Sunday, 13 July 2014

Decisions Decisions So Many Decisions

I've started dress shopping! I'll write a post on the experience once it's finished...but it made me think of a post that I think would be a good conversation starter or at least a way for me to get my feelings down. This for me is a diary on wedding planning to look back on, and if anyone else finds it helpful that's great.

I've had a bit of decision making burnout over the last few months. We started off so well, booking the venue then the photographer in quick succession. Then booking the registrar and caterers. Then I kind of lost motivation. It isn't like I lost interest, but it just seemed a bit overwhelming and I was putting things off.

It was odd really as it's not like me, usually I just pick a point and start there, but I felt like there was so much to do that I didn't know where to start. I was quite clear on the timeline I have, and that the dress and/or music was next. However I just didn't have the mental energy to go ahead and start looking, as I knew that wouldn't be the end there would be a million large and little decisions to follow. And everyone is asking me. Like I suddenly know about flowers, dresses and napkins. It wasn't even like anyone could help as it was literally just making choices that I didn't want to do. I think it was combined with booking the Kilimanjaro trip and also having all that to think about, plus working full time and all the training for how did I get over it?

  1. I made a list of what roughly needed to be done in what order, then put it away for a couple of months. I'd gotten it all down on paper so it was out of my head, and I knew I didn't have to rush as we were in good shape wedding planning wise so I could take a few months break from the wedding and focus on Kilimanjaro and training. That also helped the funds to build back up too so when I came back to it we weren't so skint! Don't be afraid to take a break if you can.
  2. Start with something important to you to get the creative juices flowing again. While dress shopping wasn't something I was really looking forward to, finding the dress was (I kind of just wanted some fairy godmother to magic it to me). I was actually very pleasantly surprised by the shopping experience last weekend, and it has really got me back into the wedding planning groove.
  3. Organise. While not everyone will enjoy it as much as me (I am a bit of a Monica) a bit of organising never goes amiss when you're feeling overwhelmed. For example my wedding board on pinterest was becoming so big that it was hard to see the wood for the trees, so I split them into smaller boards like 'wedding shoes' 'flowers' etc and it is much easier to see clear themes coming up in my pins, making it easier to make those dreaded decisions!
  4. One you have made a decision, don't second guess it. My ulterior motive for rearranging my pinterest boards was to get all the dress pins onto one board, so when I buy the dress I can delete that board. Yes delete it, all those carefully curated pins, so that I won't look back on it in 6 months and wonder if I picked the right one. 
  5. Just book an appointment already, or send an enquiry. Do something. I made a dress shopping appointment to force me into looking at dresses, but it didn't mean I had to buy my dress at that shop it was just a first step into dress shopping to break the ice. It's not that I didn't want to go dress shopping, it just seemed like a big thing and a lot of things to decide (plus I am not typically found clothes shopping it is not something I love). So I booked an appointment far in advance, and this last month I started getting more excited about it.
  6. I passed things on. I have said Tom can sort the car, and he has taken the lead on the honeymoon too. He then looks things up and consults me, rather than me wading through the hundreds of hotels etc.
  7. Little by little. If I think about all the things I have to do this year at once it makes me dizzy. So I think about the next thing to do, which is order the dress. Then after that it will be music, and I am not thinking after that. Most of it will wait until we are back from Kili now.
  8. Prioritise. I was thinking about a lot about things we were realistically not going to notice weren't there if they didn't happen. And when we actually only have a half planned wedding and a mountain to climb in 3 months then favours or chair decoration is really not something to be worrying about. If I can get the things that are important to us sorted, and the little things don't all happen, it'll be ok. 
  9. Admit you don't know. Like I said above sometimes people (especially vendors I've found) might assume you know about whatever aspect of the wedding you are discussing. I have no idea about flowers other than I usually have tulips because they are cheap, and I make sure to tell this to florists so they won't confuse me with names and options that mean nothing to me. If you don't know then just ask, or get someone to help you decide.
  10. Admit you don't care. Not that I don't care about my wedding, but as it stands right now (this may change) I am indifferent to a few things. Like the cake for example, I personally am not going to eat it...I feel it's something we wouldn't have if it wasn't one of those weddingy things. So if there is a cake then great, but I'm not going to give myself a million more things to think about for the cake. It'll be a basic cake if it exists at all!
  11. Alternate wedding planning, don't think about it all the time. The last few months have been Kilimanjaro oriented, but now we are paying for it soon and then will just be training. So the summer can be a bit more wedding oriented mixed in with gym and running etc. Then September and October will be just Kilimanjaro. Then when we are back it will be wedding...I can't do both so gave up trying. Maybe book a day every couple of months with your partner to do wedding things, either formally or just for example we have said that on Sunday we will start looking for a band online and sending off enquiries. 
  12. Elope. Haha joking...kind of. 
Hope you are all having fun if you are planning you're wedding too, if you've experienced this comment below with your tips!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Wedding Planning Timeline

It's a year until our wedding! 365 days and I'll be a Mrs. It's also my grandparents golden wedding anniversary, so congratulations Granny and Grampy!

Yes we get married on their 51st wedding anniversary, which we didn't know until we booked the wedding but I think it's really nice that we'll share our wedding anniversaries.

This kind of got me thinking about the wedding planning timelines and date booking conundrum people face. We booked ours once we found a venue and let their availability decide the date, but we did have a little bit of disappointment that we couldn't have it this year. Now we have started planning I really appreciate that we have a bit more time as it would have been much more stressful to plan a wedding in 6 months rather then nearly 2 years, but I kind of wanted it this year rather than waiting a whole 12 months more!

So what do you need to think about when booking a wedding date?

Special dates
We had a few dates we didn't want the wedding on (birthdays, anniversaries of deaths, valentines day) but no special date we really wanted it on. It may have been nice to have it on the anniversary of our first date, but that's in September and Tom is in car sales so booking 3 weeks off over September is not going to happen. Are there any special dates you would like to get married on?

We both instantly agreed we wanted a spring or summer wedding, it's just our preference as we prefer warmer weather, so talk about what time of year you prefer. Bear in mind that a lot of venues charge more for the same wedding in July than in March, so look at the season you want to get married in but also how that choice will influence the cost of your wedding. We saved £1000 by booking a week earlier at the end of April rather than the start of May.
Like I said, we chose the venue then set the date depending on when they were available. So if you have a venue in mind which you love and have to have then go in with an open mind on dates. Also depending on the type of venue what season does it suit better? Are there other factors to think about like traffic on a weekend at peak tourist season in a scenic area?
Mundane things like work and time off
We got engaged in May last year, and Tom originally (like the day after we got engaged) said he wanted to get married in Spring this year. However once we started looking into it we realised this would put a bit of a strain on us both financially and time-wise. We were already into the financial year that we would be getting married in and I had already used up most of my leave so would struggle to get time off for the wedding and honeymoon, let alone time for planning it. With an almost 2 year engagement I can do most of it weekends and evenings and book the occasional day off when needed and not have to push myself to much. However say you have loads of annual leave left, or you have lots of free time then you might want to just go for it!

Everyone will tell you how expensive planning a wedding is, and even if you are planning a budget one there is still going to be some financial outlay. Be realistic about how long you need to pay for this. If you have savings in the bank, or lots of credit which you are willing to use (I'm a credit phobe so not advocating this!), or someone is paying for the wedding for you, then you might be in more of a position to book a wedding date soon. I could have maybe planned a wedding in 6 months, but we couldn't have paid for it in that time unless we had a really budget wedding, and even then it would be tight so we decided to leave it a year longer. We wanted to pay for our wedding as we went, and had offers of help from family as well, so we wanted to leave ourselves breathing room to save and pay for things as we book them. For example we booked and paid for the venue last year, and we have recently booked the caterer and paid their deposit this month. Next up is dress and music and we are saving for those now.

Other commitments
I'm not 100% sure how this happened but we appear to be climbing 2 mountains, raising a target of £4000 each for charity and getting married in the next 365 days. Safe to say this influenced our date booking. Had we gotten engaged 2 years ago we might have been able to plan it in a shorter time as we weren't so busy then, so the benefit of a longer engagement is that we have more time (although I have a rough timeline that I am trying to stick to of what I want booked by when). Although a shorter engagement means you are married sooner and don't have to plan the wedding at all after that...
Relationship style
Not sure what to call it but your relationship style or temperament will have a big effect on how you want to do this, are you a couple who got engaged after 6 months or have you been waiting for that proposal for years? Are you a couple who does things spontaneously or are you both planners? Tom and I are quite laid back, our relationship isn't a dramatic whirlwind romance. Don't get me wrong we are romantic (occasionally) but really we are a team and work together to build our little life in a way that sets us up for a good future. We therefore didn't want to start getting into debt for our wedding, we also aren't in any rush. We will have been together 7 years when we get married. Although saying that Tom wouldn't have proposed if he had no intention of actually getting married, so once we were engaged we were both keen to start planning the wedding but in our own laid back, considered, we'll do it when we're ready style. I sometimes daydream about eloping to an island to get married barefoot on the beach...but that just doesn't seem us somehow.
Really this is down to you, are you the kind of people who can plan a wedding in 3 months? Are you organised and efficient? Or would you prefer longer to let yourself book things at your leisure and to have lots of time to think things over? Really think about how long you want to take to plan your wedding. Don't feel pressured to do it all in 6 months if you think it will stress you out just so you can get married this year, why not wait until next year and really enjoy it? Or vice versa, if you're sure you will be able to plan a wedding in a few months, and you have the funds available, then go for it!
Not sure how to word this, but if you have old or sick family members you really want at your wedding then that might influence your decision on how soon to get married. Also if your family are difficult or maybe not so supportive of you getting married then you may not want to prolong the agony of dealing with it, or you might want to leave it a while so they have time to get used to the idea before the wedding...

The best quote I've heard is that a task expands to fill the time you have, so if you have 3 months it will take 3 months, if you have 3 years it will take 3 years...but as long as you are happy with the end result that's all that matters.

Don't forget to enter my easter giveaway over on the main blog, and have a lovely weekend :)

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Winter Wedding Inspiration

I pinned a few things on winter weddings for a Rock My Wedding competition (any brides to be reading if you don't follow them already you should, major inspiration). A lot of these aren't applicable to our spring wedding, or I hope they won't be, but they were too pretty not to share.

Some winter wedding inspiration this weekend, anyone getting married soon or next winter?
Winter flowers and a faux fur stole
Glittery glamorous decor
If we could only guarantee snow in the UK, winter doesn't often look like the hair here and the horsies
Sleeves on a wedding dress to keep covered up
An autumn wedding
Simple and wintery table decor
Great for an autumn or winter wedding
I think these are Christmas decorations but they'd work well at a winter wedding
Twinkling lights and lanterns
Great bridesmaid look for winter
This one kind of cracks me up, if on your wedding day you want to sit on the floor holding a pine cone while a wolf looks at you from the background then you must do it wearing a cape with some random ice skates in front of you. Who could ice skate in a wedding dress anyway? The cape is nice though.

Happy weekend all!