Were you one of the lucky ducks who got engaged over the Christmas / New Year holidays??? Yay! and congratulations!!! We are sooooo excited for you. Christmas / New Year seems to be by far the most popular time for proposals and wedding vendors all over the world return to work ready for the busiest couple of months of enquiries in the entire year!
Now once you’ve got over the shock /initial excitement / relief that he finally bloody did it! and you’ve sent out all of your announcements, updated your facebook status to “engaged” (squee!!), it’s time to start getting serious about what you and your gorgeous partner want for your special day.
I’ve been working with brides for many years now, and I honestly think the best thing to do, before getting crazy with delving into the internet and listening to everyone else’s ‘2 cents’ is to take some time out. Grab your fella or lady and over a coffee / wine / fruit juice (if you are so inclined!) write down some notes about what you want. Think about who you both are as a couple, what activities you enjoy together, what time of year you would like to have your wedding and whether you would like a big or small event / local or interstate / swanky and glam or more simple and rustic, etc.
Once you’ve jotted down some points, when you sit and look at the page it will make the planning process so much easier – immediately you can ignore all of the vendors that don’t suit the style of event you want and focus on those that fit your thoughts on the page. Most brides have never planned a wedding before so it’s insanely overwhelming, and the least you can do is remove the unnecessary elements!
The next step is to set out on your journey to seek inspiration and get to know vendors you might be interested in working with for the big day. For the majority of brides this means a trip down to your local newsagent to trawl the magazine rack and grab some mags to flick through (we highly recommend getting your hands on our first 2 issues of The Vintage and Handmade Bride magazine which can be purchased online and shipped straight to your home from the link on our website found here).
Other places for ideas are online wedding blogs such as this very one you are looking at, social media pages such as Facebook and Pinterest and attending wedding fairs. Wedding Fairs are a wonderful chance to get to know potential vendors for your wedding without feeling pressured when entering their business premises, it’s a very non-committal way to sus each other out and work out if it is a match made in heaven. As luck may have it we have a wedding fair coming up on Saturday 15th February, The Vintage and Handmade Wedding Fair here in Brisbane (and we’ll be running them throughout Australia from later this year!) so we’d love to see you all there!
When it comes to booking in vendors, if you find that you and your partner have quite specific ideas about certain things, it’s often best to get these booked in sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment and the last minute freak out. With this in mind we have a little advice for the newly engaged:
Peak wedding times
Traditionally this has been over September / October (and mostly over the school holidays), but there seems to be a slight shift with just as many (if not more at times) planning weddings for March / April. In those peak times, if you are wishing to have a Saturday wedding, keep in mind that there are only a limited number of Saturdays in those preferred months and awesome people and places will book up sometimes over a year in advance (some fabulous venues will book up several years in advance).
Vendors who book up first
Of course any vendor who can only offer one wedding a day is going to book up super fast and can often have limited availability, so these are the vendors you want to sort out in conjunction with each other from the start so that you don’t miss out on one by leaving it too late. This includes venues (particularly niche venues such as awesome vintage locations as vintage styled weddings are in the rise big time!), marriage celebrants, photographers / videographers and stylists / wedding coordinators who are working with you on the day. Other vendors who can also book up are boutique but truly brilliant one man/woman businesses such as cake makers, florists, bridal dressmakers. Even though these vendors can often service several weddings at the one time they will have caps on the amount they can do, so they will book up fast. It’s always a good idea to sus out general preferred booking timelines with vendors before getting blase about things.
Allow plenty of time for your dress (and sometimes even bridesmaid dresses)
Shopping for your wedding dress isn’t like popping in to grab a party frock in a department store, you can’t just rush in and grab one in your size and off you go. This one is really close to my heart as I’ve been in the bridal gown industry for many years now, and I’ve met far too many brides who have left it to the last minute to sort out their dress and the options are limited. Even in large bridal gown “super stores” unless you happen to chance across a floor sample that fits you (that isn’t too filthy and damaged from all the handling) there is a lengthy wait for gowns. Generally each gown is made to order once orders are placed and bridal stores can have 6-9 months lead time from ordering until the gown is ready to collect. This can be due to all manner of reasons which isn’t really important for this piece, I’m more worried about ensuring that everyone knows that even “mass produced” gowns can take a long time to come in. Some stores offer rush services at quite a hefty surcharge, but even if you’re happy to fork out the extra, sometimes it just doesn’t allow enough time considering most of the time alterations are then required once it does arrive.
Avoid an entourage when meeting with wedding professionals
It’s always lovely to have an extra opinion when deciding on all things wedding related. Most of the time this will come in the form of your partner, but for secret details such as the gown or even details that aren’t important to your partner like your bridesmaid gowns, it’s often best to not have too many opinions. Never once does everyone you bring along agree with each other or you, and multiple opinions (including frank comments that they absolutely hate the gown you’ve just secretly fallen in love with) will just confuse and often disappoint you. So do yourself a favour and choose one trusted friend and keep it at that. With a huge entourage it’s also often hard to keep on track, it can be distracting for the wedding professional and yourself to maintain a conversation that remains on track and as appointments have a limited time frame it can take away from valuable one on one consultative time with that professional!!
Have a wet weather backup plan
This is super important for those booking an outdoor ceremony / reception. If it’s raining on the day you can’t just rock up to the local hall and ask to use it – a wet weather plan needs to be considered when booking the venue. For most outdoor venues the business will have a backup available so it’s just a matter of double checking this and ensuring it will be available if needed. For those having a home wedding or a park wedding it is worth checking out local halls to secure one as a back up (yes it costs extra as you need to hire it regardless of whether you use it or not, but it could be your saving grace!).
Don’t feel pressured by others
If you are someone who feels pressured to please everyone, it could be best to simply have a “lets not talk about the wedding” policy with everyone. Politely let everyone know that it’s an overwhelming time and also a private time for you and your fiance and that you will let everyone know of details in due course. Ultimately when you’ve had your wedding day and you look back on it like all of us “old married ladies” do, we often are reminded of how personal the day was for us and our spouse and how irrelevant everyone else’s opinions are in the scheme of the day. Often if you have felt pressured to do things to please others, it’s those elements of the day that you look back on with slight regret and wish you could have done it your own way – so avoid that future memory and just do it your way from the start. Those who really do love you will respect it, and I will just shut my mouth now about my thoughts on those who don’t respect your wishes!!
Don’t forget the honeymoon
I know some couples can be on a really tight budget, or prefer to drop every spare penny into the wedding day to get everything they want…. but when that day is over you will both feel utterly exhausted and relish a little break away for a bit. If an exotic overseas destination is not on the cards from a financial or time factor, even a romantic long weekend away semi-locally is just as perfect. The wedding day will rush by in an instant and you can then spend a few extra days simply enjoying each others company, revisiting the memories of the day and making the most out of those first special days of being Mr & Mrs!!
And please don’t forget that we are always only an email away if you are after any specific advice or help to find a vendor in particular!!