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Friday, July 17, 2015

On Being My Own Wedding Planner ...

When you think of a 9 month timeline you think of making babies right, well for Mr P and I that's how long we have to plan our wedding. 

We got engaged in November last year on a cruise holiday, we had an Engagement Party in February this year and then September we are getting hitched! 

It has been a very busy and exciting 7 months so far with just 2 months to go before the big day!

A few people asked me if I was going to get a wedding planner .... C'mon guys you're looking at the wedding planner! 

So I thought I'd share with you how it's working out and what I've learnt from being my own wedding planner .... so far!

Organisation is the key to success

Planning a wedding has taken my love for organising to a whole new level I can tell you. To be honest I thrive on being organised, give me a spreadsheet and a heap of information and I'll organise it with pretty headings and neat little rows, I have been in my element organising this wedding.

In the beginning I was overwhelmed with all the things that had to be booked and finalised, but then I started on one task at a time, researched blogs and pinned like a crazy bride to be on Pinterest (I have a secret Wedding pin board!) got quotes from local suppliers and finally I'd take all the information to Mr P (with the one I want him to pick in bold and underline!) and we'd make a decision together and then book it in. I add all the details into my master spreadsheet and that's job done. Time to drink some wine to celebrate before moving onto the next task. 

I needed a wedding binder to keep everything together and made a simple one for about $6 from supplies found at Kmart - a cute polka dot lever arch file, dividers for each section and plastic sleeves. This is where I keep all the paperwork, receipts, inspiration pages from magazines and brochures, samples etc. The binder lives under my coffee table so I can pull it out whenever I need it, which is quite a lot!

Use checklists and templates wherever possible

It can be overwhelming with all the different things you need to organise from booking the reception to the transport and even down to the finer details of gifts for the bridal party and the date for the rehearsal dinner. 

What I found helped me was to have a simple checklist which I printed out and stuck on the fridge at home and I tick tasks off as they are complete. This also helps me keep on track and see what else needs to be organised. 

I also have a more detailed checklist as part of my master spreadsheet where I keep all the information including names and contact details in case I need to confirm any bookings etc. 

There are so many free templates, lists, basically everything wedding you could possibly need available for free on the internet - there is no point in re-inventing the wheel and starting from scratch, find the templates that suit your style of wedding and use that as a guide.

Sticking to a budget

Weddings can be expensive, but you don't need to go for the fancy and expensive options - get lots of prices and then compare the cost with people who have received and used the services. We are saving money in some areas like not going overboard with decorations and flowers so we can spend money in other areas that are important to us - like food and wine! 

I found a budget template online which I personalised with all the items we'll be including in our wedding and took out all the extra things that we just don't need or want. Each time I pay for something I update the budget which automatically does the sums and tells me what we've spent and how much is remaining. 

I over estimated on most items, putting in a budget figure from what I could find on the internet and what I understand things cost. I have mostly come in under budget for each category so far which is a really good feeling. The budget spreadsheet definitely keeps us on track.

The average Australian wedding costs anything from $27,000 to $54,000. Our budget is below the average at $20,000. I can do a budget breakdown of the actual cost of the wedding afterwards if anyone would find this useful ....

What I will DIY .....

I DIYed our engagement invitations, party gift bags and all the engagement party decorations, the flowers and set up and pack away of the party venue. I admit it was a lot of work and I don't want to go overboard with the DIY for the wedding - I want to really enjoy the day and the memories we'll make without worrying about hanging bunting and blowing up balloons!  

Having said that any small DIY projects I can do leading up to the wedding I am happy to tackle like these ....

Bridal party invites - We asked our bridal party with a small creative project - cute wine bottle invites for the girls and cigar invites for the boys (blog post to come on these!)

Wedding stationary packs - I designed and printed all the wedding stationary myself, I'm using the same Avery products from my Engagement party invitations which I had leftover plus some more which Avery have supplied me with for a product review which is awesome (blog post to come on these too!)

Designing, printing and framing signs - I'll make some signs on the computer which I'll print out and frame, these are really quick and easy projects that don't cost anything as I'm using frames I already have. I need to make a reserved sign for the seating in the church, a sign for the drinks table, and some social media signs for our Wedpics App and Instagram hashtag for the reception venue.

Flowers - With the help of a creative friend I'm having a go at doing the flower bouquets for myself and the bridal  party, boutonnieres and corsages. I admit I'm a little nervous about this and will do a trial run next month once the spring flowers are in and see how we go. If it's too hard or they all wilt and die, then I will have to turn to the professionals for the flowers.

Make up - My beautiful bridesmaid is doing all our makeup, I've bought some new makeup and we've had a few trial runs including one final trial last weekend, wrote down everything we used and took lots of photos so we can recreate the look on the wedding day. Honestly this has been so much fun, who doesn't love make up and bubbles with friends! 

Photobooth Guest Book - I am DIYing a photobooth for the reception, as a cheaper option of hiring a professional and photo booth set up for the night. I have purchased a Polaroid camera and custom made guest book and just need film, props (which I'm borrowing from friends) and to make a backdrop.

What I'll leave to the pros ....

Ceremony - We are getting married in a Church so there is no concern about being outdoors with the weather or the set up and pack away of the ceremony chairs, table and decorations. I just need to pick what flowers I'd like and what music to play and I don't need to worry about anything else.

Food - We did all the catering for our engagement party and my parents did all the food and were baking, cooking and freezing canapes for weeks! This time around we'll have delicious food from the reception venue and I have a few special treats in store which I'll announce after the wedding (I don't want to ruin the surprise!). 

Cake - I was going to make my own wedding cake as we are having a cake made of cheese wheels .... yes I'm having an actual cake of cheese! But the reception venue offered to do the cake at the same price as it would cost me to DIY so I came to my senses and asked them to do it, it's one less thing to worry about. I will DIY (or find on Etsy) the cake topper and my parents will decorate the cake for us with some fresh fruit and rustic gum leaves from the farm.

Reception - We are having a stand up cocktail reception so there are no tables to decorate or seating plans or anything like that needed. One of the main reasons I picked this venue is because it's already beautifully styled with a vintage eclectic decor so I will just bring a few items from home for the welcome table and photobooth table and that is all that is needed.

How it's going to turn out ....

Everyone puts so much pressure on your wedding day, but it's important to not lose sight of what a wedding day should be about - Mr P and I becoming husband and wife and declaring our love for each other in front of our friends and family.

So long as everyone who is special to us is there and I have a pretty dress to wear and Mr P looks dapper in his suit, it doesn't really matter if the flowers wilt or we run out of champagne so long as we have each other the show will go on!

I feel really good about the wedding plans so far ..... but a few weeks before the wedding I may start to get a little frazzled, we will see!

Do you have any tips or words of wisdom for the big day?

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  1. I still have my wedding binder! The wedding is the funnest party you EVER get to plan and throw ever... I can't wait to see all your wedding (and HM) posts soon!!!


    1. It is the best party I've ever planned so far and I've thrown a lot of parties!
      Thanks I am really looking forward to coming over to your side of the globe for the honeymoon :)

  2. Michelle, good luck with the organising - do you mean to have a cheesecake or a cake made from 100% cheese like a cheddar which is then iced? I do hope the second since that would be awesome! Cheers from CArole's Chatter

    1. Hi Carole, we are having a cake made from actual cheese - cheddar, brie, etc. It wont be iced just wheels of cheese stacked on top of each other and once we 'cut the cake' the cheese will be served with crackers and condiments. I am a real savoury person and always order the cheese board while everyone else orders dessert so I just had to have a wedding cake made of cheese!


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