Congratulations! (And good luck.)
About 25 seconds after we got engaged I ordered pretty paper and envelopes and a tulle skirt. Both things were purchased online from Melbourne, whilst I was still in Switzerland. You see, whilst I may not be a wedding person I have a thing about being organised. Plus, one could argue that my mind is usually seven steps ahead. Of course it was a brilliant idea to get those invites ready asap, despite not having a date, venue or any vague idea of what we were doing.
Fast forward about 4 1/2 months and I possibly would have reconsidered the order of events. For us wedding planning sucked. I am really glad we figured out what was right for us and that we can just enjoy life again.
However, in hindsight here are some things I learnt:
1. Figure out your guest list. I feel like this does impact final decisions. Be prepared for arguments - especially if your partner is a social butterfly and you are a minimalist. (Purely hypothetical situation of course.)
2. Get a bit of an idea about what you want to spend. I actually don't think this necessarily is the same as what you can spend.
Accept that if you end up doing anything other than eloping on your own (minus any reception/party) you will spend more than you initially plan for.
3. Based on guest list / finances make a decision about location/venue. Think outside the box and just go with what works for you. We decided on a combination of elopement (for a variety of reasons) and having a post-elopement party the day after. This was the perfect solution for us. Is it what couples tend to do? No, but the stock standard wedding just would not have worked for us.
4. Book a Photographer. This one was a key factor for me. In fact, I booked our photographer for the elopement before even having figured out the rest of the details for the reception/party (seven steps ahead, you see.) I looked online was amazed by his work and just had a gut feeling that he was right for us and the style of photographs we wanted.
5. Choosing the right celebrant. This made me damn nervous and I really wanted to find someone we clicked with. It was especially hard as we are not having the ceremony in Sydney, so we didn't have the option of meeting a celebrant face to face. What we did do though is have a conversation on the phone. Ben, our American Staffy Mack and myself were all on speaker to our gorgeous celebrant and very quickly into the conversation we just knew that she'd be perfect for our ceremony. I would suggest meeting with your celebrant or at least speaking to them on Skype or on the phone prior to booking. You definitely want to feel like they are the right match prior to the day.
5. Hair/Makeup. This turned out to be a rather tricky affair due to dates and location of our elopement. I have to say it does help to get in early - esp. if you are getting married in smaller cities or on public holidays (or both)! I had a few moments of wondering if I would turn up to our elopement with knotted, frizzy (and grey) hair. Lucky Ben, yet again.
6. Invitations/RSVP's/ Thank you cards. (If you are so inclined - save the dates/place cards/menus/maps/wishing well info etc.) I decided to design our invitations and thank you cards and am still finishing them. Remarkably I am using most of the items I bought online whilst still overseas. I really enjoyed coming up with a design and have have actually enjoyed creating them. I am keeping things pretty minimal. And there's not a wedding font in sight. Amen.
7. The Outfit. I am so excited about this process. I have my initial appointment with my designer in a few weeks. I am really looking forward to working with her to make something that I will love and that's 'me'. I ended up choosing a Sydney based designer who loves fashion and designed dresses for two beautiful friend's weddings. It was really important to me also that I have someone who I feel is easy to get in touch with and has great correspondence. And she is absolutely amazing in that regard.
(I will shortly write a blog about some brands I love who sell off the rack gowns - just if getting a dress designed is not your thing).
8. Flowers/ Styling. Once you have someone booked you have plenty of time to finalise all the details. I have nothing organised yet for our party and have decided on what I'd like for the ceremony. Of course, it's no drama if I change my mind a few weeks out from the ceremony.
9. Music. This one is still on the to do list for us. Any talented muso's please get in touch - I have reached my planning capacity.
10. Rings. We also haven't figured this out yet - but we have plenty of time. A friend of ours suggested getting two bands in case you lose one or alternatively keeping one as an anniversary gift for the first anniversary. Depending on how much we decide to spend that may not be a bad idea!
11. Celebrate the fact you have made it to step 11 and are still in a happy relationship with your future husband or wifey.