If you've just got engaged...
ring from When Caitie Met Soda
Well, firstly, a bloody HUGE congratulations!
If you got a new sparkler for your left hand this holiday, we're so excited for you - it's such a magical time of year anyway and you've just made it ten times more magical. Eeeeep!
It can be a bit of an overwhelming time - especially if you had all the generations of your family to repeatedly announce it to at your annual Boxing Day party the next day - so here's our tips for newly engaged couples.
Enjoy the moment
Excellent sage advice comes from wedding planning extraordinaire, Emily K Weddings, and it's not immediately what you may think: Enjoy it. Take a long pause to savour the moment and soak up the good feelings. After all, the whole reason you got engaged in the first place is to enjoy the rest of your life together, so get a good start in by enjoying your first moments together!
Even if you are the stereotype of the bride who's been planning their wedding out in their head since they were 4 (and there's nothing wrong with that), the sheer volume of options now available to brides can be a little terrifying. Where do you begin? When should it be? Where's a good place to have it? What's a reasonable budget? How many people should you invite? Are you going to completely lose your head during the planning process? All very valuable questions during the planning process, but don't worry. Try not to get overwhelmed by the whole process by sitting down together and working out your priorities. If you've got your heart set on a beach wedding, make the venue your top priority, where as if you're less bothered about the venue but more bothered about the time of year, make setting and publicising the date the top priority.
Don't worry about the crazy amount of suppliers available to you for your big day, either!
Start your supplier research
In a world where every supplier is contactable at the tap of a thumb without even moving from your bed in a morning, it can seem like an attractive option and a good gameplan to enquire with every supplier you come across. However, this is a surefire way to guaranteed brain melt, so don't do it to yourself! Shortlist suppliers you initially want to have at your big day, and then do your research. Search photos of the weddings and events they've styled further than just the ones they post - a wedding wonderland it may be, but it's worth remembering Instagram is a very specifically curated wedding wonderland. Search for tagged photos and for other suppliers who have worked with them before. Think about whether they 'fit' your big day too - of course, your day is going to be a supernova of styling success, but just because a supplier is fabulous at what they do doesn't mean that what they do is what you want on your big day.
Be aware of timelines, but don't let them freak you out
Some suppliers will have crazy long lead times, especially if you're looking to get married in the summer, when books fill up a lot quicker. Also, be aware that if you're looking for a wedding to be supplied by handcrafters, bespoke artisan makers and small businesses, their lead times are going to be longer. For example, the fabulous Rock The Frock recommend buying your wedding dress 8 months before your big day, to ensure you leave enough time to have it handmade for you. Don't let that freak you out though - preparation is just (boringly) the key to mental calm. If you're reasonable with your expectations, then you can expect greatness. This isn't to say that you can't plan a wedding in a shorter amount of time by any means - for example, some of the Rock The Frock dresses can be made in as little as two months - it just means you have to be aware that you're working against the clock!
Remember, it's for you two
With the best will in the world, everyone has tips and advice for your wedding day, whether good or bad (ironically, I say this on a blog that is literally doing exactly that. But, you know, at least I'm self aware and experienced, and would like to think mine fall into the latter). The key thing to keep at the forefront of your wedding planning is that it's a day to celebrate you two. Traditions and generation-pleasing can be important, of course, and should always be treated delicately, but the main thing to focus on is that you two are happy, and celebrating your own personal journey in the way you want it to be focussed on. As long as you're doing that, you can't really go wrong.
For more advice for your whole wedding 'journey', we've got ya back - search our blog for oodles of inspiration, our shop for excellent wedding wares from small indie businesses, and our directory for our personally recommended suppliers!