A Bride’s Perspective – The Wedding Planning Process
It's not often that you can receive REAL advice from a REAL bride. Your Mum and Grandma's advice can only help so much, but when planning a wedding in today's digital age, it can be difficult to understand what the planning process is going to be like.
Planning a wedding is a unique process for every Bride and Groom – it can be hard to know what to expect! One of our beautiful brides has shared the wedding planning process from her perspective. Newly engaged? This read will give you an insight into what’s to come. Here’s our bride…
I felt like there were 5 clear waves or stages for our wedding.
1) The high stage. Drunk on love and the words from my fiancé that he wanted to set a date. After so long, this was it, we were doing it. The excitement of announcing a date, finding a venue and making contact with you. The brainstorming and booking suppliers stage. Feeling like I’d just secured a stress-free day by hiring a professional bridesmaid of sorts. At this stage I didn’t realise how good my friends were and how many people love a wedding! I thought “nope, we’ve got this covered. Danielle and her team will be my new BFFs and all will be sweet as on the day”.
2) The lull. The calm before the storm stage. This is when I probably disconnected from reality and was completely stress-free. Wedding? What wedding? Oh, I’m sure it’s happening sometime but I’m sure things are ticking along quietly in the background. Not sure at this stage why I hired a wedding planner – this stuff seems pretty easy. I guess we’ll just turn up on the day now and everything is done? I’d bought the dress, seen the length of the train and decided I better enlist a bridesmaid and maid of honour so that I’d have someone to haul that mother load of tulle behind me, if need be. Time was ticking on ever so slowly and my brain was hungry, so I re-enrolled in Law because who doesn’t need an expensive academic hobby the year they get married? I think I registered my styling business in this space too (because juggling lots of balls seems to be my jam).
3) The lead up. The stressful stage. The “I wonder if any bride has ever committed suicide or died of natural causes (heart failure) from stress related to a wedding” stage.The emails started to ramp up. Bills and invoices from suppliers came in. I started to realise how good the Groom seemed to have it. I took over the payment of the bills sometimes because paying them made me think that it was all sweet, one less thing to worry about so everything was going to be fine. I had a Hen’s Weekend and started to worry how I was ever going to fit into my wedding dress with the amount of Veuve and Hen’s Party cake I had consumed. Reality was creeping in. I learnt the value of a hair and makeup trial and how to break up with a supplier. I learnt why indeed it is deemed a “trial” and started to take comfort in knowing that I could feel like a princess on the day because the second hair and makeup trials had been a success. I was confident. If all else failed, at least I would look good.
Last minute dance lessons were booked. A honeymoon was rapidly arranged. He did it so quick that he didn’t even check his diary. Had he done so, he would have seen that we were already scheduled to be in South Australia at the same time he had booked a trip to New Zealand. Many hours later, on the phone to QANTAS and all was well with the world. Study was going well but was making me a bit of a cranky mum and an insomniac of a fiancé. I was feeling like I was carrying the load of the world on my shoulders and Mr Right just wasn’t doing enough. I was not feeling like my stress was heard enough so I offloaded onto him many times via text or verbally, just in case he hadn’t heard me the first time! He began to try and step up where he could.
At this time, I wasn’t really aware of what was happening. I was a bit of an ostrich with my head firmly planted in textbooks and my biggest worry being gaining weight from stress and not fitting into my wedding dress still being my number 1 fear. My fiancé daughter had sent him an angry email and I was worried how that was all going to play out and so began to make a few adjustments to the vows and ceremony in order to tap dance around that issue. A lot of my family members pulled out of coming to the wedding but did so with enough notice that it wasn’t an upset planning wise.
The next wave of stress started to happen when, very close to the wedding date, friends who had RSVP’d then called and advised that they weren’t coming for what seemed like nonsensical reasons. Looking back, my advice is to not sweat stuff like that. I allowed it to affect me and it seemed to be the start of a bridal breakdown. I don’t know if it’s normal to experience some kind of meltdown pre-wedding. I thought I had successfully avoided it, but a couple of days before the wedding, the wheels were falling off this bride’s bus. Your phone call received that same afternoon offered some wise words from the wedding planner; however, I think some sort of hysteria had begun to set in and I only half-heard what you were saying. I was so hurt that a good friend would pull out so close to the wedding and even more so saddened to know that the real reason was because of a domestic violence situation.
4) The Wedding Day. It was here. The night before went well. Nothing unremarkable. The day of, I woke up calm. Everything that I thought mattered, didn’t really. The stylists turned up on time. Hair and makeup began. If I was ever unsure about where to be and when, I referred to your run sheet and that gave me the confidence in the day’s timing. We were ready early. This was the first sign that the event was well-organised and the first time that I got an inkling that having a wedding planner was like having a hen that lays golden eggs. I probably shouldn’t say first sign. What I mean is, the first reality moment on the day when I stopped fearing and started having fun. It was like I could stop holding my breath and behaving. I could release and just enjoy the day. I remember thinking then that there was no way on God’s earth, had all the prep and planning been left to me, that I would have got to the ceremony on time. I was nervous but surrounded by beautiful, confident, happy, intelligent women who eased my nerves and helped me to stay calm and feel like the bride who is happy and not stressed.
My celebrant had warned me that no one likes a late bride and that if I arrived late, and they didn’t have something to drink, the guests would be staring at me for all the wrong reasons. I remember feeling a sigh of relief when we were ahead of schedule. The weather, thankfully, was gorgeous that day – not too hot, cold or windy.
The ceremony happened. I don’t know where you were after I walked in. I don’t remember my vows. I couldn’t tell you what guests were where. I just used my Groom as my touchstone and focused on looking at him. When the vows were over it seemed very confusing: photos, a string quartet that had to be told to quieten down, people everywhere, my Husband getting antsy about missing our opportunity for photos. Again, at this juncture, I don’t know where you were, but I don’t even remember where my mum or kids were either. Everything just happened so quickly and was so overwhelming. Is this normal? Was I in shock or having some sort of episode? I am grateful for our videographers who captured our day as I’m sure it will be more enjoyable to watch as a viewer rather than as a participant. That is the beauty of you though, Danielle. I didn’t know where you were, but you were there. Quietly working away in the background, making sure things ran smoothly and to plan.
The reception: the wow moment! When we fully took in all that you had done for us and it all came together. The night ran smoothly. The staff were amazing, the food was great and the guests were well-behaved. I couldn’t have asked for a better night. Your attention to detail and that of your helpers is second to none. In the middle of the night, once back at our hotel, I woke up wondering where certain things were. Thinking that surely, they had been left behind in the toilet. Nope, it was all there. You are like an angel. You are the fairy godmother for Brides! I checked a bag that somehow had ended up in the hotel room and everything that we needed was in it. We went to bed on a high that night, singing your praises more than once.
The day after, the days into the following week – each time we would hop in the car and drive somewhere we would do this wedding debrief thing. There was nothing we would change, and it has to be attributed to you. Thank you also to your husband and young son who allowed us to share their wife and mum with us not only on our day but also for the 6 months beforehand. I cannot begin to think how the time away from them must be hard at times (probably good at other times too – I say this as a mum of 3!). You are so many things to so many people.
5) The post wedding comedown and event analysis stage. The venue rang a few days afterwards to see how everything went and I gave them my honest feedback. Not so much criticism, but more how they are sitting as a good resource with lots of potential, if only they would be slightly more accommodating and flexible with their offerings. We offered this feedback because we support and love the venue we chose and want to see it do well (whilst being aware of certain limitations, of course). We met with friends for lunch and they asked for your number. They have been wanting to get married for a while, but it just hasn’t quite come together yet.
We reflected on how the last-minute addition of confetti cannons really blew us away. A small thing, but a big “wow” because we weren’t expecting it, didn’t know how they worked and were totally taken back by them. We discussed how the Groom wasn’t quite keen on the champagne tower, yet on the night, the room went eerily quiet when we poured into the top of the tower and how special that moment actually was. It felt spiritual with Baba Maal’s beautiful Sengalese voice (accompanied by Mumford & Sons) playing in the background.
I learnt the process and stages of organising a wedding, and why our marriage has to work because there is no way I ever want to go through all this again! It was a magical day truly thanks to you, Danielle. I sincerely hope I am never a wedding client again – I couldn’t and wouldn’t do it again! I take my hat off to you and how you have the ability to do one wedding after the next. You are so grounded and seem to enjoy your job. You get stuff done without fanfare. I don’t know how you find the energy to be in the business you are. My Husband and I have nothing but the utmost respect for you. We are so pleased to have had the opportunity to work with you, share our journey with you and have the most beautiful wedding day.