s a reason why wedding planning can be stressful!) so before you get close to setting the wedding date, it’s a good idea to talk to everyone involved and figure out your wedding budget. Whether you are paying for the wedding yourself, or family is helping you, setting this out from the beginning can avoid that awkward moment of not really knowing how much you can allocate to things.
5. Collecting inspiration is a good idea. If you know when to stop.
Figuring out what you want can be overwhelming, so reading wedding blogs and magazines, looking at Pinterest, pinning pictures, tearing out pages is a great way to start getting a idea of what’s out there.
But it’s also a good idea to stop once you’ve made your decisions. Settle comfortably into the decisions you’ve made knowing they are the right ones for you and don’t let yourself become overwhelmed and feel like you have to keep adding this and that. Know when to stop.
6. The best vendors for you are the ones you get along with
Can you imagine being with someone you just don’t really like that much for twelve hours on what is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life? The best wedding vendors for your wedding are ones you get along with and can put your full faith in.
By this token, it makes sense to meet them (especially your photographer, cinematographer and planner as you’ll be with them the most) in person or via Skype to figure out whether you gel. Be sure to really know what you want (or don’t want) as you meet with your vendors, the best vendors will make you feel special because they’ll ‘get you’ and your vision for your day.
7. It’s okay to ask for help
Isn’t this a sentence that seems to follow us all anywhere? There is so much that goes into wedding planning and there is no medal if you do it all on your own. Make sure you ask for help when it gets too much – whether that is from a friend or family member or a wedding professional. You might not want to put weight on others, but chances are they’ll also be more than willing to pitch in.
I am a huge advocate of wedding planners (even if it’s just for the day) – you still get freedom to come up with your own ideas and you still have to do plenty of things, but planners can take over the minutiae of confirming vendors, setting up things on the day, solving issues as they come up, and bringing your wedding to life. DIY is always more of a headache (in terms of your own time, skill and even cost) than hiring professionals, so really evaluate your priorities.
8. You may be pretty emotional & overwhelmed
I’m really not sure there is such a thing as a no stress wedding. No matter your decisions, there are a lot of elements coming into play. Your own wishes for the day, what your partner wishes for the day, your families’ thoughts, endless decisions (even for simple affairs!), friends input, all tied up with this day that has been “the day” projected onto us since we were little. It’s okay to be emotional, it’s okay to feel a little rocky at times.
9. Don’t forget life goes on after the wedding
So often couples are told “this is your one day” and “ignore everyone else and make your own decisions!” and while I am completely on board with this day being about you and your beloved, unless you are eloping, family and friends will be involved.
Sometimes we get so swept up in one day that the decisions we make, which seem innocuous at the time, can have long lasting effects. If you really hurt your mum’s feelings because you tell her blatantly her opinion on something doesn’t matter, or you leave mum and dad or a best friend out of something like buying your wedding dress, if Great Aunt Allison has been hoping for an invitation since you were born and you decide that no, she isn’t getting an invite. The decisions you make may cause hurt and pain, or friction that will not stop just because the wedding day is over.
Your family and friends are going to be very invested in your day, especially your parents. Making decisions that honour both yourselves and the people important to you can be difficult, and it’s a touch challenging balancing it all. But it can be really important to remember when a decision is a cut and dried ‘no’ to you, that there may be more to it for someone you hold dear.
10. You don’t have to be different, just be yourself
If you start to ever feel pressure to plan things a certain way, that the venue, the flowers, the dress you chosen aren’t unique enough, different enough, pretty enough. Stop. The only people you need to be, on your wedding day, is yourself.
Don’t wear a ballgown if you’re always in love with beautiful sheath dresses. Don’t marry in a country barn if you’ve never set foot outside the city. Or do – but do it in a way that is all about you and your partner and not expectations, or other’s judgements. A wedding is not a competitive sport, it’s just about you and your beloved.