April 07, 2016

7 Things You Need To Know When Planning A Wedding

What I Learned From Planning A Wedding: How To Plan A Wedding And Stay Sane - My experience of planning a wedding with 7 tips to enable you to have the wedding you want. Cold Girl Fever 2016

Planning a wedding is supposed to be one of the most stressful life events we can experience. It's up there with moving house, illness, death and job loss. Personally, I don't know why anybody would want to be worrying themselves sick about sugared almonds when they're marrying the love of their life... And do you really think you're going to look back and remember the seating plan you spent weeks agonising over?

That being said, it is hard. I can understand how modest plans can easily spiral out of control and become so overwhelming. As well as the stress, there's family pressure, religion, differing tastes, the budget - all things that can create problems before the deed is even done. People can get carried away and lose sight of what's important. There's so much pressure to conform, please people you don't even particularly like and spend money on irrelevant things.

As we've just gone over the 6 months mark, A.K.A still getting used to calling him my husband, I've been reflecting on my own wedding. It wasn't always our intention to get married the way we did. We were actually all set to have a 'normal' wedding and had been looking at barns and other outdoorsy venues, pricing up food options and thinking about the guest list. Still, something didn't feel right. My dad had left my mum two months after we got engaged and my entire family was fractured. In addition, as we priced things up it became clear that our budget of £5000 would be difficult to maintain. We could have waited longer to get married, but we are both impatient by nature and we simply weren't prepared to spend more on one day. It all just seemed ridiculous. The stress and family drama was mounting up, so I made a joke about running away which planted the seed. It took us a few days to decide we were going to elope and have a road trip honeymoon around California, with a small reception when we got home. We had some incredible experiences that cemented we had done the right thing for us - I can't stress enough that this is about staying true to yourselves, whatever that means for you!

I wanted to share some of the things I learned from planning our wedding. Oh, heads up - I'm also taking the opportunity to spam you with share a bunch of our wedding photos...

What I Learned From Planning A Wedding: How To Plan A Wedding And Stay Sane - My experience of planning a wedding with 7 tips to enable you to have the wedding you want. Cold Girl Fever 2016

1. You can have the wedding you want

Getting married doesn't have to mean a church/fancy hotel affair with every single member of your extended family, including your second cousin's dog. More and more people are going against the grain in recent years and throwing out traditional wedding norms. We got married 6 months ago at City Hall in San Francisco. It was just us, our wonderful photographer and the officiate who married us (I'm obviously not counting all the people in City Hall who were just a blur to us at the time - it's weird how you don't even notice people staring at you because you're on an adrenaline high). Our ceremony was short, sweet and broadcasted on Periscope for people back home via Josh's iPhone on a mini tripod (technology rules!). We celebrated with beers and burritos afterwards and met up with Josh's friend, Tony, who now lives in San Francisco, along with some others, before admitting defeat after a few drinks and having to go back to the apartment to pass out from jet lag. It was perfect and exciting. We felt present and able to be wrapped up in each other - no worrying about Uncle Al hitting on my best friend.

What I Learned From Planning A Wedding: How To Plan A Wedding And Stay Sane - My experience of planning a wedding with 7 tips to enable you to have the wedding you want. Cold Girl Fever 2016

2. Your dress NEEDN'T break the bank

The average person doesn't have thousands to spend on The Dress and you can be savvy about it. Mine was approximately $100 (USD) from a seller on eBay called American Archive. I bought it as soon as we got back from New York, where Josh proposed. I knew I wanted a bohemian, 70's vibe and came across it after a few days of searching. It was listed as a 'Mexican wedding dress handmade in the 70's' and when it arrived, it was far too big, damaged in parts, crudely sewn and the material was yellowed with age. I worried it wasn't going to be salvageable and had a look around at what I could afford elsewhere, but in the end I decided to work with what I had. With the expertise of the brilliant Rose Love, who bleached it, repaired the damage to the delicate lace, made alterations and put a new zip in, it was brought back from the brink. I spent about £200 in total. If I'd had more to spend and didn't find one as quickly as I did, without a doubt I would have got my dress from Glory Days Bridalwear, who I've modelled for a couple of times. Hayley is a wizard and if you're looking for vintage or couture, you must have a look at her breathtaking dresses, including her new label Rolling In Roses. As a side note - Love My Dress are currently running a competition with Glory Days - you can win a dress from the brand new Zena May collection and all the information you need is here!

I completed my outfit with a Rock n Rose flower crown and clogs that were kindly gifted to me by Lotta From Stockholm - I couldn't wear the clogs at our reception party because our hold luggage was lost by Delta for a week (thanks guys, good job we took our wedding outfits on board with us!). Josh wore a Paul Smith suit and his dad's vintage Loake brogues.

What I Learned From Planning A Wedding: How To Plan A Wedding And Stay Sane - My experience of planning a wedding with 7 tips to enable you to have the wedding you want. Cold Girl Fever 2016
What I Learned From Planning A Wedding: How To Plan A Wedding And Stay Sane - My experience of planning a wedding with 7 tips to enable you to have the wedding you want. Cold Girl Fever 2016

3. Your venue manager can be slack

The most important thing we learned when it came to planning our reception? When dealing with the events manager at your venue, get anything agreed on in writing. If there's a specific thing that's especially important to you - check, check again and then one more time with feeling that they can provide this. Try to avoid finding out they can't while you're on your honeymoon in Santa Babara, eating pizza in your hotel bed and completely powerless with just over a week to go. We were reassured that we could choose the beer on tap, which we wanted to do as our guests are into 'good' beer. It turned out that the kegs weren't interchangeable and we were stuck with crappy lager. We had also expressed at our first meeting that we didn't want a buffet or a sit down meal so requested tacos that would be a tray service/canap√© style, we were told this would be doable, no problem. Then, mere weeks before the day, we were told that the venue's kitchen, actually a fully-fledged restaurant, couldn't cater for three types of simple tacos *eye roll*, so we had to outsource to a street food company (who nailed it). The events manager basically strung us along on several points and I wish I had been more direct when dealing with them and had things in writing. Looking back on it now, the issues we had were fairly minimal and things turned out fine on the night, but there were fraught moments where I wanted to pull my hair out, along with the occasional outburst of "that's it - we're cancelling!". The small stressors do accumulate quickly when you have so much going on. I promise you I was not Bridezilla, I just didn't understand why the venue couldn't follow simple instructions when our requests were very straightforward. I made sure to give them appropriate feedback after the party...

What I Learned From Planning A Wedding: How To Plan A Wedding And Stay Sane - My experience of planning a wedding with 7 tips to enable you to have the wedding you want. Cold Girl Fever 2016
What I Learned From Planning A Wedding: How To Plan A Wedding And Stay Sane - My experience of planning a wedding with 7 tips to enable you to have the wedding you want. Cold Girl Fever 2016

4. You can ask for help

Doing things DIY does mean you save a f***tonne of money, but it also means a lot of handiwork. We definitely underestimated how much work goes into decorating a venue, but our friends were our lifelines. As well as making our beautiful cake, my friend Rosy sat with me and cut a million rolls of crepe paper until we both had blisters on our hands, Paegan picked up bunches of carnations and gypsophila from Leeds Market (I don't understand why everybody doesn't do this?!), arranging them expertly in the tin cans I had painted, while Anja and V painstakingly fluffed up tissue paper pom poms and hung them from the ceiling. We wouldn't have been able to do any of this without their help because our lost luggage meant we both spent the day before the party running around and buying everything that was lost - makeup, toiletries, hair dryer and straighteners, shoes, underwear (I no longer had a bra that worked with my sheer dress). Under any other circumstance it would have been amazing to go on a spree, but it wasn't remotely fun - we had shit to do! Anyway, my point is don't be afraid to ask for help. People will want to help you and it will reduce your stress by taking friends and family up on their kind offers - DO IT. I did wonder if we'd done the right thing when I was still making the tassel tails for the Geronimo balloons the night before the reception. The result = SO worth it...

A photo posted by @katiethirks on

5. Photos are important

Months of planning, saving, thousands of emails and suddenly you're about to put the ring on your partner's finger. The day itself is like a whirlwind. We decided almost straight away that having great photos was important to us. After all, these recorded moments would be there to look back on and show our friends and family when we got home. Diana Rothery was our photographer for our ceremony at City Hall. I already followed Diana on instagram and once we made the decision to get married in San Francisco, it was a no-brainer that we would ask her to take our photos. Upon meeting her, we just clicked - she's a beautiful soul and super talented. She took candid shots of us inside City Hall, where we spent a lot of time waiting, filling out paperwork and giving sworn statements (right hands up in the air like on the TV shows). After the ceremony we went to the stunning Golden Gate Park, where she took more intimate portraits.

What I Learned From Planning A Wedding: How To Plan A Wedding And Stay Sane - My experience of planning a wedding with 7 tips to enable you to have the wedding you want. Cold Girl Fever 2016
What I Learned From Planning A Wedding: How To Plan A Wedding And Stay Sane - My experience of planning a wedding with 7 tips to enable you to have the wedding you want. Cold Girl Fever 2016
What I Learned From Planning A Wedding: How To Plan A Wedding And Stay Sane - My experience of planning a wedding with 7 tips to enable you to have the wedding you want. Cold Girl Fever 2016

6. Some people won't show up

The fact is, people will fail to RSVP (even when you make it an email RSVP that takes 2 minutes to send) or simply fail to show up. Some people will even tell you they're coming, then simply won't. Don't stress. I personally spent a lot of time worrying about this element and my anxieties were deepened by the issues surrounding my family at the time. I recommend you send out your invites to the people you genuinely want to be there and don't invite certain people because you feel you have to. I know this may seem hard-faced, but coming from a complicated family means I've learned survival methods along the way. This is your wedding (or party, in our case) and you don't have a duty to do things you don't want to do. The problems between my parents impacted on who came to the reception and it was upsetting. It's hard to look around the room and realise that, as well as not been able to have your own father at your wedding reception, only 3 members of his 15+ strong family showed their faces. Speaking from experience, it is tough, but you have to get on with it and enjoy the people who are there. You don't want to spend your celebrations worrying that there isn't enough people there because it's not about that. As clich√© as it sounds, the people who matter will be there. We had the most fun night, made so special by our closest friends and family. A highlight was my brother putting Juicy on and us all dancing while I rapped along, word for word. The night ended with a bunch of us, my mum included, in the local dive bar, Santiago, at 3 in the morning after we were basically escorted out of the party for going over curfew...

What I Learned From Planning A Wedding: How To Plan A Wedding And Stay Sane - My experience of planning a wedding with 7 tips to enable you to have the wedding you want. Cold Girl Fever 2016

7. Preparation is key

There's so much to think about when planning a wedding and there's no way you can prepare for every eventuality. Sometimes things will happen that are 100% out of your control (just going to mention that lost luggage one more time... hi Delta!). With careful planning and a good to-do list, you can make things easier for future you and ensure there's no silly oversights, such as the fact that you do want a bouquet and a boutonniere, but forgot and it's now 3 hours before the ceremony so your soon-to-be husband is going to have to run around a San Francisco neighbourhood to try and find them. Or, you know, something like that. Also don't leave your ironing until the morning of The Big Day. What kind of amateur does that...

Are you currently planning a wedding? What's the biggest challenge you're facing? If you're already married, do you wish you'd done anything differently? As always, comments are open for everybody and I love hearing from you. You can also tweet me

(All images by Diana Rothery 2015, with exception of embedded instagram photo which is the author's own. Do not repost any images without content source - http://www.coldgirlfever.com/2016/04/7-things-you-need-to-know-when-wedding-planning.html - and credit. Thanks!)

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3 comments

  1. Your dress turned out amazingggggg, I'm glad that you worked with it, and in the end, wore it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It really did scrub up well - and I got to wear it twice! x

    ReplyDelete
  3. Professional and great tips on wedding planning! Impressed to read all this stuff. Going to get married soon at Chicago wedding venues and will be handling wedding planning of my own. Thanks for this helpful article.

    ReplyDelete

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