AOW A-Z of Getting Married – W is for What you need to know before you start

The AOW A-Z of Getting Married is a resource for brides (and grooms) to be.  It’s a welcome piece of sanity in an industry-saturated world where people are bombarded with what weddings they should have, what they should act like, and how a bride should feel.  Created by the team behind Any Other Woman, this A-Z is the first collaboration of its kind, bringing together posts from readers across the AOW community filled with advice, wisdom and experience from sane, smart, real women, many of whom have been there.  From wedding planning to family trials to breaking taboos, no topic is out of bounds.  We are honoured and excited to run each and every post, and we learn from each and every one of our readers.

To help the A-Z become an even better resource, please leave your tips, advice and comments below.

W is for What you need to know before you start by Clare

When you get engaged, people, in fact, society at large, will tell you all sorts of things that You. Must. Do. Bridal magazine, mums, wedding blogs, neighbours, in-laws. They will all have an opinion on your wedding, and they will all be different.

And that’s ok. Let them have that opinion. Listen to it, smile, politely thank them for it (or keep reading the blog/magazine/watching Don’t Tell the Bride), and then do with it as you will. You do not I REPEAT YOU DO NOT *have* to do anything. Regardless of what the lady at the supermarket checkout says.

So, after telling you not to listen to advice, here is a round up of some of the best advice AOW and its marvellous readers has to offer. Because we’re contrary like that.

1. First things first, read the AOW A-Z of Getting Married before starting to plan. We are lucky enough to have some of the smartest, most sane, but above all *normal* (in the loosest sense of the word) readers and contributors. I guarantee that you will not find more sensible things written about weddings anywhere. We’ve got everything from being an anti-bride, through cake, religious ceremoniesculture clashesreadings, second-weddings, weightmothersbig-budget weddings, staying sanebest-men, bridesmaids x2short-engagements, long-engagementseloping, guest lists and underwear, covered, amongst so many others, so it’s pretty comprehensive we like to think.

2. Ok, now you’ve done that, yes? Excellent. Then let’s start.

3. It’s only one day. When it all gets too much, try to keep that at the forefront of your mind. You will have, hopefully, many more days, both before and after the wedding, and some may even be more special to you in the end. I loved my wedding day, but I look back now (having been married all of two years), and already it is a blur. Just think how it will have faded in significance in 5, or even 10 years time. Once the wedding is over, the marriage starts, and that, really, is the best bit (thanks Katie for that one).

4. Despite what the movies may have you believe, women are not born knowing how to pull off a wedding (thanks Pensky for that beauty of a tip). It’s ok to feel like you’re in over your head. Most of us have never before organised a day-long party for 100+ of our favourite people, from scratch. It would be crazy if you *didn’t* at some point think ‘I can’t do this’. This is the time to call in the back-up team. Your significant other, your mum, AOW, twitter – when it all gets too much, reach out and ask for help.

5. Being stressed about your wedding does not make you a bridezilla. I can’t tell you how much I hate how the word bridezilla is thrown around, and used towards any woman who happens to care about their wedding, or who is finding it stressful working out the seating plan for 100 guests. It is allowable to be interested and emotionally invested in your wedding.

6. It’s *not* allowable to demand friends and family give up their life for your wedding. It is your special day, not theirs. Try to put yourself in their position, and analyse how you would feel about your requests. I’m almost certain that all AOWers would do this innately, but I had to put it in anyway, just in case.

7. DO NOT COMPARE YOUR WEDDING TO OTHERS. Did you catch that? Because, in the age of wedding blogs, it is all too easy to end up wishing your wedding is/was as beautiful/arty/hip as the ones you’ve seen on the blogs. Do not let yourself be pulled in. I did. I regret it. As the wise Zan said ‘wedding mags/fairs/blogs are not your friend. Don’t get sucked in.’

8. It’s worth giving-in on some things. A wedding is very often a community event, whether you like it or not. Having said above that not everyone will be as interested in your wedding as you are, there may well be some who feel that they have a say in how your wedding will go. Try to compromise on things that aren’t so key, so you feel confident sticking to your guns when something is important to you.

So that’s it. I think that covers the main things you need to know before getting started. Be true to yourself, be open to suggestions, stay calm, and ask for help.

And as Fiona said – ‘If by the end of the wedding day, you’re married to the person you love, then you’ve succeeded. Anything else is a bonus.’

And with that, I’m throwing the floor open – what advice, hints, or tips do you wish you’d been told before you started planning?

Categories: A-Z of Getting Married
5 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted January 30, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Most excellent advice. I would also add to this list – ENJOY THE PLANNING. It might just seem a means to an end but don’t get caught up in the race to the finish line. I had such good times while planning our wedding and got much closer to a lot of friends and family. Even if it’s something really stressy or boring you have to do, try and find a way to make it more fun and enjoyable, even if that’s just drinking a glass of something fizzy – everything looks better with a slight Prosecco haze I reckon! x

  2. Posted January 30, 2013 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    I am currently 8 days from seeing mybestfriendinthewholewideworld (FTMMM) get hitched, and I have forwarded her so much wisdom from here! Watching her has made me remember that once upon a time I was also sat in a sea of favours and a thousand accessories and pairs of shoes none of which are quite right and feeling like my head was going to EXPLOOOODE and there was no way in the world it was ever going to come off. But somehow, it does. And somehow, whatever happens, it is wonderful. Even if, like me, it takes you a few months afterwards to get your head around the fact that it was wonderful, you WILL get there. 18 months on, our wedding is now so completely tied up with what my marriage means to me, that the memory of the day itself just gets better as it ages, gets dog-eared and frays at the corners a bit.

    So. Are you guys making a book out of this or what??


    • Alex
      Posted January 31, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      I second the book idea Penny! I wish I had had some of this advice in the preparation phases of our wedding, but I got through and everyone had an amazing day :)

  3. Rach M
    Posted February 1, 2013 at 2:27 am | Permalink

    I was just thinking what a great book it’d make!

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  • By An anniversary of sorts on March 5, 2013 at 7:02 am

    [...] rand the entire AOW A-Z of Getting Married (you can see a mini-round-up here), and it seems like just about every single one of you contributed – either by writing a post [...]

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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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