I'm Engaged!!! Your Ultimate Wedding Checklist

You've done it....hurray you're engaged...

If you're like me, I'm sure there's about a million emotions running through right now, ranging from sheer elation to utter panic. Not because you've made a wrong decision but because wedding planning can be a rather cumbersome hurdle to navigate.

Lucky for you, as someone who has been married for 7 years (wowser) I know only too well the seemly never ending thoughts that race through the mind at this time. Stress no more...

So grab a cup of divine tea and cake, relax and read the ultimate wedding checklist to help put some of those nerves to bed.

 

1. Dress, Dress, Dress

It kind of goes without saying, attire is one of the most important parts of a wedding. Turning up in your birthday suit might be exciting or daunting but I'm pretty confident your guests won't want to join in. 

Picking a dress is such a big change and commitment. Do your homework, ask lots of people their thoughts, make lots of collages, scribble on your magazines, but don't settle for second best. Although you may want to spend a fortune on your dress, remember it's a one time gig, unless you want to renew your vows, but then you'll need a new dress for that haha.

Take your time, enjoy the thrill of seeking, but ultimately don't let it get you down or stress you out. Remember everyone will think how stunning you look in your dress, not matter what one you choose, so your onto a winner already.

 

2. Destination Love Town...

Second on the list is a venue for your ceremony and reception. Some offer both in one building, myself and the wife chose this option in our home church in Southampton. It was great not to have to drive far for the reception and it felt quite cozy.

Again do your homework, look around, getting recommendations. But use your gut instinct. Often in weddings, external influences such as family can weigh on your mind when making these decisions.

Importantly you want to know the venues a right fit for everyone. Try to take a breather when making such choices. Write your thoughts down on paper and when the time is right, go with that decision. Think about how many guests you are looking to invite, will they all fit in?

What will decorating look like, is the venue cold, warm, does it have natural lighting?. These are all things to consider when looking around. What are the staff like, are they approachable? Nothing adds stress to wedding planning than uncertainty and unprofessionalism.

Again take a breather once in a while and enjoy the view.

 

3. Transportation

You don't have to spend big on getting transport to your beautiful wedding. Sometimes this can be one of those on the checklist that gets overlooked until the last few days leading up to the wedding day.

As a wedding photographer, I have loved seeing the various ways in which couples decide to leave for the reception. Don't worry too much, just remember to make sure you can take all those important people with you when you head to the church. Oh and allow for some time to get there, like add 20 minutes more to your journey for traffic jams and late arrivals.

 

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4. Be Our Guest (Beauty & The Beast)

One of the, if not the most stressful part in any wedding planning is inviting guests. Whether that's making a list of those who you would like to invite or actually making invitations, there will always be external sources that will play a major part in who you invite.

I'm talking about families :) In my experience as soon as people get wind of your engagement everyone starts coming out of the woodwork to be part of your special day. Some rightly so and some leave you wondering should I invite them?

Families will always hold a heavy or light burden on you as a couple because it's a one-shot deal to see their daughter or son get married. They will want EVERYONE to be there, even those you've haven't seen in like 10 years.

It's stressful...but it needn't be. Part of the two of you coming together to get married is much about you learning to plan together, making the best decisions that benefit you both. Sometimes you will need to make the difficult decisions. Decide early on who to invite and who not, and stick to your guns...it's your day, not theirs...make it yours.

5. Flower Power

Flower, Flowers, Flowers....what can I say. This is another area of high stress but of huge enjoyment. Look around, gather inspiration, Pintrest like mad. Make sure your colour theme through the wedding doesn't clash with your flower colours. Visual appearance is vital when planning a wedding. Again, make lists...scribble everywhere and most importantly, ENJOY the moment.

6. One Ring To Rule Them All 

Sonic was very much obsessed with rings, as was Golem. You don't have to be as much. Pick a ring that you believe in, that makes you comfortable. Do shop around, don't rush at it. Bring others into the fold and get their views as well...but make a decision thats right for you.

 

Oh and check you RING SIZE, make sure you aim for at least one higher than your actual ring size, why? Because you will no doubt be a sweaty nervous reck walking up the aisle haha and your ring finger may swell ever so slightly, trying to put a ring on when that's happened can be hard work for your spouse. You'll want to take them off from time to time so making it easy for yourselves is important. Equally, I would recommend talking to your jeweler for the best advice.  

7. Get Organised

 

Lack of organisation can make wedding planning hugely stressful. Make lists like loads right down the big points and little points as well. No idea is stupid, get creative and laugh lots.

One big advice to remember is, make sure you get your legal paperwork sorted out immediately. That means declaring you intent to marry with your church or registry office, getting your blues sorted and booking the venues. Make sure you organise these quickly as dates are very hard to come by. 

That will be one stress relieved and rightly so...

8. Hire a Photographer 

Although I'm slightly biased here, but do shop around, don't pick anyone and don't just pick based on cheapest option. I recently found out my best friend who I was his best man at his wedding hated the photo's he received from his wedding photographer.

Honestly, he rushed too quickly and didn't slow down enough to look around. So my encouragement to you is, take your time. Enjoy looking around, talk to people, get recommendations...read the reviews and make sound judgements as a couple. Meet with your photographer, if you get a great vibe from them and they are so friendly and caring then consider hiring them.

It's important to build a relationship with your photographer, consider them as part of your family, that way your story will be told more beautifully as there is trust right from the start.

So there you have it...only 8 points to think about in your wedding checklist

Some honourable mentions are...cake, entertainment, gifts for the wedding party, honeymoon, gift lists for your new home to name a few.

I can't stress this enough...but BREATH...enjoy this beautiful time and laugh like you've never laughed before.

 

Kieran