14 Things No One Ever Tells You About Planning a Wedding

Written by Katrina Otter
Image by Sinitta Leunen.
So… it’s been a while since I’ve graced these pages and it’s safe to say that I, like most of my fellow wedding industry colleagues, went well and truly underground in 2021 as I / we continued on our journey of Covid postponements, cancellations, turmoil, confusion and eventual back-to-back celebratory mayhem.

It also meant that I neglected my Coco Wedding Venues residency in a bid to make it through the year with my sanity intact! The good news is that I’m still here and well and truly back and making up for lost time with a plethora of planning features in the 2022 pipeline.

On the features agenda I’ll be covering everything from the usual top tips, to teamwork, budgets (a Katrina Otter Weddings fave), tablescapes and more. And as always, if there’s a particular topic, question or concern you’d like me to cover, from a features / wedding planning perspective, then PLEASE just let me know by dropping me a note via my contact page or on Instagram.

And there we have it, intro done and now it’s time for my first feature of 2022… 14 things no one ever tells you about planning a wedding.

Planning a Wedding

You see, when you start planning a wedding, you join a club. It’s one that’s full of things you only get to do when you join – it’s also abundant with opportunities to meet people, make friends, gain new skills, get caught up in a world of exciting Pinterest / social media rabbit holes, and one where you can truly revel in the excitement of your membership. It’s also a club where once you become a member you suddenly realise it’s not just about cake, champagne, dresses and the pretty (see point 3 below!) BUT, if you’re reading this then hopefully you’ll be joining with your eyes wide open to the possibilities that…

it’s time to Accept the process

No matter how much you tell yourself you won’t turn into a ‘Bridezilla’ or ‘Groomzilla’ (we don’t love this term btw), you kind of will. Yes, I hate to break it to you but even the most chilled out newlywed-to-be is likely to lose it at least once. However, please don’t worry if it all becomes a bit too much and you have the occasional moment – it’s totally normal and completely understandable if you do. If, on the other hand, you’re continually stressed, you’re no longer enjoying the process and you’re losing it with your nearest and dearest on a regular basis, then the best advice I can give is to take some time out / STEP AWAY, otherwise there’s the very real possibility that it will all become too much.

Keep your budget front and centre

Spending money will suddenly become like a game of Monopoly. You’ll be dashing around, splashing your cash and starting to lose a little perspective. Suddenly £1,000 on napkins seems like a bargain and spending hundreds of pounds on an evening headpiece you’ll only wear once in your life is absolutely acceptable, and anyone that tells you otherwise just doesn’t get it! It’s very easy to forget that you’re essentially spending a house deposit on one day and it’s hard to remember that everything is optional.

the admin

It’s not just about the food / cake tastings, dresses and pretty (the movie version of wedding planning) – the majority of your time will be spent on admin (which is pretty much a full-time job). It’s easy to spend hours and hours on Pinterest in the early days and you’ll be dreaming of flowers, décor and all the inspirational things that you see online. But that’s not the reality of planning a wedding. You’re essentially going to be your own PA as you reply to emails, check contracts, updates spreadsheets and log all those RSVPs. This is the reality of wedding planning; the movie version is what you get to do when you’ve got time off from all the admin.

wedding Planning may become all-consuming

You’ll have a LOT of nightmares / nuptial-themed dreams. You know how it is, when you’re flat out, it’s super hard to switch off and sleep well. Even the most organised and relaxed of couples will admit to having the most unexpected pre-wedding anxiety dreams. So, if you wake up having dreamt that no one shows up to your wedding, you’re running late or that something is wrong with your outfit, take comfort in the fact that you won’t be alone. If you can, try to relax before bed – ditch the tech, turn down the lights, take a bath or read a book. Get yourself in a place so that you’re as chilled as possible before your head hits the pillow.

use social media wisely

Pinterest and social media can be a blessing and a curse. This is one of the BIG truths of wedding planning. Pinterest and social media will open your eyes and provide you with all the inspiration you could possibly want and wish for your wedding. On the flip side, it can kickstart your competitive streak, create fear and panic and, crucially, waste your time and make you worry about all the decisions that you’ve made. Like all things that can be not so good for us – social media in moderation is the way forward. Delete those apps and detox if you want to cut out those feelings of overwhelm that the online world can induce.

have confidence

The advice you receive will often be conflicting and can very easily overwhelm. See above! Too much information, too many opinions and too much EVERYTHING can be awfully overwhelming and may cause more problems than it solves. Don’t ask everyone for their input, have confidence in your own decisions and work as a team with your partner. If you’re both happy with everything you’re doing, what others think or what others do doesn’t matter.

be prepared to compromise

You’ll have to compromise at some point. I know that everyone tells you that it’s ‘your day, your way’ but compromise is a fact when it comes to planning a wedding. It might be that you have to adjust your timings to fit in with your venue or you might have to say goodbye to something because there’s just no room in your budget for it. Compromise, and the acceptance of the compromise, is a rite of passage when it comes to planning a wedding.

You’ll have an argument with someone

Yup, it’s guaranteed. At some point, you just won’t be able to bite your tongue and that will be it. Again, there’s no harm in letting out those frustrations and continually holding back just isn’t healthy either. However, don’t let things fester. Move on, apologise if you need to, make up if you can, and note what pushed your buttons so that you can try and avoid losing it again. Continual arguments aren’t fun for anyone so if you can work out what made you snap; you can protect yourself (and others) in the future.

You’ve got time for a time out

You’ll (randomly) stress-cry at some point – my pre wedding stress-cry moment was triggered when I turned up at the gym and realised I’d forgotten my headphones…no joke, I sobbed, a LOT! Something will just set you off and when it happens, you’ll need more than a few tissues to deal with the tears. You won’t be able to save your wedding spreadsheet or read someone’s writing on their RSVP and bam, you’ll be crying. It happens to us all and it’s a natural human reaction to stress.  Find a friend, get a hug, drink some wine or grab a coffee, go for a run (if you’ve remembered your headphones!), take some time out and be kind to yourself for a while.

managing disappointment

You’re bound to upset or disappoint someone… and that’s ok! Yep, you’re absolutely not going to keep everyone happy so don’t turn yourself inside out trying to give everyone else what they want. It’s your day, not theirs, and you get to make the decisions. If what you want happens to coincide, perfect. If it doesn’t, so be it.

You’ll make a mistake, but it won’t matter in the end

Weddings are perfectly imperfect, and mistakes do get made. However, in the final reckoning, they don’t matter at all. Trust your suppliers to have your back and trust that you’ll have done the very best you can. Any little mistakes absolutely aren’t the end of the world and they certainly don’t mean that your wedding is doomed or that all your plans are rubbish. That’s the stress talking, it’s not reality. You’ve got this.

don’t let planning take over

You’ll end up talking about your wedding / wedding planning without even realising it, even though you promised yourself you wouldn’t. When something is at the forefront of your mind for such a long period of time, it WILL become your go-to topic of conversation. However, if it becomes your only topic of conversation, you’re going to be in trouble. Try to get back to talking about ‘real’ things when you can, particularly with the people that you see the most. It’s also really important that your wedding doesn’t overtake your entire life because if it does, the post-wedding come down will be a shock to the system. Remember that while you’re planning, life goes on so don’t let it pass you by.

share the workload

Your partner won’t care about things as much as you do… but will care about other things more than you thought they would. It’s easy to assume that when it comes to your wedding, your partner might not care about cake, décor or flowers. It’s also easy to assume that they’ll really want to book the DJ and sort out the honeymoon. However, making assumptions is never a good idea so before you come to your own conclusions, ask! Have an honest conversation about what you’re both really interested in and then divide up the jobs that you’re both not that fussed about so that no one feels like they’re doing it all.

the weather

You’ll become addicted to weather forecasting apps! Oh, you really will! In the weeks before your wedding, you’ll download every forecasting app, and you’ll check them all several times a day / hour / minute. You’ll know exactly what the forecast is, hour by hour, on your big day and you’ll spend far too long thinking about something that you really can’t do anything about. That said, if the forecast isn’t looking great, put your Plan B / C in place so that you know that you’re covered, whatever the weather might do.

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