5 Things I Wish I'd Known When Planning My Wedding

Unless you’re an event planner - and even when you are - the process of planning the biggest celebration of your life so far can be overwhelming to say the least. Sure, there’s a list of things you can use to structure the planning. Dress - tick. Venue - tick. Music - tick. Cake - tick. Stationery - 😉- tick. You know the score.

Still, I felt like planning my wedding was a huge learning curve - Who I can rely on, how to herd cats, and how to balance lots of suppliers at once. Here’s my Top 5 Tips from what I experienced:

1 Choose the right photographer

We knew we wanted a documentary-style with candid interactions, magic moments and a cool, urban aesthetic. We found someone who had a very impressive portfolio, but on the day, his heart was no where near being in it. As a result, we don’t have any of our photos printed and displayed around our house. Even nearly 3 years on, thinking about that experience still upsets me!

Since becoming a wedding supplier myself, I’ve interacted with many AMAZING photographers. The best ones really get to know you as a couple, and they’re absolutely passionate about capturing your relationship, your family and the - dare I say it - magic of your day fo’ real. If I could go back in time, I’d shop around and really make sure we had made the right choice. You only get to do the day once!

Here are some of my top recommendations. These photographers all have the personality and the skills to shoot your big day:

Sidey Clark

Lex Fleming

Joanna Bongard

2 Understand your venue

Our venue was awesome - If I do say so myself. Think bare brick, glass ceilings, botanical plants and, I kid you not, a giant prop room to dip in to and decorate with. The staff were amazing, the location was perfect, and they made the day fantastic fun.

As big fans of live music, a huge part of our plans revolved around having a band to play in the evening. The dance floor and the bar were either side of some french doors.

When planning this out we underestimated two things: Firstly, some people there hadn’t seen each other for years. They wanted to catch up, and they did that where it wasn’t so loud. Secondly, people like to drink at weddings. That seems obvious, but it meant that the band were playing to a couple of people, rather than the masses, because most people hung out near the source. 🍷

My advice: Make sure you think about how each part of your day and night will work. Factor in your guests’ needs, rather than what you want them to do, and things will be much more relaxed!

by Rebecca Douglas Photography, via  cocoweddingvenues.co.uk

by Rebecca Douglas Photography, via cocoweddingvenues.co.uk

3 Try a bit of everything

You get one chance to play the ‘I’m engaged!’ card, so use it to really experience some different options. For example, I was in the very fortunate position that my lovely step-mum made my wedding dress. It was beautiful, and exactly what I wanted. Since my friends have got engaged, though, I feel like I missed out on going to a bridal boutique. I never tried on a wedding dress in a shop, drank that free prosecco, waltzed in and out of a changing room in loads of different styles, and now I never will. Moreover, my mum, bridesmaids and Nanna missed out because I refused to get on board.

At the end of the day, I loved what I wore and I felt great. That’s all a bride could want! But if I could give myself some advice back then, it would have been not to shy away from experiences because they made me self-conscious and just embrace a nice day out. 👰

My best friend didn’t want a hen because they’re expensive, a political minefield and ultimately in her view, a big fuss. We went away for the weekend - we, the bridesmaids and her - and we knew that actually, she’d enjoy a cheeky tiara and a game of Mr & Mrs. She also didn’t factor in that making a fuss of her was no biggie for us - We love her! She was so happy with the little surprises we planned. She’s admitted since that life is just better wearing the tiara too, so I think that’s a win for hen-dos!

There may be elements of your day that you think ‘I don’t need that’ - and it’s good to know what you want. Just don’t write yourself out of fun because you think you don’t deserve it.

4 You can’t control it all - and you shouldn’t!

Retrospectively, I wonder how may brides think about how involved their partner felt when planning the wedding. I know my husband would’ve liked to have been more involved, but I had this tunnel-vision about the aesthetic, the atmosphere, the-who-what-where of it all and honestly, I didn’t really let him in all that much. This is my biggest regret regarding wedding planning.

If you need a hand, I’d really recommend a great professional like Laura or Union, who will allow you to focus on your fiancé(e) and not stupid things, like which forks to choose!

I had all these irrational fears about my wedding day - Random people turning up, red wine down my dress, fights, no food! Well, none of that happened, but there were a few accidents and mishaps I hadn’t even imagined. The long and short of that is, I wasted time and positive energy fearing things I couldn’t control. On the day, things happened that weren’t planned for, but we cracked on and the day was still the best. Embrace the good, forget the bad, try to have some fun.

5 Make it personal

Lots of people want to feel involved and special at your wedding, but cut out all the pomp and you’re simply left with two people who love each other. Focus, always, on that. Don’t compromise what you both want, and stick together as a team. Make sure you and your guests look around and think, ‘This is so them/us’.

Venues, bands, photographers - They are great at weddings because they do it a LOT. Make sure yours isn’t the same as the next one and that things are sentimental and special to the two of you.

A great place to start is your guests’ first glance - Your Save the Dates. Get in touch if you need a hand and we can capture what you want for your day - and your marriage - in a design just for you.