by Aileen Wilson director @Blush Boutique
So he or she has finally popped the question? Congratulations. And there was you thinking it was never going to happen, or was it you who did the asking? In that case a massive HIGH FIVE, well done.
Anyway just recently I’ve noticed quite a few sparklers being flashed around Belfast and beyond, now that Christmas and the New Year are well and truly behind us. But just when we all thought it was safe to go back into a jewellers – we have Valentine’s Day???
And now the dust has settled and the dreamy-eyed viewings of the ring have fizzled out; your sister, having resurrected her “27 Dresses”, is dropping unsubtle hints on the type of bridesmaid’s dress she definitely won’t be wearing, when your best mate looks up from her skinny, chai latté and asks “so, have yehs set the date yet?”.
Suddenly you begin to feel a bit strange, like a sort of rush of blood to the head, and you remember that the last time you felt this nervous was the night before your maths GCSE because just like then, you haven’t a clue where to start, unless of course you work in event management.
In which case you probably won’t be reading this.
But be brave, screw your courage to the sticking place (never thought I’d get to quote Lady Macbeth in a piece about weddings, heh?) because until you say those two little words, here’s five very important words that I learned from an event manager I know…
Who? What? Where? When? Why?
Who is going to perform the wedding ceremony? Your priest, vicar, minister, registrar, celebrant? If you’ve decided on a religious ceremony you’ll need to contact them first. Men and/or Women of the Cloth don’t like to play second fiddle to reception venues, they usually figure God comes way, way up the pecking order. If you have a rough idea when you’d like to get married it’s a good idea to give them priority and establish what dates they have available. Once that’s done, you’re away, you’ve left the starting block.
If you’ve decided on a civil ceremony you’ll still need to contact the aforementioned Who to establish dates, notice periods and any other legalities which, as a rookie fiancée you won’t be aware of.
Presumably you and your intended will have discussed what type of wedding you want. Gone are the days when it was breakfast served at the local hotel, with Great Aunt Sally giving her rendition of Danny Boy and all the guests packed up and on their way home by tea time.
Every taste, budget and culture can be catered for, from a hooley in a barn, to an intimate soiree in a vintage tea room; from trendy restaurants to castles, marquees, stately homes, tropical beaches, medieval Italian monasteries, the list goes on. But once you’ve decided What type of wedding you want, you can move on to Where.
Destination weddings are hugely popular and if that’s your choice, make a bee line to a specialist travel agent or website, they can arrange everything from the ceremony right down to the florist and everything in-between. You may think it would be cheaper to do it yourself and you’d probably be right, but unless you’re familiar with the laws of the country you might find yourself not legally married at the end of your big day.
Where to host the reception is arguably the second biggest decision when planning a wedding (I say arguably because it probably depends on whether or not you’re the one wearing the dress??) So, unless you have the winning lottery ticket, like everyone else you will need to consider cost.
If you already have an idea of the type of wedding you think you want, search out venues on the internet but think outside the box, be open to new ideas. Hotels and wedding venues all have a section on their website devoted to weddings. Once you’ve done your research make up a wish list, then you can drop in, pay a visit, pretend you’re the ‘Hotel Inspector’, get a feel for the place.
Can you see yourself there on your big day?? Yes? Make an appointment with the wedding co-ordinator, cross your fingers, be open to suggestions and bargain hard.
If you’ve done your research in the right order you should already have the time of year decided and have several potential dates.
Hopefully by the time you’ve got this far you won’t be so stressed you’ll wonder “Why are we bothering?”
Done in this order you should know Why you’re choosing to do it the way you are.
Why you originally thought you wanted a romantic beach wedding in the Seychelles but now you’re glad you’ve decided to have that hooley in a barn with all your friends and family there, and hopefully you’ll know Why you’ve changed your mind and Why you know you’ve made the right decision.
Done in this order you should have established the ‘tone’ of your big day – informal, grand, elegant, vintage etc – because once that’s all out of the way you can get on to what you’ve been dying to do since you said Yes and arguably make the biggest decision of your wedding plans.
NOW YOU CAN GO WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING.
Tanti baci (that’s love and kisses in Italian – much more romantic isn’t it?) from your Blush buddies.
More next time.