Planning a wedding is tough.
But it's also exciting, creative, and a whole heap of fun.
Check out our A-Z Guide of Wedding Planning to help you on your way to easy, breezy, hassle-free wedding planning…
A is for… Advice
Accept it, listen to it, but don't always follow it. When we ask couples for their wedding planning advice, the most common answer from them is not to pay too much heed to everybody else's opinions and ideas.
You should listen to your venue, and your vendors (after all, they're the professionals) but when it comes to how Great-Aunt Mary thinks you should style your hair, be polite, then go with that killer beehive you were planning anyway.
B is for… Budget
It's one of the worst things about wedding planning, but it's also one of the most important. All the top planners and stylists say that whether you've 1000 or 100,000 to blow on your wedding, the budget will never cover everything you want.
When the word “wedding” comes into the equation, everything seems to double in price, learn to prioritise, isolate what's really important to you, shop around and try to keep perspective. Oh and don't forget to download our very nifty free budget spreadsheet.
C is for… Catering
What's the thing people comment on most during a wedding (apart from how gorgeous you look, obviously!)?
It's not the vintage doilies you collected for months, those origami cranes you folded for weeks or those mason jars you turned your hands gold trying paint.
It's the food! So put down that craft paper and concentrate on the canapés and cocktails instead.
(Here are some top tips on choosing your wedding caterer.)
D is for… Delegating
Okay, so we're not saying pawn everything off on your unsuspecting family (no one else has anything going on for the next three months, right?) but you should be able to let go with some of your tasks, especially in the final stages of your wedding planning.
Whether you've hired a planner or stylist, or are leaning on friends and family to help create your dream day, giving people a job eases the pressure on you, and lets them know they're important enough to be involved in such a special event.
E is for… Entertainment
According to a recent bridal survey, within a week of their wedding, 78% of brides say they wish they'd spent more time and money on planning their entertainment.
Remember that amid all the pretty details, you're planning a party. So if hitting the dance floor hard is important to you, or you think a jazz trio for cocktail hour would set the perfect tone, spend time looking for talented musicians and DJs who know how to read the crowd and create the vibe you're after.
F is for… Feel
You won't always remember what your wedding day looked like, but you will never forget what it felt like.
Keep that in mind when you're wedding planning, especially when you find yourself getting bogged down with big decisions and small details.
G is for… Guests
Okay so your day might be about you and your partner, (you guys are the stars of the show, after all!) but really the guest experience is pretty important too. You may want everyone sitting around on hay bales, but if your 87-year-old grandmother will be uncomfortable for the day, it's a big price to pay for a little rustic ambiance.
Make your day personal to you, but don't forget to be considerate of your guests in the process.
H is for… Honeymoon
So many couples end up just booking something exotic and luxurious for their honeymoon, without really thinking about where they want to go and what they want from the trip.
Your post-wedding holiday is a big investment, so it deserves as much thought as the rest of your wedding.
Check out our A-Z of Honeymoons for ideas!
I is for… Inspiration
Inspiration is the key to a really beautiful event. Going blindly to vendors will only mean that you get swayed by their opinions and your day won't really reflect your tastes.
While we still love a thick glossy wedding magazine, these days sites like Pinterest and Loverly provide all the inspiration you could ever need, along with all your favourite wedding blogs, of course!
J is for… Jones'
Don't feel the need to keep up with them.
Just because you mum's friend's daughter's hairdresser had a hot air balloon entrance, doesn't mean you need one too. (That does sound pretty awesome though!)
K is for… Kids
If your friends or family are at a stage where there are lots of young'uns about, one of the first decisions you'll need to make for your wedding is whether or not kids are invited.
There's no right or wrong answer, but if you are allowing children at your wedding, be prepared and keep them occupied.
Check out our complete guide to having children at your wedding for top tips and advice.
L is for… Legalities
Registrations and certificates are certainly the boring part of wedding planning but they are also the most crucial to get right. After all, it kind of defeats the purpose of throwing a big party, if you're not actually married the day after!
Check the rules for marriage in your country or state, and make sure you've left yourself enough time to apply for a marriage license and that your venue and celebrant are certified for legally binding ceremonies.
M is for… Melt Down
It doesn't happen to every bride or groom, but (sorry to break it to you!) it does happen to most.
It might be crying at your hair trial, or having a panic attack over the florist bill. Or it could just be that your usually chipper demeanour will crack if one more person asks you, “Have you got everything ready to go for the big day?”.
It's okay to get stressed but do remember, wedding planning should be fun, so try to enjoy every moment, meltdowns and all!
N is for… Numbers
If your wedding is getting away from you, the easiest place to cut costs is by cutting the numbers. It's hard to exclude people from your big day, as my bride-to-be friend said recently, “Whether you've 40 people or 140, they're either in or out, it's like drawing a line at some point among your friends.”
Cutting whole groups, like cousins or work colleagues, is often the easiest way to cut back, and is less likely to lead to any hard feelings.
O is for… Other Half
We don't mean to generalise, but often, when it comes to wedding planning, it starts to become all about the bride. Whether you're a hands-on groom, a same sex couple, or a bride on a mission, don't forget your other half in the process.
Okay so your fiance might have terrible taste in chair coverings, but it's his day too, remember!
P is for… Photographer
You know how much emphasis we put on wedding photography. And we can't stress how important it is to invest in the right person to document your day beautifully.
Not do you have to consider the pretty pictorial keepsakes to show the grandkids, but this person will by your side for the entire day, (hopefully somewhat invisibly) so it's crucial you choose to work with somebody you trust and like.
Q is for… Questions
Not only will you get asked a lot of questions throughout your wedding planning, “How to you get from the church to the hotel, again?” but you'll be asking plenty of questions too.
You won't always remember what you need to ask when you're talking with your vendors, so keep a pen and paper to hand (in your bag, by your bed, heck, in the bath!) so that when a moment of sudden inspiration/confusion/questioning strikes, you won't forget about it.
This post features a super handy list of questions to ask your venue, just FYI.
R is for… Regime
No you don't need to loose 30 pounds, have a boob job or get botox before your wedding!
But if you want to be looking and feeling your best for your big day, do yourself a favour and start early.
From regular facials, to regular exercise, getting into a beauty or fitness regime 6-12 months before your wedding will help you be prepared. No last minute dress stitching or pimple pressing, and most definitely no last minute crazy beauty treatments or crash diets!
S is for… Seating Plan
It's the bane of many a couple, balancing creating the perfect atmosphere with family politics. But really, it doesn't have to be such a big deal. After all, guests only have to sit in their assigned seats for dinner.
Follow Elizabeth's advice and don't leave it 'til the last minute to do yours, and for more great tips on seating your guests and shaking up your tables, read our seating plan guide here.
T is for… Timeline
Your wedding day timeline is often something couples don't really consider, or leave up to the venue. But it is something you can tweak to really put your own stamp on the day and ensure your wedding runs smoothly.
Have a cocktail hour before the ceremony, or do the toasts between each course at dinner. Also remember to ask your vendors about how long they'll need to set up (especially for the hair and make-up artists or the DJ) and plan their arrivals accordingly. You don't want to waste their time by telling them to come too early but you don't want any gaps in the day, or last minute rushing either.
Give a copy of your timeline to your venue co-ordinator and bridal party, along the vendors' contact details, so any timing issues can be sorted out behind the scenes, while you enjoy the party.
U is for… Umbrella
Umbrellas, parasols, gazebos, sun cream, and blankets. Whether you're getting married in Spain in the summertime or Alaska in the winter, the weather is an unpredictable wedding guest. If you're planning an outdoor ceremony, a rooftop bash, or a stroll in the snow, be prepared for wind, rain, and heatwaves – just in case.
V is for… Vendors
Your vendors are the people who will bring your day together into a glorious celebration. Source yours carefully, ask for written quotes before you commit, and look for recommendations.
Choose people who share your vision for your wedding day, are organised, creative, and where possible use ethical, eco-friendly practises and produce. Take a look at our top tips for selecting vendors for your wedding.
W is for… Where
It may seem obvious but where you have your wedding is a pretty key part of planning it. Whether it's a destination wedding or a party right up your street, don't rush into choosing a venue and setting a date.
From colour schemes to catering, where you get married will dictate almost every other decision you make for your wedding, so it's important to consider how you want your day to look and feel before you pick your place.
X is for… Expectations
So we don't want to rain on your parade. Honestly we don't. But x-pectations (see what we did there?) have to be managed when it comes to your wedding.
Okay so you've always dreamed of getting married in a $5000 dollar designer dress. But in 50 years, will you be telling our great grandkids about French lace and Swarovski crystals, or will you be telling them about how special you felt when your other half clapped eyes on you for the first time on your wedding day?
Y is for… You
Take time out from your wedding planning once in a while to concentrate on yourself, your relationship and the rest of your life. Wedding planning is a marathon, not a sprint, if you don't want to be entirely over your own nuptials six weeks before the big day, you need to take a break from it once in a while.
Z is for… Zilla (And Chilla)
We just hate the cliché of the bridezilla and we can't help but smirking to ourselves about the newfound bridechilla (a too-cool boho bride who drives her bridesmaids bonkers by her chilled-out indecisiveness!). Whether you're a demanding bride or groom who knows what you want, or so chilled out you can't remember your wedding date, don't expect too much from other people.
Yes delegate and ask for help, but don't expect people to lose weight, dye their hair, and/or bankrupt themselves and likewise, don't request that they “turn up whenever, pick their own flowers, and sort out your marriage licence for you”. Somewhere in the middle please, folks!
Have you any more planning tips? Let us know!
Check out our step-by-step guide to all things wedding planning.