When I first meet with my couples to discuss their wedding ceremony, once we get past all of the 'where, when and how' logistics, what I really want to know is their top 3.
Some of my brides and grooms are are puzzled; what do you mean 'Our Top 3'?
Most of us mere mortals (excluding those with last names like Kennedy, Knowles or Kardashian) have to compromise when it comes to planning our weddings. Given the ever increasing costs and the newly fashionable additions to the wish list (like food trucks, DIY stations or an array of naked cakes in every member of the bridal party's favourite flavour), couples need to start prioritising their top 3; the ultimate and unique measure of a successful wedding for THEM.
At this stage, be realistic.
If your dream is to have Ed Sheeran singing as you sashay down the aisle or to have elaborate ice sculptures flanking the arbour at your beachside ceremony in January, you may end up more than a little disappointed.
But if your top 3 is something like;
amazing food and wine
lots of dancing
and your fiancé's is something along the lines of;
a relaxed celebration
great live music
Then your top 3 as a couple may look a bit like;
October/November cocktail party
winery ceremony & reception venue
live dance band
From your top 3 as a couple, most of the other planning decisions should be relatively easy. When you come across a product, service or Pinterest post that you start to get excited about (which may or may not cause you to start scouring through the wedding budget to see where you can cut back to incorporate your new favourite thing), STOP.
Take a step back. Revisit your top 3 and make sure that you are remaining true to yourselves and what matters most to you.
In 5, 10 or 50 years time, it's highly unlikely that you will look back fondly on the week of your life you lost while you individually hand printed 80 order of ceremony booklets that also cost you a fortune in craft supplies.
But there is a good chance that smart decisions you make now, about the core fundamentals of what you both want your big day to be all about, will provide you with a lifetime of wonderful and fulfilling memories.
What are your 'top 3'? Let us know in the comments.