Why you should ignore everyone’s wedding planning rules (including ours): An alternative guide to planning your wedding
We felt it was about time that we put together our own alternative wedding planning guide, one that encourages and empowers you to create a wedding that reflects you as a couple. Many couples that stumble across our eco wedding directory and blog tell us they suddenly feel at home amidst the often crazy world of weddings.
“I felt I had an affinity with your blog that inspired me to be confident in creating a wedding day that was meaningful to us as a couple.”
Here are our top 10 tips to create an alternative wedding planning guide. Take what you want and leave the rest. We’re not here to tell you what to do or how to do it, we just want to empower you to make your own choices and create a wedding that reflects you.
1. Pinterest – The Bane Of A Newly Engaged’s Life?
Don’t get us wrong we really do love Pinterest (<< go see if you don’t believe us), we can get lost on it for hours and it really is a great source of inspiration. HOWEVER, please don’t let all the beautiful styled images freak you out and suddenly make you think you need to have things you hadn’t even considered. Use it as a tool for ideas and leave it at that, don’t get wrapped up in recreating every styled image you see. Unless of course DIY is your bag and you have the time to do it stress-free.
2. Your Wedding Should Not Be Used As An Excuse To Spend Money You Don’t Have
Your wedding in not an excuse to spend more money than you have or are prepared to spend. Lots of couples will have a budget (in 2016 the average UK wedding cost – in our opinion an eye-watering – £25,000), but just because you set your budget at X amount doesn’t mean you need to find things to spend it all on.
Why not try working the opposite way. Start with no budget and by listing out the big things you’d love. Find out how much they cost, then list out your essentials and find out how much they cost. Add it all up. Finally, work out how much more you can, need or want to spend on your wedding. This might help you to focus on what you really want rather than just spending (or blowing) your budget.
It’s also worth accepting early on that (some of) your dreams will likely be dashed by “lack of money” (whether you are spending £2,500 or £25,000). Instead of feeling disheartened, see what you can dream up when you are forced to be creative and think outside the box, you might just get something even more wonderful.
3. Create an Awesome Ceremony
So often we hear how the ceremony turns out to be the best part of a couples day (really it should be you’d think!). So take more time and thought into planning your ceremony, not how it looks, but how it feels, what is said etc. Have you considered an “unplugged wedding ceremony”? No idea what one is? Check out our feature by wedding photographer Maureen du Preez for an inspirational look at why you should have an unplugged wedding ceremony.
Also take time to explore the various kinds of marriage ceremony that there are. We’ve seen humanist ceremonies, church ceremonies, outdoor ceremonies, sand ceremonies, handfasting ceremonies, even a Buddhist tea ceremony.
4. Wedding Dress Shopping Isn’t For Everyone (And That’s OK)
Wedding dress shopping – although something so many brides-to-be look forward to, there are just as many that find it intimidating or nerve-wracking. So don’t feel like you are different or unappreciative if the thought of trying on white dress after white dress doesn’t fill you with overwhelming glee.
We suggest… Take with you someone who is supportive and confidence boosting. Alternatively go on your own to get a sense of what you like before having the pressure of other people looking at you. Don’t be scared to say you don’t like a dress either before or during trying it on. If you’re not really finding anything that’s your style consider looking elsewhere, such as online – there are so many great alternatives. For inspiration check out the alternative wedding dresses we’ve featured.
5. Forget Timescales
When you start wedding planning you are likely to come across a ‘useful’ to do list. These will be broken down into timescales of when you should have things booked by (these normally start at 12 months to go). Although the information can be helpful and can be used as a rough guide, it can be terrifying and induce panic that you need to have had things done at a certain point. This in turn could result in you making rushed decisions.
We know people (TNWC’s Samantha for example) who have planned a wedding in less than a year; 9 months, 4 months etc. And guess what, their weddings had just as much meaning and the beautiful details they wanted as every other wedding we have ever been to or seen.
6. You (Don’t) Really Need This
Everywhere people, blogs, magazines and shops are going to tell you that you need X Y and Z to make your wedding a wedding. Every time you find yourself thinking “oh my gosh I DO need that” ask yourself some of the following questions:
Will I really regret it if I don’t have [enter item] for my wedding? (You might find yourself shouting yes, YES, at which point, ask yourself the question a few more times to see what you think).
Do I have something that will be just as nice as [enter item] or could I borrow [enter item] from someone I know? (You might find yourself saying how nothing will ever be as nice as [enter item] and that you deserve it. You only get married once after all. In which case, ask yourself some of the following questions that might apply…)
Can we afford it? Could we make something similar? Will I really care if I don’t have it? Who told me I really need/want it? It’s OK to ask yourself all those questions and still really want whatever it is. Only you will know if it’s right for you, but it’s worth questioning yourself rather than just buying what other people say you need.
7. Make ‘You As A Couple’ Your Theme
Want a theme? Wicked. Don’t want a theme? That’s also wicked. Just choose what truly feels right to you both. The very best theme we normally find is ‘you as a couple’. Really celebrate your personalities and what makes you the couple you are, your love for each other, your friends and family, your passions and your interests.
We’ve seen couples who’s lives intertwined through a passion for plants and how this shaped their wedding. Others who so loved the outdoors they hiked (bride in her wedding dress) across a mountain to their wedding venue. For other couples a shared love of childhood fairytales meant they transformed a garden into a storybook wonderland. And this bee-loving bride asked for a bouquet full of wildflowers and bee-friendly blooms.
We doubt these are your cup of tea, but we shouldn’t expect them to be, they are unique to those couples. Find what binds you together, what you two truly love, and see if there’s elements you’d like to weave into your wedding day.
8. Truly Put Your Trust in Your Florist
We are massive fans of seasonal and locally grown wedding flowers. Save yourself the time and hassle of nit picking over what florals you want, and find a florist you trust and let them design you truly seasonal wedding flowers. Not seasonal wedding flowers with a ‘buy in’ safety net, but true seasonal wedding flowers. Even in November. Do you research, go and meet your florist, build a relationship, and then just tell them to create you beautiful seasonal wedding flowers.
9. Don’t Change Yourself For Your Wedding
We know you want to feel your best on your wedding day, but remember your future Mr or Mrs is marrying you for being YOU. Don’t lose weight or whiten your teeth or change your appearance just for your wedding. We don’t believe they are healthy “to do’s” to have on your wedding list. Your wedding is not a goal to abuse for changing your physical self. Those things should be done for you. Don’t even think about buying a wedding dress sizes too small, it should be made to fit you.
For those who aren’t feeling so confident about their looks, why not read this heartfelt letter entitled ‘Dear bride-to-be, please stop hating pictures of yourself’. Another beautiful piece to read is ‘Beauty is a feeling’ detailing why one bride-to-be decided to cancel her make-up artist.
10. Ignore Everyone Else’s Wedding Planning Rules (Including Ours)
Basically take everyone’s wedding planning rules and guides, including ours, shove them in the bin, and make up your own rules. It can get pretty overwhelming with all the ‘advice’ out there, especially with so many sources telling you what a wedding looks like, or what you “need” for your wedding. We want to inspire you to ignore it all and make your own rules when it comes to YOUR wedding.