Editor’s Note: As a bride-to-be, it’s usually very easy to be filled with lots and lots of ideas about your big day. The thing about having lots of ideas is that they may end up not being implemented perfectly for a million and one reasons. This is why we are so excited about today’s feature from Tuke Morgan, a super talented lifestyle blogger, Saxophonist, content creator, and newlywed who same with every bride went through the wedding planning process. Super glad that she agreed to share real-life tips on how to avoid some major mistakes. She shares her thoughts and we know brides-to-be will learn from her experience. Here are the first 15 tips, Click HERE for Part 2.
I have been married for 6 months now and it’s been a wonderful journey so far. Even though I was a wedding vendor before I became a bride, it was a totally different ball game experiencing the wedding industry as a client.
The wedding planning process was mentally, emotionally and physically draining for me. There are so many things I would have done differently if I had known better. Thus, I will like to share the lessons I learnt in a three-part series so people have a more enjoyable planning process.
1. Enquire about marriage counseling classes once you get engaged
Some churches require classes to be completed 3 months before the wedding date, for others it is 6 months. The earlier you do them the better, so you aren’t dealing with classes and writing tests a few weeks to the wedding. Also, some people discover things about their partner during counseling that prevents them from going ahead with the wedding.
2. Choose your date after looking at everything holistically
For example, what season do you want to get married? If you want an outdoor wedding, don’t set a date during the rainy season. In December, a lot of vendors are overbooked and some of them inflate their prices due to the demand as it is peak season.
3. Have a timeline of your wedding planning needs
There are many decisions one has to make when planning a wedding, the earlier you make them the better e.g. choice of a planner, decorator, venue, MC, DJ, Band, Makeup artist, house hunting and loads more. Have a timeline and ensure you stick to the deadlines, make decisions promptly and lock down vendors when your schedule says you should. Put in time on a consistent basis so everything is not done under pressure at the last minute.
4. Choose your wedding planner 6-8 months before the date
A lot of people go on about the importance of booking a venue. I think choosing a planner is just as important. I feel like your planner is supposed to be your best friend throughout the planning process helping you keep calm, recommending vendors, being a mediator and taking pressure off you.
5. Decide on the venue with the advice of your planner in mind
I definitely agree that the venue should be booked early on especially if your wedding is in December, which is peak period in Nigeria. However, talk to a professional before making a decision. Yes, the rooftop might be beautiful but they only have one lift and if it isn’t functioning 500 guests will have to climb 6 flights of stairs as well as the service professionals who are bringing the food, the drinks, the speakers, the décor, etc. Take all these factors into consideration when booking your venue.
6. The wedding is not just about you and your husband but also about two families becoming one
Different people have their opinion on how the day should be, it is important to respect the parent’s opinions and compromise by agreeing to decisions they aren’t willing to budge on.
7. Make timely decisions and accept what you cannot change
If you come from a big family, you’re the first daughter and your parents have been looking forward to throwing a huge celebration on your big day, an intimate destination wedding in Barbados might not be possible. The sooner you accept that the better. Perhaps your dream beachside celebration can happen on your 2nd, 5th or 10th-year anniversary, your 30th or 40th Birthday or your vow renewal ceremony.
8. If you don’t make certain decisions yourself, others will make them for you
When asked your opinion on a decision, or vendor, voice it out so assumptions aren’t made on your behalf that may upset you in the future.
9. You have to prepare yourself as you’re about to enter another person’s family and become a wife/daughter
Start building a relationship with your in-laws, his siblings, cousins, etc. Find someone in his family you are comfortable talking to and communicate with them on a regular basis, they will give you the low down on how things work in their family.
Pray for God to help you make the right decisions at the right time. Be sensitive to the holy spirit, seek God’s will, counsel and direction. If you don’t feel at peace with a certain vendor or decision, maybe it isn’t the right one. It can get very overwhelming with so many decisions that choices sometimes seem irrational/not well thought out, shut out the noise, think through things logically and let the holy spirit guide you.
11. Have money saved up for certain expenses that might pop up at the last minute
12. Don’t sweat the small stuff
The Asoebi Gele for my engagement was messed up 3 different times, 3 different vendors were unable to match the gele to the fabric after promising that they could. It was a bit frustrating & time-consuming. I ended up going to the market myself to get the right shade even though I was dealing with counseling classes, content creation classes, wedding planning and last minute invites. I could have sent a trusted friend or family member who understood the colour I wanted. It is important to delegate, just don’t forget to crosscheck. You can assign different tasks to specific bridesmaids/family members so everything isn’t on your head.
13. Give your time to help other brides when you can
You learn from their experiences and reap where you sow. People who have been involved in planning their older sibling, cousin or close friend’s wedding understand better all the factors that need to be considered when planning a wedding so are able to avoid the same mistakes and make better decisions.
14. Packaging isn’t everything
If someone is inefficient once, they will be inefficient again, if you see that they aren’t able to communicate effectively/have bad customer service, walk away to avoid future stress and stories that touch. If you have read bad reviews online, remember that there is no smoke without fire. If you have seen their true colours, better run away while you can, peace of mind is key.
15. Don’t just make decisions based on Instagram
Talk to people that have used the vendors. If you can, use vendors you have used in the past that understand your family dynamics, provided good customer service and have the capacity to handle your crowd. Vendors you’ve used multiple times in the past will usually be more willing to give you a discount or work with your budget.