Let me start by saying my husband and I planned everything ourselves. For no other reason than I love planning and we wanted our day to be as personal as possible. Well that and maybe I am a bit picky. Yes, maybe! We even made our own invitations:
Is that what I recommend for you? Yes and no. The bad news is there is no best way to do things. The good news is, anything is possible. And however much I’d like for you not to have to deal with any hassle and hard decisions, truth is, they don’t call it a wedding ‘industry’ for nothing. So here are some tips from my personal experience and those of my couples. The intention is to keep adding things to this list, so if you’d like to help or have a question, leave a comment below. Alright? Let’s do it!
‘Wedding People’ aka the ‘industry’, who are the usual suspects?
Whether you’d like to get married swimming with seahorses or in the church where you were baptized, you will always find someone who can help supply it for you. Usually you’ll deal with one or more of the following:
- Event coordinators, planners, designers, stylists
- Location, venue, food and drinks
- Celebrants and masters of ceremony
- Hairdressers and make-up
- Photographers and videographers
- Invitations and other stationery
- Dresses and jewelry
So how do you find these people? Most wedding magazines and blogs have a supplier’s directory. Google. Ask friends & family, who would they recommend? But, I hear you say:
I don’t just want to find A or B, I want someone with the best service and quality for the lowest price.
Ha. And you thought this would be easy. How do you know the people you are dealing with are professionals? You don’t. Most of these things don’t require a certification. Plus, sometimes amateurs are more passionate about what they’re doing so. Start by asking yourselves what do you want and why? If you don’t care about having a video afterwards, then don’t. On the other hand, if you have a sick grandparent that you want to show something to, then maybe you’ll want it saved on video.
There’s only 3 steps to finding great people who will help you turn your day(s) into something you want:
- Shop around.
- Follow your gut.
As with any other thing you pay money for: shop around. Personally, I hate going shopping without knowing what I’m looking for. I’ll just be stuck for ages without making a decision, which brings me to the next point…
What matters to you?
What’s your style? And don’t worry if you can’t answer straight away. Think of the things you enjoy doing together. What kind of movies do you find romantic? Do you like lots of little frills or less is more? Do you prefer brighter colors? Or more pastel? Or darks? Or heck, different shades of gray? How would you describe each other? Quirky? Traditional? Bold? Modern? Quiet? etc.
And if that doesn’t help, start with what doesn’t matter. What you don’t like. What turns your stomach. Allergic to pink roses? Then don’t buy them. Never planned an event before and you are dreading the thought? Hire a planner!
And finally, why are you getting married? This, more than anything, will point you in the right direction. E.g. you come from different locations but want to have a fun party with all your friends -> maybe you’ll want to think about a destination wedding.
- Don’t let anybody tell you you can’t do something.
- Meet with people. At least once. With technology these days (hello Skype!) being remote is no longer an excuse. Make sure you get along, this is at least 50% of getting it right. Equally as important as what they do, is how they do it and does that suit your style or not.
- The more you tell them about yourself, the more they know what you like and the more they’ll care about getting it right.
- Sign contracts. I’m not saying this to make sure vendors get their money. But to make sure that if something happens, their insurance will cover YOU.
- Plan buffers around everything. Things WILL happen that you haven’t foreseen. If all else fails, you can use this time to have a moment between just the 2 of you to soak it all in. Highly recommended to have at least one of those!
- If you don’t hire a coordinator, assign someone who will do it for you and knows the planning by heart. Someone who you can trust to be responsible and make a decision when needed. That way on the day itself people should bother that person with questions and you can focus on enjoying yourselves.
- Keep a diary of your preps, if anything, it’ll make you laugh later, promise!
- A personal pet peeve of mine: no, Uncle Bob with a fancy-looking camera does not a wedding photographer make. Uncle Bob just wants to sit down after the ceremony and have his whiskey. Yes he’s cheap. So are all the other photos that your friends will take with their mobile phones and post on Facebook.
- Similarly, not all that glitters is gold. Just because some service costs a lot of money, doesn’t mean it’s good quality.
- Again, it all comes down to what you want in the end. Realize what your options are (i.e. shop around), sample (taste, take test photos, trial hairdo,…) and when you evaluate your options, follow your gut!
- No, eloping is not the answer.
The Knot. Aka the online wedding bible.
Polka Dot Bride. One of my favorite Australian wedding blogs.
A little book of useful checklists. If you like planning and lists, this might be the thing for you.
What do you think? If you have a question, please leave a comment below. We’ll be checking those regularly. Also past brides and grooms, feel free to leave your number 1 tip or help out the starters with their questions!