It’s happened. It’s finally happened. Your partner got down on bended knee and suddenly ALL your dreams are coming true. You’re engaged! Nothing can wipe that beaming smile off your face and you can’t stop gazing at that beautiful ring on your left hand.
It’s a wonderful, magical time and you’re floating around in a little blissful bubble of love and happiness. I know, I’ve been there! So, what now? This is where I come in. Think of me as your secret wedding planning weapon – I’m the Undercover Bridesmaid and it’s my great honour to help you plan the nuptials of your dreams. Each month, I will share with you my favourite tips and tricks for organising the most incredibly special wedding day. So, let me begin.
THOSE THREE LITTLE WORDS
Now you’re engaged, it’s time to start planning. By the time the proposal happens, most of us already have a secret Pinterest board filled with ideas for everything from bridesmaid’s dresses and wedding night lingerie to the invitations and bonbonniere. You have the ideas, but where do you start? It’s so easy to be overwhelmed by every element that goes into organising your big day but I have three little words for you, to start this planning party – Date, Budget and Venue. Ok, four words if you count the ‘and’! And time is of the essence. These three elements need to get locked down almost as soon as you’ve swallowed your celebratory glass (or bottle) of champagne. Here, let me explain:
This is the first thing you need to discuss with your fiancé. Do you want a summer wedding on the beach? Or a winter wedding in the countryside? Do you want to get married next year? Or in two years’ time? Or maybe you’ve waited long enough and need to get this happening yesterday! (We hear you!)
Once you have decided on WHEN you want to get married, you will have a better idea on your timeline for planning and booking in services to ensure you have everything you desire on your big day. It’s a good idea to have a few potential dates up your sleeve, so you can be flexible when it comes to booking services. Some things like the venue, photographers and celebrants need to be booked at least 12-18months in advance, while other services like your hair and make-up can usually be booked 6-8 months out from your wedding date.
Weddings have the potential to cost the same amount as a small island in the Bahamas, so keep your finances in check. You may have fallen in love with those diamond encrusted napkin rings but for the love of your hip pocket, be realistic about what you can afford. It’s easy to let your heart take the lead and with emotions running high you can splash way more cash than you should. Sure, it’d be nice to have Shania Twain serenading the socks off your guests at your reception but be smart about what you spend your money on. If you can’t afford it, it’s not worth the stress. Keep this in mind when you start planning. Do some research and get an idea of what the main items are going to coast and then as sad and boring as it sounds, sit down with your other half and work out a realistic budget. Once you’ve done this, you’ll know roughly how much you’re able to spend and the rest will start to fall into place.
As the bride, you may think that choosing the dress is the most important element to planning a wedding, but 70 wedding guests can’t pull up a seat on the train of your dress! Or dance the Nutbush on your veil! This is why deciding on the venue is the foundation to pulling the rest of the day together. So where will your big day be held? Some brides have their hearts set on a church wedding or even decide to exchange vows under the big old gum tree on the family property. This adds a lovely personal touch to your day, but then you have to find a suitable venue close by for the reception.
Many couples choose an all-in-one venue where you can have your ceremony, photos and reception in the same spot to save shuffling your guests around. If you have everything in the one location, you don’t lose the wedding magic or Aunty Bertha between the ceremony and the reception! After the ceremony, when you and your beloved are off smiling your cheeks off for the cameras, your guests can relax and enjoy a drink or two without stressing about killing time before the reception starts.
Before deciding on a venue, it is important to organise a guided tour with the function coordinator to discover if the venue can cater for all your wants and needs. Don’t just browse websites or scroll through Facebook reviews, although that’s a great place to start your search. You really do need to experience the venue first-hand. Just like finding a wedding dress, when you discover the perfect venue for your big day, you’ll just know. You’ll get the goosebumps, maybe shed some happy tears, but you’ll know.
Once you’ve set the date, made a budget and fallen in love with a venue, then you’ll be able to move forward with themes, guest lists, flowers (the list seems endless!) and then yes, then your dream dress! In the next instalment of The Undercover Bridesmaid I will hold your hand as we move onto the next part of the wedding planning process. Now, you have some homework to do and I’m off to guzzle a glass of champagne in your honour.