10 steps on how to plan a wedding in 3 months

10 steps on how to plan a wedding in 3 months

Jon proposed to me on Feb 28th and we were married on June 21st.  That is just over 3 months of planning a wedding.  Of course there were moments of bridezilla craziness, but mostly, it was pretty damn easy to pull off our wedding in such a short period of time.  There are a couple of things I learnt about planning a wedding, they could be useful if you’re looking for tips.  Here they are:

1.  Get a wedding planner.  

The planner will ask you all the right questions and point you in all the right directions.  This is especially helpful if you, like me, have never been married or had to plan a wedding before.  For instance, did you know that unless you want to be married in Community of Property, you must arrange your ANC contract with an attorney at least a month before the wedding day.  Also, a lot of wedding venues charge one fee and then add on a whole bunch of things they never discussed, like use of cutlery and cutting your cake.  If not for our wedding planner, we wouldn’t have known any of this.  Our wedding planner angel, aptly named Angel, saved us a lot of trauma in the end.  She dealt with all of our suppliers, handled a trillion email requests, made all the phone calls and negotiations leading up to the wedding, and on the day – she did all the running around making sure people were in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing.  In fact, on my special day all I needed to do was rock up and look pretty, quite frankly.  I’ve heard horror stories of brides running around on their day trying to do last minute fixes and arranging suppliers themselves.  Ain’t nobody got time for that!

2. Get married in winter!

We were lucky enough to want a winter wedding.  It was an extra bonus when we realised that most wedding venues have a major discount for the winter months, and the dates are also a lot more flexible.  For instance, our wedding venue gave us a 40% discount, and they added in a whole bunch of freebies, such as:

  • My make up artist on the day (including a trial before)
  • Canapes between the ceremony and reception
  • Welcome drinks
  • Champagne for speeches
  • The honeymoon suite & two extra rooms for our parents

Not only that, but if you live in Joburg, winter is almost a guarantee that you won’t get rain, plus you get to add a winter flair to your wedding, like fireplaces, blankets, gluwein, soups, hot chocolate and warm puddings. To replace the usual greenery in the outdoor area, we had fairy lights in trees and coloured lanters.  It was a winter wonderland.  Near the fireplaces, we had couches and coffee tables with photos of friends and family, as well as board games for those who weren’t so much into the dance scene.

3. Know what you want from your suppliers.

One of the few regrets I have from our day is that we ran out of time on the day to get the few shots I really wanted from our photographer.  Of course everything was a blur so I only realised this afterwards, but it would’ve been great to work off a list on the day so that I didn’t forget anything.  Unfortunately we just ran out of time and it slipped my mind.  Also, and this might just be me saying this as a super duper control freak, I wish I’d been more strict on the music the DJ played.  We opted for no cheese, yet that’s what he opened up with after the first dance.  When asked to change the music, he went from Abba to rave music.  Quite disappointing.

4.  Have no seating plan.

We reserved the tables closest to us for immediate family.  The rest was open to everyone else, and it worked out great I think.  Also, it solved the issue of inviting single people without plus ones, they got to choose who they wanted to sit with and things were less awkward.  I think.  I hope.  Oh god, now I’m all insecure and wondering if it was all an illusion and that everyone was so uncomfortable THE WHOLE TIME.

5. Do a sweetheart table.

Jon and I had a sweetheart table for just the two of us which was … strange.  In one way, we got to appreciate little moments together and didn’t miss each other at our own wedding, in another way, it was a bit odd and we felt that we were missing out on good conversation.  What can I say, we suffer from FOMO, okay?  This meant that the minute we’d finished eating whatever course was in front of us, we split up and mingled.  Which was fun, actually.  See – I’ve got all the mixed feels about it.  Sweetheart table = strange, but not bad.

6. Use Pinterest.

Pinterest is AMAZING for ideas, keeping track of a theme, looking for inspiration and also a very handy tool to sell your soon-to-be husbank on why pastel colours are going to be ahhhhhmazing! I used Pinterest to come up with a whole bunch of ideas, and then added Angel and the bridesmaids to my secret board so they could collaborate and give opinions.  Together we planned the entire wedding using visual images and it was SO exciting.

7.  Use a magical unicorn Google docs spreadsheet*.  

And inside of this magical unicorn Google docs spreadsheet invite your Angel and your soon-to-be husbank to share and edit.  Together, you can track budget, to do lists, assignments, RSVPs, the big day’s plan and music requirements.  We called ours the KretzGate Wedding Bible, and it truly was.  If it wasn’t in the bible, it wasn’t allowed.  Except for random Typo purchases, because who can resist Typo, honestly!?

* Hat tip to Goose, who sent me hers to use as a template.  I’ll never forget how Jon reacted and said that we were not allowed to be as pedantic as her, and then he went on to make it even more detailed and OCD a few days later.  Ah, wedding planning – it truly brings out the best in people.  

8.  Do everything in digital.

We had no print out save the dates, invites or menus.  Why bother?  Our save the dates and invites went out via email, and all the info about the wedding was on a website.  It saved a feck load of money, and effort.  We used mailchimp to do the bulk mailing and tracking of who’d received, opened or deleted their invites.  That helped a lot in terms of following up for RSVPs.  This is what they looked like:

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wedinv

9. Set guidelines and boundaries up front.  

For a period of about two weeks, all Jon and I did was scowl at each other whenever the wedding was discussed.  Designing our wedding website was HELL, people.  We couldn’t agree on anything.  First my head was too big in the photo, then his was too small, then the orange colour wasn’t quite right, then we hated the theme we’d chosen so we got a whole new one… anything and everything we could argue about, we did.  Until we looked at each other late one night, burst out laughing and decided we needed a break.  After telling me I was a bridezilla, Jon then admitted that he was also becoming slightly irrational, and so we ignored the fact that we were getting married for a few weeks and carried on with life.  It was blissful.  Once we’d both calmed the fuck down, we then set boundaries about how much / when / why and where, with anything and all things wedding.  Things were a lot easier after that (and after the website was published).

10. Enjoy the process.  

I think so many of us can so easily get caught up in the drama, the insecurities, the insensitivities of it all, that we forget what the wedding is all about.  I’m completely guilty of this, I’ll admit it openly.  There were moments where I felt that a bright neon suspender belt on Jon would RUIN THE WHOLE WEDDING.  WHY NEON ORANGE, JON, WHY?! But I’m clearly quite over that now.  Ahem.

My point is, it’s your wedding day.  It’s the day where all your lovely people get their shit together so they can honour you, and your love, and your unity.  More importantly, it’s the first day of your marriage, which is waaaaay more significant than fairy lights, a hay spiral aisle and pastel themed buttons and balloons.  Remember why you’re doing it all, and it’ll all fall into place.

 

If you’d like to add your own tips, please comment below, I’d LOVE to hear them.

 

 

5 comments

  1. Heidi says:

    Oh, and a VERY important tip. Well, 2 actually:

    1. Have a pre-ceremony first look and photos. Saves time, you get better light and helps calms the nerves.

    2. INSIST on and book 10- 20 mins for just you and the groom (nobody else!) after the ceremony to take it all in. The day goes so fast, before you know it you’re waking up the next morning and you didnt even get to chat.

  2. Wi3sa says:

    This is what I found from planning my wedding:

    1. I loved doing everything. It gave me a chance to give attention to detail. From flowers, to table settings, to how the day progressed, I was there, and had a say.

    2. Pin the DJ down better. Our choice of music for the night wasn’t what ultimately played. At least they stuck to the banned list.

    3. Mingle, mingle, mingle. Else you do have FOMO and can’t remember if you even spoke to everyone.

    4. Sit down, relax and HAVE A GLASS OF WINE at your own wedding.

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