Getting engaged for me was a mix of pure elation and child-like giddiness. We were in London ready to get the Eurostar to Brussels - a weekend trip my amazing mum had donated to me (this will forever be one of the best weekends of my life, thank you mumsy ♥) - when Jamie got down on one knee to propose. It was the happiest I've ever felt, and I'll remember that weekend and how perfect it was forever!
I've been a very efficient bride from the word go, really! I have always had quite expensive taste but as a Northerner I begrudge wasting money. I like to shop around and get the best I can for my hard earned cash - which has come in handy throughout my wedding planning process. I've collated my top tips for your perusal below... Enjoy! and Congratulations! remember to enjoy every moment of wedding planning... you'll miss it when it's over. (honestly!)
1 - Shop around! It's a no brainer. Collate lists of vendors, with price lists and pictures - then shortlist your top 2 or 3. You may find (like I did) that there is little difference between your top 3 looks wise, but there will be with the cost.
Shopping around also means looking at suppliers from different regions. Often wedding directories are a girls best friend. In the East Midlands, for example, #honeysuckleandcastle and #savethedatemag are amazing directories, with hand picked suppliers waiting for you to discover them! However, should you be shopping for items that are posted such as #weddingstationary or #weddingsignage… don't be afraid of a Google search!
2 - Priorities. What do you actually need? I get it... you've been to a few wedding fayres... and everything looks dreamy... and you just need it! Even though you didn't even realise it was a thing a few weeks ago...
Make a list of your priorities. It has the same effect as eating before you do the ASDA shop so you don't go full ham and purchase aaaaaaall the snacks. There are 3 main groups of couples:
a - Entertainment couples - all about the music, activities, potentially a band
b - LOOK couples - all about dreamy décor, the details
c - Foodie couples - all about food and drink
unless you're Rockefeller... it's unlikely you can splurge on all sections involved. Pick your priorities as a couple and invest your money on what's important to you.
3 - Source and use multi-purpose products.
Table plan? WHY?! Your guests enter the venue, find their seat, and are very unlikely to forget where they are sitting, rendering this gorgeous seating plan you sourced and had made useless after 10 minutes. For my own wedding, I had the amazing idea of bringing my #weddingfavours, #placecards and #seatingplan together... See snap below:
Not only does this save lots of Wonga, but you only have to pick the table guests sit at, not who they sit next to. #seatingplanmare averted!
Should you have no knack for calligraphy, do check out www.wildcalligraphyGB.com - to me, the most special thing about this little business is that collaboration is at the centre of it's ethos. All items are made to order, taking your ideas and wedding themes into account and telling a story about who you are as a couple. Perhaps you have an 'in' quote or private joke you want to get into the wedding somehow... what better way than inked onto high quality 300GSM card.
Thank you cards:
You've found the dreamy photographer... whose pictures GIVE YOU LIFE... amazing... use those snaps to make your own thank you cards, rather than purchasing stand alone thank you cards from a stationer or stationary shop. You can get in touch with small, independent printing and packaging companies such as https://www.mollyandtom.co.uk/ who offer a range of high quality paper (inc. handmade paper) or go full frugal and use the big brands like https://www.printed.com/ to produce your goods!
always check with your suppliers what packages they offer, you may be able to get more than one service from a supplier - meaning you don't have to shop elsewhere. This saves on postage and time, but also there is more uniformity amongst items on your big day.
4 - Be selective with who you invite.
It's been commented on at several points that I've been 'really good' at 'not inviting people' to my wedding. This is a very strange thing to hear, but sadly, lots of people get caught up in people-pleasing and this often leads to huge guest lists and consequently a huge bill! I was nearly one of those people...
We always knew that we'd have a long engagement because we didn't wanna start married life in debt - but equally wanted to celebrate our exciting news, so organised an engagement party (this was an amazing call!). We had a huge party, invited everyone we thought we'd invite to the big day and started venue hunting for the do. The party was amazing, in the sense that lots of people turned up and it was SO lovely to see so many faces. What wasn't amazing, was how much my feet hurt because I wasn't even a teeny bit tipsy. I'd spent all night fretting that I hadn't spoken to people for long enough or said hello to everyone, and literally nursed the same glass of vino all night (until my friend Sophie fell on me and knocked it out of my hand - lol). My blisters had blisters and I was not OK. I knew I couldn't have a big wedding. I feel awful and so ungrateful for saying this but it just wasn't for me.
The process of then deciding who made the cut was fairly easy. I saw this AMAZING infographic with a drop down quiz which basically inferred: "if you wouldn't pay for them to eat normally don't invite them to the day do" #LIGHTBULB ! But let's be honest, on the flipside how awful is it when you get a day invite to someone's wedding who you're not that close to... queue all the guilt of going out of a feeling of necessity rather than desire and begrudgingly purchasing presents on top of hotels... new outfits... transport. Rid yourself of any guilt - it's your one day to be selfish and make it about you, and that's OK!
5 - HONEYMOON GIFT LIST
This is my favourite of all! as without the #trailfindershoneymoon giftlist we wouldn't have planned the honeymoon of our dreams! Essentially, the website collates honeymoon donations from guests. You can set time parameters to establish how long guests have to donate. Trailfinders also donate £100 to your honeymoon fund once you've had one donation. You can share your honeymoon plans with guests and leave messages for them to see. The website is very easy to use, and should you have any unlikely issues staff are very reliable and will work to resolve them as soon as possible.
You sign up via their website [https://www.trailfinders.com/wishlist#/] as a couple. It takes a few days to set up but you will be emailed with a confirmation when it's good to go. Trailfinders post up to 100 honeymoon poem cards free of charge, to put into your invitations. It's a really cute way of asking for money for your honeymoon - plus, my family said to me they loved it because guests know the money is definitely going on the honeymoon (which may mean they are more generous - bonuuuuusss!)
If you're going on your honeymoon a few months after your wedding, all money raised is automatically deducted from your balance. If you're going within 8 weeks of the wedding, you pay the balance but the honeymoon wishlist balance is transferred to the account you booked with. Amazing! There are undoubtedly other companies that provide this service so do shop around. We picked Trailfinders as we've travelled with them before and the service from start to finish was amazing. I love this as it feels less vulgar than asking for straight cash, but it's still a meaningful gift and guests can look at your honeymoon snaps with a smile on their faces knowing they've contributed.
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In a nutshell, that's all from me. I do hope you find these tips helpful.
Congratulations once again! and happy planning ♥
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