O.M.G, you’re engaged – congratulations!!
No matter if you’ve waited years for your loved one to pop the question, or if it was a completely welcome surprise, the feeling of excitement mixed with panic is universal.
Strap yourselves in, it's time to navigate the wedding planning minefield.
You’ve told your parents, and your family, you've created the perfect Facebook post and an Insta story with you both smiling brightly and of course that ring - now is the time to show it off am I right?!
But now what? Where on earth do you start? Never fear, we have your back, there are some key things that you need to lock before you start worrying about the colour of chair bows (yep, they are a thing), or flavours of cake.
And once you have these basics sorted be sure sure to check out the de lumière wedding survival guide. It's full of handy tricks to make your wedding day a little less stressful.
Budget - let's talk about money
Yep we are starting with the boring bit first. Before you get your heart set on a destination wedding in Greece for you and 300 guests, you need to decide if your dream is achievable. There is zero, and I stress ZERO, point getting your heart set on something you can't possibly afford placing added stress to your big day. Sit down together and nut out what your budget will be, find out from your parents if they are willing to contribute. A recent wedding industry survey found that more couples are paying for their own weddings in 2020 than ever before. Which in turn means that couples are choosing to get married once they already have a home, so this can add a considerable burden on a couple's savings.
Many choose to break their budget down, and allocate an amount to each part of their wedding. To do this you must first think about what is most important to you both on the day. Is it the wedding gown? Have you always had your heart set on a Steven Khalil bespoke gown? Or maybe it's the location, destination weddings are super popular at the moment. Alternatively your focus might be on how the day is captured, so your budget for photography and videography might be more generous than say the cars that you will be arriving in. Nailing down your 'must haves' will really help when coming to a final decision on some of your bigger ticket items.
So be realistic, if you just HAVE to be married in Greece – amazing!! But ensure that one of the most memorable days of your lives is memorable for all the right reasons.
Narrowing down the choices
In order to make informed decisions - believe me it is very easy to get carried away when you are organising a wedding - you should first come to grips what you both want.
Start with the basics - outdoor wedding or church wedding. The percentage of couples getting married outdoors has shifted over the past five years, with many more deciding to get married at an outdoor venue, rather than in a traditional church wedding. This may correlate with the fact that couples are now paying for their own weddings, so family influence doesn't play as large a role anymore.
Outdoor weddings though require a significant amount of planning, with weather, location and size to be taken into consideration. Many venues have people who can help you with this, or you could consider hiring a stylist or wedding coordinator to help you manage the logistics of an outdoor wedding.
The guests, this is surprisingly difficult for some. All I will say here is that it's your day, but the number of guests will play a large roll in where you get married (for example, there are only handful of venues that can cater for more than 500 guests), how many photographers you may need (a second photographer is handy if you are having more than 100 guests), and a large volume of guests to feed will obviously affect your budget.
Once you have an idea of how many people you want to invite, and what kind of wedding you are having let's move onto the fun stuff.
Woah, hold the phone - we've forgotten something vital - THE DATE
It's good to stay a little flexible with the date at this point if you can as some vendors can book out years in advance! Yep, you read that right. YEARS.
When choosing a date there are a couple of things to keep in mind :
Daylight savings - remember that sun sets by 5pm and you run out of light FAST, so your ceremony will have to be earlier to allow time for location portraits.
The Season - those gorgeous peonies that you just HAVE to have are only in season for a short period each year, are you willing to pay extra to have them imported? Do you really want your guests to swelter through a January wedding outdoors with no shade? Or are you looking for gorgeous warm golden images, but planning a Winter wedding?
Popular wedding dates - October and March generally book out quickly
Ok, so we have sorted the budget, settled on a guest list and chosen a date...
There are so many fabulous locations and venues out there how do you possibly choose?
Ask your friends, troll blogs, search Pinterest, think about weddings you have attended, make a list of your favourite places to visit. What fits the vibe you want for your wedding day? Urban, coastal, farm, vineyard, quirky? Still stuck? We have put together a handy list of Wedding Peeps we love hanging with.
Once you have a shortlist, book a tour, ask all the questions, eat all the food, check their availability and then lock it in!
Your photographer will be the one vendor who will be with you ALL day - and I mean ALL DAY. They will be with you in the chaos of getting ready, holding up your dress, keeping track of the time, they're there as you walk down the aisle, for your first kiss, they will guide you through your location portraits, capture your entry to the reception, listen to the speeches, your first dance, and then party with you into the night. No other vendor is quite as involved on the day as your photographer (or videographer).
So it stands to reason then that you need to get on pretty well with your photographer as well as love their work.
The photography is in my opinion (ok,ok I might be a little biased) THE most important investment you can make (apart from the legal bits) on your wedding day. When the day is over, the dress is lying on your hotel room floor, the flowers are wilting, the alcohol is drunk, the eco-confetti thrown, the chair bows have slipped and the cake has been eaten - what is left? The memories.
The moments, the story captured for future generations.
Invest in your memories. Seriously.
Find a photographer who is passionate about their art, an experienced professional (weddings are NOT for the feint hearted), who can show you consistent galleries of weddings from start to finish.
OR you could head to our webpage, check out the gorgeous images, these don’t just happen as if by magic, but working with us will absolutely make it seem that way. Remember, we do this ALL THE TIME, we are really good at what we do, and you only have one go at it (hopefully!), so let us guide you. We promise there’s no set of steak knives thrown in at the end, what you see is what you get, up front, and genuine, stunning photos that tell your story, that’s our promise.
Invest - you won't regret it.
Finally, the celebrant - the other most important person on your day (beside you guys and the photographer of course), find a celebrant, priest or minister who makes you comfortable and is willing to work with you and your desires. Make sure that the person standing up front is someone you both feel comfortable with. Once you’ve found this gem lock them in too!!
There are now a million other little details to finalise, some are essential, others not so much (again - chair bows?!). Below are some awesome websites that will help guide you through the minefield of wedding planning, and as always Wedding Fairs are a great way to meet the vendors face to face (also who doesn't love a show bag).
Pinterest (we love a good mood board!!)
There you have it, the makings of your wedding, the bones if you will. You have a date, somewhere to get married and a venue, someone to marry you to the love of your life, and someone to capture it all. Once you have these things locked away the fun really starts, there’s dresses and invitations, cakes (so much cake!!) and hair and makeup. Choose the people you want standing beside you, the entertainment (a mechanical bull was a recent favourite!!) and remember, it’s your day.
I am going to say that again - IT'S YOUR DAY.
Do it your way.
Or Elope. Elopements are awesome.
Don’t rush these decisions, relax, have a flick through the de lumière website for inspiration, ask a million questions, stick to your budget (ok, stretch it just a little), and have fun. This is your day, make it yours.