Since Mr T popped the big Q back in September I’ve had my eyes opened to the many intricacies of wedding planning and sheer scale of the thriving British bridal industry. Here’s a quick update on my observations and progress thus far…
Coming from a Catholic family I’ve attended my fair share of weddings over the years, most comprising of a visit to Church with a few flowers, a whole lotta family and back to the church hall or hotel for a bite to eat and good ol’ knees up, complete with embarrassing uncle dancing and children knee sliding to cheesy pop classics. It would seem that there can be so much more to wedding planning than booking a church and church hall!
With the number of couples choosing to get married rising after an all time low (back in 2011 married couples were in a minority here in the UK) it looks like tying the knot is back in Vogue and the UK bridal industry is riding high. A survey conducted by You & Your Wedding magazine (2015) revealed that the average cost of a wedding here in the UK is over a whopping 20K.
Lost in the wilderness: Having never dreamt of my ‘dream wedding’ or considered myself as a ‘white wedding kinda chick’ becoming engaged and embarking on our wedding voyage felt like getting lost in a floral smelling wilderness, at first I was all “Man, I wish I’d started wedding scrapbooking at 16 years old” but really there’s no way my 16year old self would know what a 32 year old me would be thinking (and honestly at 16 I was way too busy sweating it out in the moshpit), so I stepped into the wilderness with fresh eyes, an open heart and curious mind.
Starting to plan: Like any good cultural anthropological researcher I started by googling ‘how to plan a wedding’ watching loads of YouTube videos and taking a trip to Waterstones to flick through a few books. Convinced I had the where with all to plan a ceremony and reception without the help of an insipid pastel pink ‘wedding book’ covered in love hearts and bells, I chose to instead buy a leather bound notebook to begin making notes and mapping out our ideas.
Feeling stressed yet? A question I’ve been asked over the past few months more times than I care to explain. Call me naïve but to me the journey of planning a wedding has so far been a combination of all the greatest things, being given a beautiful ring, drooling over pretty dresses, thinking about food, looking at cakes and flowers on Pinterest, creating a soundtrack of our favourite music, scribbling down ideas and laughing with Mr T. *Will update you on psychological wellbeing nearer the “BIG DAY”
The dreaded budget: Deciding on your budget is a very personal thing, being realistic as to what you can afford will reduce any risk of stress. We decided that our financial priority is to buy a property so we kept our wedding budget to a minimum. Knowing your budget and sticking to it as with anything in life will steer your planning and keep you sane. Remember being frugal doesn’t mean being basic or boring, there’s so many DIY wedding blogs and lifehacks out there that can inspire your planning.
Be inclusive: I’ve read that many brides find juggling the political landscape of overbearing relatives very stressful. As with any large family festivity it helps to be inclusive, make a list of things to do and all the preparations then invite friends and relatives to contribute their particular skills, be it sewing, photography, crafting or organizing. Diving the workload helps you and in turn gives your nearest and dearest an exciting way to feel part of the big day.
Just be you: It’s so easy to search for ‘wedding’ on Pinterest and be faced with thousands of images of photo-shopped, meticulously staged, high-budget weddings and shut down feeling disheartened that your budget just won’t stretch. Just be yourself and remember how fortunate you are to be asked to be part of such a beautiful loving journey.
Setting a date: Our first priorities were to book the big components of the day, the church, venue and caterer. I won’t reveal too much before our big day but just say that September is going to be a pretty life-changing month!