Real Bride Alicia: Tips for Planning Perfection

Hey guys – Happy Wednesday! Today I’d like to take a moment to introduce another one of our beautiful real brides – meet Alicia! You might remember her from our Engagement Shoot 101 post a few weeks back in which she posed alongside our dapper staff photographer to show off some great ideas for your own engagement photos! And, today Alicia is back to share some of her best tips and tricks to plan your wedding like a pro. Because, who knows all the stresses and joys of planning better than a fellow bride! Get ready to learn and pick up some great advice that we all hope will ease your wedding planning journey. Enjoy!

Hello to all my fellow brides – it’s Alicia here! I’m not a planning pro by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ll try my best to point out the most amazing resources and ideas that I’ve come across to help me plan my big Australian/Canadian wedding! So I guess the first place to start is exactly where to start your planning from – and that’s your inspirations!

1.   Australian and Canadian wedding magazines
2.   Pinterest
3.   Previous weddings: Not only do I love weddings but I’ve been a bridesmaid 4 times so that’s always a great way to be inspired!
4.   Finally, I looked to my favorites. Green has always been my favorite color so I knew I wanted to use green in my theme which is why I chose a mint/seafoam shade as my accent color. Not only do I love it, but with mint being hot right now, it made it a lot easier to find dresses/shirts for the bridal party in (which is a big plus!). I’’ve also learnt it is important to always have color samples (paint swatches work great) when making purchases! The original shirts we bought for the guys ended up being a lot different in shade than the girls dresses, so it took a few tries before we got a close match. Colors on the computer can also look completely different to the actual product so allow plenty of time when ordering online in case you have to return products & source others – as there are a few different shades of mint/seafoam blue it can be tricky to match. The big lesson learnt here for me then is that there are a lot more options available when choosing a color that is standard ie. Royal blue, fuchsia and to always keep a color swatch in your handbag (cause you never know when you may see something for your wedding!).

As soon as I got engaged I bought a Wedding Planner folder that I take everywhere with me and use every section. From the guest list, budget, vendor details, deposits due/paid, timeline of tasks, and so on it’s my one place to keep all my plan straight (which is a major necessity when planning!). The other thing I love about planning folders is that many also have suggestions and great ideas to help with things that you may never think of. Of particular importance, what I’ve learned to keep in mine are:
– I keep all my receipts and contracts in this folder
– I also get a business card from every vendor/store I have purchased from and keep these in the folder for future reference.
– I also keep color swatches and samples in here too.

The thought of planning my dream day was overwhelming at first – with so much to think of where do you start!?
For me, the one thing I believe is important before you start planning is to establish your budget – I’’m lucky enough that my Dad is paying for our wedding and gave me a budget. This helps work out what you can realistically afford and helps with making most of the decisions.
The other biggie to nail down is your date because this will effect a lot of the wedding planning decisions! We chose our big day to be 20th December as this is when my father closes his business for the Christmas period and the quiet period for my fiancés family business, as well. We chose the date thinking it would be easier for everyone to get time off with work… however in hindsight (which is always 20/20!) it would’’ve been easier to choose a day not so close to Christmas as it has turned out to be the most expensive time of the year to be in Australia with Christmas & summer school holidays going on, all the– flights, accommodation & services are all at peak cost.
After those are figured out, I would say it’s time to start getting some of your vendors together! For us, we got engaged and I had only  four months till we were moving to Canada so I had to get the things done first that I couldn’’t do overseas! Where I started was:
1.   Ceremony & Reception Venue: One of the main decisions you will make. We looked at about 10 options including Hawaii (half way between Australia and Canada) and at each I had a list of questions before I arrived for the venue inspection, made notes to read back on later as at the time it can be information overload. I found a few venues weren’’t available for our date so this instantly eliminates venues, some venues were booked out a year and half in advance!! We chose a venue an hour from home up the mountains.
2.   Photographer: The good ones go quick so book this ASAP! I was lucky enough I had done work with the photographer I wanted so he made our day available.
3.   Celebrant/Officiant: We were recommended ours through our photographer (great to use vendors you’ve already chose to help with recommendations!). They are an important part of the day so make sure you meet with them and get to know them a little.
4.   The dress: The week I was engaged I went looking for dresses with my sisters and aunty. We headed out and I knew in my mind what style and shape I wanted and I tried about 8 or so but ended up choosing the very first one I tried one! They say this is often the case so don’t battle your gut instinct!

The big picture: Battle feeling overwhelmed by making a lists to tick off as you go and allocate a couple things to do per week. This way the planning feels more manageable and doesn’’t become super stressful – plus it’’s an awesome feeling ticking off another task from the list!

Choosing your bridesmaid can be a hard decision and an important one, but for me it was one of my easiest decisions. I chose my younger sister, Brielle, to be my maid of honor and my older sister, Carine, and childhood best friend, Alisha to be my bridesmaids. For most weddings the bride has the support and help of their Mum but life has a way of throwing a curve ball at you when you least expect it. My curve ball was my Mum passing away unexpectedly last year. It’s been hard loosing her, not just as a Mum but also as a best friend, but I am grateful for my amazing bridesmaids. From sending out my Australian invites, to making special trips to inspect wedding items, to hand making my wedding favors (individual soy candles in jars) it’s been a blessing to have them all in my life. We haven’t had any ‘Bridezilla’ moments yet & I hope we don’’t – keeping organized, picking your best friends to be your ‘maids and keeping a cool head all take care of that inner Bridezilla (or at least they take care of mine!).

Thanks so much everyone, I hope this post helps you start planning and stay on track! Enjoy the journey and remember, at the end of it all, you marry your best friend so don’t let some hiccups get your down! Happy Wednesday!

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