If you want your day to be unique, memorable and special; you absolutely need to throw out your wedding planning checklist right now!
We've all done it, you're engaged and excited so you run out and buy the first wedding planning book/journal you can find, because this, as with updating your relationship status on Facebook - makes things official.
I have spoken to so many people who have said they lose sight of what they're looking for and work towards ticking that box. I did it myself; have a read of Why You Absolutely Definitely Need To hire A Professional Wedding Photographer. I found a good 'deal' for the first item on my list 'photography', booked it so that I could tick the box and I ended up being very disappointed. I didn't shop around for centre pieces or look for inspiration to create something unique, I went in to a shop that hired them out and pointed at one from a book. For my flowers I knew I wanted artificial so that I could keep them so I logged in to eBay and bought the first ones that matched my colours.
To an outsider, my wedding was the same as every other wedding that season. Same wedding decorations, same flowers, same everything. I deprived myself of the excitement of looking at different designs, flicking through bridal magazines and pinning every beautiful wedding idea on pinterest. All because I saw wedding planning as just a task to be completed.
Now I should point out that I went from engaged to married within 5 months! But there was no reason for this other than excitement and impatience. In circumstances where you want or need to plan your wedding in a rush, a tick box could be helpful. However, if you have a little more time and want to make your wedding unique, whilst selecting products and services that are specific to you and your requirements, a tick box will make that incredibly difficult as your mind will naturally work towards that tick!
Image by Keelie Briggs
When you do your grocery shopping online and order 'bread' and 'milk' (pretty bog standard items), would you be happy if you were delivered wholemeal seeded bread when you only eat super soft crust-less white? What about receiving red top milk when you prefer a full, thick and creamy blue topped whole milk? This would leave you pretty disappointed with your sandwich and cup of tea... Imagine how you'd feel if you ordered a dress so that you can tick off 'wedding dress' and received something that looked like your Nan's net curtains? What about ordering a cake from someone on the internet who delivers you a batten-burg with a flower shoved in the top?
Are you starting to realise that these items (and services too!) really shouldn't fall under the same umbrella?
You might have already read How NOT To Buy A Wedding Dress where I talk more about the actual experience of buying a wedding dress and how this is not something to miss out on.
So, I'm giving you lots of things not to do when planning your wedding... When do I start telling you how to plan your wedding?
How about this:
Image by Keelie Briggs
I've obviously filled this one in so that you could see how it would be used.
This checklist could remind you of essentials to check for, such as relevant insurances or hygiene certificates, if looking at cakes/catering; things that you may overlook whilst looking through the glossy pages of beautiful creations.
If you'd be interested in a list like this, that includes each aspect and consideration to be made with all of your big wedding purchases, leave a comment and if the demand is there, I will put my IT skills to good use and put something together. (I promise I will make it prettier than this too, this is just a quick mock-up to show the 3 main points - preferable, essential and remember)
The aim of this new fuller checklist is to change your thinking pattern, move away from the tick box mentality and really understand what you want and expect from your product or supplier, whilst remembering the core essentials needed from any professional. The variances in product or the service you receive are huge and very price dependent. Going back to the photographer example, if you want a photographer to do all day for you, have 20 years experience and edit each picture to make every moment look like something from a Disney princess wedding scene, and you've set a budget of £300, I think you'll be disappointed. But, if you've set your heart on a particular style of photography or you'd like a team of two, so that there are images of both of you getting ready on the morning, write these preferences in so that you only look at photographers that offer this.
There is still room for compromise if the budget calls for it, for example if you want a 3 tier, white, iced wedding cake with intricate details but the budget won't quite stretch to this with your preferred cake maker, consider having one of the tiers made from sponge this can bring the price down a little but the overall look of the cake will still be the beautiful design you'd pictured.
Image courtesy of Pexels
You may want a make-up artist that specialises in air brushing, but don't book the first one, find out what other make up they use, how long they'll take in the morning, how much experience they have and if they keep themselves up to date with training courses? Do they actually create a bridal look that you like?
This way, you can easily see what you want and need but can carefully plan your next steps as opposed to ticking off your list with the first quote you receive that fits your budget.
This may seem like it's dragging out the whole process, but you'll likely only ever plan one wedding! It's also incredibly fun and exciting too, so who cares if it takes a little longer if it means you'll have better quality products, and suppliers that will work tirelessly to make your wedding day as special as they'd want their own to be. Plan a wedding that will keep your guests reminiscing for years to come!
It's not just about price either, everyone is on a budget and everyone wants a good deal but don't be suckered in to getting your credit card out at the first 'too good to be true' deal that you see, it never works out that way. Instead, make it about what is right for you and your wedding, prioritise your budget, do your research and talk to a lot of different suppliers.
When you hang those photos on your wall a couple of months later, you can look back and know that you carefully chose every last detail and every single aspect of that day was everything that you had imagined rather than suffering the regrets that so many do because they were so eager to see that tick on their checklist!
Image by Keelie Briggs
Happy Wedding Planning!
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