This week Unbridely welcomes guest blogger from across the ditch, Megan of She Said Yes - a digital wedding magazine and practical guide to planning your own wedding.
Megan is only recently married herself and has some handy and relevant tips for those couples planning their wedding.
She is also the creator of The Little White Book - Wedding Diary and Organiser and has generously offered a special 10% discount for Unbridely blog readers for a limited time (the coupon code is at the end of this article)!
This is one of Megan's incredible wedding photos - check out that dress/their smiles/her wedding venue! You can see more at: She Said Yes.
Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom, Megan!
I loved planning my wedding, but even more than that, I love helping other people to plan their weddings. I started by writing blog posts, then I created a free e-book, and then I literally wrote the book to help people plan their weddings.
In case you thought I was done… I then collaborated with another brilliant woman in the wedding business to help you plan your wedding with even less stress, with a set of templates, worksheets, vendor questionnaires and fully-formatted excel spreadsheets. (Brilliant, and I can say so, because Amanda from Southern Bride did those!)
But that’s not all…
I still can’t plan your wedding for you, but I can give you the tools to do so; the 5 best tools to plan your wedding. And, as you’ve identified from the title, this list does not include Pinterest.
Of course, it can be a wonderful tool, but as you use Pinterest to find inspiration, please, please keep in mind where many of those images come from.
I’d venture to say that the majority of the pin-worthy wedding inspiration that you come across (certainly the most impressive of it) actually come from what the wedding industry calls a “styled shoot”.
A styled shoot is essentially advertising, where wedding vendors (florist, photographer, stylist, dress designer, make-up artist, etc) collaborate to create perfectly styled images that can be used on their respective blogs, in advertising, magazines, and on Pinterest!
These curated shoots have neither been created for 100+ guest wedding, nor has anyone actually had to pay for them…
This is why Pinterest can be a little misleading, and it’s also why it’s not on this list.
1. A relatively untapped resource: Instagram!
This one may come as a surprise, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it identified as a tool to plan your wedding, but to find/assess a wedding venue, you should definitely head to Instagram.
If you have no idea where to start, use the hashtag search function, e.g. #dreamwedding #modernwedding #destinationwedding
Once you’ve identified a few potential venues, jump on their Instagram accounts and browse their hashtags, e.g. #mudbrickvineyard, #gracehill #ascensionestate
Look at all the photos tagged with them, and see if there’s a “place” registered there to browse too.
Finally, and this brings me onto my second best tool to plan your wedding… if a photographer has tagged wedding photos on Instagram, head over to their website to see the full portfolio.
2. Google knows EVERYTHING.
Once you’ve shortlisted your venue, take to Google Search to find out more. For example, if you google “The Tree Church” and “Wedding Photographer”, the second link is to The Official Photographers’ website where you can see an entire album of wedding photos there.
This is an ideal way to find your wedding photographer, as working with photographers who are familiar with the wedding venue is of huge value. Even if you already know your wedding photographer, you can draw inspiration from others’ wedding photos, style and theme, by using Google search terms.
3. Facebook groups.
There are many Facebook groups that discuss planning (e.g. 2017-2018 Brides Wedding Planning), where you can share inspiration, ask for help and get advice.
Depending on the average age of your guests (and whether you’ve been able to keep your parents off Facebook) creating a private Facebook group can be incredibly useful to communicate with your guests.
My husband and I started a Facebook group and managed to have over 60 of our 75 guests connected on there. We could let them know about traffic delays en route, ask if anyone had room in their cars for a stranded guest and confirm when we had to change the rehearsal dinner location due to weather.
After our wedding, all of our guests could make friends easily too and the next of our friends’ weddings will actually include new friends that they made at our wedding!
While I was pretty busy planning my own wedding last year, now I’m so desperate to help plan other people’s weddings that I’m making friends with brides-to-be on planes (yes, really). Ask many newlyweds and they’ll say the same – the year after your own wedding, you miss fussing over florals and talking incessantly about the big day.
So if one of your friends (or colleagues, or distant acquaintances) are newly wed, chances are they’d love to help you: whether it’s sharing their wedding budget or talking about their honeymoon – newlyweds are an untapped tool!
5. Write it all down – keep a wedding diary and organiser.
I kept a diary of my proposal, engagement party, hens parties and the big day itself (and everything in between). It not only helped me to gather my thoughts, and often vent my frustrations, but it really kept me on track and organised.
What I didn’t anticipate though, was how useful my written thoughts would be later – when it came to writing our vows and my wedding speech (one of the hardest things about wedding planning!) I was able to go back to my diary and draw inspiration from the planning process, as well as other notes I’d made along the way. Now it’s a keepsake of my engagement.