I love weddings so much I became a marriage celebrant. It’s all about love and individual style. It can be as grand or as intimate as you choose but, one thing is for certain, the day will go quick. You don’t want to remember it as a stressful occasion, so here are my tips to make sure you enjoy the journey from proposal to husband and wife.
1. What’s your budget?
If you don’t have Kim Kardashian's bank balance, then you need to decide how much you want to spend on your big day and stick to it. If money is tight, but you don’t want to sacrifice your dream wedding, then you might consider a longer engagement to have the opportunity to save. Another way to save money is to have a very short engagement – the shorter time frame forces you to streamline and keeps you from getting sucked into the temptation of an elaborate wedding. Saturdays are always the most popular days to say 'I do', so ask venues for their prices for a Friday or Sunday wedding. Look for venues that aren’t regarded as ‘wedding venues’, like your favourite restaurant. Consider a stand up cocktail reception rather than having a sit down, three-course meal. Order flowers from the markets and only choose seasonal varieties. Photographers often do packages based on the hours they work, so decide if the candid ‘getting ready’ photos are more or less important than the end of wedding ‘dance floor’ shots and book accordingly. Don’t forget to take advantage of the talents of the bridal party and other family and friends. Maybe ask for their services in lieu of a gift.
2. Share the tasks
It’s your wedding! Don’t feel the pressure from others because as the couple, you get the final say, but do remember this is a special day for your parents too and they may want to be included. Give them tasks you are not attached to, for example, if you don’t mind so much about the wedding cake but the mother of the groom has a keen interest in food, then leave the organising to her.
3. Include others in the ceremony
If you are using a civil celebrant there is very little compulsory wording, so you are free to make it as personal, long or short as you wish. Consider including family members or friends that didn’t get included in the bridal party by having them say a reading or blessing. Your celebrant will supply you with suggestions and will ultimately write your ceremony to your liking, but if you need more inspiration there are millions of extra examples online. Always take up the celebrant’s offer of a rehearsal in the week leading up to your big day.
4. Leave Bridezilla behaviour for TV shows
In my experience, brides and grooms look at wedding preparation very differently so don’t be offended if your husband-to-be doesn’t want two hours of discussion about the colour of the invites. If he doesn’t want to be involved in the details of the day then divide the duties. I personally love organising events but it’s my husband’s worst nightmare, so he left all our wedding decisions - apart from the suits - up to me. As a joke I even posted him an invite to his own wedding. He did, however, take on all the honeymoon planning – Vegas was very romantic.
5. The Bridal Party
Selecting the bridal party should be easy as these are the people you plan on knowing for the rest of your lives. Be respectful of everyone’s financial circumstances - if you are requesting the bridesmaids pay for their dresses, don’t select an expensive designer and allow them to have a say in what they wear. You could offer to pay for hair and makeup, or shoes, and it’s nice to buy a small gift for each member of your bridal party.
6. Do a running sheet
You may think a running sheet for your special day is unromantic and controlling, but in the long run it’s quite the opposite. The last thing you want the morning of the wedding is calls from your florist, venue or even family members with questions about proceedings. If you give all the important people involved a running sheet with contact details of suppliers, then you can relax with a glass of champagne and enjoy getting ready with your bridesmaids.