Since my fiancé Bruce proposed a few weeks ago (I am still pinching myself, I bet you know what I mean!) I have been on a journey of discovery.
I have been working in the wedding industry for many years
but in recent weeks my eyes have opened to exactly how the wedding planning journey feels, and I thought it would be a good time to share some of that with you, with a few words of advice, so you understand that I truly know where you are coming from.
Enjoy the moment
It took me a while to get my head around the idea that we are actually planning our wedding – I dreamed about it for such a long time, and although I didn’t think it was going to happen when it did, 1 week after Valentine’s day, I was ready for Bruce to ask me to marry him so I just wanted to take a little time to absorb that he had actually done it! I still can’t quite believe it now, 5 weeks later. It was particularly memorable, you can read all about it here ‘I used to think that love was just a fairytale’.
Once it had filtered through a little, we began talking about dates and ideas. We set aside some uninterrupted time away (it happened to be Bruce’s birthday weekend) to start making plans and allow us to really think about the kind of day we want.
Here we are enjoying the sunshine and celebrating on a trip away.
I think this is the time you have to really let loose, don’t hold back, write down every idea you have had, however it sounds, whether it be larger than life, small and intimate, or crazy themed stuff… really go for it. You don’t have to entertain all these ideas, but properly explore between you what it is that you want from this one special day. I was about to say you will only do it once, but I won’t lie, this is second time around for both of us. This has only made us think even more carefully about how we want to feel on the day – we are both sure that we want to do things differently to the first time, to keep a clear picture of our wedding day and totally embrace it, together. I think that getting married when you are a bit older (we are in our early forties) and have a different outlook on life than the younger days gives you a different set of expectations. We have both grown massively in character and strength in recent years and this is going to make all the difference to the sort of day that we are planning.
Deciding the date
I have always known there would be something about our wedding date that takes us back to when we met, it was a truly magical time (another epic blog post happened just after that, I really was completely in the moment!). Without giving too much away (as we haven’t announced our date yet) it just gives a little nod towards significant dates that mean a lot to both of us. When choosing a date, we talked about any other factors that might influence it, such as dates we wanted to avoid (neither of us want to marry in the months we did before), our children’s birthdays and that sort of thing, those are all special to them and we can choose not to mix any of that up (also means more dates in the diary for celebrations in later years! We do love a party). We talked about times of the year that we either prefer or don’t like much, for whatever reason. If you are booking your wedding on a date that means something to you, as many do, take your time to get this right and once you have decided, you will know.
Reality check time. No-one has an endless pot of money, we haven’t been saving up for our wedding (because we hadn’t talked very much about doing it pre-proposal) but we do want to have the sort of day we will always remember. We have really had to think hard about what’s important to us to spend any money on that we can put towards our day, no doubt we will be working extra hard between now and the big day to get together extra pennies and avoid the stress of how much it is going to cost (life can be stressful enough, this isn’t meant to cause stress), but we are not working with an enormous budget. I have seen weddings come together for £2.5k and I have seen weddings cost over £20k. We know how much we want to spend for our day and once that’s decided it’s easier to begin looking at the sort of places that can make that achievable.
Choosing a venue
This has been the biggest surprise so far, for me.
At the point of writing this, we haven’t yet confirmed our wedding venue, it was a completely open book when we started looking. I didn’t even know where to start, even though as I said I have worked in the industry for years. I had always thought I knew the kind of wedding I would want, and where I would want it when the time came, but as we started to talk about ideas, I actually realised that it didn’t matter as much to me where we did it. I am lucky enough to be marrying the man of my dreams, that is what’s important. We have so many ideas for what we want from our wedding day, and none of it is really about the where. Our carefully chosen guests will be there to share this happy time with us, I honestly do feel like we could do that in a school hall or just about anywhere because it’s how we feel that’s important. I thought it would be about what looked best in the photos – but truthfully I know that I will be feeling so happy on the day to be realising my dreams that our choice of venue isn’t going to make it or break it. It may not be the same for everyone but that is how it has worked out for us. We have looked at a few different types of place and each one had a certain kind of feel to it, right or wrong for our day. Take note of how a place makes you feel because you will remember that when you look back on your day in years to come.
I have already designed about 9 different Save the dates for us to send out in my spare time this week, I have so many ideas about how we want to tell people about our plans. I don’t just want it to happen in a passing conversation.
As we tick each thing off our decision making list, we have made sure to pat ourselves on the back. We want to do all of this so ‘properly’, that as yet we have barely begun to share our ideas of the date or venue with our closest friends or family. When we do confirm the venue we want, we will, of course be sending out Save the Dates, as it’s a while away. I want to do little cards to ask people we want involved with the ceremony in some way, and we have an engagement party in a few weeks too. It’s so exciting!!!
I’m not saying you have to do all or any of these things, but it’s a whole brand new journey we are going on together and we are embracing it. Just because we have both married before doesn’t take anything away from what we want this time around, if anything I think it just makes us more determined to be sure we are doing it right. It’s our story, it’s our time and it will be our day – our way.
As our journey evolves I will keep you updated with the different things we have discovered along the way,
I hope you enjoy reading.
Jacqui (and Bruce, he is sure to contribute to this diary at some point soon!)