By our groom, Dave:
The day I became engaged was one of the happiest of my life. Quite aside from the relief of my proposal being accepted, I couldn’t help but think that the hard part was behind me.
Proposing is the hardest part of getting married, right? Oh, how wrong I was!
Planning a wedding is likely to be the biggest single-day undertaking you ever commit to in your life, and to say I was underprepared for what it entails doesn’t even begin to cover it. I brought a spoon to a gunfight.
Thankfully, you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did! Preparation is key, so here are 10 things I wish I had known about planning my wedding.
1 There is no grace period
The weeks immediately following your engagement are incredibly exciting.
You get to meet your family and friends to celebrate your news, and it’s a wonderful time. However, if you think you won’t have to actually start planning the wedding for some time, you’re probably wrong!
What starts as a general discussion about what month in what year you should wed soon becomes specific over dates.
Casually browsing reception venues and churches quickly turns into shortlists and appointments to attend wedding open days. Before you know it, you’ll be in full-on wedding planner mode.
It’s easy to get carried away, so while all this planning can be exciting and fun, don’t let it take away from what should be a time to simply enjoy each other, and enjoy being engaged.
2 Better start saving your pennies
Though weddings can vary in price from cheap and cheerful to grand, over-the-top affairs, most of us tend to want everything – and the best of everything – for our big days, but I was blissfully unaware of just how expensive everything can be when you add it all up.
Fortunately, there is a huge selection of service providers to choose from, and prices between competitors can vary hugely, so shopping around is worth the effort.
However, it is worth remembering that you need to strike a balance between cost and quality. Yes, there are some great bargains to be had, and yes, it is worthwhile shopping around but keep in mind sometimes you do get what you pay for. So, if you find someone offering a service for drastically less than the market average, ask yourself why.
A little research goes a long way and, though you may genuinely have lucked into a bargain, it could be the quality isn’t quite there.
3 The never-ending “To Do” List
Another thing that came as something of a shock to me was just how many things you need to consider when planning your wedding.
The obvious ones are fine – ceremony venue, reception venue, band, photographer, videographer, dress. Unfortunately, the list just keeps going, and going, and going…
Of course, not everything will apply to every wedding, but I guarantee you that you will be surprised at how many things you have consider for your big day!
Here are just some of the topics (and costs) that I hadn’t even thought about that needed consideration at one point or another…
Church singer Bridal party travel arrangements
Pre-dinner entertainment Food on arrival to reception
Favours Bridal party gifts
Table centrepieces Backdrops and additional lighting
Bar extension Toast drink
4 Sharing is caring
Once you get caught up in the planning buzz, it can be nice to get out of the house and relax.
Whether it be going out with friends, meeting family or even going to work, you will need to get take a break from time to time. Unfortunately for you, everyone wants to talk about your wedding to you. They mean no harm, and it is out of excitement for you that they will keep bringing it up, but you should be prepared to have your big day brought up consistently.
Not seen your sister for a couple of days? Wedding talk. A slight lull in conversation with work colleagues? Wedding talk.
There’s no escaping it. Trust me, I’ve tried.
5 Ah great! A reality wedding TV show…
How did this happen?
Now I know why there are so many wedding shows on TV! It’s because of fools like me who can’t help but be dragged in in the hope of getting some inspirational ideas!
I’ve gone from a football-loving easy-go-lucky carefree man to some kind of man-shadow who talks about styles of floral arrangements and how certain bridesmaid dresses compliment certain styles.
Tomorrow I’m going to head in to town to have my man licence revoked. It will happen to you too…
6 I have a voice…
If you’re lucky, your bride-to-be is a wedding planning machine who requires no help in making smart decisions on her own. Congratulations!
If, however, you’re like most of the rest of us, you will be expected to have an opinion, often on things that you genuinely have no opinion on.
Sometimes it might be to reign in the over-exuberance and sometimes it might be to provide reassurance on a 50-50 decision, but these days men are expected to contribute towards the planning of their big day.
Always offer to help when planning is taking place. You’ll very quickly be told whether it’s needed or not!
7 …but you know best!
As a follow on to the above, although your opinion will be asked for on a regular basis, it will frequently be disregarded.
I like to think of it as a compromise. In our house, it works as follows: I put forward my opinion, she puts forward hers. We talk it out, and then come to a compromise where we agree that I’m wrong!
I jest, but try to pick your battles. If it’s something that doesn’t really bother you, just go with it!
I always thought the guest list would be something I could put together in 10 minutes, but unfortunately the reality is not so concise.
Most importantly when preparing your invite list, you should always remember that this is your big day. You should only have people at it that you want there. That being said, there are always anomalies that throw a spanner in the works.
Couples whose wedding you attended often causes issues, as you can’t help but feel the pressure to reciprocate the invitation.
Ultimately, you invite who you have to and who you can out of who you want to. It’s trickier than it sounds and is going to take you lots more than 10 minutes! It may be weeks or, even, months before you finalise your guest list.
9 Apparently, guys have feelings too
The idea that it is only women who overreact to perceived slights is completely inaccurate when it comes to weddings.
There are only so make people you can have in your bridal party, and unfortunately guys can be just as reactionary as women if they feel ignored or undervalued.
You may think your good friend Rob will understand not being an usher while another friend is, but take nothing for granted.
To summarise – approach sensitive subjects sensitively and remember, us blokes do have feelings.
10) Whose wedding is it anyway?
We’ve all heard of the mother of the bride taking over the wedding to have it just as she wants it, but it is not only the mother of the bride that can need reminding.
The mother of the groom, depending on her personality, can become just as demanding and carried away. It can be difficult when you don’t want to upset anyone, but a quiet strong word in their ear every now and again keeps them will, hopefully, in check.
So there you have it, 10 things I did not know about wedding planning!
Tell us, what we may be missing from our list, and which ones most struck a chord with you!