Planning a wedding - what would I do differently now I am married?

STEVE & I GOT MARRIED 5 YEARS AGO NOW (BONFIRE NIGHT 2016). I WAS ALREADY WELL RENOWNED IN THE WEDDING INDUSTRY BUT I WASN'T STRONG ON NETWORKING AND JUST TO PUT IT IN PERSPECTIVE I GOT NO FREEBEES, NO TRADE DISCOUNTS AND NO INDUSTRY FRIENDS OFFERING SERVICES ON MY DAY. HOWEVER DURING THE PROCESS I LEARNT A LOT AND I WOULD, IF PLANNING A WEDDING NOW, DO THINGS SLIGHTLY DIFFERENTLY... SO HOPE MY TIPS BELOW HELP YOU IN YOUR PLANNING JOURNEYS GOING AHEAD...

We all know that planning a wedding can be an extremely exciting and fun time, but it can also be an anxious and stressful rollercoaster (even Covid aside). And thats why, 5 years on I would like to give you all a little insight into WHAT I WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY if I were planning a wedding now with all the experience of having done it behind me!

During the process of planning and having my own wedding I had insane fun, bonded with my family and friends more than ever and drank more champagne than any other time in my life! But it wasn't all giggles and fizz. Having already worked for 5 years (at the time) in the luxury wedding industry I was surrounded by incredible inspiration all day, everyday, and knew what was possible and throughout the process, I had to battle with my inner demons and come to terms with the fact that I couldn't have it ALL and I found that tough. My dreams were huge but I knew it probably wasn't ALL going to be possible...


Now, don't get me wrong, I loved my wedding day, it was incredible and I look back with fond memories.. so the below is just from a planning perspective really.. I am also 100% certain none of our guests were bothered in the slightest about any of the below.


My favourite part was actually our ceremony. We had super fun songs that everyone sang with gusto (Fly me to the Moon, and Always look on the bright side of life), and each guest had a party horn or blower adding fun and noise to our marriage. But there are elements I would change looking back and some of these were because I didn't take the steps below....

1. GET A PLANNER

I cannot stress this enough. I thought I was organised, and I am. But I am not an events organiser. I had spreadsheets, VERY organised lists, diagrams, time sheets and a budget sheet... but since it was my first time planning a wedding there were of course a huge amount of things I was unaware of or thought I could sweep under the carpet for later pondering. DON'T. Get someone on board who does this all day, everyday, has seen every part of a wedding inside and out, understands your worries and knows the answers straight up.


Why I didn't?

By the time I decided I wanted a professional planner on board I had spent a lot of the budget already and therefore any planners I approached felt that it was too late for them to really support me as much as I wanted. I also thought that they would be SUPER expensive, however I now know that whatever percentage of your budget they take their experience and knowledge about every detail of your wedding will be invaluable and may even SAVE you money in the long run. Even at this point I could have hired an on-the-day coordinator but our venue had a dedicated coordinator and I had a fabulous network of family helping me set up so I felt this wouldn't have really helped in my own situation.


Why I would use a planner now...

If I had started working with a planner early on in my wedding planning journey I feel I would have been able to tailor my budget to get maximum effect. I had the most incredible mood board which epitomised the look and feel I wanted to achieve. Bonfire night glam, sparkle, velvet, shimmering lights and a jungle, fern & orchid scheme. And although my day had snippets of this I feel it was lacking in some of the WOW factor that I so desperately sought. If I had worked with a planner from the get go we could have focussed budget on the elements to create that WOW factor and not other bits I maybe spent money on that I needn't have.


I have a few incredible planners who I have since got to know and are on my recommended suppliers list.. so please do have a look at their links, search on google, ask your venue and MOST IMPORTANTLY make sure the planner you choose epitomises the style you are wanting to achieve there are lots around to suit all budgets and styles.

2. WORK OUT YOUR PRIORITIES EARLY ON

Its easy to get worked up in the obvious things when starting out with your wedding planning journey, the dress, the flowers, the cake and in my case the stationery. But I totally UNDERESTIMATED how the important the overall 'decoration' of the venue was to me.


Any of you who follow Deabill & Quince will know I'm not one for minimalism or subtle details. I'm all about the wow factor and more is more and I wish I had spent more time working out how to achieve the look that I wanted and therefore tweaking the budget to accommodate this early on.


Again, this goes back to the knowledge of a planner who has foresight into these things, but if you wish to go it alone then please PLEASE look at your day as a whole right at the beginning of your planning journey and work out what budget you are going to need to achieve the complete look and feel you want on your day. Make sure you get a date in your diary to go to the venue and do a practice set up in situ at least a month or two before the day so you have time to tweak any details.


SCALE

Many of us work in areas which are a lot smaller than a wedding venue and misjudge the effect of scale. Something that may look fabulous when set up at home or on a dining table as a style check may look completely different or get completely lost when set up in a larger venue.

3. CHECK THE DETAILS

Something I know everyone thinks they will find time to do before they actually walk into their wedding breakfast, but our day went so fast and because of the Autumn date the light faded earlier so we had nearly all our photos straight after the ceremony meaning there was hardly any time to then enjoy the guests and check the reception room.

I am a perfectionist and I had spent over a year planning each detail down to the millimetre. I had left drawings with the team setting up the room and the caterer and thought there was NO WAY that it could be misunderstood.


Now this is by no means a big deal { I feel sheepish even mentioning it! } and absolutely NO-ONE noticed this apart from me, but when I sat down at our wedding breakfast I was really disappointed to see that the napkins and plates hadn't been set out with the stationery and name favours in the exact way I had wanted. I had spent ages planning and styling what I wanted them to look like and if I had just gone into the room after the ceremony to check it all it would have been such a quick job for the venue coordinator to change.


This goes for any rooms you are using at your venue, just a little walk around, use it as a breather.. just to cast your eye. Of course - if you have a planner who you absolutely trust with your life then they can and will do this for you.. but even if its just to revel in its gorgeousness I would recommend taking 5 minutes to just peek in yourself as well.

4. MIND SET & BODY GOALS

Now, this is a highly debated topic and I know everyone has a different opinion, I also know EVERYONE feels differently about this and has their own hangups - there is more on this topic than I can quantify but I can tell it from my own experience.


Having now had 2 children my whole attitude to my body and how I perceive myself has changed massively, but i'm not sure I would have got here without having gone through childbirth. So my point here is probably more about Mindset.


Now, I fell in love with my wedding dress before I was even engaged, I saw it on a catwalk at Brides the Show when exhibiting and had it on various mood boards and even saved on my phone for inspiration MONTHS before a wedding was even on the cards. I tried on A LOT of dresses, and if I am honest I think there were probably a few dresses which suited my shape better and were more flattering, but my heart was set, Hermia by the incredible Jenny Packham was the one.


DON'T GO ALL IN AT THE BEGINNING & DON'T SET YOUR GOALS TOO HIGH.

I set upon my wedding fitness plan way too early, signing up to bootcamps over a year in advance. Now, I am NOT IN ANYWAY advocating losing or gaining pounds and pounds, or indeed changing your weight if you are happy within yourself (where mindset fits in, and unless a professional recommends differently) but if you truly feel like you would like to lose a few lumps and bumps and tone up before the big day then I would recommend booking this in to COMPLETE JUST BEFORE YOUR FINAL DRESS FITTING and then give yourself a manageable keep-it-up plan until the big day (there will be MANY champagne drinking fuelled nights in those final weeks and you don't want to undo all your good work).


Its so important that any changes to your body or diet are sustainable, whats the point of looking completely different on your wedding day to any other time in your life? Its you and you alone your partner is choosing to marry, SO DON'T TRY TO BE SOMEONE ELSE.


{ Also remember to tell your dress designer at the first fitting and measuring appointment of any plans to change your weight enough to affect dress size, a good dress designer will ask you this anyway }

Also, toning up means you don't have to worry about wearing hot, sticky, un comfy control pants! Seriously, going to the loo in a wedding dress is hard enough without having to navigate Spanx!


MINDSET

So, following on from the above and self - love I would HIGHLY recommend as part of your wedding fitness program to find time, maybe half an hour a week to work on mindset and personal positivity.


Luckily during Covid there has been alot of growth in this sector and I follow various people online who literally do nothing but make me smile and give me all the positive feels, whether its within myself or within my business or family life feeling positive is a HUGE bonus in life. Feeling good about yourself on your day is what EVERY bride wants, and of course great hair and makeup professionals will also help with the external effect, but to feel confident and ready to take on the world comes from within and I feel this is somewhere I could have benefited from.


A few people you might want to follow for positive vibes: Noor Hibbert - Business and Life Success Coaching

Emily Coxhead - The Happy News

Sarah Powell - The Home of Self Celebration & founder of members club 'The Parlour'

Pete Cann the Laughter Man - Pass the Giggle Phone!

5. GO WIT H YOUR GUT During the process of our planning journey we had hundred of ideas that would have made the day personal to us. Many of these we implemented and were truly special (chilli's in our flowers, Pies for our meal, our log guest book, games on each table, a fire pit, sparklers, a super fun ceremony..) but there are a few which didn't happen for various reasons and looking back I wish we had gone ahead with them. One of these was fire breathers (!) haha! You may laugh at this, but it was bonfire night after all, and I found this incredible company that would have come and done an insane display of fire breathing and magic for part of the day. This would have been such a memorable experience for everyone!


If there is something that truly makes you smile and you feel fits in with your day then I say go for it! Even if its another £100 or more, it might just be worth saving that up to make it happen.


Last but not least...


6. CHILL THE F*** OUT!!!

REMEMBER - ONLY A TINY AMOUNT OF WEDDINGS WILL MAKE IT ONTO YOUR FAVOURITE WEDDING BLOG...


I would like to think that EVERYONE looks back on their wedding day with HUGE love and joy, revelling in the personal details, the atmosphere and the general festivities that were had. However from personal experience I know that this isn't always possible.


I PUT SO MUCH PRESSURE ON MYSELF to create this amazing, more is more, instagram worthy at every turn wedding that I don't think whatever I had done would have lived up to my expectations. However I know for a FACT that our wedding day was incredible, I know that the most important people to me were there celebrating and that they all had a fabulous time. I also know that I married my best friend and the photos and memories of those all important parts of the day mean so much to me and will do for the rest of my life. So whether my photographer chose to share our images on their website or not, or whether my favourite wedding blogs chose not to feature my day is completely irrelevant and you shouldn't waste any time worrying about it.


Every photographer and every wedding blog has a certain criteria and style they need to portray to attract their ideal wedding client and viewer and its a simple fact that not every wedding, however perfect to you, will fit within their brief. It might simply be the wrong season, they might have featured a similar wedding recently, they might have a set of features already in line which are on a different scheme to your day.


IT IS NOT THAT YOUR DAY WASN'T GOOD ENOUGH!!

Your day was absolutely perfect for you and your guests and THAT is the MOST IMPORTANT thing.


ROUND-UP

The above is 100% my own experience. Every couple will have their own journey which they follow and what is important to me will be different for you. This is only meant to be a little check in with your mindset and planning incase I can help make your path to your own wedding slightly less bumpy or stressful.


I would love to hear your own views, highs or anxieties around your wedding planning, whether you are just starting out, in the thick of it or have already tied the knot, so please do comment below, get in touch via social media @deabillandquince or email me at freya@deabillandquince.co.uk


And you can see a full case study for our wedding here.

{ SUPPLIER SHOUT OUT } Photographers: Peach & Jo

Venue: Northbrook Park Caterers: Pieminister Dress: Hermia Jenny Packham Groom's Jacket: Dobell, Red Velvet Florist: Carl at Castle Street Flowers Farnham Hair: Ruby Mane, Farnham Nails: Mooeys, Farnham Makeup: Estee Lauder (Bride's own) Shoes: Kate Spade NY Cake's: Made by a friend of the Bride and Groom Playing Cards: Designed by me, sourced from Zazzle

All on the day photography shown here was by Peach & Jo, who have now changed their business to the link above.



Over and out lovely people... see you next time.

{ Thank you for reading to the end! Feel free to share, post, comment & like,

I would love to hear your feedback and any requests for future post contents }


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