Going to the chapel and we’re gonna get married…
Firstly, I hope you sang that like I did. But finally, I am engaged and getting married in 8 months! Anyone close to me knows that I’ve been waiting for this for a while. The past few years of my life has shown me that I quite like weddings. Planning them, working at them and attending them!
My final year project at University was a radio documentary about the pressures of getting married in Asian cultures, and I have worked within events and even on some weddings previously. So, getting to go through this journey myself and plan my own wedding is extremely exciting for me. The day I bought my wedding planner from Paperchase was a very happy day!
I am quite lucky in the sense that I have older sisters who have recently been married, so I can easily get advice and compare prices on large things such as photographers and DJ’s, however my wedding is going to be very, very different to both of theirs.
Traditional in their ways, both of my sisters had wonderful large Asian weddings filled with curries, gifts, rituals and an extremely large guest list! I’m definitely not what you would call a typical Asian girl- the word ‘coconut’ gets thrown around a lot. So, it’s no surprise that my future husband is white. Although he has converted to Islam, we both want the same small and personal wedding that matches our personalities. This is us:
My vision is to have a rustic wedding in a converted barn with wooden centre pieces, lace and burlap everywhere. I’d like to have mocktails and a roast dinner, and to end the night dancing! Now, this might not sound like an ‘out of the box’ wedding to most, but for my parents, it’s definitely a little alien.
Thankfully for me, being the youngest means I have a bit more leeway to do the wedding I prefer, but knowing where to begin can be difficult! I decided to write down my initial process to tackling the wedding beast in the hope that it might help others to know where to begin, or to reaffirm that we have the same thoughts! Just to point out, this is how I personally have tackled it, and the order is by no means concrete!
Who do you know?
A wedding isn’t a celebration without the ones you love! (and those extra people you feel the need to invite, but don’t really want) Compromise is key, but having a rough idea as to how many people you know will help you set a realistic goal for the venue, budget and even how creative you can be. I could never imagine making DIY wedding favours for 300 people, but 120 is much more reasonable. A lot of venues now like to provide you with a quote, so find a rough number (and always round up by 10) will help you in the decision making process for nearly everything!
Make a list!
I love making lists, because I am naturally super organised and adore all forms of cute stationary; but it’s important to start to write down the different elements to a wedding, so you can see everything you need to tackle. Even if you don’t know all the little details, it can help you to process all the areas your time and money will go. Here’s an example of my list! And, i’m still sure i have a lot of things I’ve missed off there, but it’s allowed me to prioritise the bigger tasks.
Location, Location, Location
I find this decision to be the hardest one to make. Even If you want to get married in a hotel, how do you choose one of the millions that essentially offer you the same deal? Oddly enough, my internet searches for rustic decorations in the past really worked in my favour, as my chosen venue was founded through a Facebook sponsored Ad! I’m not sure what made me even look at the ad, but I’m so glad I did, because I fell in love. It’s a bit like picking a university- you know the kind of thing you want but when you actually visit, you’ll be able to picture yourself there.
Looking at what a venue can offer you is extremely important. Large costs like having the registrar, catering, even tables and chairs are desirable at a venue. Extra costs can really hike up the price, and add the stress for you to find those bits yourself. My venue included all of these things, but also has a variety of smaller items to rent, like a sweet stall or added extras like a bonfire outside.
I have found it so easy to get a response to my questions, and everything is put online which offers a sense of transparency. You can see a breakdown of exactly where your money, including the staff’s pay, a sample plan for the day and useful information to planning a wedding! Knowing I have such a supportive venue on my side definitely takes a load off, and up until my next meeting to finalise details (6 months before the big day) all I have to worry about are save the dates and confirming a concrete guest list.
It’s okay to need help
It’s very easy to feel like you can’t trust anyone to help with your big day, especially as I am a bit of a control freak and know what I want. But, I’ve learnt to ask for help or support when making decisions because it makes me feel like my wedding is a part of everyone’s lives and it I know my decisions are being checked over by someone else who may pick up on something I forget!
Friends, family, this blog- there’s tons of people out there who have done this before, which means they will be full to the brim with contacts of florists, DJ’s, venues, or even may be of use themselves. I enjoy the idea of having DIY elements to the decorations, and I know family members or friends who would be able to help me make items such as my centrepieces, by physically sitting and hot gluing burlap to a mason jar! An extra pair of hands is always a good thing in this case; but the final decision is always yours.
Get on Google!
If Google can’t find it, it doesn’t exist. I’m sorry to break the news to those who aren’t aware, but you have to PAY to get married. Your love and signature is not enough! But, it’s someone job to marry you, right? So I guess they need some cash too! Save yourself some time by doing some research on how to legally get married. Does your venue allow a registrar to do the ceremony? How far in advance do you book? What’s the pre-marital interview about? Knowing all of this will help keep you on track for the important parts of the actual marriage, and makes you sound like you actually know what you’re talking about! My venue includes the fees for the ceremony, and the contact information for the registrars that perform daily at the venue. However, they do not allow any other form of ceremony to be done, so in order to perform a religious ceremony, we have to do this elsewhere.
I know I’m not alone when it comes to my obsession of Pinterest! With so many creative ideas, Pinterest is the hub of all things crafty, picturesque and inspirational. Whether it’s public or private, start a board with all your favourite ideas and you will start to see your desired theme form before your eyes! You can even share the board with your partner who can contribute. (Yes, your partner can also be a part of the process too.)
But, be warned! Pinterest will show you what seems like the world’s most perfect wedding- so DON’T compare yours to someone else’s picture perfect wedding! Use the website to inspire you or to link you to places where you can buy bits and pieces.
It probably sounds like I have everything under control, and I do for now, but I guarantee as soon as I begin the DIY centre pieces or making large vats of jam for wedding favours, I will definitely not be as calm and collected!
I hope this little guide on how I’ve tackled my wedding prep has been useful, and I will definitely be writing more as I continue on this process! To see some of my ideas, head to my Pinterest board here.