Why do all the biggest (and often most expensive) moments in life seem to happen all at once?
You’re trying to scramble together a deposit for a soul-crushingly expensive house on the outer-outer-edge of the city. You’re flying up and down the country for weddings, thirtieths, christenings, and other people’s housewarmings on other outer-outer-city edges. You’ve just been promoted to a more senior role in your company (helpful for deposit scramble) but the longer hours mean your twice-weekly HIIT class is a thing of the past, but you’re still paying for your gym membership because, you know, you’ll try to go back when work calms down…oh, and you’re engaged.
Which is amazing! You’re excited – giddy even – as you and your partner pop bottles with friends and family, use ‘my fiancé’ in sentences, and gaze lovingly at each other across tables. But then…the planning starts. You’ve never done this before. The thought of creating a memorable, enjoyable, relaxed-but-not-too-relaxed, sun-drenched, PERFECT day for your guests is suddenly rather overwhelming. Not to mention you’re meant to have fun too. Good lord.
As millennials, we spend a lot of time doing and even more time thinking about what’s next. With so much pressure around work, friends, family, self-care, exercise (minus the HITT class, just for now), it can be hard to imagine how another big, very important project could possibly fit in.
Our first bit of advice? Breathe.
The build-up to your wedding doesn’t have to be something you dread. It’s not workplace karaoke night or vaccination day – it’s actually a really special time for you and your partner to make some decisions, laugh at terrible seating-plan combinations, and talk about your future. Together.
To help you out, we’ve put together some tips for staying on top of (and genuinely enjoying) your wedding planning, without letting it take over your lives.
Start at the beginning.
While it may seem like an obvious step, figuring out how to get started, who to talk to and what you need to lock in first can be daunting. Know you want tiny jars of Manuka honey for your wedding favours, but haven’t thought about a venue yet? Don’t worry – you’re not alone. However, while the honey is a special (and delicious) touch, we recommend getting onto the venue as soon as possible. Given some wedding vendors book out one or two years in advance (keep breathing), it’s a good idea to make this detail numero uno on the to-do list. Once you know the when and where, you’ll be able to establish the style of your wedding (Beachy? Formal? Harry Potter themed?), and an idea of costs to get the budget-ball rolling. Now is also a good time to put together a rough financial plan – but remember, budgets can swell as wedding details become clearer … so don’t be too hard on yourself at this stage!
Divide and Conquer.
Gone are the days when a bride-to-be would whip out her childhood wedding-scrapbook and plan the whole thing by herself. While they may not be heavily involved in the cream vs beige napkin debate, grooms and seemingly-unenthusiastic partners do also have a vested interest in the day. Make a list of things you want to take care of yourself, then make another list of things to do together and tasks your partner can own. Do they love food while you’re more into marquee placement? Perfect. Canapés, mains and midnight-snacks to them, liaising with the set-up team to you. Also – don’t forget this is a pretty special event for other people around you, too. Parents, uncles, grandparents and members of your wedding parties (capable or not) may be tripping over themselves to lend a hand in any way they can.
Talking the talk.
Emails. Emails. Emails. If your work inbox wasn’t already heaving, planning your wedding will definitely see to that. You’ll have emails from vendors with weirdly similar names, you’ll get tangled in threads that started with glassware and veered off into weather reports, not to mention the Pinterest links your mum keeps sending. Oh, and you have a job. It can get pretty difficult to keep up with it all during business hours, which is why God gave us lunch breaks. Find a nice café, steal their Wi-Fi and go crazy. If you’re after quick responses from wedding vendors, we suggest you hit them up earlier in the week when they’re less likely to be prepping or running weddings. We’re big fans of a few days off (or a week – go wild) before your wedding, so you arrive feeling fresh-to-death. And, even if they didn’t make the invite list, you may want to think about giving your boss a heads up so you have more flexibility to whip in and out for appointments in the weeks leading up to the big ol’ day. If reading this section makes you break out into a cold sweat, remember you can always hire a wedding planner or stylist to take care of a lot of the admin for you.
Peak Hour Planning.
Got a big commute in the morning, or a few hours in 5pm Friday traffic? Instead of cursing urbanization, why don’t you (and your partner, if they’re there) use this time to tick a few things off your lists. Crank up possible first dance songs, bounce around ideas for vows, or paper scissors rock for who tells your Nana it won’t be in a church.
Eat, drink and spread out the fun stuff.
Like paying a parking ticket, or going to the dentist – there will always be some jobs that seem worse than they really are. Turn these tasks into something fun. Order something greasy, pop open a bottle, and park up together on the lounge floor. Talk table-plans over tandoori, put together playlists over pizza and enjoy the time you and your delicious partner get to spend together. And, at the other end of the scale, try to stagger the really, really exciting jobs. Cake tastings, trying on dresses and getting fitted for suits all add to the excitement (depending on how the old pre-wedding shred is going). Spread these out to remind yourself how incredible this whole journey is – and how special it is to be doing it with the people you love the most. And hopefully, for every missing marquee peg, there’ll be six bottles of rosé begging to be tried.
And finally? Make lists, tick things off, include things you’ve already done, and just enjoy it. At the end of the day, whether in full lace at an altar, or in a Gryffindor cape in the forest, you’re going to be out there - marrying your favourite person in the world. How amazing is that?