I love really pretty stationary and loved designing our own wedding save-the-dates and invitations, but when it came time to sort out invitations for our Rehearsal Dinner, we didn’t want to fuss with designing them, posting them and paying an arm and a leg for them. We decided send e-invitations to all of our guests, via Paperless Post, and it was a great decision as they turned out beautiful, it was the most cost effective option and it was super simple to do!
Hiring a videographer for our wedding was a last minute decision and it was one of the best decisions we made throughout the wedding planning process. A few weeks beforehand, I told Ciaran how much it would mean to me to have a video to look back on our special day. Of course we’d have all of the photos, but I wanted something I could watch and have memories of my parents, family and friends to look back on for years to come.
I don’t know about anybody else who has gotten married before, but I had serious post-wedding/honeymoon blues when we returned to London. Going back to work that first week was really hard because while I just went through a momentous life experience, everything else stayed the same. It felt odd coming back to the norm and I grappled with how my life had just changed so much, yet everything else still stayed the same. I had to get back in to the swing of things!
It’s true when they say your wedding day is the best day of your life. In our case, it was the best week of our lives. All of our friends and family from around the world came to England to help us celebrate and it was the most special experience we could have had.
When it came to inspiration for our wedding invitations and save the dates, I looked to Pinterest, wedding magazines and wedding blogs. I wanted something a bit more unique and we knew the only way to get what we really wanted, was to design everything ourselves and I am so pleased that we did in the end.
Our wedding is only 6 months away and I can’t wait for the special day to come. We started planning our wedding around Easter time last year and there have definitely been ups and downs. I wish I could say that I have absolutely loved the whole wedding planning process but truth be told, I never realised how much work goes in to planning a wedding and stressful it can be. Planning a wedding on top of having a full time job is very demanding, but I keep telling myself it’ll all be worth it in the end. A lot of my newly engaged friends have asked if I have any tips or advice to give them about planning a wedding and while I consider myself to be no expert, I have learned a thing or two throughout this crazy process.
WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING
Shopping for my wedding dress has been the absolute best part of planning my wedding. When I said yes to the dress, I was with my mom and it was one of the most special memories I’ll hold near and dear to my heart forever. We had gone shopping at a few different stores back in Kansas and the first time, I was with my best friend and my mom. I tried LOADS of dresses on, I highly recommend it. Even if you think you know what style you want, you may be taken by surprise. Bring a bottle of bubbly and just relax and enjoy the day. It is a day that is all about YOU and how beautiful you look.
The second time we went shopping, I was just with my mom and we walked into this little bridal shop and from the moment I walked in, I felt like I was in a winter wonderland of bridesmaids dresses. I tried on a few more dresses and my consultant had suggested I try on a dress we had actually thought would look amazing on my older sister. I reluctantly tried it on and ended up falling in love with it. It is classic, timeless and beautiful and from the moment I put it on, I knew it was the one.
My best advice is to relish the days you go wedding dress shopping and surround yourself with supportive people – whether it be your bridesmaids, best friends, your sisters, relatives or just your mum. Try on all different styles – you never know what will look good – you could be taken by surprise like I was. Soak it all in – if you are unsure about a dress or don’t feel that it’s right, just say no and keep on looking. Don’t get discouraged, you will find your perfect dress, it’s inevitable.
BRIDESMAIDS DRESS SHOPPING
I am going to preface this by saying to get a thick skin when it comes to shopping for bridesmaids dresses. If you have a lot of bridesmaids in your wedding, lay down the law from the get-go that your bridesmaids are going to wear what you want them to wear, even if that is a paper sack. Girls can be very opinionated and it will be very hard to please everyone, but at the end of the day, the only person’s opinion that matters is yours.
I am a total people pleaser, I hate letting people down, even if it costs me my own happiness. The time will come where you need to narrow down the dresses and make a decision based on what looks good on everybody. The one you choose will never be everyone’s cup of tea, but as long as you are happy with the decision and how they look, that’s all that matters. Your bridesmaids are there to make your life easier and if this is an aspect that is stressing you out, don’t be afraid to have a kind word about it with them.
Another tip for bridesmaids dresses – decide on a budget ahead of time. Make sure that if you are paying for all of your bridesmaids dresses, you have a budget that you can manage. If your bridesmaids are buying the dresses, make sure that they can afford them. Give yourself plenty of time to go shopping and look at different options. If you opt for custom-made gowns, order them 6-8 months in advance to give yourself time for alterations.
OTHER PEOPLE’S OPINIONS
Planning a wedding comes with a lot of politics – who to invite, who not to invite, who’s paying for the wedding, should kids come to the wedding, what should the colour scheme be, and so forth. It can get very overwhelming and it can be really hard, again, to let people down. Sometimes you will feel the need to say yes, even though in your head you are saying NO. Everybody is going to have an opinion, but at the end of the day, what you need to remember is that it is YOUR wedding, not anybody else’s. Do what makes you happy – if you want a lime green colour scheme (of which I am not condoning) go for it. Hopefully you’ll only have one wedding, so make it count and don’t worry too much about what everybody else thinks.
DELEGATE, DELEGATE, DELEGATE
Don’t be afraid to delegate jobs to family members and friends. Ciaran and I both have full time jobs and it takes a lot of discipline to come home every night and work on wedding stuff. Both of our families have been a huge help to us and for that, I am forever grateful because it really is too much for two people to plan and do everything. I have found that a lot of time, family and friends do really like to get involved, so go ahead and give jobs to them – whether that is booking out a block of hotel rooms for some of your guests, arranging a meeting with the florist, ordering decorations or just being on hand to help as and when help is needed. It’s good to feel supported throughout the wedding planning process – it makes a world of difference.
I never used to understand why brides would turn into Bridezillas, but there are admittedly certain points where I actually understand now. Planning a wedding is one of the most stressful jobs – from the logistics, the budget, the invitations, the band, flowers, seating arrangements, etc. All of these thoughts and to-do’s will swirl around in your head until the minute you say ‘I do’ and that alone is enough to make anybody go a bit mad. Take it from someone who gets overwhelmed very easily, when you are feeling stressed out, stop planning. Your wedding won’t be destroyed because you took a night off from planning to go out with your friends or went away for the weekend with your fiancé because you needed a break from it all. Don’t let it overcome your life – it’s not worth it. Keep a sense of humour about it all – and stay positive. Your day is going to be fantastic – you’ve put too much work into it not to be. Take a step back and just breathe. When all else fails, just think of how great it’ll feel when you’re on your honeymoon, kicking back and relaxing because you won’t have any more planning to do – now that’s the thought of pure bliss! 6 months and counting…