Hubby to be and I are getting married next January 24th, and I’ve decided to share my wedding planning journey as I go in a series of blog posts! There are definitely things I would do differently, and things I’ve learned along the way. No matter what kind of wedding you may plan to have one day, I hope I can offer some useful tips and advice, provide inspiration and offer some practical how-tos to follow for some of the DIY projects I am doing for our wedding.
What I’ve learned so far about planning a wedding…
1. Remain true to yourself!
Before you even start looking through magazines, browsing Pinterest and the plethora of online wedding porn, make some notes on what is important to YOU and your partner for your special day. It can be easy to lose sight of this! What colours make you happy? What do you consider unique about yourself and your partner? Have you been to a really fun wedding before, and what made it so for you? What setting can you picture your wedding taking place in… don’t limit yourself on practicality yet, there is plenty of time for that! What wedding “ingredients” that you can think of seem important, and what ones do you not care so much about? This could be anything like flowers, a formal meal, written wedding invitations, bridesmaids and groomsmen, decorations, music, a cake! It’s your day, and there isn’t anything that you have to include, other than the 2 of you and your celebrant being present!
2. Think honestly and realistically about budget early on… do work through a budget sheet like this one!
Of course, it’s a rough guide and there will be parts you don’t want to include and you may want to spend more on some things and less on others. How this is useful is it gets you thinking about all the possible different costs, the reception is a big one – but your budget also needs to include all the smaller things that add up quickly! This is a good first look at roughly how big your guest list might be also. As we are on a pretty tight budget, I spent considerable time working on budget, and investigating all kinds of different venue and catering options, as well as areas where we could save money by doing things ourselves.
3. Look hard at your guest list!
One big thing I learned here was that there are 2 main ways to cut your overall cost by any significant amount. The first is simple – fewer guests! If your budget is limited and you don’t wish to compromise elsewhere, a smaller more intimate wedding with your nearest and dearest might be a good option. In any case, don’t feel pressured to invite everybody (and their mother). A good question to ask is, will these friends still be in my life in 5 years? The second way is to have your wedding off season. Venue charges and most other wedding provider fees will be less if you choose to have your wedding outside of the summer and shoulder months. A late autumn, early spring or winter wedding could lend itself to a lovely theme, and save money!
4. Accept you are going to go over budget!
Plan for 15-20%, unless you are an accountant!
5. Do it yourself, not duplicate it yourself
This is kind of a grey area. This article (link) from website Offbeat Bride examines the issue well! Basically “True DIY is taking inspiration and seeing if you can translate it into your own work”. I also think of it as “don’t rip off the little people”! There are tons of talented independent artists out there design everything from wedding photography to gowns and wedding invitations. Prices they charge are usually reasonable, and reflect their costs, their training and their experience. I chose an independent designer on Etsy, who did the custom graphic design of my wedding invitations and it was money extremely well spent!
6. Choose your DIY projects wisely
If you are creative or crafty, or on a tight budget, DIY wedding projects can be an extremely slippery slope! At one point I think I had around 5 wedding craft books out from the library, and about a million different things I wanted to make which were going to be AMAZING and UNIQUE and save me SO MUCH MONEY! Errrrrm not so much. The project management side of wedding planning takes a lot of time – making sure things are booked, doing research and getting quotes, people wrangling, paying deposits… the list goes on. This is on top of your normal daily life. Even if you work 24 hours a day and don’t sleep for 6 months, you won’t be able to make everything for your wedding. And it will still be amazing, even without 500 bespoke embossed placeholders and hand embroidered napkins.
Choose only one or two labour intensive projects. I decided to make my own invitations and my lovely mother is sewing all the bunting for the venue. Everything else is either outsourced, or incredibly simple. For instance – tying a ribbon around the top of a jar is simple, even repeating 100 times. Handpainting jars in rainbow colours would fall into the prior category! Choose something you ENJOY doing and have done before! If you can’t sew, now is not the time to learn. Stick to glue, or staples. Ditto for calligraphy, any kind of construction and baking! No – it’s not as simple as it looks. If something can be purchased inexpensively, hired or borrowed – don’t make it just because you can! You will thank me later. And don’t feel pressured to craft anything, I promise bespoke crafts are not a prequisite of a fantastic and unique wedding, no matter what Pinterest says. I am going to do a post in this series of EASY ways to personalise your wedding, whether you are crafty or not!
Oh and don’t under any circumstances make these “simple DIY wedding snow globes” as table decorations. I’m telling you, don’t even try.
Yes the groom is headless. Yes it leaks. Yes the water went murky. Yes it tooks 10 times as long as I expected and yes I made 6 of these disasters I can’t bear to throw away so I have to look at the little horrors lined up on my windowsill. Upside down with the heads floating in them.
Next up in this blog post series I’m going to take you through step by step my own DIY Rocknroll wedding invitations!
Here’s a peek 🙂