Five months on; How I’d do things differently

We’re around five months since the big day, and people still ask me how does it feel to be married? In all honesty, it doesn’t feel any different than before, hah. We lived together before the wedding and the move into our first flat was probably the tipping point in the relationship, marriage kinda just feels easy now.

For some reason we can’t get our diaries to align since marriage, I do see D a lot less now, mostly after work. And this is attributed to a few reasons, mostly due to some career goals I set for this year, which means I’m out networking a few nights a month.

We were talking at dinner the other night, with another couple who got married within a month of us, and we joked about how great out next weddings would be, given all the information we have now.

Even as an event organiser there were lots of things I knew, and had a great handle on, and there were a few surprises that really no one could have predicted, yes a monkey actually stopped my ceremony, hah.

So here are the top five things I learned from the whole experience.

Delegates are your family, so you can’t treat them like strangers

In the event world, my delegates are mostly strangers, in that I haven’t met them before, they’ll be known to our business but not necessarily to me. So when I was organising the wedding, I tended to treat it like a job, and like work. Talking to my father in law about the religious ceremony (he married us), I had my list of questions and ran through them like I would at work. Hah D had to pull me up a few times to remind me these people are our family and you don’t have to treat them so professionally.

Obviously being so organised and a little controlling, I wanted to make sure everything was perfect, and I had a set way to achieve this at work, however in the real world, when your audience is people you love and you generally want them to love you back, you can’t become a robot and just want to get stuff done when you skype. This was really challenging. We have set times on the weekend to skype our families due to time zones, so because we didn’t have that daily communication about the wedding, when we did chat once a week, it was either too overwhelming with wedding stuff, or a total ban on wedding chat. In hindsight, I don’t think I managed this balance very well.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and all I can do is learn from this, when trying to arrange other life events with our families, I might have to ask D to get more involved and ask the questions so I don’t come across as a robot.

Even whilst at the weddings, I had particular ideas and ways I wanted things, and in my day job I print timeline with roles listed beside who does what when. So when I presented this to my family, I think they thought I was insane. Hah, most of them would have just winged it I’m sure.

Getting married abroad? Use online tools, it will save you heart ache

As we got married in a few different nations, it became quite difficult to be able to communicate and finalise bookings without actually being in the same country and having a local bank account. During our final week before leaving for South Africa, I actually got a rather rude email from our accommodation asking for full payment before our arrival. We had paid the deposit from a little bit of money we had in D’s local account, but the final payment was a significant chunk of money. Dealing with South Africa and international payments, was the absolute worst. We offered a few different ways to pay the owner of the house, and he refused, only after we’d sent the money via world remit.

It was the most stressed I’d been almost the whole lead up to the wedding. Without the payment we were at risk of them cancelling our accommodation.

Only after this whole debacle, we realised the accommodation was actually listed on air b’n’b and if we have booked through the site we’d have been able to pay in our currency and it would have been such a smooth process. Gahhhh!

So the learning from this is to always check for an online international option before committing to a venue, particularly in countries who might have strange ideas around banking and security.

Hand over those jobs, you don’t need them all

By now you all know I’m a little controlling, I know what I like, I know how to get what I like, and I’ve organinsed my time to make sure I get what I like. However, weddings are one of those events where you can constantly add more and more to your day, and most of the key people helping you plan will have their ideas of how they see the day planning out. Definitely make a list of what everyone wants, and then prioritise them based on how important they are to you and your partner. You don’t need to share this ranking with anyone else, but those jobs that a bit further down the list of importance, can be key tasks to pass off to those people in your life who are dying to help out.

I promise you, it will make the world of difference to the person who wants to help. I wished I’d figured this out a little sooner. It takes some time to hit your groove and you know how you see your day going, but it’s really worthwhile asking both sets of parents what they envisaged happening, and trying to see if in any way that can fit in with your plan. I guess we were lucky and had a few different events that could make sure most of what everyone wanted fit. But getting an exact idea of what they ae expecting can really help you manage what you’re planning.

Spend time reading how to use the video camera

We went to a wedding expo and found this really great company Shoot It Yourself who lend you a video camera for you to film your wedding. Usually you have two cameras, one for the bride and one for the groom, and they edit all the footage together to make a film of your big day.

We negotiated a special deal that allowed us to take one camera for an extended period of time so we could get footage from across all of our weddings. Now I’m no film expert and I gave my friends and family some guidance, and we kinda forgot about it sometimes, and other times we had the camera out constantly.

Once we got back to London I read the instructions and realised we didn’t use the microphone or the light, so I was freaking out that none of our footage would work. Thank god it did. And we actually have the perfect movie from our adventure.

However, I wished we’d practiced a bit more and got more comfortable using the camera. There are things we could have done so much better, like use the light during the speeches or on the dance floor.

Overall our video was such a great reflection of our wedding, and I’m just nit-picking, great quality of a perfectionist.

Catering, make sure you know how much each serving will be

Food is always the most talked about no matter what event you attend. I’m always the first person to talk about food at events, or lack thereof. So I made it my mission to make sure we’d have enough for every person.

We also wanted to make sure the options were something we wanted to eat and something we’d enjoy. The trouble with organising events in other countries is that we didn’t get to try any of the food ahead of time and we didn’t know the serving sizes.

At one of our events there was so much food, like we could have fed around 1000 people not the 100 we booked for. It was such a shame that the venue wouldn’t let us take any of it home, and that it all went to waste. Like I can’t tell you how much was left over, I still feel horrible by the amount of waste.

And on the other extreme, we had an event where the kitchen made the wrong food, and sent out a canape instead of a bowl food item, so all our guests were starving, including D and I. We were well watered, and had to do a cheeky maccas run afterwards, which wasn’t too horrible, but what we did feel bad for, was the fact our friends were left hungry and that’s the image they probably take away from the event.

So in the perfect world, we would have liked to sample each celebrations catering options, but sadly that just wasn’t possible. What I should have done was asked for images of the sizes so I could see exactly what we were choosing and perhaps I’d have got the balance right.

Overall our wedding was amazing, but there are always things you can learn and skills you can take away and transfer into other areas of your life.

What did you learn about planning your wedding?

Peace out for now

B

Photos: Micheile Henderson on Unsplash, Photos by Lanty on Unsplash, Jason Leung on Unsplash, Lanty on Unsplash

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