5 tips to help you stay sane in your wedding planning

You don’t normally associate the topics of getting married and mental health, but it’s Queensland Mental Health Week and planning a wedding can be a huge stressor for many couples. If you’re beginning to feel the strain, it’s important to take a step back and think about your mental wellbeing as you plan your future life together. While that one milestone day is important to celebrate your love and commitment to each other, it is essential to minimise stress and anxiety before the big day.

Here are the top five tips we recommend to reduce stress on your wedding day:

Ask for support

This is a special day that you will remember forever, however, you’re not the only ones who are going to be enjoying a wonderful day – your family and friends are as much a part of the day as you and your partner so don’t take on all the work yourselves. Ask for help and support where you can. If you have one of those awkward family dynamic situations that doesn’t work well together then plan for this early – don’t leave it to the last minute. You know everyone’s personalities, so choose carefully who you rely on and make sure your requests for assistance are reasonable too. You can’t expect everyone to be quite as committed as you are either, so give people realistic deadlines and be appreciative of the small things.

Plan ahead

Do as much as you can before the big day and if your budget allows, use professionals. If your budget is more modest then ask your family and friends to help set up on the day and pick someone completely trustworthy to act as coordinator on the day. You don’t want to be worrying about the chair covers or floral centrepieces before you walk down the aisle.

Make sure you get your wedding dress with enough time to make any last-minute changes if required and make sure that at your final fitting you try the dress on with the underwear you plan to wear. Some things, like the cake and the flowers, have to be collected at the last minute, but most items you need can be collected days or weeks in advance and the more things you tick off the list early the better. If items need to be moved around on the day, or positioned at specific places make sure you have detailed someone you trust implicitly to make sure it happens, maybe even do a dry-run in the days or weeks before to practice.

 

Communicate your priorities

You can’t please everyone, as much as you might want to. From the very start of the planning stage it is good to understand your own expectations, along with the expectations of other people who play a key role in your lives and will be essential to your wedding day. Avoiding discussions about big items, such as the budget, can create significant problems as you approach your wedding day. So be clear in your priorities and plan around the key components and people, being upfront and honest is usually the best policy, with family, friends and vendors.

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Photo credit: Masterpieces Photography + Video

Trust in the professionals

If your budget has allowed for a team of professionals, utilise their skills and services to the fullest extent. Set clear expectations and ask questions early in the planning stages. It can be very hard to alter plans once the day is in progress, and even harder if the plans were ambiguous to begin with. So be kind to your vendors, meet with them, fill in their forms and ask questions. They want to make your day magical, but they need you to help them do that. Trust their skills and experience, and be in the moment on your day, not counting seats, or worrying about how bright the lights are.

 

 Let it go

Sometimes things don’t go to plan, but how you react to unplanned events can be the difference between a good celebration and a bad one. We have attended so many weddings where the bride or groom gets upset about something that the guests haven’t noticed. All the guests see is a bride or groom who doesn’t look like this is the happiest day of their lives. This isn’t the lasting impression you want to give to you friends and family. In contrast we have attended weddings where so many things have gone wrong – massive storms, people running late, bouquets falling apart, ripped bridesmaid dresses in inappropriate places to name but a few – yet they have been some of the best celebrations we’ve seen because the couple took things in their stride and just made the most of the day.

So, take stock. What is really important to you about your big day? That is your priority in the planning and on the actual day.

If things get on top you, it might be time to talk to someone. Maybe your partner, your BFF, your mum, or your mother-in-law. Whoever you feel most comfortable with to raise your concerns. You’ve heard the old saying about a problem shared. It really does work. A different perspective might be the calming conversation you need.

And if you don’t think that’s going to work, for someone completely independent and unbiased to talk to about a personal crisis you can contact Lifeline

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Photo Credit: Masterpieces Photography +Video
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The first things to do in your journey to ‘I Do’

If your new years was a little more spectacular than most and 2017 has started out with the excitement of a wedding proposal, then it’s time to start the planning process.

So, what comes first? The date or location? Actually, neither! Your budget is a great place to start so you can ensure you have everything you want on your special day.

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1.Set your budget

Agreeing on an achievable budget gives you the parameters to plan within – after all, there’s no point looking at venues with a $30k minimum spend if your total budget is $20k.

2. Set your ideal date

Once you set your ball-park budget then one of the very first questions is whether you intend to have a long engagement or race to the altar sooner. It’s a good idea to have a few options for dates rather than getting your heart set on one particular day on the calendar. Think about the dates you’d like to avoid (check with the important people in your life too), and the season you want to celebrate your nuptials in. The most important factor with your planning is to get your first choice with every element, which can mean staying flexible with dates, especially with some popular venues booking out up to 3 years in advance. That might be fine if you need time to save but if you want to head down the aisle within a year or 18 months then you may have to be a little bit more flexible.

3. Find your dream location

If you have some idea of your preferred locations then it will pay to check with the venue coordinators to suss out availability and whether they have any blockouts that might affect your planning.

View our preferred wedding venues.

4. Other essential vendors

Setting a date allows you to start locking in the other vendors who will be essential to creating the perfect day. Popular celebrants and photographers often book out up to 18 months in advance and again, to make sure you get your first choice of suppliers, make sure you book your preferred choices as soon as you possibly can.

5. Reflect your style

Once you have settled on the date at your dream venue then the next decision is what style of wedding you want. Do you want boho, or vintage, or glamour or casual? With so many decorating options available today it is easy to have Hollywood glamour in the most rustic of locations, or enjoy a Boho themed celebration in a central city hotel.

6. Gowns, glorious gowns

Your choice of dress is intrinsically linked to the style of the day, so you may hold off on setting a theme for the day until you have found the perfect gown, or vice versa.

Whilst you may have a style of dress in mind be open to change and check the different styles that are available and try on a wide range of gowns at several different salons. Let the consultant help you, but make sure you have your besties there to keep everyone on track and make sure you tell them to give you honest feedback.

View our favourite gown suppliers.

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7. Professional help required

If you’re starting to get a bit of a brain spin by now it might be worth considering hiring a professional wedding coordinator to help out with your planning. Whilst it might seem a luxury expense, experienced and well-connected planners can actually save you money as they will have negotiated discounts with other suppliers that you can take advantage of. They will also have more contacts within the industry, allowing them to source the unique extras that will make your wedding stand out.

8. Who to invite?

Who makes the cut, and how do you explain to Great Aunt Petunia that there simply isn’t space at the relatives table for her? Obviously, your budget will have defined your venue which will, in turn, have defined the numbers you can accommodate. If your budget allows for 200 attendees then you probably won’t have to be too quick to cull, however, if you’re planning a small intimate ceremony then this may be a tougher decision. If you are paying for the day then the decision should be yours and yours alone, however, if you’re lucky enough to be getting help from family then there will have to be some tricky negotiations. The most important factor is going to be who do you want to spend the biggest day of your life with? Would you rather spend the day with distance relatives or close friends?

Of course there’s also the little detail of who gets to be in your bridal party, but maybe that should be a post for a little later so you can enjoy some quality time with your new fiancé and not freak out.

How to know when you’re hiring an amateur photographer

When budget restraints start to bite for your wedding, hiring an “emerging” or student photographer seem very appealing. However, when you add up the costs of everything that you’re spending money on your wedding day, it mightn’t be the best option to hire an amateur, especially when you consider that the one thing that truly lasts from your special day is the photography.
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With lots of amateur and hobbyist photographers now having websites and Facebook pages for their work it’s getting increasing hard to know if you are hiring a pro or someone who just does a few weddings on the weekend.
  1. No ABN – without an ABN, you really shouldn’t be doing business and if they don’t hold an ABN then it’s likely your photographer won’t hold the requisite liability insurance either. Make sure your contract, which any professional photographer will insist you sign, includes the ABN and company/partnership/sole trader details.
  2. Certified Professional Photographer status – Both PPAQ (Professional Photographer’s Association of Queensland) and AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photography) recognise the elite of the profession with the Certified Professional Photographer status. Both associations also have amateur categories too, so just make sure you ask to see your chosen photographer’s certificate and make sure they aren’t misrepresenting their true status.
  3. Hard to contact during work hours – anyone in business should be available during reasonable business hours and should respond to enquiries within a legitimate, business-like timeframe. Anyone who takes 3 days to respond to an email or phone call is likely a weekend-warrior who works another job during the week. So that means they can’t earn enough from photography and can’t necessarily devote all their time to the craft. Is that really the person you want shooting your wedding? And what happens after the day if they get busy at their other job – will your images be delivered on time?
  4. Limited samples – if your photographer can’t show you examples from at least 20-30 weddings then you should really consider if they have the requisite experience. And make sure that the samples are REAL weddings, not styled shoots! Shooting models in controlled environments is very different to shooting a live, real-time wedding!
  5. Novelty images, heavy use of filters and having just one “style” of photography – You will want a huge range of imagery from your day – some delightful candids, some pieces of art, some natural, some posed and lots of fun and creativity. Be very careful of the photographer who tells you what style of photography they shoot. A properly trained photographer can, and will, shoot whatever style his client wants, whereas an amateur will tell the client what style he, or she, can shoot! Your day will be fluid – it will evolve, ebb and flow and you need a professional who can adapt to every changing circumstance. Lots of “fauxtographers” talk about “natural light photography”, but only because most don’t know how to use flash and fixed lighting to generate their own lighting conditions. Likewise the over use of filters or novelty shots can indicate lack of skill or possibly generic processing by an overseas photoshop factory – do you want your precious memories on an Indian condom package? And one shot with motion blur is artistic, but lots of images with blur just means the person with the camera really doesn’t know what they are doing!

 

Photo credit: Masterpieces Photography + Video