Tips From a Wedding Non-Expert
This wedding planning lark has us scrambling around and feeling a little out of our depth. Okay, A LOT out of our depth. Until now, the most we’d organised was a black tie party for Neil’s 30th birthday, which consisted of an email and Facebook invitation, and calling a bar to organise use of a corner of their space.
To be sitting here, with a rather daunting list of To Do’s from The Knot’s Wedding Planning Tools (TIP: Tick off the ones you don’t think are relevant to make it less scary as they have thought of every possibility), four spreadsheets of wedding stuff, and a fast-approaching wedding date, is enough to push even the calmest couple into “zilla” territory.
Most of us are wedding newbies, and you can’t expect yourself to just “know” how to organise what is likely to be the biggest event of your life. Thankfully there is plenty of help out there – and below – in the form of my Top 5 Wedding Planning Tips:
1. Ask questions – no matter how silly you think they are
Neil likened interviewing potential suppliers to buying a house. The more you do it, the better you get at asking the right questions. Chat to other brides-to-be in The Knot Forums, chat to your already hitched friends, or email questions directly to The Knot team at firstname.lastname@example.org. You’re not an expert, but there are plenty of people out there who’ve been there, done that and can help with those tricky questions.
2. Be organised
It may seem like an obvious one, but we had four spreadsheets running at one stage! Buy a big folder, some dividers and a packet of plastic sleeves. This is now “home base” for all of your supplier quotes, contracts and invoices, business cards, guest list printouts, inspiration clippings, RSVP cards and so on. Not only will you keep all your wedding bits in one place, it’s also a great start to a wedding scrapbook for those B2B’s out there with a crafty streak (not me).
3. Budget, budget, budget
Neil’s favourite part of the wedding planning is making sure we (I) stick to the budget. We’ve got a big spreadsheet with columns for the item, supplier details, budgeted cost, supplier quote, final cost, deposit paid and date the balance is due. This is helping is keep track of how much we’re spending, and when payments are due. So far we’re $1700 over… oops!
4. Don’t be afraid to haggle
If there’s something on a supplier’s package offering that you don’t want, don’t be scared to ask for a discount or to replace it with something else. Not all weddings fit into the same packaged box, and your suppliers should be happy to accommodate changes. We tweaked our reception and photography packages and ended up saving quite a bit of money!
5. Accept all offers of help
You’re not a machine, and no one expects you to be able to put together this event alone! Your bridal party and family are there to help, so make sure you delegate where you can. We enlisted my sisters to help make our wedding invites, and another friend has offered their car whenever we need it to run wedding errands.