To be honest, I’ve never been the girl who started fantasizing about her wedding day as soon as she started pre-school. I never really thought about getting married up to the point where I had decided for myself that I actually never would get married, because what does that even say about the quality of a relationship or its longevity?
Long story short, I did get married eventually. And being quite honest, it was the best day ever!! We had so much fun, created beautiful memories with our families and closest friends, it was very emotional… and it was quite the party later on, too 😉 But, since I was never concerned with putting together my dream wedding in my mind, I totally underestimated the many many things you need to take care of and consider when planning your big day. From my experience, these are the things you need to make up your mind about and organize (the earlier the better):
- The size of the wedding reception. Do you want to have an intimate celebration with just your closest family and best man / maid of honour, or do you want to invite rather everyone you know? Very important for two reasons, being
- The cost of the wedding. Clearly, almost every decision depends on how much you are able/willing to spend for your big day. Do you want to save or splurge, and also: who is going to pay for what? Does the bride’s family pick up the tab, do both families share the cost, or do you want to contribute yourself? The other thing depending on the number of guests is
- The venue. I’m sure some of you dream about getting married in a fairytale-like castle, a huge vineyard or other impressive venue. But only if you have an according number of guests, that makes sense. Otherwise, people will easily feel „lost“, and also your dance floor will always look empty, even though it isn’t (not good for the fun vibe). Also, try to pick a venue that suits your style and personality, you know what I mean? I, for example, didn’t want a princess dress and lots of kitsch, and we quickly decided on wanting a more down-to-earth, rustic location.
- The best man / maid of honour. Both groom and bride need a witness to the marriage, so you need to pick one person out of your friends or siblings to do the job. That decision might not be easy, so better make up your mind rather soon and ask the one you chose early enough. And don’t be mad or disappointed if the person you wanted to be your best man or maid of honour says no! I know, sounds impossible at the first moment, but I’ve heard that happen, and for sure that person has a fairly good reason not to take that role, and it also takes courage to be honest about that so you shouldn’t be too disappointed, for sure you have someone else amongst your loved ones that would like nothing better than being your witness. In our case, we were lucky that our „chosen one’s“ were more than happy to take the job. I’m really close to my brother, but I didn’t choose him because firstly, he will always be my brother and therefor already has a very special role in my life, and secondly, he’s a guy. And I personally think a female can fulfill the functions of a maid of honour, like helping you pick out your wedding dress or organizing your hens night, much easier and probably better than a man can. To me, it was instantly clear who I would pick, one of my very best and oldest friends that I’ve known since I was ten years old. I had always known that if the unlikely event of me getting married ever would occur, I would choose Sarah to be my maid of honour. And I can say, she did a fabulous job!!
- The rings. Will both of you be wearing a wedding ring? (It’s not unusual that the groom doesn’t want to wear a ring every day. Nonetheless, if only for the act of exchanging rings, it makes sense that both of you get a wedding band.) Do you want identical rings or should they just match somehow? Which material do you want? (Gold is a classic when it comes to wedding rings.) Do you want to design or even make them yourself? (There are wedding band workshops, a way to make your rings super personal.) What would you like to have engraved on the ring?
- The wedding dress / suit. One very important question is what you are going to wear on your special day. I think the most important thing here is to not disguise yourself, but pick something you feel comfortable in. Especially brides tend to overdo it on their wedding day, putting on too much make-up, doing crazy hairdos and wearing shoes they can’t even walk in. Just make sure you stay and still look like yourself, because after all, your man loves you just the way you are and probably wants to be sure it’s actually you walking down the aisle 😉 I’ve also heard that some couples pick out their outfits together to make sure they coordinate, but I liked the thought of surprising the Mister with my dress.
- The attire. Are you going for black tie or white tie even? Or do you rather want your guests to wear a casual attire? („Casual“ in a wedding does not mean jeans and a T-shirt, though.) Make sure the attire matches the venue, i.e. black tie for a formal reception, casual when you’re getting married at the beach etc. Also, you can give your guests a certain colour palette. We did so, a little togetherness looks much nicer in the pictures I think.
- The save the date / invitations. It’s common to first send out a save-the-date, to give your guests a heads up about your wedding plans. You should let people know about 6 months prior to your wedding date. We sent our save-the-date in March, but we didn’t want to print something similar to the invitation, so instead, we made a little video informing our guests about the wedding date and sent them a Tumblr-link. On the Tumblr page, we shared the video and important informations surrounding the wedding, such as location, accommodations and so on. Your invite should go out about 8 weeks before the wedding takes place, and don’t forget to include a RSVP! We didn’t send out RSVP cards though, but instead requested to either call us or send us an email.
- Food and drinks. Something very important! Do you want a five-course menu or rather just fancy finger food? Are you going to stick to wine and beer, or are there going to be hard drinks at your reception? And what about coffee? Some venues offer all-in packages, where you have a fixed per-head-rate, but if you do an outdoors wedding or rent a special location, you will have to put everything together yourself.
- Decoration / flowers. Do you have a wedding planner that takes care of everything? Lucky you, then you can just lean back and let the pro do the job. Otherwise, think about a colour concept and stick to it, also pick it up in your invitations and maybe even your dress code to make everything look put together. We had a florist that took care of our table decorations, the bridal bouquet and my flower crown. I made some tassel garlands with my girlfriends and ordered balloons, pom poms, paper straws and all kinds of deco stuff and we decorated the location of the marriage ceremony ourselves.
- Wedding cake. A part of almost every wedding is cutting the cake. We had a beautiful wedding cake made by Zuckerzirkus, I will show you pictures soon. A lot of cake manufacturers are pretty booked out during wedding season, so especially if you want a very elaborate, lavish cake make sure you book your confectioner in time!
- Music. One of the most important issues in my book. With music, you create atmosphere and set the mood. Bad music or no music at all is the biggest bummer at a reception. Do you want a live band? A DJ? Both? We chose live music for the wedding ceremony and agape, and a DJ for the reception. I’m a big fan of electronic music, but I personally think at a wedding, it’s much more fun if the DJ doesn’t play minimal or deep house all night long. Rather go for fun music your guests can sing along, and don’t forget to also play something the „older generation“ likes.
- Photographer. This is a quite costly matter to be honest, but let me tell you – and not because the Mister is a photographer himself – it pays off to hire a professional to do the job!! (Our photographer Roland Faistenberger is pretty awesome, such a nice guy and super talented!) Your wedding pictures are the best option to revive your memories and will last you forever, and you can see a big difference in professionally taken pictures that were also professionally adapted. Think about someone videotaping as well, there’s nothing more emotional than a few living pictures, underlined with music, that show your loved ones celebrating your big day with you! We also had a photo booth – so much fun!
If you got all the things listed above figured out, you are more than ready for your big day!!
I will sure share some pictures of our wedding day here on the blog as soon as they are ready!
C u loves, xx Verena
picture credit: Roland Faistenberger