The Complete Guide to Planning a Wedding.

Well it's here. It's time to start planning your wedding. We get it... It can be overwhelming. Alicia and I planed our Sydney wedding from Townsville. Well okay she planned most of it and I just said "yep sounds good!" Although true to form the one thing I did pick was the photographer and the videographer.

But there is lots to go into the planning and sometimes it's hard to know where to start, you may have one of those gorgeous wedding planning books, you may have notes in your your phone or it could just be a muddled up mess inside your head but hey we all have to start somewhere. This blog might help you along the journey that is going to be your love story.

Set Your Wedding Budget—and Stick to It

We know weddings are expensive and the age old saying that makes most of us roll our eyes is

" Don't tell them it's a wedding they will charge you double"

There is also a saying I was taught from a young age and why it isn't always the case it does have its place.

"Cheap isn't always good and good isn't always cheap"

The Budget. This should be one of the first things you set for your wedding. Your wedding budget will be the main reason for the majority of your wedding-related decisions. If you have family members that may be helping out financially with the wedding, have a chat with them about what they’re comfortable spending. If you and your partner are paying the bill yourselves, give your self plenty of time before the date is set in stone, have a look at your finances and be prepared for a reality check when it comes to actually budgeting for your wedding day as many couples don’t realise the full scope of costs involved. Once you’ve got that magic number, stick to it!

Get Organised

You can use anything, checklists, spreadsheets, Word, Excel, Google Docs—anything, really—as long as you can gather all your thoughts, budgets, numbers, etc. in one place. There are also some great apps out there that can keep you organised. There is also some beautiful diary's that you can write your thoughts down in and can also be a memorable keepsake for your children one day.

Involve Your Significant Other

Okay I can see you laughing and rolling your eyes at the thought of this but maybe make an afternoon of it. Bribery is a key, beer, wine cheese and an hour of their time one afternoon a week is all that's needed to accomplish your dream wedding. At the end of the day, this wedding is about the both of you. Make sure you both feel included.

Think About Dates and Days

This is an important one especially for North Queenslanders. We all know about the climate we live in. October to April it's hot, its wet and we have cyclones. The winter months are the prime dates for weddings in North Queensland as it's cool, comfortable and relaxing.

Why we are on this subject lets talk about days, if you have family coming to visit our beautiful region why not consider a mid week wedding? How awesome does a family holiday sound why enjoying the wedding sound. Have the weekend with your family and friends enjoying all that our region has to offer. Just remember though dates in the cooler months of North QLD are limited so definitely get in as soon as you have worked out the date you want.

Location Location Location

When you think of your big day what setting do you think that suits both your personality's? Is it a country/rural feel. Perhaps it's a beach wedding, Something with a rain forest feel or more of a botanic gardens location? Is it a short hop over to Magnetic island for a stunning Island wedding more up your ally?

Full Wedding or an Elopement

This a tough one, there is no right or wrong answer. It comes down to what suits you and what your dynamic is with family and friends. The wedding is about you and your partner, no one else, you will know in your heart if a big wedding surrounded by friends and family or a quiet elopement is for you. If eloping is something you want click here. We have elopement bundles to suit everyone. Starting with the base 2 hour package of a celebrant and photographer with the option to add hair and makeup, Arbor hire and so much more.

Working on the Guest List

Making decisions about the guest list can be a complicated process, especially if you have large families and it is one that will depend largely on your venue and budget. Sit down with your partner and key family members to put together a wish list of wedding guests and then see how it fits with venue size and budget. Chances are, you’ll need to make some cuts but at the end of the day you need to stick to your budget and although you may feel like you are upsetting people you have to do whats realistic to your budget and this may include deciding on whether you’re inviting children and who will be allotted a plus one.

Research Your Venue Options

Once you have you have a rough idea of guest numbers you can start checking out venue options. Be sure to check out how many people a venue can comfortably fit, prices per head and what this includes, as well as any restrictions or minimum spends and also don't forget to check out what other add on your venue might be offer, they may be able to do decorations for example at an extra cost, saving you from having to source this elsewhere. As well as this don't be afraid to ask venues for their recommendations for vendors.

Picking Wedding Vendors Only Book Vendors You’re Comfortable With

When it comes to booking wedding vendors, do not not rush into any decisions. Do lots of research to make sure the vendors understand your vision and can also work within your budget. For the ones you will be spending quite a bit of time with such as hair and makeup and photographers, it's especially important that you really vibe well with them and you should feel confident in their ability to meet your expectations.

Read Every Contract—Closely

Before you sign on any dotted lines, be sure to closely review every detail of any contracts you arrange with your wedding vendors—including date, location, times, deposits, additional fees, and cancellation policies—everything has to be in the contract because if it isn't, or is written incorrectly, you will not be protected if it's not executed properly or if anything changes. If there is anything that you feel is not covered in the contract or something that you do not feel comfortable with, do not be afraid to discuss it with your vendor. They may or may not be able to accommodate you but at least this way you know what you are signing off on before you do and that way if you are not happy with it you have the option to walk away before you are locked in.

Pick Invitations and Save the Dates

Start planning your invites as soon as you know your theme and have confirmed the venue, date and times. Save-the-date cards typically go out nine months before the wedding date for a destination wedding and four to six months prior for somewhere local. Invitations usually go out six to eight weeks before the big day, maybe a little sooner if you don't have save the date cards and there will be some travel involved for some guests. You should as for RSVPs be returned about one month before the wedding so you can lock in final numbers.

Recruit More Hands on Deck

Don't forget to not be afraid to ask for help and delegate, delegate, delegate! Your bridal party, family members, and your soon-to-be spouse will wan't to help. One very important time to delegate is on the big day when you'll need some extra hands to attend to tasks that you won't be able to, like setting things up at the venue or accepting deliveries. Although not everyone will be able to help out you should never feel bad about asking.

DIY Strategically

DIY can be a cost-effective and personalised way to tick off some of the different elements of your wedding day. But one thing we always advise is don't over commit yourself to DIY, while it can be very cost effective, it can also be very time consuming and if it's something a little more complicated or beyond your usual DIY scope it can be stressful if it doesn't come together exactly as you hoped. Plenty of DIY projects can be done well in advance though, makes sure you give yourself lots of time.

Add Some Personal Touches

Don't be afraid to incorporate some heartfelt, personal touches into your wedding day, whether its something cultural, something that is a family tradition or whether it is a nod to those that are no longer with us, don't be afraid to make the festivities something that feels special to you guys.

Understand What You Don't Want

There are A LOT of long standing traditions that come with weddings many of them that will spring straight to mind when we think of weddings. However as time has gone on, there has been for some couples a bit of a shift away from some of these. If certain traditional aspects make you uncomfortable, feel outdated, or simply aren’t your style, then just don't include them on your wedding day. Traditions are lovely, but only when they're meaningful to you. You may feel like this upsets some people but at the end of the day it's your wedding so it's 100% up to you guys.

Create a Social Media Strategy

One aspect that has become something important to consider in recent years is whether you want your guests to share moments of your wedding day on social media or if you would prefer to have an unplugged wedding. Hashtags and photo booths are a great way to get guests posting on social. On the other hand, if you don't want your guests snapping shots or taking videos during the ceremony, we recommend having the officiant make a quick announcement before proceedings begin so everyone knows.

Postpone Honeymoon Planning

If you have the time and means to simultaneously plan a wedding and a honeymoon then absolutely go for it! However if you are struggling to find the time and funds do not feel bad! Especially if the two of you are doing everything yourselves. It may be a good idea to postpone honeymoon planning to after the wedding is done, so you can really enjoy the honeymoon planning. If you have a wishing well at your wedding, this may also be something that you can put towards your honeymoon.

Allocate Toasts and Readings

Wedding toasts are typically reserved for bridal party and closest family members, however it is up to you who you would like to include. After selecting who you would like included, your main responsibility will be organising the order that everyone goes in. Another thing that you may want to consider is how long you want speeches to go for, while they are a really special part of weddings, when you have too many people and they all give super long speeches it can end up feeling a little drawn out. As such you may wish to ask your speech makers to keep their speeches within a certain time frame.

Write Vows

Your wedding officiant will be able to provide you with some wonderful ideas for getting started with your vow writing and how it should flow and what should be included but also don't be afraid to get googling, there are some wondering templates, ideas, helpful articles and beautiful quotes to be found online that you can take and make your own to make something special and meaningful for you both.

Take Some Time Off—Together

To take the edge off the stress that can come with planning a wedding, we definitely recommend taking some time for the two of you to just be together and do anything but wedding plan.

Produce a Schedule of Events

Creating a wedding day schedule ensures that everyone is on the same page about timing and location and helps to make sure the day's events run smoothly. Include timings for hair and makeup appointments, when vendors will arrive, the movements of the bride and groom through the day, speeches, the first dance, when the cake will be cut, etc. and also make sure you factor in travel times. Print out (or email) copies to your vendors and anyone else that should be in the know.

Lets get that timing right

This is a hard one and it could upset a few vendors but please when it comes to making a timeline for the big day you should talk to your photographer and also your videographer first. The trouble is some vendors only make up a small percentage of the day, we are not saying they are not as important we are just saying your photo and video team will be with you all day. Unfortunately there have been instances where some vendors run very late, in fact all the way up to the ceremony time, I know it doesn't sound like a big deal however you can miss out on the bridal portraits and a first look with your dad or partner pushing the days timeline way out of whack.

Some vendors will have two weddings to work with on the same day and can make the start time purely for the fact that they may need somewhere else to be.

We want the best light and the right amount of hours to do your group photo, family formals (especially if there is quite a big family, not one one side but both) and more importantly the location photos. Let us help you build the days events. after all it's what we do best.

Say Thanks

Be sure to thank all those who played a big role in your wedding planning journey—including those who may have helped with wedding DIY projects, picking things up, helping out financially and those who were there to support you. If you feel like a vendor went above and beyond, it might be nice to send them a thankyou too.

Focus on the Big Picture

At the end of the day, all stress and chaos aside, it is your wedding day and that is such an amazing and special thing. Don't worry if some things aren't perfect, be present in the moment and feel the love that comes with marrying your true love in front of all the people you love and care about. Because if you ask any married couple—it will zoom by.

Is it a short hop over to Magnetic island for a more intimate ceremony ( <--- Feel free to click the link for a link to check out)

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