I decided to start Parcel after realising that nowhere made the kind of Bridesmaid proposal boxes I was looking for. Everything I found was either too kitsch or too ‘homemade’ and none had gifts in that my friends would want to use and keep. Since the launch in 2017 Brides and their tribes have been a huge customer base for Parcel and this means I spend a lot of time talking to Brides and hearing about their plans for the big day. I'm also (almost) one year married, so the memory of wedding planning is still very much fresh in my mind. It felt like the best subject to start the ‘Just saying’ blog series, so here are some things that I wish I’d heard, listened to or believed before I said ‘I do’.
Just like Jennifer Aniston had to learn in ‘He’s just not that into you’, you’re the rule, not the exception. So, when you say there will be no disagreements between your family or friends about the guest list – you’re likely to be wrong! I learned the hard way that people are trés touchy about invite politics and which stranger you should be welcoming to your intimate display of love (do I detect bitterness!?) So as with all wedding dramas, pick your battles, some disagreements are worth the hassle but many aren't. Anything that can give you peace of mind while planning is worth its weight in gold.
The final hour
I schedule, a lot. Like a LOT. Before running a well scheduled business I worked as a fashion shoot producer, so was in fact a career scheduler. My wedding was absolutely no exception and because of this, the 3 day weekend in Italy was planned to the minute, typed up, branded, printed and shared with the wedding party (advisable move, particularly for a destination wedding). But the hour before we were due to leave for the ceremony was a total blur which dissolved into thin air! Aim to be ready an hour before you need to be and you stand a chance of leaving on time. The nerves, excitement and general buzz of girls in dresses means everything takes longer than you could imagine, so plan for extra! A calm 5 minutes before you leave will be welcomed if you can fit it in.
Getting the shot
Picking a photographer is a huge decision, particularly in the social network age where memories are documented like medical records. We were lucky enough to nab Benjamin Wheeler who’s destination wedding images are out of this world. A photographer will have their own personal style which will set the tone for all the images, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty of groups, make sure you’re prepared. If there are some group shots you’d like, i.e. both sets of parents and siblings, or all your girlfriends together, decide on these beforehand, note them down and give this job to an usher or Bridesmaid. They can wrangle the right people together while the photographer does their thing. Even as someone who did this professionally for over a decade, on the day I couldn’t think straight at all, without the list we'd given to our best man we would have missed out on some really special photos.
Take some time
I was continually told this before my wedding, and continually ignored it but I’m now a total convert; Spend some time alone with your husband during the wedding day. If that means 10 minutes hiding round the back of the marquee, sneaking away to the hotel corridor, or a quick rest out of sight, then do it! In my experience, getting married is wonderful, but it is also very, VERY, overwhelming. Luckily there’s someone else in exactly the same position as you, so some time alone where you aren’t being fussed over or photographed, where you can breathe, talk and take in the situation will make such a difference. It’s also a nice reminder that the day is actually just about the two of you being in love, and that’s just nice!
Elope, have 5000 guests, send your invites a week before the wedding or 3 years, have as band, or DJ, or nothing at all, wear black, don’t do a speech– do whatever you want!! There are so many types of weddings because there are so many types of people. It’s not the 16thcentury, the traditions are glorious if that’s what you want, but they aren’t rules. Having my dad walk me down the aisle, for example, was a tradition that I loved and was absolutely sure about including, but there were many we were happy to leave behind. My fiancé and I stayed together the night before the wedding and woke up together…He saw me on the morning of our wedding and we DIDN’T DIE! People told us (regularly) that this would be bad luck, that it’s not ‘what people do’ but in fact, waking up together at the crack of dawn through pure excitement and watching the sun rise over the Tuscan hills, knowing that something monumental was going to happen that day was one of the best moments of my life so far. There are no photos of it, there were no fancy outfits, it wasn’t on the schedule, it was just us in real life, the good stuff. Pick and choose exactly the things you want to take from tradition and the ones that don’t suit you both. You can’t please everyone- so do you.
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