How to plan your wedding planning (yes really!)
Header image: Victoria Priessnitz on Unsplash
Wedding planning can be so Big, it needs to be done with military precision. We’ve talked about weddings and mental health on our blog before, and shared advice for couples who experience wedding planning anxiety. Today we’re suggesting a helpful solution: planning your wedding planning.
Eleven tips to help you structure your planning into manageable chunks from the start!
1. Start together – agree what you both want and how much spare time, money and hard work you will devote to wedding planning
Wedding planning is NEVER a game for one half of a couple! Make sure you’re together all the way, so on the day you’re both excited for everything that’s about to happen, how it looks and who’ll be there to celebrate with you!
Wedding planning is hard. You will both need support along the way – and you’re each other’s favourite cheerleaders / shoulders to cry on. Being there means knowing what’s going on in your other half’s life, and being a big part of it.
2. Limit your wedding planning sessions to set hours (like a boss!)
Don’t let wedding planning take over your whole lives. (It’s easy for that to happen.)
Set times when you’ll plan your wedding, and times when you won’t. Even though it’s all crazy exciting at first, there’ll come a time when (one of) you needs a break. Best to reach that stage together, sail through it together, and come out smiling as a pair!
A few tips to get started planning your wedding planning:
- Agree any wedding planning apps you might need
- Set up a wedding bank account (but don’t borrow)
- Get a new shared email account and plan to check it regularly
3. Have a meeting, just the two of you
This feels bizarrely formal – but it’s super effective!
(Think of it like a date, but with an objective: to plan your wedding planning!)
Print out and read through this blog post, and make notes.
For bonus points, write out your Next Steps!
For EXTRA bonus points, set a date for your official next wedding planning meeting, and make it a regular thing!
4. Choose your wedding planning team wisely
Lots of people will be involved:
- Your parents or families, especially if they’re helping to pay
- Your best friends and friend groups
- Your wedding suppliers
Choose your team for their skills, dependability, and timekeeping!
Who’s reliable, speaks kindly and will support both of you?
The last thing you want is to involve friends who will push you into decisions you’re not both comfortable with. Equally, avoid anyone who can be judgemental or strongly opinionated or critical. Gather together a supportive and encouraging team who’ll be there for you both.
(Extra tip: find a different ‘role’ for any bossy & opinionated types who you can’t exclude! This could be getting business cards from local cake designers, or going to wedding shows to get brochures from different suppliers)
Your team will also be involved in planning any hen / sten / stag parties – so communicate what you want (and what you don’t!) This is really important. If you want to celebrate your hen (etc) do together, or quietly, or in Vegas, or whatever – make sure everyone knows and is happy. If you want to be involved, choose someone who’ll understand this! If it worries you, make sure you can communicate this safely and be heard.
Your wedding planning team should include someone who’s really good in a crisis. In the run up to the day, things can and DO go wrong. Family members get ill; guest lists and accommodation can get complicated; the weather might even start to look alarming! It’s useful to nominate someone who can step in and calmly look after a situation – and it can help to know from the start, that you’ve got this covered!
5. Planning your wedding venue searches
If you’re having a venue (and remember, everything ‘wedding’ is optional!) – you’ll want to plan your visits and allocate just the right amount of time to do so!
Searching for venues can take weeks, fill your weekends and cause headaches. You WILL need to compromise (e.g. on dates, guest lists, menus, views, locations or accommodation) – so agree what’s important to you both, and what you can compromise on.
The simplest option (and it can be LOVELY so don’t rule it out!) is often a local registry office & small do at home / local pub (if it’s cute!)
If you are going to book / hire a venue for your wedding, make finding it top of your list. They book up quickly, so in your wedding planning plan this should be top!
Schedule your venue searching like a couple of pros. How many weekends are you prepared to lose to venue visits? How can you make them fun? (Overnight stays and romantic weekends away?) Give yourselves a final decision date – a D day when you agree which is definitely going to be The One!
This is the ONE thing you MAY choose to plan separately, especially if one or both of you is going to be in a dress and you’d rather keep it a secret until the big day.
Don’t forget: it’s still a military operation and needs meticulous planning! Hit the shops with your best team one day and have your appointments booked. And pleeeease… don’t assume suits have to be hired. That’s a wedding industry ‘norm’ and it’s never your only option to conform to this!
Likewise, dresses for weddings don’t have to be from ‘bridal’ boutiques. If that’s not your thing, go with what is. BE YOU.
The traditional wedding industry does impose some constraints on traditional suit hire / bridal dresses. Key to these is dates – dresses are very often made in China (and almost always overseas) and the lead times are very long indeed. (Plus you’ll likely need a seamstress for finishing touches when your dress does arrive.) Suits are the opposite: a last minute delivery can have its own problems if anything goes wrong.
Our alternatives: consider a bespoke dress or tailored suit from a local designer, seamstress or tailor. If that’s beyond your budget, go high street (high end if you want something more special than you would normally wear) – and never limit yourselves to outfits that look ‘wedding’!
Researching your wedding suppliers can suck time. It should absolutely be a task for both of you – but being sucked into a Pinterest / instagram rabbit hole scrolling through images often means you’re losing hours on your own doing extra wedding planning stuff!
Do use social media – but consider installing apps on your devices to control time spent
Talk to friends for their supplier recommendations – a heartfelt referral from someone you trust can save you days!
Planning the little styling touches of your wedding can become quite a casual thing – but do be aware that details can run away with you. It’s all too easy to see something or have an idea when you’re out shopping or visiting somewhere… but this is how costs add up!
Choose your colours first; be inspired by the time of year or the look of your venue or wedding space. Look into all the little extras later.
When you’re about to buy something for your wedding, ask –
- “is this an extra?”
- “do we need it?”
- “is it something we both want?”
- “is it worth it?”
- “can we afford it?”
Always consider money vs importance (to you both) when spending on the styling touches and details of your day.
9. Time to DIY
Wedding DIY (making your own stationery, signage, floral displays, cakes etc) is like flatpack furniture – it always takes longer than you think it will!!!
So plan for it, and allow yourselves time for any crafts, makes etc.
Gather your team and make it fun! And remember to both be involved with the styling touches – you don’t want the look of your day to be a surprise to your partner!
10. Two minds are stronger than one!
Stay in this together. Opinions and influences from family, friends and suppliers can derail your wedding plans. But if you plan your wedding planning, you’ll be fine!
Plan together, all the way.
Know what you both want, and be prepared to gently explain why things are important to you both, if anyone suggests their way might be better.
When it comes to planning your wedding your way, your communication game is key!
11. Oh, and if something goes wrong…
… because it will.
All of this is about your next fifty years together. Not just one day.
Everyone has some kind of mini crisis on their wedding day. It might be a late delivery of flowers or cake, or a miscommunication with the venue, or a guest’s car breaks down…
Being prepared will help you navigate any wedding planning crisis! The more you’ve planned the day, the less likely you’ll have missed anything important. The more you both know about what’s happening, the easier it will be to fix little problems.
Free this coming weekend? Print this article and have your first little meeting together – just the two of you – to run through it and plan your wedding planning!