In one week it will be my wedding day.
On the 28th of April 2018, Myles and I got engaged which means by next week, we will have been in the throws of wedding planning for just shy of a year.
I thought I knew a lot about weddings at the start; I’ve been to about 12 in my life and watched a couple being planned. But let me tell you right now, the only way you really know just what is involved is to do one yourself.
So let me give you my five things that no one tells you about planning a wedding.
- The Details
I am a detailed person. I like to be able to think of and plan for everything. But even I was shocked by the level of detail that is required for planning a wedding. These last few months I have been sending essay after essay to the events manager of my wedding venue, with questions and instructions on the tiniest things. Right down to the jugs of mocktail on the table.
What size are the jugs? What size are the glasses? Therefore, how many glasses could I get out of a jug? How many people are at a table and therefore how many jugs will I need? How much does a jug of mocktail cost and therefore how many refills can I allow per table? If there are no refills, should I bring the jugs out during the entrees and risk having them all gone by mains or bring them out during mains and risk people not drinking it because they have already found their own drink at the bar?
This was a genuine trail of thought and line of questions that bothered me for three weeks. Yet as a guest, you go to a wedding and see a jug of free mocktail on the table and go ‘sweet, free drink!’. You have no idea what kind of detail you will be breaking this thing into. So prepare yourself to be asking a thousand questions and thinking about a thousand things all at once.
- The Emails
During the planning process, I went from receiving zero emails (aside from marketing spam) a week to averaging about three a day in the busiest planning times. You will be sending and receiving emails to and from suppliers, family, friends and just about everyone who could possibly be a part of the wedding in any way. Maybe not all emails but watch your Facebook messages closely because they’ll be coming through there too. I have a couple of tips for managing your emails.
- Create a management system. If you receive an email that you can’t respond to straight away, note it in a ‘received’ list to deal with later. If you have sent an email to someone detailing action items for them, that you are waiting on, note this down in a ‘waiting on’ list. If you think of something you need to confirm or ask but can’t send an email right away, note it down in a ‘to communicate’ list so you don’t forget. Finally, if you receive a list of action items from someone in an email – whether that is simply answering a question or something more involved like making a payment – add these action items to a ‘to do’ list. As you work through all of these things you can cross them off your lists and this way, you won’t lose track of anything and will have a trail to refer back to so you know what has already been organised and discussed. It may seem crazy now but trust me, it will make your life easier. I didn’t do this enough throughout my planning process and I wish I had.
- Create a folder or a ‘label’ to nest all wedding related emails under. You will have to refer back to many emails as you are planning, to confirm details. It is far easier to track these emails down when they are organised into a seperate folder and not spread out through your inbox. Remember, it could be a year since you sent the email that you are now on the hunt for. It is very easy to lose an email throughout the course of a year.
- The Lists
I alluded to this in the last point. But it really does deserve a point for itself. I need to emphasise this one because it is going to change your life. Even if you are not a list maker (I don’t make a lot of lists myself), lists are going to be vital to pull you through to the finish line, still sane and feeling in control. In this last year I have created to do lists of 140 items. I have created lists from that list. I have created lists of ‘to do this week’ and lists for ‘to buy’ and ‘to ask’. Like I said before, there is so much detail that goes into planning a wedding and so many different people involved that you really just need to give in and write some lists to make your life easier. And let me just say. It is insanely satisfying to go back to that list of 140 items and see that almost everything has been crossed off.
- The Disasters
People make jokes about how there will always be a disaster on or around your wedding day. Let me tell you, they are not wrong. You may think this is just a joke but it really isn’t. Coming from someone who has had three important people hospitalised within two weeks of the wedding, hear me when I say prepare for something to happen. Whether it is rain on the day or your favourite Aunt comes down with the flu. A ‘disaster’ will always strike around your wedding day and you know why? Because the wedding day is so important to you that even the most typical, mundane things – like catching the flu – will become hugely distressing. So be prepared to make last minute changes of plan, reserve some funds in case a last minute purchase is necessary to solve a problem, and prepare for a bit of anxiety. But you’ll get through. At the end of the day, the wedding will happen and ‘disasters’ will become memories and stories.
- The ‘I wish I had just eloped’ moments
As you go through the planning process, a lot of people seem to throw in the towel and start telling people that they wish they had just eloped because it would be so much easier. This has become such a common thing that I witness, that I went into this planning process preparing to be having that regret many times over. But I didn’t. Not once.
So what I would like to say is this:
Do not build yourself up prematurely for some obscure regret and fantasy around eloping if you have always wanted a big or exciting wedding. Know that if you want a fun wedding, then no matter how easy eloping may seem, there would always be a part of you that wished you had been surrounded by friends and family and made that dream happen. Don’t stress yourself in advance by thinking “gosh, if I try and do this or organise this, I’m going to regret it later. It could be too much. I’ll probably end up wishing I had eloped”. When it comes down to it, like me, this thought or regret may not even cross your mind once, no matter how stressful things get. This is a strange point, I know. But I just want to make sure that if you are a bride-to-be reading this, you feel encouraged to organise the wedding you want without the preconceived notion that you will likely regret it later and wish you had gone for something simpler. Plan the wedding you want, the best you can, and take the stress as it comes. It will be worth it in the end.
So that is it. Those are my five things that no one tells you about planning a wedding.
Now, off to get married.
Stay happy, I’ll see you soon
~ Alice Maisie