How to plan a wedding

So you should probably know that I’m a bit of a planning freak.
I love planning parties, events, teambuildings- basically anything that requires organisation.
You can imagine that planning a wedding was a blast for me (not so much for hubby).
I thought I would give you a guide on how to start the planning. Sometimes it can get a bit overwhelming and scary, but if you tackle it bit by bit it’s really FUN.

So, you’re engaged…. now what?

1) Book a venue
Venues get booked out uber fast, especially in the summer months. I’d advise deciding what month you want to get married in, and then narrow it down to an area (eg- do you want a wedding in the city you live in, or a destination wedding?)
Once you have that sorted you can try googling wedding venues or you can visit some good wedding sites : http://www.celebration.co.za/ and http://www.saweddings.co.za/ are excellent.
Make appointments with a few that look promising and go see them all with your partner.
Try and get info about menus, venue charge etc at these meetings, and make sure you get a tour of the venue.

2) Draw up a budget
Once you have your venue sorted, it will be a lot easier for you to draw up a budget ‘cos you’ll have a better idea of the menu (most venues require you to use their in house catering), drinks and venue hire – the biggest costs

3) Pick a photographer
The good ones get booked just as quickly as the venues. I loved http://www.chrismunton.co.za/ and http://www.quintinmills.co.za/
I would advise booking the cheapest package with the best photographer you can afford.
You can always get the albums later when you don’t have the huge expense of a wedding to think about.
http://www.storybookalbums.co.za/ provide an affordable and easy way to design your own albums at 70% less the cost that photographers will charge you.
I really think that it’s important to invest in an excellent photographer who can capture your memories the way you would like to remember them.

4) Compile a guest list
This one is tricky, families always seem to get involved and end up dictating who should be at YOUR special day. You can approach this in 2 ways:
1) Let them have it their way. You will have a small say in who is present at your wedding and you need to be okay with that.
2) Make it clear to them from the outset that YOU will be deciding who attends your wedding. They will probably be upset at first but they’ll get over it eventually.

5) Invitations

I really loved our invitations but our supplier was a nightmare to deal with – think no response to emails, goods not delivered on promised date, no answer on contact number. We got everything we wanted eventually and it all looked stunning but the engagement with the supplier was a MISSION. Anyway, here are the invites and if you would like to use the supplier you can contact Hannie on 082 373 2342- don’t say I didn’t warn you 😉
Her invites are literally half the price of those you’ll see elsewhere and way more unique- so the pain may be worth it.

6) Decor:
If you really want to save money, it’s way better to do your flowers with a florist, and then hire your decor from another person. It works out perfectly if your venue is prepared to do some minor tasks like tying on chair tie backs or placing candles.
I did my flowers with Wedge Rose Florist in Bryanston- very reasonable and the owner (Loretta) did ALL my other decor for me. She had a family emergency on my wedding day so she “delegated” some tasks to some of the Westcliff staff, which I wasn’t very happy with- but overall she was fab.
I got chair tie backs from Classy Candle Hire in Morningside – http://www.classycandlehire.co.za/ and I got candleholders and underplates from Ruby Rain http://www.rubyrain.co.za/ and SA Wedding Decor http://www.saweddingdecor.co.za/
I did all the picking up and dropping off of decor myself and saved bigtime on delivery costs.

7) Cake:
Some of the more generic cake places, like Annica’s charge a FORTUNE. Magnolia Cakes (http://www.magnoliacakes.co.za/) were reasonably priced. We decided to go for the individual cake option as we only had 60  guests and the smallest 3 tier cake feeds 120. We also provided take away containers on the day so that people who were too full from the other desserts could take a cake home

8) DJ
This one is relatively simple. We used Shattered Glass http://www.shatteredglass.co.za/ – well priced and very professional, excellent service. The DJ will come to your house a month before the wedding and will go over all the details with you.

9) Honeymoon
I guess this depends on budget. Mauritius is always a popular choice. Make sure to check out http://www.tripadvisor.com/ – you’ll find out if the hotel you’re scouting is dodgy or not!

10) General
– don’t fight with your husband to be- men are just not genetically made to plan a wedding! Let him have some input but don’t let him slow down the process!
– don’t skimp on the small things. You’ve already spent 1000s. If you want something small that’s additional, just spend the few extra hundred rands. You’ll make it up when the wedding is over
– ENJOY the process and HAVE fun! (Hopefully) you’ll only be doing this once in your life! 😉

x H