Main image from Sophie & Paul’s real wedding by Michelle Prunty
Does it seem sometimes like your wedding checklist is endless? You are not alone – even the brides who opted for the simplest of celebrations still have to make decisions and arrange all that needs to be arranged. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it may help to think just how many wedding planning milestones you’ve already covered. Or if you’re just starting your planning journey, here are some of the fabulous things you have to look forward to.
Marking your engagement
Whether your proposal was a city centre flashmob, or a romantic sunset moment for two, it deserves a proper recognition – so many people are happy to hear your great news, so get them all in one place and have a proper celebration. It can be as elaborate as a glamorous gala in a top location – or as casual as a pizza party at your place. You deserve to have a great start to your wedding journey, even if you haven’t set a date yet. Getting engaged is important, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Setting the wedding date
You won’t know the exact date until you find your venue and book it – but enjoy choosing the season, the month, or even the exact week. What is your favourite time of year? Do you just love Christmas, or is a summertime wedding in a gorgeous garden your ideal place? Or are you looking to make some savvy budget decisions with an out-of-season deal? The whole year is yours – go ahead and pick that perfect date.
Image from Ailbhe & Andrew’s real wedding by Paul Andrews Photography
Choosing your venue
Castle or countryside pub? Posh restaurant or picturesque marquee? Which one is the ideal choice for you as a couple? This is a decision best made together, because you both have to love it. See as many venues as you can, and keep an open mind – your ideal choice may be the one you didn’t even consider.
Wedding dress shopping
For many brides-to-be, this is the milestone they’re looking forward to more than anything else. And rightly so, because this is the one dress you’ll remember for the rest of your life (maybe even keep it in your closet for ever and ever, when you’re a Mrs). And if you ask any past bride, the story of dress shopping will likely be the one she’ll tell with a certain longing in her eyes. Enjoy it to the fullest.
Choosing your bridal party
One bridesmaid or fifteen, it’s special all the same. Asking your friends or family members to support you during your planning, then stand next to you at the altar, is truly something to cherish. There are many special ways you can do this – and then enjoy every moment of the planning together.
Image from Sona & Nick’s real wedding by Couple Photography
The experts say there are usually good reasons to send save-the-dates – like a wedding abroad for instance – but if you’ve already got your date and you simply can’t wait to start asking, then go right ahead. You don’t need to give all the details – just the date and the announcement of the happy event. You can really get creative too – check out some of the fantastic ideas on Pinterest.
Choosing your photographer will be great fun – especially if you choose one who offers a pre-wedding photoshoot. Grab the opportunity with both hands, this doesn’t happen every day! You’ll have a glorious time, you’ll befriend the photographer, and he or she will be able to figure out your best angles. For your wedding day, that’s a win-win-win.
Sampling the menu and the cake
Two words – free cake. It’s heaven. Go for your faves, and then walk on the wild side and ask for something out of ordinary. For your menu, be sure to ask about having a taster, and even better – ask the chef for his or her specialty and see what they can do for you that fits with your budget. It’s called their specialty for a reason – it’s what they make best. Your guests will rave about the food for months, if not years, promise.
Image from Margareta & Mike’s real wedding by Monica Hadarean Photography
Having your hair and makeup trials
If you’re like most brides, you rarely have an occasion to enjoy a professional hair stylist or makeup artist attend to your appearance – and what an experience it is. Enjoy it to the fullest – remember, they want you to look your absolute best, so feel free to ask or tell them anything you like. It’s not just an important milestone in your wedding preparations – it’s fantastic fun.
Choosing your wedding rings
An important step to be sure – and here we offer our best tip… if you can’t find what you like, go bespoke! There are plenty of jewellery artists who’ll make you something completely unique, at a reasonable cost. Don’t hurry this purchase – after all, you’ll both be wearing these for many years to come.
Sending your invitations
Choosing them is just part of the fun – dropping those invitations in the post box is a moment cherished by many couples. Just think of all the smiles that’ll greet those pretty envelopes, from all the people who love and care about you. Be sure to keep a sample of the invitation for yourself, it’s a lovely token.
Image courtesy of Appleberry Press
Going on your hen/stag do
Nerve-wracking? Maybe. Exciting? Definitely! Nowadays, it’s still customary for the chief bridesmaid to plan the hen do in secret, then kidnap the bride for her adventure – that’s all part of the fun. Just think – the next time you’ll be getting together with the same group, it’ll be your wedding day…
Having a rehearsal
If it hasn’t all sunk in yet, it will now – make sure to arrange a wedding rehearsal, to take place as close to the big day as possible. It doesn’t need to be an elaborate affair, you just need to know your places, where to go, what to do when, and what to expect – it’ll help you feel calmer on the day itself. To make it a little bit special, have a nice dinner afterwards, with everyone who’s been involved – it’ll be your chance to talk over any details, and enjoy each other’s company before the main event.
The day is today – and you had to cross all these milestones to get here. What a beautiful journey – and what a future ahead of you. As the Beatles once sang, all you need is love.
Image from Gina & Edward’s real wedding by Brenda McGuire Photography
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If you think the bride should always have the last word, then Rachel is on your side! A devoted fan of everything quirky, unusual, colourful or crafty, she loves scouting WOL's real weddings for unique and fun touches. When not gazing at pictures, she's dispensing no-nonsense advice on everything from reception entrance songs to bridesmaid problems.