Get organised for your wedding!
So you’ve just got engaged hey? Big big congrats! Now here comes the fun part… planning your wedding day! It’s such an exciting time, but unfortunately it can get pretty stressful. I got married after 10 months from being engaged, and enjoyed every minute! Here are my wedding list tips to stay on top of everything but staying happy and not stressed…..
– Church and Evening Reception Venue. Booked “D Day” with everybody important first asked if they could attend on that date
– Save the dates went out in Christmas cards
– Formal invites went out March, with responses needed by the end of June
– Wedding dress, bridesmaids dresses. Booked dress-maker February with monthly visits, which turned into weekly visits
– Suits, same as above.
– Food. Booked with evening venue (July) once I’d had guest numbers back along with dietary requirements.
– Cakes. Booked privately, tasting a few months before
– Evening venue decorations. Booked through a company recommended by the evening venue a few months before.
– Car. A neighbour did this for us.
– Flowers. Church flowers organised by the Church ladies. Bouquets etc bought from eBay (artificial – surprisingly gorgeous!) I had these for months before, boxed up in our spare room.
– Table decorations. I was finalising these the night before!
– Hair. Booked with my hairdresser as soon as we got engaged.
– Makeup. Had a trial but decided to do myself.
– DJ. We saw our DJ at a Christmas party so in the New Year we booked him.
– Photographer. We got lucky! We had our amazing Uncle. Met him beforehand to go through each and every photo we wanted.
– Tables. Where to sit people/sitting facing top table (my best friends I had sit to face me as they sat at their own tables. Only me, my Husband and our parents sat at the top table) We organised this with the venue in July.
Married August’14 – all organised in 10 months, (mostly) stress-free!
Location, Location, Location
Okay, first things first. Figure out where you want to get married. A church? A fancy hotel? Abroad? Book these first, as they are the biggest expenses. Don’t forget to check the date with the people you couldn’t get married without to make sure they’re free.
Let people know the date – Save the Date cards
Depending on when you’re getting married, you’ll want to send Save the Date cards first. We sent these 8 months before the wedding, but I don’t think there’s a right or wrong time to send. I’d recommend ASAP. I sent them in Christmas cards to save on postage (trust me, it doesn’t seem like a big saving but once you add everything up, it can quickly become out of control)
When you decide on your evening venue, you’ll get more ideas from them. Our evening venue was decorated by a particular company for weddings (who the Venue recommended) so we got in touch with them to book. This was an additional charge. They were responsible for putting fairy lights up, backdrops, etc. From your evening venue you’ll also need to make menu decisions. Just go with what you want, but make sure there’s a good choice for everyone (chicken + another meat) including vegan/veggie options. We went for a buffet so people could choose what they wanted, but had veggie options too. Don’t forget kids meals – I got in touch with parents who were bringing kids to book their meals, as normally kids food is bought out first (to keep them entertained).
Do things one at a time – don’t try to do too much or it will stress you out.
Don’t rush sending these. I’d recommend sending these when you have everything else sorted – such as evening venue, food, times etc. You’ll probably need to have things confirmed by your guests, such as food choices (inc veggie + kids). I’ve had wedding invites off people for their wedding which gives local hotel details, taxis, and maps which are really handy if they need to get to somewhere remote. If you’d prefer money off people for a gift, don’t forget to ask for this in your invites – a cute little poem will do (we did this). Lots of wording choices on Google.
I went for a makeup trial but decided not to bother and did my own. So did my bridesmaids. I wanted to make sure I looked like ‘me’ and not like I was wearing a mask of foundation (which is what I looked like after my trial) The beautician said having more make-up on would ensure I looked immaculate on the photos but in real life, yikes – not good.
I took my time deciding on what hair I wanted. I got ideas from Pinterest and decided to go with a bun. I prefer my hair down, but knowing me, I’d get too hot and flustered so wanted it out the way! I had a trial with my hairdresser then booked her in for the wedding day. Sorted!
I didn’t really know what type I wanted until I tried a few on. I couldn’t find any that were ‘the one’ so I went to a lady who made one from scratch for me. She had lots of dresses in her shop, so I went through and told her which bits I liked. Over the next few months, I had several fittings – each with a little bit more done so I could see it coming together and so she could make alternations before anything was final. My Mum (who went with me) wasn’t sure on this idea. She would have preferred to ‘see what it was going to look like’ but I could picture it in my head. The final dress fitting was a week before the date and it was perfect – exactly how I wanted.
During the planning, one of my lovely bridesmaids got pregnant. By the time the wedding came, she was around 3-4 months, so starting to show. As we got the dresses made-to-fit, the dress maker simply left the material looser for her. The dresses were long maxi’s so easy to do. Her last fitting was a few days before the wedding, so it fit perfectly. Totally stress-free and done with ease!
Other extra bits
Other things such as the wedding car, cake, flowers, table decorations can be done at any point before the wedding date – just not too late! I ordered my bouquet, bridesmaids bouquet and pins for the parents/best men from eBay, from the same seller so they matched. I kept them all at home in advance. They took up room which was a pain, but at least I had them ready. They were artificial flowers too, so after the wedding, I handed the table centre pieces out to friends & family as a keepsake. I kept my bouquet which is in a jug in our kitchen.
Get help where you can! A talented friend made my table centre pieces from artificial flowers, which looked amazing, whilst my Mum searched charity shops finding vases to put them in! My Mum also made my Garter from the leftovers from her Garter. I borrowed my Mother-in-Law’s veil too – keeping it in the family! A lovely touch.
Our wedding topper… it was expensive, but worth it. It was the most popular conversation piece on the night! It’s made of modelling clay so it’s still in tact, even now it’s sat pride of place in our kitchen!
This is our actual topper, from the amazing lady Gemma at totallytoppers.com
Do a DJ list of songs you want played. In our wedding invites, I asked people for a song recommendation to make sure songs were played everyone liked and so the dance floor would always be busy! I also had a ‘no-go’ song list too, such as Justin Bieber (which my bridesmaid took great pleasure in requesting and getting it played!)
First dance – yes it’s cringy but people love it, and it has to be done – so do whatever you can to enjoy it. We didn’t have a soppy song – we went for Mrs Robinson (my new name) by Simon and Garfunkle. It was funny and people often talk to us about it. After about 30 seconds, we called everyone to the dance floor so we weren’t on our own and enjoyed it.
When the party is over
After the wedding, it might seem strange. You’ve got no big plans, and no organising so some Brides can feel lost. Try to get into your head that this will happen – otherwise it’ll be a shock! The main things to do after the wedding is to:
- Return the clothes – suits
- Thank everybody for coming/gifts with a card – don’t forget when you’re opening your presents & cards to WRITE DOWN everything people buy you – then you can reference it in the thank you cards
- Book your honeymoon! Hurrah!
Thank you cards
So you don’t necessarily want to send the same card to everybody. We sent 3 different cards out:
- 1 design of us both standing, looking normal – smiley – a very tasteful photo
- 1 design of my Husband pointing at my garter, with me finding it hilarious
- 1 design of my Husband and his friends carrying me, with me again finding it hilarious
The first is for the traditional folk – the ones who wouldn’t appreciate a funny card. They want a nice, normal, lovely-dovey photo as their card. Next is a silly photo, for my mates and others who would appreciate it. The last is for my Husband’s mates who I thought would like a funny one, with them on it.