If I tell you a secret, you’ve got to promise not to laugh, ok? The other night I had my first wedding nightmare…. Over a year to go until the big day, and yet here I am, waking up in the middle of the night, completely traumatised by the ridiculous worries in my head.
I dreamt the bridesmaids and myself were over two hours late to the service. I hate being late at the best of times. Being late on my wedding day, and not just bride’s prerogative ‘late’ had me in a pure panic. Then, just as we were leaving the house, one of my bridesmaids flatly refused to wear her dress. She waited until the very last minute, then as we were about to leave the house, just stood there in her own dress, refusing to come to the church unless she could wear it. Finally we got lost on the way to the church. That’s the church that’s a 5-minute walk away from the house I grew up in by the way. All completely ridiculous, all completely silly, but all so stressful!
Please tell me this is normal?!
It recently struck me after this rather sleepless night, that we’ve been planning this little wedding of ours for six months now. I can’t believe some couples manage to plan entire weddings in that time – It seems to have gone so fast! Sometimes I get my years all mixed up. It feels like something we talk about so much and spend so much time on must be happening soon. Sometimes I feel like I wish we were getting married this August. I’m so excited I want it all to hurry up. Other times I’m completely terrified how fast the time is going, and I have no idea how we’ll get everything done in time.
So, six months into wedding planning, what have I learnt?
- I love weddings. I didn’t realise just how much fun this whole wedding planning thing would be, or how much I’d love flicking through wedding magazines, or reading wedding blogs. I love getting lost in the details, and reading why couples plan their days the way they do.
- The excitement of having a shiny ring on your finger takes a really long time to wear off. I still catch myself sneaking a little look at my hand, wiggling it around to catch the sun.
- When people tell you wedding things get booked up quickly, they aren’t kidding. When we set out on this little planning adventure with a good 18 months to go, I thought we’d have our pick of suppliers. Sadly not true. I’ve had to talk myself into accepting we just won’t have our dream wedding transport (if anyone out there has a Tuk Tuk we can hire I will love you forever and shower you in wedding cake!!), and saying goodbye to the cutest little ice cream van you ever did see was a real wrench.
- Similarly to above, so many of the really unique wedding suppliers are location specific. Always, always check the location and area of operation before getting excited about independent suppliers. Vintage food trucks, for example, may have wheels, but it turns out they can’t travel far. If you live in the South West and a retro fish and chip van is your dream you’ll be ok. Similarly if you want a funky fusion California inspired food truck serving Asian cuisine you’d best live somewhere inside the M25.
- I should really take ‘proficient in Excel’ off my CV. The wedding budget spreadsheet has taught me that all those things I used to know about Excel disappeared about the same time as my high school boyfriend. I sit and add the figures up on my calculator and then type them into the relevant places in Excel. I get the impression that’s not quite the way you’re supposed to do it….
- You can’t have it all. Pinterest is (once again) completely to blame for this one. So many different ideas, so many incredible things. If we were to throw together everything that’s caught my eye though, our wedding would end up looking like a badly planned school fete. Narrowing it down and deciding on priorities is important. I’m still working on this one, holding on to a few more ideas than we’ll realistically be able to use, and planning far more DIY projects than I’ll ever realistically have time to complete, but its just so hard to choose when there’s just so much beautiful inspiration out there.
- A wedding at home isn’t necessarily a cheaper option. You’re not paying for a venue as such, but you are paying separately for a whole lot of other things that would be otherwise thrown in with the venue cost. I’m looking at you, porta-loos and generators!
- It’s ok if every detail of a wedding is not completely ‘unique’. I know I’m not the first person to have a cake table, or use mismatched china. So what if I want to buy into the ever so slightly overdone trend for paper pom poms. Hundreds or thousands of people will probably pick the same first dance as us, but it doesn’t matter. Its taken me most of these 6 months to realise it, but its not having never-seen-before details, but all of the things put together that will make our wedding different from every other wedding, make it special, make it our day.
- Finishing on a mushy one from me, but wedding planning has reminded me how well Andy and I work together. I guess this doesn’t really count as something I’ve learnt, as I probably won’t have agreed to marry him if this wasn’t already true, but making decisions and planning and organising together has really made me realise we’re a pretty darn good team, and that is a very nice feeling indeed.
- Finally, one from the groom’s perspective. Andy says the thing he’s learnt about wedding planning is that it just isn’t going to be possible to please everyone, so he’s learnt to take a step back and not try to. To not worry that not everyone will love our choice of food, or that whatever venue we’d have picked some guests would still have had to travel further than others. Try as we might we won’t be able to stock the bar with everyone’s first choice of drink, and not everyone will get our taste in music. He’s realised that really, that doesn’t matter, the most important thing to try and create the day we want. It’s our wedding day after all!
So brides-to-be, newly-weds and long term marrieds, that’s what I’ve learnt over the past six months of wedding planning. What can I expect from the next year?!