I wanted to do a blog post to help anyone out there with wedding planning but most importantly help the planning process and the day itself, to be stress free! With Covid-19, I understand that this must be a very stressful time for anyone who has an upcoming wedding planned, but is unsure if it’s going to go ahead. My heart really goes out to you, as wedding planning is already stressful without a pandemic thrown into to the mix. I urge you to think about what’s really important to you at this time. Is getting married to your partner the most important thing?If so, perhaps you will go ahead with your wedding, but in a drastically different format than you had planned originally, and then have a big celebration later down the line. Or perhaps, celebrating with your closets friends and your family is what you want your wedding to be all about. In that case, maybe you’ll be re-scheduling your wedding to a later date. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s what you and your partner want to do.
Most importantly, allow yourself to have your feelings right now. If you are upset at what’s happening and how it’s affecting your wedding plans, that’s ok. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to those who are worse off than you and then feeling bad for being upset in the first place. While a positive attitude is great, sometimes you need to allow yourself to feel emotional; to feel upset, to feel angry, to feel like crying. If you bottle up those feelings by constantly saying “it could be worse”, then those emotions are bound to make an appearance at some stage. Your feelings are valid, there will always be someone worse off than you, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have the right to feel shitty about your experience too.
My advice for wedding planning is:
- Stop sweating the small things. You have probably heard this a few times, but honestly, after just getting married, I can’t re-iterate this enough. Those centre pieces that you’re stressing over, the perfect wedding favors that you are trying to find, the perfect chairs to fit in with your wedding theme, the decorations in your ceremony room, this may seem harsh, but nobody gives a fuck! Honestly, even you won’t give a fuck on the day. If you asked me immediately after my wedding was I happy with the centre pieces on my tables, I wouldn’t even be able to tell you what my centre pieces were. All I know is that the whole room looked pretty and the tables looked great. Were there flowers on the table, were there candles? I don’t have a clue! And I was the bride. Do you honestly think your guests are going to leave your wedding saying “well the highlight was definitely the chairs, those chairs were fantastic”? NO. Because No. One. Cares. Harsh, but true!
- Concentrate on the things that matter. This may vary from person to person, and okay, maybe you are obsessed with centre pieces so yours have to be perfect, but I think we can all agree the main things that guests will leave a wedding talking about is a) the food and b)the fun they had (or the craic as us Irish would say!). That means you want a venue with excellent food and you want a good DJ (or band, depending on what you are going for). After our wedding weekend, there were 3 things that guests mentioned to us over and over again; how much they loved our ceremony, how good the food was and how excellent the D.J was . That’s it. That’s what you and your guests will remember, so that’s that you should be focused on.
- Be prepared for things not to go according to plan, and to be okay with that. Chances are that at least something will go wrong on the day. It might be something small, it might be something bigger but something will probably happen that wasn’t in your plan. Be prepared for that and be okay with it. You need to make a decision that this is the happiest day of your life and you’re going to enjoy it, no matter what! If at the end of the day, you married the love of your life, then it was a success! I had paper flower bouquets for my wedding (more on that later), but we had ordered fresh flowers for Phil, the groomsmen, the dads and the mothers. On the morning of the wedding, the flowers never showed! They were supposed to be delivered to the venue. It was nearing noon and we were heading to the beach to get our pictures taken and still no sign of the flowers. I just said “fuck it”, the flowers don’t matter and I moved swiftly on. I don’t even know if anyone noticed that the Groom and Groomsmen didn’t have boutonnieres, and if they did notice, I don’t care! It didn’t make any difference to the day and we still had a fantastic time!
- Don’t be afraid to stray from tradition. In Ireland, there were very strict traditions that had to be abided by for weddings, but thankfully, that’s not the case anymore. People are starting to move away from traditions if they don’t believe in them, and I’m so glad. However, I still see people asking “is it ok to do X for my wedding”, “what’s the tradition for Y, can I do it this way?”. It’s your wedding and you should do what you want. Gone is the day where you have to follow every wedding tradition just for the sake of it. Don’t want a church wedding? Don’t have one. Don’t want a wedding cake? Don’t get one. Don’t want to throw the bouquet? Don’t throw it. This is your only chance (hopefully) to have your perfect wedding, so don’t bow down to others or to traditions that you don’t agree with. Some untraditional things we did were: stayed together in the bridal suite the night before the wedding, we didn’t have a church ceremony, our officiant was a woman (take that Catholic church!), I had paper flowers, we took pictures together before the ceremony, we weren’t announced into banquet room (we quietly snuck in!) , we didn’t have a wedding cake, and we didn’t have a band – DJ only!
Set your RSVP deadline at least a month before the wedding. Give yourself plenty of time to hunt people down for RSVPs and to do your seating plan. Even if, like ours, your venue doesn’t require final numbers until 48 hours beforehand, you will still need more time to do your seating plan. It’s just a fact of life that you won’t have received all RSVPs by the deadline, so give yourself plenty of time to follow up with the stragglers. If you’re having your table plan designed, then you will need a few days of a buffer around that. We had ours designed by Katrina at WildConfettiWorkshop and she was amazing. Our seating plan looked fabulous and she made a few last minute changes for me, which I really appreciated.
- Think outside the box. I mentioned earlier, I had paper flower bouquets. I knew I wasn’t really bothered with flowers, plus they are very expensive, so i was trying to think of something unique to do. I decided to have my bouquets made from old map paper, to incorporate our love of travel. I’m was absolutely thrilled with the result. My sister-in-law is a very talented artist and she made them for me and they turned out better than I could have ever imagined! For our ceremony which was officated by Tricia from Wild Atlantic Ceremonies , we did a handfasting ceremony and a winebox ceremony, which I absolutely loved. Handfasting was an old ancient celtic tradition and symbolises the binding together of two people. The winebox ceremony was us enclosing a nice bottle of wine that we picked, along with a letter to the other about why we love them, to be opened on our first anniversary. I just love this! If you think outside the box, you can do some wonderfully unique things and make your whole wedding more in line with you are your partner’s likes!
- Have a list of photographs you want taken for your photographer. I didn’t do this and wish I did. If there are certain people you want pictures with, make a list and give to your photographer, otherwise you will forget on the day. I had a list in my head and then totally forgot. After getting my stunning photographs back, I realized I didn’t get one of just myself and my bestie – Claire, or one with my Gavin and Rebecca (my siblings). You may think you will remember to get these pictures on the day, but believe me, you won’t. A tip that was given to me by a photographer which makes sense, is to also give that list to someone else – preferably someone who knows who all the people are that you want pictures with. The photographer won’t necessarily know all the people on the list so it’ll be much easier and smoother if you give the list to someone else too who can help the photographer find those people.
Ask your photographer for a sneak peak. Believe me, once the wedding is over, you will be dying to see pictures! If you’re like me, there will be zero to be found amongst your guests that include you and your new spouse! I didn’t wan’t to wait 6 weeks to get any pictures so I asked my photographer to give me a couple, and he gave me three to keep me going. It’s so nice, you have a couple of the professional pictures that will keep you going until you get them all! My photographer actually has a printer that hooked up to one of his camera’s so at the end of the night he gave me beautiful surprise – he had printed out some of our pictures onto poloroids for us! We also had an Instax camera at the wedding, which i can’t recommend enough. My sister brought it around and got some brilliant pictures of us all on the dancefloor!
- Relax and unwind in the days before your wedding. After your wedding, especially if it’s a 2-3 day event like ours, you will literally be the most exhausted you have ever been. I got approximately 12 hours sleep between the Thursday and Sunday of our wedding weekend, adrenanline kept me going but on Sunday night, I crashed. We were both uterally shattered. If you have a few days off work before your wedding, take some “you time” and de-stress. I went to Monart with my sister and my mum a few days before the weding, and we spent the night there. It was simply amazing. It totally de-stressed me, took my mind off all the little things I had to do before the wedding. Honestly, it was amazing. We spent two days in robes, wandering the grounds, and taking advantage of their amazing spa. Heaven. If you don’t have the time or the money to visit a 5 star spa for a night, then at least go and have a massage, or do a float, or just plan some total relaxation time for yourself .
- After your wedding is done, and your honeymoon is over, alot of us experience a low. It’s a real come down. You’ve been planning this amazing day for so long, all your family and friends were so excited for it, and then, bam it’s over. For me, while I’m happy that the wedding is over and we can return to normal life where I don’t have to constantly think and talk about this big thing I’m planning, it was literally the best weekend of our lives, then we jetted off to Georgia and Istanbul and had a fabulous honeymoon and now I wonder, well, what now? We’ve been home for a week and I am still feeling pretty low and sad that it’s all over. My advise, have some things planned for the coming months after your honeymoon. They don’t have to be big things, but small things that you can look forward to together. Because if you are feeling like me, you will be experiencing a come down after being on such a high, and you will want some fun things to look forward to.
Happy planning 🙂
P.S. For any Irish friends reading, here are links to all my vendors. I would highly recommend every single one of them:
- Hair – Hair by Mona Lisa located in Castlebar
- Makeup – Dee Al Shamaa Makeup Artist
- Venue – Knockranny House Hotel & Spa located in the beautiful Westport
- Photographer – InAlex Photography
- D.J. – Trevor from Midland DJs
- Officiant – Tricia Hudson from Wild Atlantic Ceremonies