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TOP 5 TUESDAY: Things I’ve learned while planning my wedding

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Planning a wedding is incredibly fun, especially when your partner is so excited to get involved in the planning, and you both have similar tastes in so many things.

BUT, it’s also not easy – there are so many different choices, so many decisions to make, and you have to take into account your parent’s and your partner’s parents, and their opinions.

With only 25 days left until the BIG DAY (25 days omg!), I thought I’d make a note of the top 5 things I’ve learned, while planning this wedding.

*Please note – while I’ve had a great deal of help when needed, from both mom’s, both bridesmaids, the groom himself, and the suggestions from our venue, I have indeed planned this out myself, sans wedding planner.  

Daniela & Frank's Gorgeous Cambridge Mill Wedding, Anne Edgar Photography

NUMBER 1:  It is YOUR big day

I’m not saying that you have to shoot down every suggestion that someone other than you and your partner make.  You can compromise on small things, or things that aren’t that big a deal to you.

I wasn’t keen on having a very long train on my dress, or lots of sparkle on it – I wanted something a little more simple and timeless.  My mom wanted the long train and sparkle.  So when it came to my veil, I let my mom help, and I chose to have a veil that is longer than the train of my dress, something my mom loved.  She was so happy when I let her win that argument (weren’t you mom?).

I knew that my future mom-in-law had some ideas and traditions of her own from her family for the bridal shower.  I honestly didn’t mind what my bridesmaids planned for this, as long as I wasn’t made to wear something that made me look stupid.  That was my one condition, which (as far as I know, they haven’t held a shower yet) they listened to.  I told my fiance’s mom to speak to the bridesmaids about anything she wanted specifically included, and mentioned to them that it was important to her.  Like I said, I know my girls, and I’m pretty sure they’ll have made sure these were included in the day.

There have been countless other debates on things we didn’t want specifically for our day, and things our parent’s specifically wanted.  We’ve stood strong on things we really wanted (doughnuts from Krispy Kreme instead of a traditional wedding cake, me wearing burgundy wedges rather than white wedding shoes), and given a bit where we could see our parents were super determined to make something happen.  The guest list was an absolute nightmare, and finding a photographer that would fit our budget without being awful was so stressful.  Altogether, we reached a good number of compromises along the way, and everyone is happy!

NUMBER 2: Enjoy the little moments

This planning thing is meant to be FUN!  Celebrate each thing, or just really jump all in and enjoy it.

Each step we took we celebrated with something small.  When we chose our venue (5 days after getting engaged – we loved it that much!), we went for lunch with my mom and one bridesmaid who were with us, and shared a bottle of champagne.  When we FINALLY found my dress (this took sweat, a lot of tears, and I’m sure I would have shed blood if I had taken any longer), my mom and bridesmaid and I went and had a glass of bubble somewhere to celebrate.  When we picked other things like our photographer, the makeup artist and decided on favours we sat down and really just enjoyed the moment.  When N chose his suits, he and his best man and his dad went and grabbed a beer and some jalapeno poppers.

We were exceptionally fussy, and by celebrating each little achievement, we’ve made the process a little less stressful.

NUMBER 3: Dress shopping tips

Dress shopping and finding a photographer were, for me, the hardest parts of planning.

I had gained a fair amount of weight that I had been in the process of slowly losing, but I wasn’t happy with my body.  Trying on pretty dresses when you just don’t feel pretty doesn’t help at all.  I combated this by doing full makeup and hair each time we went for fittings.  Not only did it make me feel prettier, but it also served to give a truer reflection of the dresses – you can’t try on a gorgeous gown, with no makeup on and your hair scraped back in a pony.  So do yourself up a bit!

I made the error of wearing black underwear to my first few fittings.  In hindsight, it was a bit silly, and after that I started wearing nude or white underwear.  Most of the time, I wasn’t even wearing a bra to try on the dresses.  Just make sure you have underwear on that isn’t showing lines or digging in to your skin, and that won’t show up underneath the dress.  Also – the sales ladies are helping you into your dress.  For goodness sake, don’t wear that pair of older undies that yes, is super comfy, but looks awful.  That’s not the image you want to be portraying.  Keep it for at home (or just chuck them out)!

Be honest with yourself about your body shape.  I did some research before hand on what styles would suit me, and I was still wrong.  For the most part (you always get a few exceptions to every rule), the ladies working in wedding dress stores have seen every shape and size.  They know what works and what doesn’t.  I had one store where they didn’t have anything over a size 12 as samples for trying on, and even then, the sizing was so small that the 12’s might as well have been 10’s.  I won’t mention the store’s name, as the lady who worked there was exceptionally helpful and wanted to help make a plan to get some larger sizes in for trying on.  The dresses were all beautiful, but it not only ruins your experience when you go in and they can’t find a dress in your size (and I’m sorry, a size 12 is NORMAL thank you very much, plus there are girls who take bigger sizes, what about them?), but it ends up in that store losing a potential sale.  I tried on dresses in over 10 stores, before the lady at Jasmin’s in Umhlanga told me that I should be trying on dresses with an A-line skirt.  I tried two on in that style, and settled on the second one – it was everything I’d wanted, and I love it!

WEDDING STOCK PHOTO

NUMBER 4: LISTS LISTS LISTS

If you’re getting married, you need to be organised about what is being planned.  If you’re planning it yourself, GET YOURSELF A PLANNER!  I have a gorgeous one from the Blush Paper Company – now known as Alexa Lily – and I don’t know what I’d have done without it.  It comes with me to every appointment, I keep notes on all I need to do throughout the day, and there’s space for meal planning and your water intake, absolutely perfect for a bride trying to watch her weight, or shed a decent amount prior to the wedding.

I also ended up with a book full of notes, that I’ve since condensed into a file – I have coloured file dividers for each section (such as Venue, Bridal Party, DJ, Photographer, Beauty, Minister, Favours etc).  That way if I’m looking for something specific, I can find it easily, and I can keep track of which vendors we still need to pay.  I have a printed out calendar for the month at the front, with a repeat of all my appointments and important events noted, so I have another copy on hand at all times.  There’s also a To Do list at the front, as well as a monthly and weekly break down of things I need to get done.  This ensures I know what I need to get done by a certain time, so I have enough time for each task I need to accomplish.  The fiance also has his own To Do list, so he knows what he’s required to do – checking up on groomsmen and their suit fittings, getting his groomsmen’s gifts done etc.

I know this is a little OCD for some people, and I’ve had a few people laugh about it – my future father-in-law teases me mercilessly about it – but I have everything under control, and a plan B in store for each section, with numbers and all the necessary contact information.  It actually helps keep my stress levels and anxiety under check, so I’m more free to focus on the fun of it all, and still spend quality time with N, and not have both of us in a tizz trying to frantically finish something that was meant to be done the week before.

NUMBER 5: Get all of your beauty bits sorted

If you’re a low maintenance gal when it comes to beauty, this will be a breeze.  I’m a little more high maintenance.

I knew I needed my skin to look good, as the makeup looks better when applied to smooth, clear and hydrated skin.  I ensured I booked a good appointment for this, and rather than having a regular facial (I was worried about break outs post facial), and I’ve had my first of two skin treatments at SKIN by dr. dermal.  The lovely Thejal is so knowledgeable, and could pinpoint within a few seconds what my main problem was – my skin was very dehydrated.  She did the Hyaluronic Infusion Premium Skin Treatment on my skin, and the difference has been huge!  I’ll be doing a post on this treatment alone, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

I’ve also had to remember to book a hair stylist and makeup artist for the day, as well as have the necessary trials for that.

I had planned on doing a very light spray tan, just for a bit of glow – it’s a winter wedding after all – but after the colour didn’t work out as planned, I’m embracing my fair skin and rocking that – not tanner at all!

I will be having lash extensions done for the wedding, so I’ve had to book that appointment as well as the fill just before the day, plus small things like a wax and eyebrow shaping, nail appointment (your hands are a big focal point on your wedding day), pedicure and hair appointments for cut and colour.

I’ve also made a plan to sneak in a massage or two over the course of the last few months – I used my Entertainer app to max out on that with buy one get one free massages, and it’s really helped my stress levels immensely.

I know not every girl needs to worry about all of these things, but I’m a beauty blogger, an aspiring makeup artist, and lover of all these things, so for me, it was important.


For me, the most important thing to remember is that this day isn’t about a big party, or how much you spend on the day.  It’s about you being married to that one person you love more than anything, and about you planning your lives together.  I’ve made sure to not lose myself in spite of the whole hoopla that surrounds a lot of weddings, and to make sure that my other half knows he tops the list of priorities always.  

A wedding is about a partnership, not a party.  The party is just a fun way to ring it in 😉