1) You can plan too much:
I’d been engaged 2.5 years and planning my wedding in my head for at least 18 years. Looking back I spent too much time planning, pinteresting and buying bits for the big day.
A year would have been plenty of time (apart from booking venues as people book them waaay in advance).
I wanted our wedding to be Carnival/Italian (colours: red, gold & bling) themed… I wanted a pop-up espresso bar as I LOVE coffee and don’t drink alcohol much but alas it was too expensive once we’d paid for all the other bits.
But don’t be totally put off any quirky ideas as you can have a DIY wedding like we did with friends & family helping us out with food, activities & entertainment.
3) Hire a Wedding Planner:
Having someone by your side as an advisor, counsellor, supporter and someone to take the pressure off on the big day was a lifeline.
Jody Wigfull-Coy from The Hapiness Maker actually saved us money.
I’d originally thought wedding planners were just there to recommend their contacts and to take a cut but Jody really made my wedding perfect.
My Chris (now husband) was more concerned with his Stag Do in Las Vegas rather than the wedding, so Jody made for a great ally and soundboard.
4) Saving money takes time:
We had hundreds of guests but we still wanted chair covers, table cloths, table decorations and flowers.
So we bought chair covers and table cloths off eBay (although do this way in advance as we had problems with delivery). I searched around other chair cover suppliers but these were the cheapest and it means my hubby can now use these for his pop-up restaurants or we can sell them on eBay.
I went for spandex chair covers and stretchy sashes so it was easy to decorate the chairs (one of my bridesmaids did this).
My Dad and his husband made the most fantastic centre pieces from charity and antique shop finds. My step dad also made the table runners.
So to cut costs again we bought silk flowers from Country Baskets wholesale as well as attending a free flower arranging course.
I also attempted to make my own Fimo cake topper… But it didn’t quite go to plan…
And the wedding planner made “pimp your punch” mocktails.
Oh and try and track all your wedding related purchases as I didn’t use half of the stuff I bought.
My skills are in dancing, entertainment and journalism. So I made my own Wedding Newspapers, I bellydanced at my wedding and I got my friend’s company Hera Dance to supply Samba Dancers on stilts.
My husband Chris loves food (that’s his strength) and was on MasterChef so he sorted out his friend Jimmy’s Pop Up to do the catering as well as asking a fellow MasterChef contestant to help in the kitchen.
My mum made dresses and the ring cushion as she’s an artist and experienced in textiles.
My fashion designer sister kitted out the dressing room and my mum in law who’s a baker made the cake…
As there can be so many elements to one day which gave me brain-ache.
6) Food can be part of the fun too:
Every course we had was shared platters of food. Not only was it delicious and unusual but it broke the ice. Food should be a social thing so this worked really well.
My husband also nominated a person per table to don a chefs hat and carve the meat.
I’m veggie but still enjoyed watching everyone act as chefs. It caused a lot of laughter.
7) Think outside the box…
We all just want to enjoy ourselves at a wedding so make yours unique to you, whatever that may mean.
People are there (or at least they should be) to support you and share your happiness.
We are a family orientated couple so we wanted kids, noise and lots of activities at our wedding.
I also wanted everyone to really enjoy the religious ceremony so opted for Wakefield Community Gospel Choir to sing as I love gospel music and the joy it brings. We also read our own scriptures after we’d signed the register.
We had the musicians walk along with us and our guests drumming and playing the saxophone. We also have out red and gold ribbon streamers and musical instruments for people to play as we walked/danced along.
I wanted all that planning to last longer than a day so the night before the wedding my partner and I separately held a “last night of freedom” meal.
He went for a pub dinner with close friends and family, followed by a pub crawl.
And I held a Chinese Tea Ceremony at York House Hotel where we were staying that weekend.
Whether it be your hairdresser or make-up artist – make sure you gel with them as they’ll be the ones you see first thing and in the run-up to your Wedding day so you want people who are reliable, friendly and most of all calming.
My make-up artist & beauty therapist was Sam Justice-Wheeler from Aloha Salon in Sheffield. She gave me massages, facials and did my make up just how I wanted it, not how she wanted it. It was perfect. We worked together to create the ideal bridal look that was right for me.
I was lucky that my Aunty and cousin’s fiancée from Brownz Salon did my hair along with my two daughters who were flower girls.
And the important addition to perfect your “look” is of course hiring the right photographer and videographer.
One of my besties Daria who runs Evoke Media Group with me filmed the whole event as well as roping in another colleague Alan to get some general shots.
I also chose Ant Oxley Photography to capture the day as not only did I know him but I liked and had faith in his work.
But most of all Daria, Alan and Ant all made us feel comfortable, therefore getting the best of us on camera.
Ok it’s easy for me to say this in hindsight but in the run-up to the wedding I was getting so stressed and in the end I just thought “f*** it!”
“So let’s just get married and if anyone else interferes they can do one.”