How to Keep It Real and Get a Grip Whilst Wedding Planning

I was out on Friday night with one of my friends who is recently engaged. We inevitably started talking weddings. "Where did you start?" and "how on earth are we going to afford this?" were her burning questions to me. So this is a little of what I had to say...

Some excellent advice from one of So You're Getting Marrieds blogging brides to be, Vanessa.

If you're here it's more than likely you're planning your upcoming wedding or you're newly engaged and looking for some inspiration and a starting point.

I was out on Friday night with one of my friends who is recently engaged. We inevitably started talking weddings. "Where did you start?" and "how on earth are we going to afford this?" were her burning questions to me. So this is a little of what I had to say...

As I've mentioned before, I had never planned my wedding nor had I any burning desire to have a particular type of wedding. I'd pretty much resigned myself to the fact that James and I had a mortgage and a dog together so for the meantime I thought things were going smoothly. Then the engagement happened. Totally unexpected and completely out of the blue.

So where did we start:

Firstly we told everyone. Within 20 mins of telling my parents we were on the phone to our friends and my bridesmaids had been chosen (I have 7 and I couldn't imagine my wedding without them as my bridesmaids!) Then came the venue (my first post for SYGM was about the wonderful Gate Street Barn).

Then came Pinterest. Pinterest; the place where women go to plan unrealistic weddings, dress their unborn children and decorate homes they can't afford. Admit it, I'm right. Pinterest entered my life and before I knew it I was 1000 pins into the depths of "country weddings " and "floral wreaths for dogs". I was obsessed. My daily obsession turned into a habit and before I knew it I'd planned a wedding that was going to require a second and probably third remortgage.

It was time to get a grip and take control of my Pinterest addiction. I realised that all I really wanted was to marry James, and the wedding was the second most important thing. That was pretty grounding and I've tried to just hold onto that throughout the process. It may sound naff but if it came down to it I'd marry him in a registry office with just a few people around us and a greasy spoon fry up to celebrate!

Maybe a little unconventionally I decided to steer away from any bridal exhibitions or fairs. Honestly they just aren't my thing and the thought of endless stalls and exhibitors put me off big time. The only one we went to was our venue's open day. That was more than enough for us. The rest has all been planned around our budget. We know how much we have to spend and we are sticking to it. Trust me there have been moments where I want to have a meltdown because we can't afford a certain thing but you move on from it and you make the best of what you have.

One of the things I would say to anyone planning a wedding is to do your research. The wedding industry is saturated with suppliers and retailers who offer incredible things. There are a thousand different ways to plan a wedding, from hiring a wedding planner to doing it all yourself on a shoestring. It's so easy to feel that your wedding will be inadequate when you are busy comparing it to a sun-drenched, over styled wedding (may I remind you the majority of these are styled shoots NOT REAL WEDDINGS!!) on Pinterest. It's not realistic. You'll have Uncle John asleep in the corner, a bridesmaid who's drunk too much and you'll more than likely have lipstick smudged all over your face by the end of the day. And what a bloody good day it'll be if that's the case - so do it your way.

Keep it real. Use the Internet as a source of inspiration, not a benchmark as to what you think it should look like and focus on the things a wedding needs. Trust me you do not need moss filled bird cages filled with flowers flown in from God knows where because they're out of season. Get a grip and rationalise!

Also don't be afraid to go a little off piste. It's easy to stick to suppliers etc that have been recommended or heavily blogged about etc because you feel they are trustworthy and reliable. Your right, they more than likely will deliver and will be great, but there's no harm in looking a little further afield. We've done exactly that and have met some really fantastic suppliers who we just hit it off with and actually ended up being more reasonably priced and their personalities shone through far more than others we met with. It's a very personal thing a wedding , so having a great rapport with the people you'll be giving a lot of money to and trusting with your big day is crucial.

So to sum up this post here's my advice:

. Be realistic

. Don't benchmark yourself against unrealistic weddings

. Speak to various suppliers & don't let yourself slip into the trap of feeling pressurised to commit to someone the moment to meet them.

. Look around and don't judge a book by its cover. We've gone for suppliers that haven't spent thousands on flash websites and Instagram every half hour - we chose them because we thought they were brilliant at what they do and we got on well with them.

Vanessa Osborne - So You're Getting Married

You can read more of her posts here