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When I first sit down with couples at the beginning of a planning journey, there’s an elephant in the room. This is your big day, your once in a lifetime moment.

You’ve been thinking about this for months or maybe years, and there’s a level of expectation riding on this. You want to be relaxed and easygoing – you want this planning gig to go smoothly without seeming like a bridezilla. But underneath you are really concerned with one big question. How will you include all the things that are important to you both, and meet your family and friends’ expectations, in a single meaningful day? And how will you do it without blowing the roof off your budget?

If you can relate to this, don’t worry. You are definitely not the first bride or groom to have these thoughts, and this is a conversation I have as a wedding planner time and time again.

This blog series will work through three key parts to this dilemma: small details, budget, and guest list. I hope that some inside knowledge might help take the weight off, and give you a head start on your wedding planning journey.

To begin, here’s the lowdown on how to avoid sweating the small stuff.

First, talk to each other

This might seem obvious, but so many couples skip this step when they decide to get hitched. Part of the reason is because there are conflicting opinions out there. There are family traditions and expectations: your mum expects you to invite all your second cousins, your dad wants to choose the alcohol since he’s paying for it, your grandma thinks it would be nice if you wore her wedding dress… Not to mention what your friends expect. You’ve been to their weddings, and you’ve seen their huge bridal parties, the on-trend floral and lighting installs, the three course meals. BUT, please don’t go down those rabbit holes. This is your relationship, your marriage, your wedding day. This isn’t about them or what they want; it’s about what’s important to you as a couple. The best starting point I can recommend from experience, is to talk to each other about what you each expect. And then, sit down and write a priority list.

What to put on your list

Writing an ordered list together will help you make decisions about styling and how your wedding will look, but it will also be a lifesaver later when it comes to budget decisions. Every couple has nightmares about deciding what to pay for and what to cut – the band or the French champagne, the expensive dress or the videographer. These decisions will be made easier if you know from the start what matters to you most – not just on a financial level but a personal one. Talk to each other about your top things you really must include, along with the things you would like if possible, but are willing to be flexible on. A big one here is ceremony space. Some couples are absolutely set on outdoor ceremonies, and then during the week lead-up comes torrential rain or gale force winds. Talk about this early – do you actually care that much if the ceremony gets moved to a beautiful alternative indoor space? Would you actually care that much if your guests get wet in the rain? You don’t need to make any heart-breaking calls at this point. We will talk through all your options once we meet, and usually we can find solutions to make things work because we’ve done so a million times before! Your goal is simply to have an honest conversation about priorities.

What not to put on your list

What you absolutely should cut from your list, are the traditions you think every wedding ‘should’ have, but which you actually don’t care about at all. Things like a three tier white wedding cake, a bridal party of ten, a formal bridal table, a traditional first dance where everyone stands in an awkward circle and watches you shuffle around for three minutes. You know what? None of that is essential. Sometimes you may choose to include things out of respect for tradition or your family, but actually it’s up to you. Don’t pay for things you don’t want. Go for that luscious sticky date wedding cake with buttercream icing you’ve been dreaming about, run with a bridal party of six, skip the first dance, and buy that gold sequin dress if you don’t care to wear white! This is your day.

Please try not to stress!

You’ll probably get sick of your fiancee telling you, ‘don’t stress, babe’, but it’s honestly important that you try. This is going to be a huge moment in your life, but there’s no reason why the planning stages have to be super serious. It can actually be a relaxing, fun and enjoyable experience! Make your sanity a priority in the wedding lead up. You and your partner shouldn’t give all your time to planning – make sure you keep date nights free of wedding talk, and treat yourselves to spa days and much deserved massages. Remember that your relationship is the reason you are doing this in the first place, so support one another! We can help make the process fun too, by organising things like cake tastings and venue walk throughs.

Trust your planner

Believe it or not, this isn’t my first rodeo! If you have a question about your day, I’ve probably answered the same questions many times before. And if a problem comes up, I’ve probably had to deal with the exact same thing only recently. This industry is my passion. Making weddings come together is my day-in, day-out, so when you work with Ivy & Bleu you can trust that your planner has got your back, and has the experience to make smart decisions. Choosing professionals to guide your planning process will help take the stress off you, because we know our way around venues, suppliers and run sheets, and we have established relationships and knowledge in the industry that take years to build. Trust us when we tell you it will work out – we should know!

It’s going to be OK, your wedding is going to be amazing. Even if it pours with rain, your aunty makes a fuss because she was seated at a back table, and your emcee swears too much, this will be a day you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Enjoy every minute!

Mandi Turner

Creative Director
Ivy & Bleu