My Top 5 Wedding Tips

It's been over two months since the wedding. Which means I've had some time to reflect. On my mistakes. So if you're ever planning a wedding, this is what I think is the boiled-down essential to know:

1. Most decisions can wait.

When you get engaged, there are lots of questions from people. Where will it be, how many people will you invite, what kind of cake will you have? There is a real feeling of urgency to make as many decisions as you can right away. Don't. Don't start asking bridesmaids, don't start inviting people and don't worry about what your color theme will be.

There are a few decisions you do need to make and they concern how much money you have for the wedding and then where it will be (aka choosing a venue). Also, it may help to map out a guest list to get a good sense of how many people you plan to invite (and ask your parents how many people they were thinking they'd like to invite – if you're doing that sort of thing). These are the big decisions and everything else can wait. Besides, you will change your mind on all those little decisions. Don't get ahead of yourself.

Which brings me to…

2. Realize family + money will = some discomfort.

Even though deciding who would pay for our wedding was relatively painless, there was still tension, at least on my part, as I worried about who would pay for what and specifically whether or not there would be enough money. I also worried over how many people we could invite, who would actually come and spent many sleepless nights fretting over not having enough space in the venue to feed all of our guests (I also had a dream at the early stages that we had to get married in my high school gym). I suppose everyone in the world has some sort of issues with money, so there's going to be some discomfort when you're suddenly asking for money from family members or deciding how much money each month you can save before the wedding. In the end, everything was fine. So just expect the discomfort and realize it is normal, which may make it easier to stomach.

3. Stay away from wedding magazines!

I know some women swear by them, but they gave me the shakes and made me break out into a cold sweat. Remember people, glossy magazines sell lots and lots of advertising! I found that paging through bridal books only made me start sweating the small stuff, like why hadn't I thought about what my place settings would look like?

During every part of the wedding-planning process I never actually needed a magazine. I only bought one once, when I was trying to decide on the flowers. And I regretted it, as it cost nearly £5 and there was a very limited selection of flowers in there – I had much better luck googling 'red and purple' flowers and seeing different combinations in the pictures results.

Instead, whenever I had a decision to make I would find out my options and then make a decision. Need a veil? Go to some bridal shops and try them on. Pick the one you like best. That sort of thing. It worked just fine for me. Bridal magazines just made me more confused about what I wanted and encouraged me to spend more money – a lose-lose situation.

4. If something isn't working, change it.

Essentially, I had to fire my hair lady about six weeks before the wedding (I swear, I was not a bridezilla). I should have gone with my gut as I knew from the trial that it wasn't really working -- she made me feel stressed out. But I thought I was being silly and uber sensitive (turns out I wasn't).

It transpired that although she had agreed to come to the venue and do my hair, my Mom's and my Maid of Honor's, she told me about six weeks beforehand that she couldn't get the time off from the salon and could she come to the house and start on our hair at 7 a.m.? I politely told her, via email (thank God for email these days) that I was sorry if there was a misunderstanding but I really needed someone to come to the venue, so it just wasn't going to work out.

In retrospect, it was a blessing in disguise as I still hadn't settled on someone to do my makeup. And when the hair lady flaked it gave me the opportunity to find someone who could do both. And Pam, my hair and makeup lady, was amazing. Not only did she do a good job, but she kept me calm -- and your hair and makeup person is the last person you really have contact with before you head off down the aisle. (If you live in London and you ever need someone to do your hair/makeup, check out her site here. And you can see a photo of my hair/makeup here.)

Thing is, you need to be comfortable with your vendors. Go with your gut and don't be afraid to make changes if things aren't working out. You might be happy you did.

5. No matter what goes wrong, it will be worth it on the day!

As I've written about before, I lost my voice the day before the wedding. It was pretty horrible. But it still didn't ruin things! (I got the vows out and gave a croaky speech.) In hindsight, I probably would have taken the whole week before the wedding off from work -- instead of only three days -- which may have helped me recover from my cold faster. But who knows? Maybe something else would have happened in that case.

You just can't plan for everything. So you do your best, but then also be safe in the knowledge that something strange will happen. But it will still all be OK, and in fact, wonderful. I promise.

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