Getting engaged is one of the most exciting times in your life. There may be tears, laughter, surprise (love surprise proposals), relief (knew it was coming but not when!) and you both will be feeling amazing!! Yay!
After all of the congratulations, hugs and kisses, someone will ask that big question “so, when and where are you getting married?”
This marks the start of the “Planning Phase” (cue dramatic music).
Now because marriage isn’t something you do often (hopefully), it can be a challenge to know where to start. So here are some quick tips to get the ball rolling:
The Date: This is the key to it all and can be the hardest part of the planning process as it is impossible to please everyone. Pick a date that you two really want and just go for it. Be mindful of peak seasons in your chosen location and that some dates (e.g. 10/10/20) book out well in advance. You can’t even talk to suppliers unless you have a date as we will all ask “so, what date is your wedding” – we do this to see if we are actually available. Once you have a date, it is amazing how easy (ish) the rest will be. Quick weddings are romantic, but not practical if you want the whole experience – so plan well ahead – 12 months or more in advance is great.
Who do we like? Yes, this is high on the list because how many guests you have has a massive impact on the size and location of the wedding. It also impacts on the style of ceremony (quickie Vs Complete), the photographic coverage, what venue you can have, do you have attendants, can you actually afford it, etc etc Do a rough guest list before you go too far into the planning and remember to consult the families as sometimes the numbers grow as they may want certain people to attend (always fun when that happens).
Are we broke? Armed with that information you can start to devise a rough budget. This is very challenging as just about every couple says that they nearly doubled the spend on what they originally budgeted for. The average Australian wedding cost is around $30,000 – $38,000! You CAN do it for a lot less if you like. I can forward you some information on how to save $’s.
The Location: For some, this can be a challenge. Traditionally, the marriage usually takes place in the brides home town. However, this isn’t a rule or anything, so get married in a location that suits your needs. Be mindful of available resources in your chosen location e.g. accommodation, venues, taxi’s, hair dressers etc – not much fun getting married on a remote beach where the closest accommodation is 80 kms away! (although that does sound pretty romantic – they can bring tents!). If it gets too hard – elope (I can help you plan that).
Ask a friend: You probably have lots of friends that have recently been married, so pick their brains, take their bridal magazines off them (they don’t need them anymore!), ask them the good and the bad bits about their planning experience and have them in the back ground as a sounding board for any ideas. Just be careful not to do a copy cat wedding, i.e. use all the same people, places etc – not a good look unless their wedding was PERFECT and they don’t mind.
Bridal Fairs, Showcases etc: Drag your partner along to as many as you can and preferably in the location of where the wedding will be held. There are the two big wedding Showcases on the Sunshine Coast and Hinterland in January and mid year. Plus keep an eye out for smaller ones held at various Sunshine Coast wedding venues. This is a great way to get ideas of venues, celebrants, photographers etc and you will discover lots of things you never even thought about. (this is the time the budget seems a bit small!)
Love the internet: Research and research some more on the internet. Look at venues and other suppliers, read reviews and start to create a short list of who you may like to have a role in your big day.
Appointments, meetings: Make some! Try and avoid booking anything or anyone sight unseen. Get out and about and meet people personally, see if they are right for you. Visit venues and ensure the photos online reflect what is there in real life. Ask lots of questions and avoid basing everything just on price – things are cheap for a reason!
The order: Generally you will need to book things in this order: Venue, Celebrant, Photographer, dress, transport, flowers, cake, decorations, etc. The first 3 book up quickly and you need to be aware of the lead times for other items. For example, I have seen brides leave the cake until the last minute as they didn’t realise that it does take time to make a wedding cake and the cake person has to be able to fit you into their schedule. If you plan the timing correctly, there will be less stress! I can send you a list of what to book when.
Overload: Some couples go a bit crazy and will visit 30 venues, 15 celebrants and 15 photographers! You will end up totally confused doing this. Do your research and narrow things down to say the top 3 and just visit those.
Decide: Make some decisions! If you find a supplier that you are happy with – book them in! She/he who hesitates can miss out. Some venues, celebrants and photographers are in high demand, especially for key dates, so be bold and book once you find the right fit for you.
You have done it! Well, nearly! You now have the framework for your wedding. Next comes the colours, do you have your nephew in the BP, what gifts to give, where to go on the honeymoon, the dreaded guest list, what music will we have, should we have fireworks, do you invite the ex, what about doves, do you really want to wear board shorts?
Hopefully the above is of some use to help you at least start to plan.
Flick me an email if you would like a copy of my handy guide to planning your wedding. Good luck!