After years of working in the wedding planning world, I am delighted to say that I have officially had my turn at being a bride! On the 8th of April 2022, I was fortunate to marry my best friend and watch our dream day come to life.
After many last-minute changes due to Covid (including a change in venue), we had only three months to pull together our dream day. We were lucky to have the most magical marquee wedding on family property in Auckland, and the weather even did what we ordered, providing the most beautiful sunset for our guests to enjoy.
Even with the experiences I have had in the wedding planning industry to date, there were plenty of reflections and learnings along the way… so I thought I would share those as part of my blog, in the hope that it may help others who are currently on their wedding planning journey. Here are my top ten reflections...
My Wedding Planning Reflections:
1. Planning your dream day - together with your fiancé - can help you to create an event that blows all of your expectations out of the water!
At the beginning of our engagement, I met with a friend for coffee who gave me one of the best pieces of advice I could have asked for. She reminded me that even though I probably already had a vision for what our dream day might look like, it is possible that my fiancé may not have the same vision. So before running full steam ahead, it was important to sit down together and brainstorm a combined vision, agree on our priorities, and discuss each other’s non-negotiables (for us, great food was a priority, so we made sure to work with the best of the best - Whisk Catering). As we progressed through the planning phases, we found ways of enhancing each other’s ideas… and in turn we ended up with an even better version of our dream day.
2. When people in your life offer to help with wedding related tasks… it’s ok to accept that help. They are offering because they actually WANT to help.
I have always been a person who is very happy to potter along and do everything myself with the hope that I don’t inconvenience others. When it comes to your own wedding, I quickly learnt that friends, family, and unexpected people within the community really do want to help! So, my best piece of advice would be to actually accept their help when they offer it… because to them, they are delighted to contribute and be involved, no matter how big or small the task is.
3. Nothing really prepares you for the emotions you may experience ahead of (and during) the ceremony.
Even on a normal day, for many of us the thought of having all eyes on you can be terrifying. When you add wedding day nerves and the anticipation of finally seeing your partner for the first time… it can bring up many more emotions than anticipated. The hour leading up to your ceremony is likely to be one big blur as you gear up for one of the most special moments of your life. So here are a couple of tips to help keep your nerves at bay:
Surround yourself with a bridal party who knows how to keep you relaxed. My lovely sister facilitated deep breathing exercises for us all on the car ride over which was an absolute dream.
Avoid having too much caffeine that morning.
Build extra time into your run sheet so that you can relax with your faves in the 30 minutes ahead of the ceremony.
Some rescue remedy always comes in handy too!
Once you and your fiancé are at the front of the aisle… it is likely that all the nerves will disappear as the anticipation is over and you can just enjoy the moment together.
4. I know I say this all the time, but if you’re having a Marquee wedding, a Day of Coordinator (and / or Wedding Planner) is worth their weight in gold!
When we decided to do a marquee wedding at home, the first thing we did was lock in a Day of Coordinator… somebody that we trusted to take care of all the setup and details on the day. As anticipated… our families and friends absolutely raved about our Day of Coordinator and all of the support she provided. Not to mention the fact that we (and our families) were able to confidently relax and enjoy the wedding, knowing that everything was in safe hands.
5. Get to know your vendors first to determine fit.
In the leadup and on your wedding day, you spend SO MUCH time interacting with your wedding vendors. In particular, you spend so much of your wedding day hanging out with your photographer, videographer, planner and hair & makeup team. For this reason, it’s important to work with vendors that you trust to deliver the services you need, but also that you get on with on a personal level. We took this approach and feel so fortunate to have worked with our selected vendors!
6. Where possible, select an MC that knows both of you equally.
An MC plays such an important part of any wedding day and we were so lucky to have a good friend of ours accept this responsibility for our big day. Because our MC knew us both so well, he was able to add humour and anecdotes that resonated perfectly with all of our friends and family! Think carefully about who you ask, as it can change the energy of the whole day.
7. Disposable Cameras aren’t always easy to use.
OK so this one makes me feel old… but do you remember those good old disposable cameras? Well, they can be such a fun idea to place around your wedding reception for people to take photos throughout the day and night. The behind-the-scenes photos that you end up with are priceless.
Trick for young players though… make sure that you buy the disposable cameras that automatically turn the flash on. If it’s manual and people forget to turn the flash on, you’ll end up with hundreds of blacked out photos.
8. 0% options are a must.
People are drinking less alcohol now days, so it’s always nice to consider offering 0% beer and wine for those who are driving. People don’t expect it, but it’s a nice way to ensure everyone feels included and a little bit fancy as they sip on their glass of bubbles, knowing that it wont affect their ability to drive home later that night.
9. Take the week of your wedding off work if you can.
The week of your wedding is where all the DIY stuff and last-minute prep and communications happen. It is also often the week where mini curve balls get thrown your way (this is completely normal for most weddings so not to panic if you do get curve balls). If you can take the time off, you will be able to relax knowing that if anything pops up on the wedding week, you have the space to get it sorted quickly.
10. When creating your wedding budget, add in a little buffer for purchases you haven’t thought about.
With every event, the things that often take you over budget are the last-minute mini purchases that you didn’t anticipate such as:
Weather solutions (umbrellas, blankets, fans, heaters etc.)
Thank you cards or gifts
Additional guest meals
Niceties for the bathroom
Broken or lost hire items
Catering for your helpers on the day of wedding setup
Where possible, allocate a bit of additional money for unexpected purchases you may need to make.
Hopefully there are one or two insights in here that will add value as you get closer to your big day. As a reminder, I’m here to help if you would like to chat about your wedding... I am ALWAYS delighted to be available in whatever capacity is going to add the most value for you.
Shout out to all of our amazing vendors. This day would not have been possible if it wasn't for you!
Photographer: Aaron Sami
Videographer: Hamish Boyt
Caterer: Whisk Catering
Stationery / Signage: The Signery
Marquee & Furniture Hire: Twelve Tables
Cake: Just Jess Boujee Bakery
Florist (Bouquets & Buttonholes): Frankie & Flora
Rings: Walker & Hall
Tans: Epsom Spray Tans
Earrings: Black & Bloom
Shoes: Forever New
Wedding Attire Drycleaning: Regal Drycleaners
Suits: Suits on Broadway
Day of Coordinator: Danica Griggs
Celebrant: Jason Nichols
MC: Victor Davies
Florist (Wedding Arch): Family Friend
Florist (Table Arrangements): Mothers of the Bride & Groom