Monday, 28 March 2016

Initial Planning Tips | Wedding Planning

So we've officially been "planning" our wedding for a month now, although nothing is booked and we're still quite new to this whole business, I feel as though we've already learnt loads that needs to be considered in those vital first steps of planning a wedding.

Set a realistic budget - It may seem a little early to talk money but there's really no point in visiting your local stately home and verbally inviting everyone you come across in the street if you need to do the whole thing on a shoestring budget. We've not actually spoken numbers ourselves (so I may seem like a huge hypocrite) but we both have a grasp of our joint financial situation and how much we can justify spending on various aspects of our day.

Talk numbers - I'm talking head count rather than money here, as soon as he pops that ring on your finger everyone that you've even spoken to, friended on Facebook or said "Hi" to briefly at a mutual friends party will be wondering whether or not to expect an invite. It kind of does go hand in hand with your monetary budget but also think of it in terms of who you want to spare such a precious day with. If you want (and can afford) it to be a spectacle for all and sundry then spread the word far and wide and don't be afraid to band around verbal invitations like they're going out of fashion however if you're like us and want a more intimate affair then be selective with who you promise an invite to, it's hard to explain uninviting someone!

Sort your priorities - Unless you're made of money then you'll probably have to compromise on some aspects of your day. I think it's wise to have in mind from the get-go what's of paramount importance and what can probably fall by the wayside. Similarly with things getting booked up. If booking a particular photographer will make or break your day, then set aside the pennies and secure that date as soon as possible. Also making sure that you have the same (or at least some similar) priorities will save on future arguments. If you want to invest all of your money in your dress but he's all about the venue then you need to iron out who is going to win what battle!

Research, research then research some more - Before James proposed I thought I knew exactly what I wanted for our big day and that it would take very little planning at all however now that I'm actually starting to look into things my mind is blown. I could stick with my original plan however I want to embrace our engagement and make the most of the beautiful invention that is the internet. I personally recommend getting out there and going to Wedding Fairs to physically see and touch what people have to offer. I was certain that I wanted a strapless A-line dress and nothing else could possibly suit me however now that choosing my actual wedding dress is looming I'm open to trying as many different styles as possible. Similarly with styles of venue, I want to see everything that the wedding business has to offer and then make my choice. You only get engaged once (or at least I intend to) so why not indulge yourself in it as much as physically possible?

Set a realistic time frame - Get engaged over Christmas and want to get married this summer? Fantastic! Also want it to be a grand £100 a head "do" for everyone you've ever met but can only spare enough for your immediate family down the pub this side of 2020? Then you're going to have a problem. I don't want a particularly opulent affair but I do have in mind that I only intend on doing this once and don't want to scrimp too much, so we've been realistic and set an ideal year of 2018. That gives us two years to save and decide what we want and also hunt out as many bargains as we possibly can! If you've not got the funds behind you then be mindful of how much things cost and factor this in to your timings. You can always bring it forward a year if you find that you're able to afford it more quickly but moving it back may be more tricky and will almost certainly be more heartbreaking.

Think about you - I can see this one being a little controversial however it's something that, to me at least, is pretty important. I obviously have some baby weight to lose and I'd ideally like to be a dress size smaller than I was pre-pregnancy so I have factored this in to my wedding plans. If I were to get married this summer then I either wouldn't get to my "goal weight" or would have to not quite look how I want to so another reason for choosing two years time is to give myself the time I'll need to comfortably drop two dress sizes. I don't believe in fad diets and would rather not starve myself for the sake of one day and then balloon again before I've returned from my honeymoon so I want to lose weight at a healthy and mountable rate. Similarly with your skincare, they say to start your Wedding Skincare Regime the day that you get engaged. As a beauty blogger obviously my skincare regime changes constantly with the arrival of new products and trialling things for reviews however the principle is essentially to not solely use face wipes and E45 and then have a full facial the day before your wedding and wonder why you'll more than likely break out. Find a routine that you can stick to for at least 3/4 months on the run up to your wedding and try not to introduce any new products or procedures in the month before (I've known spots linger for a long time).

Home or Away? - I think deciding the geographical location of your wedding should be done as early on as possible. We're quite set on having our work friends to the evening do only so it's important to us to stay fairly local however personally I think you need to give people as much notice as possible if you're wanting them to travel. If you live in Newcastle but it's important to wed in Cornwall and you want people to be able to attend then you need to take into consideration that they'll need at least two nights accommodation (not something all wedding only venues offer) and similarly a minimum of three days off work. If you're going abroad then obviously you need to give people even more notice to save and book the appropriate time off otherwise, be prepared to have people who can't attend.

Use your skills and time wisely - If you want your wedding to be adorned with homemade decorations and trinkets then think about things realistically in terms of both cost (sometimes it can be cheaper to actually just pay for someone else to do it in the long run) and time. I'm in the fortunate (some may say) position that I've got the next year off to devote to my darling daughter and also planning and organising our wedding. I personally want to make our wedding invitations and favours myself. At the moment I'm thinking of little jar candles for the favours and something a bit rustic (to hide any mistakes!) for the invites but if you're like my sister who works crazy long hours, is doing a degree, moving house and hits the gym hard and often, you could well burn yourself out and be left with lack lustre offerings because you couldn't devote the proper time to it. I don't think Hannah did a lot herself in terms of DIY and didn't even do her own flowers in the end (she's a trained Florist) as she just didn't have the time and didn't want to let her big day down.

Essentially the theme is realism. We all dream of Kim and Kanye style affairs with string quartets and walls made from freshly cut roses but if you're realistic with yourselves from the start then you won't be setting yourself up for a fall. Budget, Time and the skills of yourself and others are things that you need to work out early on for as smooth of an engagement as possible. Don't expect too much of yourself, your fiancĂ© or your money but be firm about what's important to you. We all only intend on doing this the once and we can't all re-new our vows as often as Katie Price does so make it count, make it you and make it your kind of special.

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