Despite what you might think, I’m not an expert wedding planner. In fact, these past 6 months have been quite the learning curve for this bride to be. Planning a wedding is a complex process involving research, communication and project management. It involves a great deal of patience, problem solving, time management and people skills, all of which I thought I was blessed with until I become the soon to be Mrs T. You know how it is, I thought as soon as I had the big things booked like venue, photographer and dress, that I’d have dealt with the most stressful things. Then I realised there was a bit more to everything than that.

Preparation is key. I remember a friend once telling me about the 6 p’s – ‘Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance’ and his words have stayed with me ever since. Which is why today I wanted to share with you 16 things I didn’t know about planning a wedding before I was a bride to be, in the hopes it should make the next newly engaged couple a little more prepared than I was and more importantly avoid any awkward situations.

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1. You need to book your wedding date and time before you give notice

Genuinely the most embarrassing moment so far, has been turning up to our appointment to give notice, to find that we should’ve booked our wedding with the registrar beforehand. Our interviewer could clearly see we had no idea what we were doing and kindly offered to see if they could book our marriage ceremony for us over the phone. At that point we’d left it so late, that at the time of her calling our only option was a 5pm ceremony but as fate would have it, another couple cancelled last minute and we eventually got our ceremony booked for 12 noon.

2.  You should at least know your SO’s date of birth and birthplace

The second most embarrassing moment was again whilst giving notice. I was asked Mr T’s birth date, only to draw a complete blank. I had no idea the interview would be so nerve wracking and I felt for sure Mr T would be nervous about his questions about me too, but no, he sailed through with flying colours, making me feel like a complete idiot! Time to swot up before the big day.

3. Getting married in a different county is a little more complicated

If your getting married in a different county don’t forget that you’ll need to give notice in the county you live and book the registrar for the county in which your getting married.

4. Suppliers get booked up FAST!

OK so I knew that ideally you should book suppliers a year to eighteen months in advance but my best advice is, if you do find someone you really like before this, don’t wait! I failed to act on two suppliers that I fell in love with early on and both times found that they’d already been booked for my date when I eventually made my inquiry. I do believe things happen for a reason and now I’m over the moon with all my suppliers but it didn’t stop me feeling disappointed in that moment.

5. Ask if there’s any other events at your venue the day before your wedding?

It’s worth checking if there’ll be another event at your venue the day or night before your wedding. I full expected to be able to access our venue the day prior in order to set up, but hadn’t realised that my contract stated I would need to pay a reservation fee otherwise the day could be booked for another event. Unfortunately I realised this a little to late and the Friday got booked for another wedding, which meant I had to quickly make a plan B.

6. You will act like a spoiled child because you can’t have something your own way at least once

I always had it in my head that we’d have long tables for our wedding reception, what I didn’t take into consideration was that I’d need to hire these in and that they’d come with an extra expense. At first I was happy to pay for it but when Mr T stepped in and questioned whether this was an expense we actually NEEDED, I went into full childlike tantrum mode. After a few minutes of crying about how the wedding would be ruined if we couldn’t have long tables, I realised I was being a a total diva and settled for round tables and chairs, because who the hell cares if their sitting at a long table or a round one!

7. Factor yourself into the guest count when giving final numbers to the caterer

If you’ve paid for catering for 60 people, that number needs to include you and your SO so don’t forget yourselves. And don’t forget to factor in meals for your vendors, especially if they’ve come a long way or will be a doing a long stint like photographers or videographers.

8. Out of town vendors might want you to book their accommodation

We have a number of vendors coming to the day that are coming from well over 100 miles away, yet we were still surprised when they asked us to provide accommodation for them. Thinking about it now, it makes total sense because who on earth wants to drive 130 miles back home after getting up at the crack of dawn to work a full 8 hours or more – not me, that’s for sure!

9. You have to pay for a makeup trial

There will be times when you will genuinely question whether or not a service is worth the money, as the finances start to stack up you can feel yourself trying to hold on to every last penny which is how I felt when I was told I would need to pay for my makeup trial. Before now, I’ve never had my makeup done by a professional, so I fully expected this to be included in the price.  Again, it’s one of those things that makes sense now, of course hair and makeup artists should paid for doing a trial, they spend 2-3 hours working with the client before the big day, getting to know them, figuring out what sort of makeup they like and making sure the end result is 100%. I enjoyed every second I spent with my MUA and was so glad I decided to have a trial. In my opinion makeup is just as important as the dress, my face will be in all of the photos, so it’s needs to be done right!

10. You’re guests will ask you what they should wear, despite there being no specific dress code?

How many times have you been to a wedding where there was a dress code? I personally, have never been told I had to wear something specific so why people feel the need to ask me what they should wear to my wedding completely baffles me. As I said, when your planning a wedding you learn to wear many hats and now I can add personal stylist to my resume.

11. When booking entertainment, make sure you know the minimum power requirements

When I booked our band I hadn’t realised that the main power point was exactly where I wanted our top table to go along with our lovely handmade backdrop. I’m still trying to figure this one out so I can’t really offer any more advice apart from know how much power your DJ or band will need and where it’s located.

12. You will need to set up your gift registry before you send out your wedding invites

Typically invites will have some sort of information for guests regarding a wedding gift list, which I kind of didn’t realize until the invites needed to be ordered. This meant I had to quickly set up a very rough gift list to make sure the link was included before they went to print.

13. Everything takes longer than you expect it to

I’ve seriously had my time management skills tested, not just because I’ve realised I’m terribly disorganized when it comes to doing things for myself but also because we’re in an age where people just email each which means response times can be lonnnngg!! And let me be clear here, I’m mainly talking about myself, my poor suppliers have had to wait weeks for me to get back to them because quite frankly I hate emails, but I also hate talking over the phone too so….

14. At least one person will get weird because they haven’t been invited to your wedding

I can’t go into this one too much as it’s obviously personal, but just be aware you will upset at least one person when planning your wedding. No matter how many times you’ve explained you only wanted a small ceremony in order to relieve your OH’s nerves and anxiety, you will also have to explain that it’s not a reflection of your friendship and apologize for not making your wedding more about them.

15. Don’t send invites to people in different countries

Two of our closest friends are coming to the UK especially for our wedding and we couldn’t be more excited, however they won’t be getting physical invites… instead we’re sending them digital copies so they receive their invites the same time as everyone else and there wont be any delays in them getting their RSVPS’s back to us.

16. Wear the underwear and shoes that you plan to wear on your wedding day to your dress fitting

I was reminded multiple times by the owner of the dress boutique to bring the underwear and shoes that I’d be wearing on my wedding day to my fitting, yet I still ended up forgetting to bring my wedding shoes. It’s really important to remember to take these items with you as part of making sure your outfit fits properly includes checking the length when worn with shoes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my honest and at times rather embarrassing insights into wedding planning, it’s certainly been fun to write and I hope you’ll find it just as helpful.