With my two of my siblings getting married over the last two years and one more in the pipeline, we’re getting good at weddings. But still, there’s moments of chaos (despite my brother’s endless Trello lists,) and I was reminded of all the things that I got really stressed out about when planning my wedding. And I was STRESSED. I shouted at my dad about name tags when we were setting up the venue, got two hours sleep the night before and was so exhausted I ended up in hospital with an infected wisdom tooth on the way back from our mini-moon. Not ideal! I've lost count of the number of panicked brides I've reassured and ruffled feathers I've smoothed. People say 'it's just one day', but it's such an important one and I totally understand the 'wanting-everything-to-be-perfect' stress. But please, do not be like me! Read on for my top tips how to be chilled and relaxed in the run up to your big day...
Embrace the lists. Write it all down, especially the scary things.( I’m a big fan of a ‘things that freak me out’ list. Put it all on there!) Make a plan, give yourself (realistic) deadlines for organising each item and, here’s the key, don’t even think about things like table plans before you even know your final invite list. And embrace the spreadsheet. It was the one thing that held it all together when I was trying to get it all done - I knew exactly how many teaspoons we needed, how many bottles of wine, how many plates. It contained the timings, the guest list, the flower order... everything. It also meant that if someone else needed to know a particular thing I could just share the document with them and they were in the loop. (It goes without saying make sure it’s backed up!)
Put away Pinterest
Seriously!! If you take anything from this blog, let this be the thing. Now don't get me wrong, I love pinterest. It's an amazingly useful tool and there is so much inspiration to be had there. But those beautifully styled, perfect, opulent weddings? They're probably not even real. Styled shoots are so amazing because it's one table to decorate, one centrepiece, a couple of sets of cutlery. Very few people can afford to replicate that look and you'll only stress yourself out by trying.
I can tell you what really matters to wedding guests; having a chair, being fed and watered properly and being warned if there's a paybar that only accepts cash. Beyond that, whatever you want to do is pretty much fine. Pick the things you're really passionate about and focus on them, whether it's flowers or gorgeous glassware or a killer photographer. If you're not fussed about wearing designer shoes then don't waste your energy worrying about them!
You can't do everything. You can't be in two places at once and you can't put more hours in the day. So don't try to. If people say 'let me know if I can help' - stop being so British and give them a job! Make a list and give people jobs - my Mum has beautiful handwriting (I really don't!) and so I asked her to write the place names and she did it beautifully.
Don't try to DIY everything
Delegation is good, but you can't make everything yourself. We made our own stationery, did the food, made cakes, I made my dress and did all the flowers. It was so stressful and such a bad idea. I should have just saved a bit harder and paid for a caterer. Because although the day itself was wonderful, I was up at 7am (after no sleep because I was so panicked about the food) making coleslaw and crying over the cabbage.
Trust your vendors.
One of the most frustrating things as a wedding florist is being micromanaged - either in the run up to the wedding or when you arrive to set up (normally by an other enthusiastic bridesmaid) Look, we understand that you want everything to be perfect, so do we! That’s why we work so hard, why we reply to your emails late at night and get up at 4am on the morning of your wedding to make buttonholes and flower crowns. As florists, caterers, photographers etc, that’s what we do - over and over and over. We’re good at it - trust us!
Take some time to relax
After our wedding, John and I went off to Cornwall for a few days for a mini-moon. It was gorgeous; lovely food, sunny beaches, wandering around National Trust houses (until the aforementioned hospital trip!) But it would have been nice to feel that relaxed before the big day. Schedule it in - it’s a must. Go off and have a massage, go for afternoon tea or a nice walk together.
Something will go wrong. You'll forget something, someone will get cross, a taxi won't turn up. But it will be fine and the vast majority of your guests won't even notice. The important thing is to remember that it doesn't matter and it almost certainly won't affect the day.
I look back on our wedding with fond and happy memories of a glorious day with all the people we love around us. But it would have been nice to be a bit calmer in the run up, and I hope these points are helpful to you in your wedding planning!
Wonderful photos of happy brides and grooms (including me, once the adrenaline and champagne had kicked in!)
Rosie & Will's Isle of Wight wedding by Dom Moore
Jemima & Mike's romantic garden wedding in Devon by Jessica Williams