Planning A Wedding: 6 Tips To Get You Started


In this Wedding Planning series, we go step by step, using my wedding as a reference point from the beginning to the end of planning. I share tips on how I came to single handedly plan and achieve my dream wedding. I had a bit of help here and there from friends and my husband too. I also share things I'd change or do differently,  how I overcame last minute challenges like being mailed the wrong wedding gown a month to the wedding and the photographer cancelling on me when I was on holiday. I give wedding planning advice from the 'I went through that' point of view rather than professional planner view.

I'd been living in Prague 2 years when my boyfriend proposed on Valentines Day 2011. Close to the heels of euphoria came terror. I had a wedding to plan and I could hardly speak the language!

The very first huddle was the difference in opinion about what a wedding celebration should be. African weddings are a big affair and one's relatives are ALL OVER IT. It’s as much your wedding as it is theirs. Your parents' friends will have front seats and the whole village might show up – uninvited. European weddings on the other hand are mostly small and intimate; closest family and friends. My husband's opinion was, "4 people are enough. You , me and parents as witnesses." An absolute no-no for me. I wanted a proper wedding and I set out to make that a reality - without a wedding planner.

Incase of questions, contact me 

First things First...

Set a date

Decide on the season and then set the date. Most wedding services come cheaper when the wedding date falls on a week day. This might seem like a great idea, but it's also when everybody else is at work and looking to go home and relax at the end of the day. Choose what will suit you and your guests. We settled for the date my husband and I met and was a Saturday. It could be a date that gives you wonderful memories or any other random date. It's a personal decision.

What kind of wedding do you both want

No one wants a sulking partner for the entire wedding planning period. Planning is stress enough. Each partner might envision a different wedding. Talk and decide as calmly as possible. Yes, things could get a bit heated.

Set a budget

At this early stage, it’s pointless to make a detailed plan of what each item on the wedding list will cost. Make an estimate of the amount you are both willing to spend on the wedding. If an external source like parents is expected, this is the time to get them to commit to an amount. I included some money saving techniques like DIY projects, using some items we already had or buying items we were sure to reuse. 

Number of guests 

Decide on the approximate number of guests you'll want to have. List down everyone you think you'd want to attend and then trim this list to fit your guest number. We eliminated anybody we hadn’t talked to in a year, then continued to trim it by removing anybody we hadn’t met in person in a year. Be prepared to deal with some hurt feelings. It's advisable to search for a venue with a guest number in mind. 

Join a wedding website or discussion forum

There are great websites out there. Search online. Do this with great caution though. It's easy to get carried away with everybody else's ideas. Keep 'budget' within your sights. Your wedding plan might even seem pauper-ish but remember, pictures in magazines always look better and so do pictures on the internet. If you can afford it, by all means, go wild but if it's going to leave you destitute...well...

Make an item list

I have provided,  for view and download, a detailed spreadsheet with item lists where you can collect all your information. There are magazines, tons of websites all bursting at the seams with ideas. It doesn't have to be exhaustive from the onset. You can always add and subtract from it.

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