You’ve started the planning of your wedding, probably long before Pinterest existed by cutting out pages of Bridal magazines, making your very own mood board. The world is your wedding oyster with infinite possibility. Except, now this magical time has become shitlist of infinite decision making. Your quirky forest festivities or ultra-chic urban culture blowout or whimsical bohemian ethereal celebration has now changed a million times. Why? Because trends. Your Facebook and Instagram feed is no doubt filled with all the latest “How to’s” on planning your on-trend competition worthy affair.
Fionnuala and Michael, one of the fabulous couples I had the privilege of working with, had a boho themed wedding. On trend, on point and fabulous. Fionnuala (said: Fin-oola), a petite Irish artist and Michael a South African boytjie are so well suited for each other. This gorgeous lass had her look in mind from the beginning. The textures, colours, flowers and even accessories were planned to perfection. We had every element for this picture perfect event planned and the build-up leading to her day was filled with many an email; “YAY”. Then came the arrival in South Africa.
The week of their wedding was nonstop rain. So the outdoor ceremony seemed to be fading like the sun in our so-called scorching February season. The backup plan was ready and would not take away from their stunning draped chuppah with hanging flowers! A minor bump in the rocky trail of planning a wedding, but in the end was not necessary. Then the unthinkable; storm Emma with nickname “beast from the east” stranded all family and friends of the bride in a hotel for days. It became evident that her father would not walk her down the aisle, her mother wouldn’t be there to toast her while getting into her dress, her bridesmaids weren’t there to help her with her train or veil. 20 people would not be at this wedding, all integral parts of the wedding party.
Immediate table adjustments were made. Bridal party florals were adjusted to the new stand-ins recruited the day before the wedding. Plans were made to live stream the ceremony to the family, all still stranded in the hotel. The show simply went on. It was beautiful, it was everything she wanted. Was it so important that it made her day? NO!
I was deeply moved by this wedding. This couple. This unforeseeable event.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime (hopefully) occasion and you are going to probably go overboard with planning to perfection so that everyone is happy. When you start planning your wedding, and you start your timeline, lists, choosing your venue, décor, photographer. Remember one thing; none of it matters. Yes you read right. None of it. Realistically what happened to Fionnuala and Michael isn’t that rare; the super storm that happened the first time in 30 odd years aside. Things happen. You need to be prepared for it (to some degree). Here are some realistic things that will most probably happen during this trying, magical, overwhelming, enthralling time.
1. Prepare for the worst
Inclement weather is not the only thing that needs a contingency plan. Anything could happen at any time. The weather can really pee on your proverbial battery, but the point is not to let it. You cannot control the weather, you can make sure there is a backup plan for all scenarios. A generator, an in-door chapel or enclosure, umbrellas for photo’s in the rain to embrace the moment.
Weather isn’t the only thing that needs to be planned for. A small sewing kit for minor mishaps. A medicine kit for little bugs or even a headache or allergy. That is all easy to plan for.
Should your makeup artist get caught in a storm or something happen and they don’t arrive. What then?
2. Spend money on what is important
The things your guests will remember is not what you are spending the most money on. They will remember; downing an Irish- car bomb with your new father-in-law or the worm your husband did on the dance floor after he ripped his rental shirt off, not the 5 tier cake with different flavours or the way the Bridesmaids hair complimented their dresses.
In my opinion the venue is the place where you invest your money. I am not saying this because I am based at Intundla Game Lodge & Bush Spa, but because I have actually done the shopping around for a wedding venue. The benefits of a good venue;
– A planner that comes with the venue to handle all of your details
– Accommodation for guests to make sure they are safe and to extend your wedding celebration
– Amazing food onsite where nothing has to be brought in
– Décor – not to blow any horns, but “toot toot”. Jokes aside this is a cost saving benefit, and the décor specialist knows the venue and how to make it amazing for you.
If photos are your most important element, then spend on that and make sure to have your photographer take all the pictures you want, and even catch the form on film. List them beforehand. Just pick what your element is you cant do without.
3. You WILL offend someone and/ or feel guilty about some decision you have made.
Maybe you have discovered that your fiancé has absurd taste in décor and will fight to the death to have his ideas represented – or worse, he doesn’t care. Maybe your bridesmaids all have conflicting ideas on their dresses. Maybe your mother in law wants to have her taste represented on the day. There will always be a contentious issue when dealing with so many personalities. The key is to strike a balance between knowing this is not only about you, and that it is your day and it is all about you. As far as I am concerned the only other person you need to consider is your husband to be.
4. Indecision is the same as being Bridezilla
You are going to be faced with countless decisions and the more you look around at all the Pinterest weddings or real wedding blogs you will want those things too. Make a list of the most important things to you as a couple, and make sure you tick that off your list first. Set up your décor appointment, decide on the elements and then stop looking. If you cannot decide on what you want and don’t tell your suppliers, it will create anxiety because no one will know exactly what they should execute. Now isn’t the time to let anyone decide for you. Good practice for being a wife.
5. Do what they hell you want
You do not have to stick to tradition, you can take a ritual out of your order of events. Whatever you do, DO IT YOUR WAY. Maybe playing ‘single ladies’ while 3 of your last single friends stand behind you waiting for your bouquet to smack them in the face, is not for you anymore. Why don’t you change it up and make it more you. Flinging single stems with dares or tasks on them might be more exhilarating and create an element of fun for all ladies. If you want all your bridesmaids in pink sequence then so be it.
Lastly, be realistic about your expectations and do everything leading up to your wedding with a glass of bubbly in hand. Not only because this also forms part of your wedding day, but can definitely calm you down and block out a bickering bridesmaid or over powering family member.
Remember that the things you stress about are not the things that matter. People you invite to your wedding are coming to witness your love and commitment, and shove the most tequila down their throats while preparing to bust a move. Everything can be fixed and no one will know the wiser.
What is the most important thing you cannot do without on your wedding day?