No matter how laid-back you might be, or how simple your wedding plans are, almost every couple feels stressed in the lead-up to their wedding. And is it any wonder? With so many details and decisions to make it’s totally understandable that it can feel overwhelming sometimes. So if you’re feeling a bit anxious, don’t worry! You’re not alone.
As a wedding photographer, I’ve picked up all sorts of handy wedding planning tips from clients and other wedding industry experts. And now I’m excited to share these pearls of wisdom with you!
So grab a cuppa, get comfy, and read on to discover my 10 stress-busting wedding planning tips, and get ready to start your super relaxed journey to your perfect wedding day!
1. Give yourselves time to dream
Before diving headlong into wedding planning, be sure to celebrate your engagement and give yourselves time to gather ideas and inspiration.
- Attend some wedding fairs/shows. This is not only a great way to see venues, but it’s the perfect way to meet suppliers and get your questions answered by the experts.
- Buy some wedding magazines for further ideas.
- Browse the wedding blogs and pin your favourite ideas to Pinterest.
- For venue inspiration, I found a great place to start was Co-Co Wedding Venues (cocoweddingvenues.co.uk) – a beautiful UK wedding venue directory jam-packed with gorgeous photos!
2. Be a team from the start
It’s pretty common for one of you to be more excited and enthusiastic about wedding planning than the other, but if you’re not on the same page, this can lead to disagreements and rows later down the line. So, having an open and honest chat about all the things you want is a great place to start. Here are some trigger questions to get you started:
- What is most important to you about your wedding?
- What should those wow factors be?
- What are your must-haves?
- Is there a particular style of wedding or venue you’ve always dreamed of?
- Do you have a particular location, colour scheme, or time of year in mind?
3. Plan your wedding budget
If planning a budget for an event as big as a wedding isn’t something you’ve done before, is it any surprise that this can seem a bit daunting? In fact, money’s probably every engaged couple’s least favourite topic when it comes to wedding planning, and one that can cause the most worry and anxiety. So, where to start?
- Think about how much you can afford to spend on your wedding.
- Chat with your parents or family to see if/how they might be able to contribute.
- Consider if there’s anything you can do yourself or have family and friends help with.
- Talk to close friends who got married recently about how much they spent on certain aspects of their day.
- Think about how many people you want to invite.
- Start looking at wedding vendor websites and brochures to get some idea of the costs involved.
Once you’ve done these things, you should be well on your way to getting a handle on your budget!
4. Research & book your big ticket items
Start looking early to avoid disappointment.
Venue, photography, music and food. These are the usual top four, but of course your priority order may be different. Many venues and suppliers get booked up a year in advance (especially at weekends) so booking these things first is a really good idea. Do bear in mind too that since these four elements are usually the most expensive, you may want to pick just two of these as your top priorities and focus your budget on those, as having too many priorities can lead to over-stretching your budget.
Also, be prepared to make a few compromises. You’ll still find a great venue, photographer, DJ/band and caterer even if you don’t end up with your number one choice on everything. And by the time your day swings round, I swear you won’t remember the compromises you made and will simply have the best day ever!
TOP TIP: Having your ceremony and reception at the same venue will save you time and stress on the day, as you won’t have to think about travel and logistics.
5. Choose vendors you genuinely like and trust
Choose the suppliers who listen to you, understand your vision and are 100% committed to helping you create your dream day. That way, when the big day arrives, you’ll be able to relax and let the pros work their magic without feeling the need to worry or micromanage.
6. Ask around for recommendations
Family and friends will often be keen to help and can share their experiences. For example, did you love the food at a friend’s wedding? I’m sure they’ll be happy to share the caterer’s details with you. Be warned – some venues are strict about the caterers you use, particularly if they have their own restaurant, so it’s always worth checking.
7. Make a plan and stay organised
Planning a wedding can take up a lot of time and energy, so spending time creating a detailed plan can really help. I don’t know about you, but I think being able to tick things off a list can really help give you that positive feeling of powering through and accomplishing things.
- Break things down into easy, manageable chunks.
- Create a rough wedding planning timeline with a list of what to do and when.
- Set up a wedding email address so all your wedding communications are in one place and you can easily find everything.
- Put together a wedding website so you can quickly add updates. Plus there are no excuses for guests losing their wedding invitations and/or contacting you last minute to find out what time the ceremony starts! There are loads of free website options. (We set ours up on Wix using a simple pre-made template.)
- Start a wedding emailing list – not only does this save paper, but it also means you can easily send out invitations, RSVP reminders, and updates. (We set ours up using Mailchimp which is free and easy to use.)
- Have a wedding folder, either physical or digital, so you can keep things like invoices in the same place.
- Set aside time in your week for wedding planning. When you have a dedicated space in your week to make decisions, you’ll both feel like you’re making progress, and also that wedding planning isn’t seeping into other aspects of your life.
- Pretend that your wedding is a month earlier than it actually is! This way, with everything done and ready, you can simply sit back, relax, and enjoy the last few weeks before your big day!
8. Delegate and ask for help
There’s no doubt that planning a wedding is a mammoth task. It may be tempting to think that only you will know what’s best, so you want to do everything yourselves. But doing everything can be really hard going and can really up the stress levels! So don’t turn away offers of help. Having contributions from those you love will also help make the day feel even more personal and special.
- Here are a few things you could ask for help with:
- Stuffing envelopes
- Posting your invitations
- Setting up on the day or the day before
- Helping with DIY projects
- Organising props for a photo booth
Also be sure to think carefully about who you want your bridesmaids and groomsmen to be – choose people you can trust to support and help you.
9. Be assertive and know when to say ‘no’
Don’t become a people-pleaser and lose sight of your own wishes!
I count myself really lucky as I don’t have pushy parents or friends. But I know this isn’t always the case. Sometimes couples have married friends and family who start dishing out advice and opinions left and right, and sticking their noses in where they’re not wanted (however good their intentions might be!), so you may find you quickly need to become a master of diplomacy. Some family and friends will have great ideas that you’ll take on board, but there may be others who try to take over.
Be grateful but also assertive. Thank them for their ideas and gently remind them that it’s your wedding, not theirs. In particular, be on the lookout for guilt trips. For example, if parents are putting money towards your wedding, they might feel like they should automatically have a say in how that money’s spent, and/or who should be invited to your wedding. I know it can be hard to say no, but a lot of stress can be avoided if you’re assertive and set your boundaries from the start.
10. Maintain perspective
In those moments of feeling totally frazzled, give yourselves a moment. Breathe deeply. Take a break. Have a cuppa. Get some fresh air. Have a change of scene. Talk to a friend. Be kind to yourselves.
And don’t forget what your wedding is really about – you’ve found the person you love and want to spend the rest of your life with. It’s all about the two of you, the love you share, celebrating that love and the start of a wonderful future together. Focusing on the bigger picture should help you navigate any bumps in the road with a relaxed attitude.
And there we have it! I hope you’ve found these wedding planning tips helpful?
I would absolutely love the opportunity to work with you and be by your side on your wedding day. So if you’d like to explore hiring me as your photographer, please get in touch and let’s chat.
The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist
There’s no doubt about it that planning a wedding can take up a lot of time and energy, so having a detailed action plan can be super helpful.
I don’t know about you, but I find being able to tick things off a list can really help give you that positive feeling of powering through and accomplishing things.
So – in true Blue Peter style – here’s one I made earlier!
Introducing The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist – a step-by-step guide which breaks things down into simple, manageable chunks, so you can easily keep track of your progress, and be confident that you won’t miss a thing.
To download your copy, simply drop your name and email address below and let’s get planning! 🙂