In exactly six months to this day, I will be getting married. How did that happen?
Fast forward to the big day, and by this point I will be approximately 30 minutes from making my entrance at the church. I will be probably having some sort of deep and meaningful with my bridesmaids/my dad/Linda/my mum, or all of the above.
I’m sure I’ll have already made a mess of my eye makeup (deffo need to invest in some waterproof mascara).
Hopefully I will be calm and collected and looking radiant. That’s the way I see it in my head, anyway.
Six months away from W-day is the perfect stage to be at, I reckon. It’s close enough so that you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s far enough away to give you that “I’ve got plenty of time to sort that out” feeling.
Not that I’m procrastinating, of course. Oh no, heaven forbid.
I would never do that. I’m sure that J would tell you that I am a total cabezota (stubborn head) when it comes to getting things done. If I get something in my head I won’t stop until I’ve got it done, no matter how much I annoy everyone.
Because now – and I can hardly believe this – I’m at the stage where I can write lists of things that are left to do, and not feel overwhelmed.
When I think back to when I started out on the long road of wedding planning, and how daunting it all seemed, I’m amazed at how far I’ve come.
I spent days looking at wedding venues on the internet and just thought “this is going to be hell”.
But it really hasn’t been so far. Sure, there have been some stressful bits along the way, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself through it all. Now we’re at the half way mark, and I’m really starting to believe we’re going to pull this off. More than that, we’re going to create something pretty darn special.
And a lot of that has been down to my wedding planning secret weapon, my mother-in-law Linda – who takes no crap when people are being rubbish, has impeccable taste, always offers good advice, and has so many good contacts from the three other weddings she’s planned already. I really am so lucky to have her.
In the past few weeks we’ve managed to sort out some musicians for the ceremony, meet with our priest (who assures me that my paperwork won’t be a problem, wow) and figure out what we want in terms of the invitations. It’s all rolling along nicely.
So while I’m feeling all smug and organised, I thought it would be a good idea to do a ten tips I can offer brides-to-be, based on my experiences so far. So here goes:
1) Just do it
The first step is always the hardest, but you’ve got to take it. Buy a wedding magazine, start browsing venues, or book an appointment at a wedding dress shop. Once you’ve got the ball rolling, you’ll feel better.
2) Find your own Linda
Unless your sister or best friend has got hitched, you probably have limited experience of planning a wedding. So the best thing you can do is draft in someone who’s been there, done that, worn the dress. Mothers and mothers-in-law may or may not be a good choice, depending on the relationship you have with them. So, if need be look further afield – aunties, cousins, friends. And if you’re completely alone (and if your budget allows for it) you might want to consider hiring a wedding planner
3) Start early, and give yourself plenty of time
The main times I’ve been stressed have been when I’ve struggled to get the people I want for the job because I’ve left it to late. Look at the photographer saga - I thought seven months was more than enough time to find the snapper I wanted, I was so wrong. So the best thing you can do to make things stress free is start looking at venues, for a dress, the caterer and the photographer as soon as possible, and overestimate the time you’ll need. The early bird catches the wedding worm. Prioritise – there are some things that can wait till later in the process, like picking your wedding disco music, choosing the rings, sorting out the readings for the service, etc.
4) Lists are your friends
You’ve got a million ideas buzzing round in your head, so get them down onto paper. It’ll clear your mind and help you prioritise. Don’t get overwhelmed though, deal with things one at a time, and set yourself deadlines if you know you need and extra push.
5) Make a wedding scrapbook
If you see something in a magazine or on the internet that you really like – whether it be a dress, hairstyle or bouquet – cut it out and stick it in a folder or book. Then you’ve got it all in one place. Otherwise you’ll find yourself in the situation later where you know you’ve seen a pair of shoes you really love, but you can’t remember where.
6) Don’t expect your other half to be as obsessed as you are
Why doesn’t he care about the flowers or which photographer you choose? Because he’s a man, that’s why. Maybe you’ll find yourself with one of those rare ‘Groomzilla’ types who want personal control of the seating plan, but chances are, he won’t give a monkey’s. So take charge of the fiddly stuff and give him jobs he’ll be interested in – like researching the honeymoon or sorting out the DJ.
7) Keep an open mind
Don’t rule anything out on the premise that ‘It’s just not me’. Try every dress on in the shop and go see as many venues as you can. You’ve never done this before, remember? How do you know what you’re going to like?
8) Remember, it’s your wedding – nobody else’s
Don’t be worried about what your friends will think of your dress, or the song you choose for your first dance. It’s your special day, so pick something YOU like. Don’t totally disregard advice, though. If someone close to you is telling you a fuchsia pink dress is not a good idea, it’s only because they have your best interests at heart.
You want a quiet wedding and your mum – who’s forking out for the big day – has in mind a guest list of 400. Or you want an Eighties disco while your other half wants heavy metal classics. Weddings are epic argument territory, so you have to compromise and talk through things properly. And apparently that’s the secret to a successful marriage too, so think of it as good practice. Nine times out of ten you’ll find a half way point, a solution that keeps all parties happy. But if you don’t, don’t resort to emotional blackmail. Nobody deserves that.
10) Enjoy it
If things all go to plan (and why wouldn’t they?) This is the only wedding you will ever plan. In your whole life, ever. It’s a once in a lifetime experience and you should try and treasure every moment. Even the stressful parts. It seems like a nightmare now that every venue you look at is over priced and looks like a Butlin’s ballroom. But trust me, you’ll look back and laugh about it all once you’ve found your fairytale location