Whether it's sharing the workload (turns out you can't do it all yourself) or embracing the British rain, these were the top 5 things I learned from my BIG DAY.
You'd think, considering I'm the Fashion Editor at Wedding Magazine, I would have had the big event all planned out within an instant. Yeah, not so much. Turns out there's a lot of things you can only really learn once you've actually experienced the planning; the tearing-out-of-hair over the table plan, the indecipherable difference between two types of chair backs that look the same but costs' lie at opposite ends of the spectrum. Each wedding journey (from the engagement to the actual day) is unique to you and your family, and, this is what I learnt from mine.
#1 Don't try and do everything yourself
Now, this is a key point to make. I don't know about you, but with so many specific ideas, moodboards and plans laid out in my head, I felt that I wanted to do it ALL by myself. Turns out, this is highly unpractical, and if you try to do it all by yourself the day won't actually happen because you've failed to get everything done #justsaying. Let others in! Not only does it make the journey much more fun, but they'll have some brilliant ideas too. Also, this point is paramount if you have a tendancy to get carried away with things. Point in case? My Father had to finally tell me to get a hold of myself when I started considering a gold metallic dancefloor (I still secretly think this would have been brilliant).
#2 Enjoy every minute of the journey...
...Because I can tell you now, the actual day is over in a heartbeat! Step back when you're planning, and take time to enjoy it. Yes, Aunt Margaret may not like the colour scheme - but it's your day, so if you want lilac and gold, just DO IT. These little worries and niggles will be something you actually look back on and laugh at (I promise). Some of my favourite memories from this time are of sitting with my family making the table names and decorating what felt like 70,000 glass jars with gold ribbon. My advice, take pictures along the way like I did, as it's moments like these you also won't want to forget.
#3 Embrace the British weather...
....because, well, you don't really have any other choice. I remember stepping out of the doorway of my parent's house to get in the car and being met with a deluge of water. A DELUGE. Yes, I may have had to hike my Jenny Packham gown up from around my feet, but you know what? It's okay. This way everyone would get to see the amazing Benjamin Adams bridal shoes I'd invested in. When the British weather doesn't quite cater to your needs, you've just got to embrace it. Although it rained all day (ALL DAY) on our wedding day, I wouldn't have changed it if I could. Luckily, we'd hired a genius wedding photographer who made sure our images were amazing (it doesn't even look like its raining!), and the rainbow of umbrella's captured in his shots as we emerged from the Church look really wonderful and actually add to our pictures!
#4 Make time for a receiving line
Even if you're not planning the most traditional of weddings, I'd definitely advise making time for a receiving line before the wedding breakfast kicks off. I don't really think anyone makes you entirely aware of how busy it is on the actual day. Seriously, you may have planned every miniscule detail, but with the arrival of the band, the cake to cut, the speeches, the photos, speaking with the venue staff etc. etc. it gets surprisingly busy. And, with potentially 100s of guests to meet and greet, the receiving line is the perfect way to make sure you've said hello to everyone. Note: make sure you make enough time for the line, however. Towards the end of mine, we had to speed it up as the food was ready!
#5 EAT THE CAKE
Now, this may seem a little off-piste, but I feel it's an important one. For heavens sake, if you're going to do any of this, make time to actually EAT THE CAKE. I did not taste our wedding cake, nor the delectable little fashion-inspired cupcakes that we'd had make for the desserts table. I don't care how you do it, even if you're scoffing it as you take to the floor for your first dance (I'm kidding, please don't do this). The point is, make time to eat. And if you've got limited time, then make time to eat CAKE.
Photography source: Nick Ilott Photography.