Seeing as it’s a reflective time of year and many brides-to-be will be about to kick start their wedding planning as soon as the clock strikes midnight, I thought I would braindump I few things I wish I had know about weddings before my embarking on my own. I have also asked 2017 brides amongst my friends and Instafamily for their contributions.

1. BE SELFISH

“Be selfish – do what you want and stick to your guns”, advises success coach Ruth Kudzi.

“Be selfish – do what you want and stick to your guns”, advises success coach Ruth Kudzi. Ruth knows all about setting goals and achieving them – she has grown her coaching business at an astounding rate, whilst raising toddlers. But it is a very feminine trait to busy ourselves with what other people are thinking, or in reality, waste energy on what we perceive other people to think about us. My learnings from attending at least ten friends’ weddings over the past few years is that the entire mood of the wedding stems from the bride. So if you go with your heart and make decisions based on what you and your fiance love, chances are your guests will get in line.

Stressed out bride = anxious guests

Chilled out bride = happy guests

Of course, you need to compromise, and especially if relatives are helping foot the bill. I initially refused to take part in the traditional Greek money dance at my wedding. My very British sensibility told me it was vulgar. But my Father-in-Law called me (still the only time he has ever called me in fifteen years) to explain how meaningful it would be to that side of the family. I happily conformed. Yet I held my ground when my Mother-in-Law invited 19 additional guests to our intimate Hangover Breakfast without checking with me first. It caused me to storm out of our flat in a midnight protest, but I’m glad I held my ground because what I wanted was the opportunity to give gifts and very personal notes to close relatives outside the noisy setting of the Reception. It was one of my favourite elements of the entire wedding, and wouldn’t have worked so successfully with additional onlookers.

2. ASK FOR HELP

No matter your budget, there will always be ideas and options that are beyond reach. Allow friends and family opportunity to help and surprise you. It could be that someone can offer up a useful service in place of a more traditional gift. My best uni pal Sophie summoned an army of support, to deliver an extraordinarily personal and inspirational wedding without crippling them financially. Granted her friends included supremely talented hair and make-up artist, an amazing amazing trio of photographers, a seamstress, a lighting production guy, an awesome nail technician, an animator who created a tear-jerking mini movie, a brilliant vocalist to sing their first dance, I created original artwork… but the point is she relinquished a little control and the masses came good on the day.

Original illustration unique gift commission by botanical illustrator Charlotte Argyrou

An wedding illustration I created for Sophie, coloured by all her Hens.

It may require a little forethought but if you can’t keep your photographer into the night or don’t have funds for a videographer, specifically ask friends to capture certain moments. “Make sure someone is lined up to record speeches,” advises my school friend Naomi. “The day itself is so overwhelming, it’s a lot to take in. Having a recording of all the lovely and special things the people closest to you said is invaluable, in the height of all that emotion.” Our pal Rich had the foresight to record the speeches for her, but put the request in beforehand if you don’t want to gamble.

3. FOCUS ON WHAT MATTERS

“Things that aren’t key to you shouldn’t take up your time or money and won’t make a difference to how much you love the day.”

My school friend Helen is both fun-loving and practical. She suggests a good way to allocate both your effort and money is categorise the planning into elements – photography, food, music, flowers etc – then try to think of what are the top three important things to you. “Focus 90{fc4ffa2697ca570e43b5816fe716a05c0e7f059c4d464a857cd73bdc5a1ff7f7} of your time and attention on those. Things that aren’t key to you shouldn’t take up your time or money and won’t make a difference to how much you love the day. Think of what you’ll remember and love, and focus on that”. We did the same for our wedding, prioritizing music, food & drink, flowers, photography and my Look. The consequence was there were no party favours at the reception. The linen and cutlery were the venue’s own, included in the hire rate. Stationery was designed by my brother and printed at Kall Kwik. I live for fancy stationery, but unless you are a Kardashian, it’s just not realistic to have the best for everything. I knew for us signage and stationery wouldn’t make or break the day, so all these elements were homemade on a budget.

4. SPEND TIME WITH YOUR HUSBAND

“Have some time alone with your husband planned in”

“Have some time alone with your husband planned in – we only had 10 minutes and it was my favourite of the whole day”, adds Ruth Kudzi. It’s very simple, but so easily forgotten. Weddings can take the form of a runaway train, speeding past in an otherworldy blur. Remember to look at your husband, talk to him, share moments. We went to a wedding a couple of years ago and I don’t think I saw the couple together aside from the opening bars of their First Dance. I have not one photo of them together. It was a lovely party indeed, but a bit…weird.

If you think you may get swept away, literally schedule this time in. Our venue’s Event Coordinator did this on our behalf. Unbeknownst to me, she organised two glasses of champagne and a big plate full of canapes in a room adjacent to the cocktail reception. We welcomed the opportunity to say “Wow, we just got married”. In addition, it was a very good thing for me to eat something, as by 3pm I’d only nervously pushed some scrambled egg around my plate at 7am breakfast.

5. REMEMBER TO ENJOY THE PROCESS

“Enjoy all those special moments leading up to the Big Day”

Wedding Bouquet Illustration by botanical artist Charlotte Argyrou

Simona’s bouquet illustration, gifted by her sister – “possibly the most amazing gift I’ve ever received”. Just another way Simona will remember of all those special moments of planning and enjoying her wedding.

“Enjoy all those special moments leading up to the Big Day…dress fitting, days out with bridesmaids, going to have wedding rings made,” advises fashion publicist, Simona Russo. “I went through my 2017 diary and realised how much fun we had in the planning process and I’m so pleased that I didn’t get too stressed and was able to enjoy it.” Post-wedding, I absolutely promise you that you will question why you wasted a single second worrying and stressing. It’s not in the least bit constructive, and life immediately post-wedding may be very underwhelming in comparison to the heart-bursting excitement that brews and bubbles in the run up to the Big Day. If you are only planning to get married once, you have one shot at playing Bride. Don’t self-destruct.

Do you have any tips from your wedding planning to pass on to 2018 brides? Click on the post’s title and scroll down to leave a comment. 

 

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