It is a truth universally acknowledged that wedding planning is stressful. Especially when you and your partner are doing it on your own. With so many decisions to make, it can be hard to know what to prioritise. I can tell you from personal experience that without a plan I would have lost focus very quickly.
These are the five things I found most useful for keeping me on track and low stress.
1. Decide on a realistic budget
Someone very wise once told me that you can have a wedding on any budget, but you can’t have just any wedding on a budget. The point is that without some clear boundaries of what you can and can’t afford, your dream stress-free wedding will quickly spiral into a debt generating machine.
To avoid this, you’ll need to sit down with your partner and have a very frank discussion about what both of you can – and this is key – realistically set aside for your special day. It’s not always an easy conversation so just remember to trust your connection and keep the conversation open at all time.
2. Start a Pinterest board (do your research!)
Now that you’ve got the first tough conversation out of the way (don’t worry there will be more, wedding planning is just like marriage – full of ups and downs) it’s time for the fun part – research! This is your time to be inspired by all those who have gone before you and really get a feel for what story you’d like your wedding to tell. It’s also your time to get creative – maybe you’re an old soul who still loves a good, tangible, mood board. Or maybe you and your partner prefer a more modern approach and go the Pinterest route. Whatever you choose, doing your research and having a way to share your vision will be a godsend when heading into meetings with potential vendors.
3. Set your priorities
Ok, so you’ve set your budget and you’ve got an idea of what you do and don’t like. Now it’s time to put your hard work together and prioritise! This is where you sort your “must-haves” from your “take it or leave it’s”. From there you can decide how much money to spend on each element. I recommend making a list of everything that you want and need at a wedding and sorting them under the headings of; must have, would love, would like, and can take it or leave it.
Don’t be afraid to get specific with your definitions here. Something like food will likely be a must-have (you can’t let your guests starve!), but if you and your circle aren’t big foodies you can put the money from that Michelin star chef towards a bigger priority, like flowers, instead.
4. Start a wedding planning timeline (checklist)
Here’s a fun fact: I love a good checklist. There’s just something so satisfying about ticking off that little box next to a completed task. And in case it hasn’t been made clear enough, weddings are a stressful time. Having a visual representation of just how much you have accomplished so far goes a long way to lowering your stress levels and preventing any “bridezilla” freakouts.
The key to a GOOD checklist? Have the order determined by your priorities. It makes sense to organise the things you care about the most first. Not only will booking these things earlier give your vendor more time to find exactly what you want, it also means that – god forbid – should anything go wrong, you’ll have plenty of time to find a resolution.
Not only are there heaps of great downloadable checklists, there are also some really handy apps around. I recommend using Trello, which is a free tool, simple and efficient.
5. Meeting and booking your must-have vendors
So, let’s take a minute for a quick recap. You and your partner have agreed on a budget, done your research, set your priorities and made a checklist. Look at you go! You are now organised, focused and (hopefully) stress-free. Talk about #WeddingGoals!
Now is the time to put all your hard work into practice and start meeting vendors. Maybe you’re looking for a wedding planner. You’ll likely be booking a photographer, dress-maker, venue, caterer etc. And don’t forget about the florist!
There’s a lot that goes into choosing the right vendor, so don’t be afraid to shop around.
And be sure to keep a look out for my next post all about choosing the right vendor for you!