As the season is upon us we thought we’d share some wedding advice that really helped us with our big day. When you first get engaged it’s overwhelming how quickly people start asking (hounding) you about the details and you don’t even have a date sorted. It really helps to keep the big picture in mind and to have a good starting point so if you’re in the throes of or about to start planning for your big day then hopefully this list helps to get you on track and keep you sane.

Start with the ceremony.  We had a wonderful celebrant (Jo Smith) who was very organised. She provided us with a super handy checklist of all the things we needed to sort for our ceremony which really helped focus us. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the enormity of planning the a great time for your guests but don’t forget why you’re doing it all – to get married! Start by shaping your ceremony and what you both want out of it – once that’s done you can think about the party.

Sort out your license early. This was another of Jo’s tips that helped us get the ball rolling. You can do this three months out from the date so put a reminder in as there won’t be a wedding without one and trying to rush it through in the final week is not ideal for the pre wedding jitters! Kiwis, download your application here.

Don’t get bogged down with tiny details. The pressure to have Pinterest worthy table settings and favours may stress you out but as seasoned wedding guests we can assure you that you only need three ingredients for a successful party – good music, yummy food and booze. There are so many things that we had planned and completely forgot to bring out on the day – did anyone notice? Nope! We didn’t even notice ourselves until the next day.

Table settings courtesy of Kmart and the orchard... and no favours

Table settings courtesy of Kmart and the orchard… and no favours

Put aside some ‘me time’ in the days beforehand. Ok so you both need to be prepared to turn a little bride/groomzilla in the final week. The whole way through preparing for our wedding I was so chill that I think my body had saved it all up for the final few days. The best thing I did was to take myself off into town alone where I pretended to do wedding tasks but actually just wandered aimlessly drinking a smoothie for a bit. It was so nice to have some space away from the planning to just ‘be’ for a bit.

Delegate, delegate, delegate. Use your family and bridal party so that you don’t leave yourselves with huge jobs to get done on the day. People love to be involved (and even if they don’t, they love you and will pretend it’s no problem) so get a list of jobs that need doing in the final week and delegate that shit. We made a big ole google spreadsheet that we shared with our bridal party/key people on the day so everyone knew what they needed to do and it worked wonders (it also gives you great peace of mind!)

Have a rehearsal. Ideally do this the day before at the same time as your ceremony so your photographer can get a feel for the light (and you can make sure you’re not squinting into the sun). Our celebrant pretty much ran the show and it made us so much more relaxed – she even checked what colour she should wear so she wouldn’t clash with the bridal party. It’s these little considerations that you’ll never think of yourself but totally appreciate on the day.

Taking relaxed attire to the next level with our practice run

If you’re not having your wedding at a venue, hire help. We were lucky enough to get married at my family home and it was so special but also stressful to see your parents under a lot of pressure. It was great that on the day they were able to be (relatively) relaxed because we had staff serving drinks/cleaning up.

Invest in a good sound person. We hired our DJ to also run the sound system for the pre-ceremony and ceremony as well as speeches and it was a huge help. It’s amazing how important music is to an atmosphere.

Always buy more bubbles than you think you’ll need – especially if you’re having a summer wedding. It’s always the first to go and people will happily drink it all night, not just with the speeches.

Ok so we may not have been pouring in the most economical way…

Be present for your ceremony. This was hands down my favourite part of the day and it’s true what people say – it flies by so make sure you soak up every second.

Take time for just the two of you on the day. You’ll spend so much of the day working the room that you need some time to just be together and appreciate what you’ve done. We escaped the party in the early evening to get some sunset pics and our photographer hung back so we could have a bit of space while capturing some great moments.  Enjoy this time – you bloody well did it!

Sealed with a kiss before heading back in to party

Needing more wedding advice? Here’s a few more things that everyone should know before getting hitched.

Our wedding photos that appear on this page were taken by Auckland based photographer Maggie Gardyne.

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