Words of Wisdom

When I first started meandering around the edges of the UK wedding blog world, afraid to take the plunge and actually write something myself, somehow, I came across Becca Loves – a blog detailing the lovely Becca’s life into marriagedom and beyond. The way Becca wrote drew me in, and the topics that she wrote about were close to my heart.
Some of you may remember how right back at the beginning, I posted a link to one of Becca’s posts about the world of wedding blogs and how it can sometimes be a b*tchy old place. She’s left some pretty great comments here on Any Other Wedding too…keep an eye out for her and her insightful thoughts. So now you all know how much I love Becca and her outlook, so you won’t be surprised that I was chuffed to bits when she agreed to write a guest post for us. 
So get comfy, because I think you’ll enjoy Becca’s Words of Wisdom from beyond the Wedding… *
At the risk of sounding like every other newlywed ever, our wedding was everything we dreamt it would be. With a twenty-month engagement, it seemed like the day would never hurry up and get here, but it was amazing just how quickly that time flew.
I suppose I should introduce myself. I’m Becca of beccaloves.blogspot.com. I attended a lot of weddings during my most influential years – aged 7 to 10 – and so yes; I was one of those girls who imagined what her wedding would be like. I read so many blogs that say “Weddings? Never crossed my mind before I got engaged!” No, that’s not me – I had a dress-up wedding dress and always knew that I wanted a big tent in the garden. Thankfully for our budget, not to mention my bridesmaid with a fear of birds, I left dreams of Father of the Bride-style swans behind.
My lovely now-husband, Patrick, moved in with me after two-and-a-bit-months. His rugby commitments were the big clincher in our decision to wait until August to get married – I didn’t want to risk bruises and black eyes in our photos! We share a love of accountancy (um, yeah), food, and more recently, trips to Walt Disney World. I am truly blessed to say that the wedding planning was an exact 50/50 split between the two of us – I swear I would’ve gone into meltdown if it weren’t for his exceptional event planning skills!
So, without further ado, I’m going to share a few lessons I have learnt throughout the planning process:
Don’t rely too heavily (puns! I have finally reached Carrie Bradshaw standards of writing!) upon losing weight for your wedding. I carry a surplus four stone, and the above-mentioned twenty months really should have been long enough to shift all of that, but I just didn’t. Thank goodness the dress I bought fit on the day. That was pure luck more than anything else. Honestly, unless you’re the sort of person whose appetite declines under stress, don’t put yourself under any more pressure.
Don’t be afraid to buy a dress off the rack. My experiences with dress shopping taught me that many of these designers are unscrupulous charlatans who try and cover their cheap and nasty materials with added sparkle. Was that harsh? There were dresses that made me concerned that if I danced too quickly, I might catch fire. Buying off the rack will make your money go further and allow you to see what that specific dress will look like before you hand over your deposit and wait whatever the crazy lead time is for your dress to arrive, by which time if you don’t like it, there’s no time to find another.
Choose your suppliers well, and don’t do things by halves. If you’re short on funds or can’t afford exactly what you want, get creative or go for something completely different. Having experienced our fair share of dreadful DJs, and with my pathological fear of bad live music, we were at a bit of an impasse. The only way to guarantee a good DJ seemed to be to splurge on one of these amazing ones that provide tailor-made playlists; while I have no clue as to how one secures a good band. The solution – the laptop from which I’m typing, iTunes and an average PA system. Despite the fact that I have managed to acquire some random playlists featuring some lesser known Cascada and a “street mix” of Billie’s Because We Want To, it was a raging success.
Don’t agonise over photography. Most of my favourite photos from our wedding day were the ones taken by family and friends, with no prompting at all. This kind of comes under the previous point above, but I feel it needs its own emphasis. Professional photographers are expensive. Think how much you earn an hour, and then consider that a photographer needs to make at least your hourly rate, plus enough to cover all those hours spent not working. This means that even the ones who have little-to-no skill are going to take up a considerable chunk of your wedding budget, just to make a living. If this is not your passion area, then allocating responsibility of certain sections of the day might just be your best bet.
I know this one has been done to death, but don’t sweat the small stuff. I never got around to putting together a photo booth, nor did I remember to buy a guest book. Today, it is not something that even crosses my mind. I desperately wanted a cheese cake (separate words = cake made of cheese) but on the day, I didn’t have time (or room in my boned bodice!) to eat any.
Don’t fall for the “wedding tax”, where things are suddenly crazy-expensive because it’s a wedding. If you’re not the type to spent £150 on a dress normally, then don’t feel like that’s what your bridesmaids’ dresses should cost. Monsoon sales can be a dream, and amazingly there is so much old stock on eBay, new with labels. This is how my bridesmaids’ dresses cost £25.50 apiece.
Your wedding reception is not all about you, you, you. It’s not even necessarily just about you and your beloved. Weddings are a union between families, and just because you’re into thrash metal or plushophilia doesn’t mean that you need to stick two fingers to Granny by making it the theme of your wedding. Being considerate of other people does not make you some kind of betrayer of your soul’s voice – it makes you a decent human being. A wedding reception is a party, and it’s only simply good manners to try and help everyone have a good time.
I’ll apologise in advance for this terrible piece of generalisation, but I know that there are plenty of husbands-to-be out there who leave the wedding planning to the womenfolk. Get him involved! Weddings don’t have to be about flowers and lace – the reception is essentially the most awesome party ever, and even the most wedding-phobic man knows what he wants from a great party.
Take your time and enjoy it all. We had a midday service, so we could have as much of the day as possible, but twelve hours still didn’t feel long enough – it was only the 11am flight the next day that stopped me wanting to go out in town afterwards! Between the sit-down meal and the arrival of the evening guests, we had time to chill out, play rounders and catch up with the guests – a real gift. If you get the chance to schedule downtime like that, then I’d recommend it.
Finally – don’t forget why you’re doing this. It’s easy to get caught up in just one day, but be comforted during wedding-related stresses that the most exciting part is yet to come.
* oh and if you’re as wowed by the cake as I was, look no further than www.londoncake.co.uk – who only happens to be Becca’s sister in law. And she took the photo. Talented huh?
Categories: Life Experience, Wedding Reports
10 interesting thoughts on this

10 Comments

  1. Posted October 1, 2010 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    What brilliant advice. Thanks ladies!

  2. Posted October 1, 2010 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I am not married nor getting married any time soon, but this is excellent advice!

  3. Posted October 1, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Excellent advice, Becca – and congratulations to you both!

    Wish I'd read some advice like this before we got married, to be honest, would have made me feel so much better about some things. And really refreshing to hear what you say about a photographer – we had a really cheap photographer (someone who just does it in her spare time) and were really pleased with our photos, but it does annoy me when wedding blogs wax lyrical about how you MUST spend lots on your photographer or you'll regret it forever. For a start, I love our photos, are they only cost £300! But, like you said, it's hard to beat the ones that family and friends took towards the end of the night when all the dancing is getting a little more interesting and everyone's just beaming from ear to ear. You can't buy that.

  4. Posted October 1, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Straight to the point. love it!

  5. Anonymous
    Posted October 2, 2010 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Re: the poor advice regarding choosing a wedding photographer and budget – please take a second to watch this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hpJ1iPD5RQ&feature;=youtube_gdata_player

  6. Posted October 2, 2010 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Nothing like a little bit of controversy before 9am on a Saturday!

    Firstly, Congratulations to Becca and Patrick-Becca you look utterly radiant and that cake is incredible! Mmmm….cake…

    Secondly, I have just taken 5 minutes out of my Saturday morning to head over to YouTube and watch the recommended video from the above comment. And I found it irrelevant and offensive. That's not to say it doesn't have it's place in the photographer/cost debate, rather that the portrayal of all brides as discount-grabbing, thoughtless, overbearing crazies is inappropriate and incorrect. As is making all wedding photographers out to be rude, money-hungry jobsworths.

    But that's just my opinion. And 'Words of Wisdom' is Becca's opinion. Becca's well thought out, based-on-experience, personal opinion. She does not give 'poor advice', she gives advice relevant to how she felt and how her day went-the best kind of advice.

    Happy Saturday you lovely, lovely ladies!

    x

  7. Posted October 2, 2010 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Aisling!

    @Anon – I think you may have missed my point. It's not about fighting to get the cheapest deal possible, it's about recognising that unless you have access to a friend who doesn't use photography as their main source of income, you will be hard pushed to find one under £1,000. That is in no way to say that they aren't worth it, simply that it's a lot of money, more than many of us can afford.

    My intention with that tip was to explain why it is that photographers need to charge as much as they do, and to dispel the myth that a professional photographer is an essential part of the wedding – like any other aspect, it really depends on your own passions.

  8. Posted October 2, 2010 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    I agree totally with Aisling and Becca.

    It is not only photography that is expensive and thought of as a must at all weddings. It seems that there is a major list of items that are seen as Musts and if you don't have them then it can't be a proper wedding. The whole spending a small fortune on a wedding dress and shoes is crazy I can't remember how many times I was asked who the designer of my dress was and from what collection. It's not like I had suddenly had a pay rise I can't normally afford to buy designer shoes and clothes so what changed? It was the same with wedding invitations my god they are expensive we made our own and to be honest they looked a hell of a lot more creative than the ones we had seen before that cost the earth.
    I'm not saying if couples want to or can spend that kind of money on weddings that it's wrong it is totally up to them but it shouldnt be expected and we shouldnt be made to feel our wedding is unworthy if we don't or can't!

    Great advise Becca wished you had been around when I was planning my wedding! xx

  9. Posted October 2, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Thank you to Aisling, Becca and Stacey for putting into words exactly how I feel about this. It is a huge (wrongly formed) stereotype to put all brides into the money obsessed, trying to get something for nothing category, as it would have been had Becca made any mention of moneygrabbing or lazy photogrpahers. She didn't, and in fact coversely pointed out how much they were worth, and just stated that paying for one was not her top priority. Which is just fine by me.

    We wanted a good photgrapher all along, because photography is important to us. Other things aren't so. Aisling didn't realise until two weeks before the wedding that photography was important to her, and boy was she glad she did realise. Becca realised after the wedding that photography wasn't so important to her. All of those opinions are entirely acceptable, as are everyone elses.

    And thanks to Becca for being brave and standing up and saying that it wasn't so important to her – it seems like it's made a lot of other women feel better about their choices.

    Fliss x

  10. Posted October 2, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Sage advice that is helpful to anyone. Great article. I definitely agree with getting the guy involved. This way the wedding and reception will have aspects that he wants as well. He may even have a different viewpoint and some great ideas himself.

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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image by Lucy Stendall Photography

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