Congratulations, and welcome to a truly exciting time in your life!
Planning your wedding can make for one huge roller coaster of wonderful and exciting experiences and a mix of daunting and maybe stressful times.
First thing for you to remember; it's ok that you don't know where to start, really, no fiance ever gave his partner a manual when he proposed (if they did I would be a mix of impressed and scared).
Secondly; everyone will have advice for you, this is great, but listen to the important stuff and know that it's ok to filter through it and choose to take on what suits you both.
As a wedding photographer I usually meet with couples in the very initial planning stages of their wedding, most express concern over "not being organised", or, "what order do I do things", or even once "my parents don't want to have it where we want to have it because the carpark is dusty". Yes that was a real comment!
So here is a ten pointers to get you started, some general helpful tips that will help you start the journey without feeling so out of your depth.
1 (The most important one!)
This is YOUR freaking wedding! A true reflection of who you both are and what is most important to you, so do whatever you want to. If you both feel strongly about something don't let anyone change your mind. I can tell you from a personal place that doing things to keep everyone else happy is a circle of stress and ultimately regret after your day.
2 Your checklist and calendar
The order of things, the general overview of order to book everything goes like this, again you can change somethings but most important is your venue, celebrant and wedding photographer as these suppliers dates fill up far ahead of time:
* 12-18 months: Book Venue and Date - Celebrant - Photographer - Videographer (after this you have some breathing space)
* 10-12 months: Wedding Dress - Choose wedding bands - DJ/Music - Choose your bridal party - Send save the dates (especially for OS guests)
* 6-8 months: Invitations - Secure Hair and Make Up artist - Cake - Flowers & Styling - Transportation - Bridesmaids dresses - Choose Invitation design - Write a rough guest list
* 4 months: Grooms suits - Finalise Invitations
* 3 months: Send invitations - Pick wedding favours - Choose accessories
* 4-8 weeks: Finalise guest list for venue - Final fittings dress and suit - Write speeches - Make seating plan - Purchase bridal party gifts - Finalise vows - Finalise time sheet - Give final details to photographer/videographer
3 Lets get it done already!
You are allowed to elope, if this is what you want then just do it, you can still elope surrounded by just your closest people or just have the moment for the two of you and have an epic party upon your return
4 Engagement vs wedding list
You can have guests at your engagement party that won't make the final numbers for your wedding day, like work colleagues and people you're not as close to you both as a couple
5 Bridal party choice
Choose your bridal party carefully, don't feel obliged to pick family just because they are family, there are other ways you can include them in your day without having them all as bridal party. Yes you can have an uneven number of bridesmaids vs groomsmen, yes you can have women and "best woman"
6 Get involved
Join your local forums, there are fantastic communities of brides and grooms planning their weddings in different stages more than happy to help out and answer questions via places like online wedding forums, planning sites and Facebook. Share in your journey and start a conversation. Also importantly, lean on your chosen suppliers for advice, we have done this a lot, we know the great suppliers, how things work really well and are more than happy to help you on your way through the wedding maze
Go with your gut when booking services, if it is super dooper cheap its most likely this way for a reason, and if you feel a bit wary or hesitant keep looking until you feel 100% comfortable with your chosen suppliers, it will make your day even more spectacular
If you are time poor hire a wedding planner, it can be more affordable than you think and will mean your day can run super smooth without you having to worry about the nitty gritty
9 Team up
Try to attend supplier meetings together. Not every guy will want to go flower shopping but for the main things like your photographer and of course venue, choose them together, it's fun and will mean a big difference on your day
Go back to number 1, this is THE most important thing for you to remember. If you don't want to cut the cake or do a first dance or farewell circle, don't. If you want to share canapés time with your guests do it and don't miss a thing. Some of the very best weddings I have captured are those that are a true and beautiful reflection of the couple without having to adhere to a set of rules or social expectation about their wedding day plan. Be yourselves unapologetically and have a heap of fun!
Thanks for getting the the end! I hope this helps a little while you plan your amazing day. All the very best on your wedding journey, feel free to continue the conversation in the comments below.