If you're reading this, chances are you've been embroiled in the ever so chaotic, yet strangely satisfying milieu of wedding planning. I mean, what's not to love? Trying on a myriad of outfits, scanning through some of the most magical venues you didn't even know existed, and scrolling through plenty of inspiration on Instagram is almost guaranteed to get the excitement levels going.
That being said, wedding planning is indeed no easy feat, with every minor detail sure to give the most seasoned of wedding planners some form of headache. To perhaps alleviate some of the pressure, we've prepared this little blog to, hopefully, help out all you future brides and grooms!
1. Set a Timeline
The moment a shiny ring enters the picture, the most common question a newly engaged couple will be asked is when their wedding will be.
Whilst it's definitely an exciting prospect to start checking out venues and other vendors, the best way to kickstart your wedding planning would be to take a step back, and have a gander at your favourite calendar app to figure out a set of dates that suits you.
Typically, an average engagement period stretches just over a year, and importantly so. Setting a timeline allows you to manoeuvre around any obligations, such as holidays or that family reunion you forgot about, and find a date that ensures all your loved ones will be able to celebrate your special day.
2. Be Calm
With a timeline in full view, it cannot be more recommended that couples approach the planning journey in a calm, collected manner. Choosing venues and selecting other vendors will take time, energy, and quite often it gets easy to grow frustrated with the process. It's okay to take your time, which allows the experience to take shape at the pace most suited to you. Not to mention it'll minimise any mishaps, as well as enabling you to spot if anything has been overlooked!
3. Set a Budget
Weddings are often labelled as one of, if not the biggest of celebrations you'll ever host. However, there is an additional connotation that accompanies every wedding- the price tag.
That is not to say that every wedding is sure to break the bank, but it is important to look over who is contributing to what. Although at times an uncomfortable topic to discuss, it'll save plenty of frustration to establish what realistically can be featured. Ultimately, over our years as wedding photographers, we've seen that big or small a great wedding is one that truly focuses on the reason to celebrate, that is the love shared between some pretty awesome people. You, your life-partner, surrounded by those who matter most- that's the best wedding.
4. Find Your Vision
From high ceiling heritage mansions, to boho fairytales across Victoria's regional gems, couples are spoilt for choice when it comes to the sheer variety of wedding venues across our state.
Which is why, before committing to the very first cool location you notice, it'll spare a lot of future FOMO to do your research, and find out just what style or theme suits you!
Thinking ballroom, or perhaps something more rustic? Summer cocktails or a wintry wedding filled with fireplace warmth and hot chocolates? These little aspects amalgamate into how you will remember your special day, and so it's critical to select a venue that matches these ideas.
5. Pick Your Dream Venue and Set a Date!
Once your vision is set, combine this with your timeline and budget to select the venue that fits in seamlessly with your desired timeframe and theme.
Needless to say, once you've locked in your perfect venue you'll also have confirmed your dream date!
6. Plan Your Vendors
Date is set, venue confirmed, now the fun really begins.
From statistics, most couples choose their photographer (and/or videographer!) as the next step after their venue. However, whilst it's important to get in quickly with those responsible for capturing your special day, it's equally critical to not neglect the other small brands and businesses that make up your wedding experience. From florists to DJs and bands, enquiring early and leaving things with plenty of wiggle room is a sure fire way to guarantee every essential vendor is good to go for your wedding. Especially with some high-priority vendors, such as a particularly specific photographer whose style you MUST have for your wedding, getting in as soon as you can definitely helps in ensuring their availability!
Not to mention, this early planning leaves plenty of room after to sit back and relax, with the bulk of the scrambling done and out of the way.
7. Set Contingencies
Given the kind of years 2020 and 2021 have been, perhaps the lesson most emphasised is to always have a backup plan. Another benefit of early, calm and collected planning, is that you have the additional timeframe to cover all your bases.
We're not suggesting booking two or three of each vendor as a failsafe (that's one heck of a way to overshoot your budget!), but to instead survey as many possibilities as possible, and have a handful of suppliers from each service in your notes, just in case things turn out a little pear-shaped with the vendor you originally had in mind.
8. Plan for the Weather
Victorians, this really doesn't need much backstory. For some reason the weather just has it out to get us. Similarly to how it's important to have a backup plan for your vendors, couples should also note the possibility that a nice overcast day just might not happen. You should definitely discuss wet-weather options with your venue, especially if a sunny outdoor ceremony was in mind.
Photo locations may need some tweaking as well, although those large bridal umbrellas do make for an amazing prop! Have a chat to your photographer, and usually they'll have a few tricks up their sleeve to navigate around Melbourne's permanently incorrect forecasts.
9. Choose Your Bridal Party
A conversation that's exciting, or uncomfortable, or both. It's time to assemble your crew!
Whether you're keeping the selection small, or enlisting half your Facebook friends list, the people you choose will ultimately become a party planner, secretary, professional negotiator and therapist all rolled into one, so choose well.
The quicker you set up your bridal party, the quicker you can put them to work in helping you plan out your special day. So, soon after the squad's all locked in, start delegating!
10. Plan Your Guest List
Some find this task easy, some get split ends over it. From a willy-nilly mass invite to all the group chats you're a part of, to the meticulous combing through of all your social contacts, we definitely advise that you select your guest list strategically.
Perhaps inviting 300 guests to a small scale winery venue isn't the most realistic, not to mention a higher amount of guests would translate to larger catering costs. Then there are those age old questions surroundings kids or plus-ones at a wedding, not to mention whether or not to invite that one relative mum knows, but hasn't quite seen you since you were in kinder.
These questions will have to be answered eventually, and so it's best that couples take their time with their invites, and stick to the crowd they best envisioned.
11. Send Your Invites!
Similarly to how you should plan your wedding around any possible obligations, likewise your guests will have that one family reunion or work function they totally forgot about.
Everyone has different interpretations of what enough notice means- for some six months is way too advanced, while for others it may not be enough. Ultimately, you'll know your friends and family best, so send those "save the date" flyers early to ensure the whole gang's there to celebration your special day!
12. Chill Out
By this stage, you'll probably begin to understand why wedding planning is often described in these type of blogs as chaotic, frustrating, or is compared to some other headache-inducing experience. It's important to remember why you're planning in the first place, so take some time off, maybe a week, maybe longer. Go for a typical Melbourne brunch date, or a night out with friends, and let yourself recharge.
The wedding can sit on the back burner a bit, else the whole thing boils over and you've fatigued yourself before the big day has even come.
13. Consider a Planner/Coordinator
Some of you might be extremely organised, and we envy you. Nonetheless, on your wedding itself, amidst greeting everyone, smiling for selfies, and of course, getting married, even tasks that were initially easy to be on top of may suddenly escape you. That's where a coordinator comes in- someone who knows the ins and outs of how your wedding is run, and plays the role of the ultimate personal assistant. Let's face it, there will be times when your awesome crew of bridesmaids and groomsmen dip out for a few Instagram stories, and so a coordinator ensures that you've always got the help you need on hand for the entire day.
14. Help Others Out
With hundreds of weddings occurring every week, there are other couples facing the same frustrations of wedding planning as yourselves.
In the multitude of Facebook groups out there, not a day goes by without someone asking for recommendations, whether it be for specific vendors, or just an anxious bride-to-be looking for reassurance.
If you're in a position to do so, we highly recommend joining these groups and help assist others in the same boat as you. After all, your recommendation might just be the final piece in their planning, which is sure to bring some nice warm feelings of success. Now isn't that sweet!
15. It's Party Time!
Wedding's planned, now's the time to enjoy it! Take the day as it comes, and ultimately your special day will undoubtedly be one of the best days of your life.
There you have it! Thank you for reading these tips and tricks from what we at the Love Above family have learnt over the years, and hope that it's provided some form of clarity for the journey ahead. Happy planning!