Wedding Planning Without The Planner Or The Budget? The Tips You Need To Know

My wedding Pinterest collage!

Since I’m sure that most of my blog followers are basically just my friends and my mum, you’ll probably know that I got engaged at the end of 2016. Yep, he put a ring on it, I took a hand selfie, uploaded a facebook post – all of the usual eye-roll-inducing social norms. (see Instagram evidence here)

Since the initial engagement broadcast, wedding planning has been quietly underway but despite the lack of social media information I’ve had lots of questions from new brides-to-be seeking help. Therefore, I thought it was about time I put it all to paper…digitally. You know what I mean.

What are the wedding planning lessons learnt so far? More importantly what are the wedding fails to avoid and what are the wedding deals to be done? Of course, a business minded bride-to-be like me is being financially savvy about it all.

I won’t go into to the detailed timeline of ‘how to plan a wedding’ because it depends on how long your engagement is and frankly, there are better wedding websites out there which explain the planning process a lot better than I can.

What I WILL share today, is basically all the best wedmin stuff that I wish I had known in advance. The stuff that could have saved me money during wedding planning and, more importantly, the stuff that could have saved me a whooole lot of stress. Whilst I don’t have any wedding pictures yet, here’s some clips from my personal Wedding pinterest board to accompany…

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Lesson 1: It’s okay to NOT be obsessed with your wedding.

When I first got engaged, I was absolutely convinced I was going to be the worlds best Bridezilla (in the worst way). If needed, I can worry about the tiniest, most irrelevant details and be a real force of nature when it comes to demands, so I’m sure they all got their Bridezoella badges ready.

When it came down to it, planning actually didn’t take over my life. Whilst I’m happy to discuss the pro’s and con’s of a buttercream vs royal icing wedding cake any day of the week, I really didn’t want to be ‘that’ person that constantly talks about their wedding. (You’ve all got that one in your life!) 

Plus, if you’ve got more than 6 months to go, the question ‘how’s wedding planning going?’ actually becomes quite meaningless after a while. 

Once you’ve actually got the majority of it sorted, there’s almost nothing to do until closer the time so you end up in a bit of a Wedding limbo stage. I’m frankly quite bored about talking about it but it’s not because I don’t care or aren’t excited by it. Remind yourself that you don’t need to be obsessed – for both you and your friends’ own sanity!

Pinterest Wedding Cake

You have plenty of time.

Whilst it’s exciting to get stuck in right away, there is no rush to get everything done as soon as possible. (unless you’re getting married really soon)

Myself and most of my engaged friends had at least a year until the wedding, so the most important thing is to get a venue and a date. Everything else can be done a lot later if you really need to. (And it’s surprising how much can be done last minute!) 

With 4 months to go, I’ve only just got round to doing my formal invites and I’m glad I waited because I ended up finding an amazing deal compared to the ones I initially thought about.

I can genuinely say that wedding planning hasn’t been stressful because we’ve given it time and just taken on one task at a time. Venue, save the dates, florist, dress, photographer, entertainment and invites were all done slowly over 12 months with very little stress. (except the Guestlist – aka the Stresstlist)

Pinterest Greenery Vibe

Don’t feel pressured to rush into a decision.

One slightly linked to having lots of time, remember, there are hundreds of suppliers out there. Wedding florists, photographers, wedding chair cover decorations – I was always panicking that a good supplier I had found would instantly sell out and I had to land them quickly. 

Unless you’re booking specialist or super popular suppliers, don’t get fooled by certain phrases that urge you to book quickly. Once you’ve registered an enquiry for a particular date, most reputable suppliers will let you know if someone else has enquired for the same day later on and at least give you first advantage to confirm then.

I also regretted making early moves on some things because I found better or cheaper suppliers later on. Most ‘special one off deals’ that were available tended to come back around later in the year.

Pinterest Seating Plan

Spend on what matters to you.

Money and budget is pretty much the crux of the decision making. They key thing I realised is to focus your wedding budget on what’s important to you.

When I really thought about it, I didn’t care that much about the ‘stuff I’m supposed to do’. Fancy invitations, wedding stationary and save the dates were less important to us. I ended up using Photoshop to create a fancy Save The Date image, which we then whatsapp-ed to our friends and family.

We then also got a free wedding website to put all the information that would normally go in the paper invite and all RSVPs were done electronically – saving us postage, printing and paper costs!

What is more important to our wedding? Booze! (quelle surprise, if you’ve seen my Instagram Stories) I sacrificed flower walls and floral arches, in favour of free flowing vino later on. Who wants to come NOW eh?

Where else am I saving money?

As a resident beauty expert and makeup addict, I will of course be doing it all myself. (Remember when I became a wedding makeup artist thanks to my makeup obsession?) 

I’ll be getting my hair coloured back to something a bit more normal, and a bit less purple but other than that, there are some great bridal beauty tips that can be sorted yourself. HUUUUUGE POST on bridal beauty coming soon. 

I also managed to save money on the invites by getting them made in China, the bridesmaids dresses were bought during the sales for less than £20 and even my own dress was well under budget!

I actually saved a lot of money on my wedding dress so I’m keen to do a full dress shopping guide too (insert girly squeals here) but will keep that under wraps until after the wedding, so that I can show you the photos too! 

ALL I can say is that they are just as ridiculously extra as I thought they might be. (Yep, there’s more than one thanks to some amazing discoveries which I can’t wait to share with you next time….)

Pinterest twinkly greenery

Look out for suppliers that can cover multiple services.

For example, I’ve seen some wedding photographers that also offer a free photo booth for any wedding they’re covering – saving you a couple hundred pounds.

I also picked Prezola to be host our gift list because their premium accounts are completely customisable, don’t charge you extra fees for cash gifts AND also give you a free wedding website which integrates your online gift list.

When it came to gifts, we were deliberating whether we really needed a gift list – I mean, I’m not one to turn down presents but we already live together, and we already have a set of Tesco plates and cutlery that do the job. Did we really want to ask for a rose gold plated avocado spoon?!

On the other hand, we didn’t want to ask directly for money either. (insert sentence here about how we obviously don’t want gifts, we just want you to share this day with us)

I’m perfectly comfortable dealing with money as part of my day job and I’m certainly comfortable with a varying level of self awareness on a Friday night but turns out my inner British sense of what’s proper does draw a line at denominations of £25 and £50.

Fortunately, it turns out that Prezola also give you the option of creating a completely customised wedding gift list (without charging more for cash). What we’ve done is make our gift list into a personalised honeymoon shop, aka a polite way of shaking you down for money. 

It’s got itemised elements of our honeymoon such as ‘a night in this hotel’, ‘a dinner at that restaurant’ or a ‘hiking tour across this historic site’. Just kidding, there’s obviously no hiking or any form of activity planned, other than eating, sleeping and snoozing. Mixed up in various locations, like in a spa, by the pool, in a hammock or on a boat. (Should I start a honeymoon planning business as a sidehustle?!)

Only ask for opinions I you really need.

It’s great to be a diplomat and ask bridesmaids and mothers for opinions but DO THIS WITH CAUTION. Only ask for opinions if you really want to hear them and be prepared for an opinion that you don’t agree with. 

Particularly stressful when it comes to bridesmaids dresses. Parents also have a certain view of how weddings should or shouldn’t be but my general rule is, if you don’t pay for it, you don’t get to decide. Alternatively, ask a completely objective third party observer with absolutely NO personal interest in the matter…

And finally, that nicely leads to the overall learning that keeps coming up from every single couple that’s done it. It’s up to the two of you. Whilst it’s important to be respectful of other people’s feelings and requests – the final decision is down to you. (or mainly the bride if you’re like me)

And that’s it for now! Bridezoella over and out.

What do YOU think? Was your wedding planning as planned? Tweet me your thoughts @Zoe_Dubs or join the discussion on Facebook

Published by ZBW

Zoe is a Forbes '30 under 30' finance pro, style writer, presenter and panellist, working for a fashion startup and trying to live that best life in the most IRL way possible.