Wedding Planning – So You Just Got Engaged?

Champagne and flowers with bride and groom in the background.

So you just got engaged?

Just got engaged? The Christmas and Year period is one of the most popular times of year for proposals. You will have no doubt seen many pieces already advising couples how to go about planning the big day.  Matt and I were thirty somethings (not quite Millennials!) when we married two years ago. But we thought we’d relay our own engagement story as an alternative way of looking at things.

Why the alternative outlook?

Well, Matt and I are somewhat like our clients.  We have an appreciation for tradition but we’re very modern in the way we view and live our lives.  There isn’t always the traditional proposal where someone bends down and takes out a surprise ring for a “surprise” question. 

Matt and I, like many millennials, discussed getting married and then decided we would do it. Okay, it doesn’t sound romantic but we made our engagement special, planning a weekend away to purchase my engagement ring.  We visited a gorgeous market town called Hebden Bridge and chose my new jewellery.  I’ve not met anyone else with a ring like mine – and I’m very happy with that thankyouverymuch!

Gorgeous Hebden Bridge

Perspective on the Big Day

Firstly, it’s helpful to remember that your wedding is a massive event, probably the biggest party you will ever organise.  Until your future children get married and you’re roped into helping with that!  Imagine that you are the CEO of a new company that’s about to launch. You’re in charge of PR and marketing, finances, hiring personnel (wedding parties!!) and head of styling. You might then have an idea of just how many tasks might go into planning your own wedding.  Eek!

Financing your own wedding

Traditionally, we know that the father of the bride would pay for weddings. But the modern trend is that couples take care of most of their costs and sometimes have a contribution from their parents.  Our wedding day at All Manor of Events was FANTASTIC and absolutely everything was perfect.  However, our “perfect” cost a little more than we originally planned to spend. 

My advice to couples is that you may overspend on your initial budget by about 3x and this was certainly true for us! (But did I say that our day was perfect?!)  Our initial wedding idea was to elope – who wouldn’t want a destination wedding?  But since the elopement would have literally just been Matt so we had to re-think. We wanted to include my adult son and family members we really did want to be present.  So it’s understandable that the cost of our wedding rose to accommodate 72 guests instead of 2.

Wedding party choices (aka politics)

Matt and I both have amazing friends and this made it very easy for us to choose our wedding parties.  Knowing that nobody would feel upset if they aren’t chosen for a specific role is very helpful.  The most important thing for me (the bride) was having my son walk me down the aisle.  Again, traditionally, one has always seen a father or father-figure walk a bride towards the groom.  Like many others out there though I did not have a dad or mum to do this for me.

 Additionally, with a happy increase in LGBT weddings there might not be a bride at all, or two brides. The point is, these choices are as individual as each wedding should be.  I raised my son as a single-parent until he was 16. It was just us for that time. So I chose him to walk me down the aisle. And I also forced – I mean asked – him to perform a speech.  It was a hoot and I wouldn’t have chosen anyone else.

My son Kadeem walking me down the aisle

It’s Your Wedding

There is no shortage of advice and inspiration from wedding magazines, blogs and social media. But it’s helpful to use these ideas just to get you started.  Someone will undoubtedly tell you about this year’s trends, and they’re fun to help with styling. But who are you as a couple? The most important element for your day is that you are comfortable and can look back on this day and feel that you did it your way. 

Matt and I wouldn’t make any changes to our outfit choices, venue, and music playlist. This is because each element represented us as individuals and as a couple.  Although I might add that Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was entirely Matt’s choice – but a good one.

The fun of planning (yes, fun!)

Can you tell I love planning?  In the Bolton household I’m the planner so I am biased and I LOVE planning.  I have several expensive Japanese diaries to prove it and I acknowledge my oddity.  But seriously, wedding planning can be incredibly stressful. From the fears of upsetting important people in your life,  to making decisions due to your budget. And let’s not forget the endless possibility of vendors (such as, um, photographers). 

It is a much easier mammoth task if you are both invested in your day and both sampling cakes, Googling venues and working on seating plans.  You may or may not feel a massive difference in your relationship once you are married. But remember that it starts here with your engagement.

If you’ve just got engaged over the festive period, then congratulations! And if you’d like to arrange an engagement shoot, or talk about your wedding plans, do get in touch!

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