Chances are you have a friend who got married and you heard one or two horror stories about how stressful their wedding was to plan? As you start to plan your own you are already preparing yourself for possible issues. But I am here to tell you it doesn't have to be this way. I believe wedding planning CAN be fun, it SHOULD be fun, and it WILL be fun if you start with the right approach, which is what I like to help couples achieve.
Can this really be true?
Yes, yes, yes!! I know it is acheivable because when me and my husband got married it was so much fun planning our wedding, so I am going to share my secrets on how we did it!
This is your 14 step guide to having fun whilst planning, so buckle up!
No.1 Plan Together
The best way to enjoy planning is to share the process. Two people have decided to get married and have a wedding to celebrate it so it should not be left to one member to do all the work and make all the decisions. This would be very unfair and just lead to disagreements further down the process. So start as you mean to go on. It's a time you learn more about each other and will remind you of all the reasons you wanted to get married in the first place.
No.2 Work out your vision
Working out your vision for the wedding is super important at the start of planning, because this will set you up for knowing exactly what you are doing. Knowing all the facts will make life so much easier and avoid stress every time you have a decision to make. I have a useful exercise that you can download for FREE here, and answer all the questions as a couple at the start of your planning journey. This will make sure you include everything that you both want for the wedding and find out at the start what is most important to the both of you. Being on the same page from the beginning will save you from any stress further down the line. If both your desires and dreams are recognised you can work together to make sure they happen. This gives you a solid foundation to work with.
No.3 Do what YOU want
The important thing when planning your wedding is to do what YOU want, not what other people want you to do or what you think is expected of you. Your family and friends have had their day, they did it their way, so now you get to do it your way. This mostly seems to creep up when you're considering breaking a family tradition, or not inviting certain guests that family members are expecting to be there. It's important to not feel pressured into making decisions you are not happy about because very quickly this could make you not enjoy planning for it.
No.4 Brainstorm your ideas
Whenever you or your partner has an idea, run it past the other one before charging ahead with it. Often ideas can become so much better when shared, because we all have a different way of looking at things and different ideas that could enhance it. This is where the golden stuff is, trust me! They don't say "Two heads are better than one" for no reason! If you get in the habit of doing this, I can promise you, you will create a day that you will both be proud of when you look back.
No. 5 Figure out your budget
Most couples tend to fall out over money, and what they spend it on. So it is super important to agree on a budget for the wedding. It is useful to write down what your top priorities are and what your both happy spending money on. And then the things that you are both not so bothered about, where you could spend less money, can be further down the list.
No.6 Stay Focussed
I think it's so important to keep focussed throughout planning, and the way to do this is to keep referring to your vision. Once you have decided on things, run with it till it's done, and most importantly stop looking! So once you have decided on table centrepieces, stop looking on Pinterest for them, once you have chosen your wedding dress, stop looking at others! If you keep looking you are going to keep changing your mind, because it's too tempting. Do all your inspirational looking at the beginning of a task.
I know how hard it can be to find lots of ideas and then have to decide on just one, but remember you will have other things to celebrate after your wedding so keep that colour scheme you love or that centrepiece idea for another time and another event. It's a great way to not let all those extra ideas you spent ages looking for, go to waste.No.7 Involve family & friends
With a long list of tasks there will be plenty to go at, so remember to involve your loved ones to help you out, it will help take some pressure off you. Your family and friends are likely to be itching to help you anyway so take them up on their offers. Plus you will have more fun for sure. Have a day making favours, go clothes shopping with a friend to help them pick out their outfit for the day or set them on a task creating something that you can check in on. They want to share the journey with you so invite them along for the ride.
No.8 Surprise your guests
Nothing is more motivating and fun than creating surprises for your guests. This is a chance to share your love story with your family and friends, so get creative. Think about how you can wow them and give them something they won't expect. Planning a few treats that no one else knows about other than you two, will make planning so much more fun and you will be giddy with excitement the closer it gets to the reveal. There's something about this that is just so much fun. This could be keeping the venue a secret, a surprise family member who said they couldn't make it or a choreographed first dance. Use your imagination! Focussing on your guests experience is the ultimate tip to indulging in the process.
No. 9 Comprise
While it is easy to say you are going to have a blast throughout the whole planning process without any issues, this is of course unrealistic I'm afraid. There are of course going to be times when you don't agree on something, and that is ok, you're not going to agree on every little thing. But what you can do is learn to comprise. The whole of your married life is going to be full of comprises so you may as well start now! Often, finding a way round something, or a different take on an idea turns out better, therefore making you both happy, which is what you want.
No. 10 Set dedicated time
Wedding planning takes up a lot of your time, and I am a big believer in 'the more you put in, the more you get out' But obviously you have a life beyond the wedding, you have family, friends, work and social commitments, and these all need your attention. So it is a good idea to arrange with your partner how much time a week or month you will need to spend working on the wedding. If you are a busy couple, schedule in time just like an appointment so you get it done. This way if you know when you are in planning mode you won't double book yourself leaving it all to one of you.
No.11 The Guests experience
If you keep focussing on the fact that you want your guests to have a blast at your wedding there will be no force to stop you. Keeping at the front of your mind the experience you want them to have and what you want them to take away from it, will make planning so much more rewarding and more fun. Think of the emotions you want them to feel, do you want them to proper belly laugh, cry happy tears, or smile at how thoughtful you have been?
No. 12 Reward yourselves
A great motivator is giving yourselves a little treat to look forward to after you have ticked a large task off your to do list. Make sure to arrange something to do together after you have finished. It doesn't have to be flash, it could be to go see a movie, grab an ice-cream, go for a walk to talk about other stuff going on. It would be so easy to let yourselves be wrapped up entirely in the wedding, but it's important not to over exhaust yourselves with it.
No.13 Don't sweat the small stuff
So much time and energy can really be consumed if you let the little things get to you. If your bridesmaid wants to wear trainers and the dress is long enough to cover them, just let her do it. She will be happy because she will be comfortable, so let it go. If you have spotted a spelling mistake on your table plan with only a week to go, just ignore it! I know it's hard but by setting yourself up for perfection, is a recipe for misery. Newsflash I can safely say your guests won't even notice!!
No.14 Don't do it last minute!
The final tip, is to avoid the last minute rush. This is just going to cause you unnecessary stress. And remember FUN is the aim of the game! Being super organised whilst planning is so important to enjoying the final countdown. If you leave things to the last minute you are likely to forget stuff, things won't get done, things will be unfinished, therefore you won't feel entirely happy or ready for it. So avoid thinking you have plenty of time to do everything because if you think this, it will be one mad rush to the finish line.
This is the secret recipe to having fun whilst your wedding planning. I hope you start with this approach and not only will you find it more fun, you will achieve a wedding that reflects you a couple and be able to look back with pride at what you achieved.