Yep we did it! (and yes that's me in the Bride robe....if you're having hair and makeup done in your room...you need something easy to take off before you get into your dress. Fabulously cheesy, but what's life without a little cheddar?)
It was amazingly good fun and a very magical day for both of us so a massive thank you to all our family and friends for the most amazing support.
I said it on the day and I've said it several times since, I never had the whole wedding day dream.....but even if I had it wouldn't have been as good as our day was.
I'm not going to obsess over the details but I will answer questions directly if you'd like me to.
I've probably only been to about 4 or 5 weddings and as I've said a few times, I was never that into the whole wedding thing, but we had our day, we made every second of it ours and I absolutely loved it.
So here are a few tips from what I learnt along the way.
1. Keep things simple. The less there is going on, the smaller the margin for error.
2. Make it yours. Its a pretty special and amazing time for both of you so make sure you do things the way you want to. It helps to have easygoing families which we are both blessed with! But still, we did it all our way and it made it so much more special when your personal imprint is visible in everything you do.
3. If possible, keep it small. It gives you more flexible options with venue spaces and with 50 guests, we had an absolute blast.
4. As we had a destination wedding one of the things I did that was an absolute godsend was get a planner. It helped immensely having someone local to co-ordinate everything that needed to be done. They'll take care of all the niggly details you will forget or don't know about. Meanwhile they've walked through hundreds of weddings so know what will happen when. As we're coming out of the recession, if you push a little, you'd be amazed at the discounts you can get. (That applies everywhere by the way, no shame in my game asking for discounts at the till at Topshop with about a 50/50 success rate!).
5. Think out of the box with the flowers! They get expensive fast so I'd recommend going with fewer but choosing more striking options. At our reception we only had 7 arrangements which worked well visually and financially. But of course, if you are a flower lover, have a good chat with your florist to work out visually striking yet cost effective options.
6. Get the best photographer you can afford. There's an enormous difference between a good photographer and a great one. A difference I didn't necessarily entirely appreciate until we got our photos back. Our photographer was fantastic, amazing, amazing!!!! No matter how gorgeous it all looked while we were there, she made it all look so stunning in print. And they really are images of an amazing time. We did decide to forgo the video to get a better photographer but that is a very individual choice. We knew we'd be very unlikely to watch a dvd meanwhile I spend far too much time looking at our wedding pictures.
7. Have fun activities going on before. As ours was abroad, we had a good idea of what we wanted to do with our guests. We got married on a Monday and on Saturday we organised a beach picnic, night out on Saturday, cocktail party on Sunday etc. Its pretty much down to good manners.....you can't ask people to fly somewhere because you wanted to get married there and not schedule enough activities to make it more fun! And for you, the bride, it gives you something else to do and have fun with rather than obsess over the details!
8. Instead of a rehearsal dinner, consider a cocktail party. Its less expensive, less formal and more fun. Everyone will spend enough time sitting down on the wedding day so let your guests mingle and enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere.
9. Avoid serving premium label drinks. The whole open bar vs cash bar is a tricky one. Personally, I don't think you should need to pay for anything at someone else's wedding so there was no way we would have a cash bar. We picked nice wines and champagne as that's what people would spend the most time drinking. Yes we had champagne cocktails but we didn't use the same champagne we used when we just served the champagne. Why? Do a taste test, can you tell the difference between the premium champagne and a not so premium champagne once its in a cocktail? Didn't think so.
Arrange with the food & beverage team ahead of time that you won't be serving premium label drinks at the bar. Once the party starts, that pissed mate might think its a good idea to order a round of Johnny Walker Blue Label on ice. Its not. So eliminate the possibility!
10. Borrow jewellery. It's easily likely to be the most expensive bits you wear so avoid spending a penny by borrowing from any female relative that has wedding appropriate stuff. Much cheaper than buying anything new and they'll be honoured you asked. All my jewellery was my Mum's which made my life a lot easier (and yes I'm lucky enough that we have very similar taste).
11. Shop around, shop around, shop around. Are you wearing a veil? I was a bit shocked at the price tags on most veils so I did what I do....and shopped around. And I found my plain ivory, cathedral length veil for £40.
The main thing I'd say is by the time the day comes, just relax, leave it all in the hands of the Gods/Mums/planner and enjoy your day.
That's all I can think of for now, but please, feel free to keep the questions coming! Its all very fresh in my mind so I'm happy to help. Just send me an email at email@example.com.