I’m a big believer that your wedding day should be all about the two of you as a couple. It shouldn’t be about tradition, how you think you should be celebrating or what your parents want. Early on in the planning process I think it’s a really great idea to sit down with your partner and for the two of you to have a good discussion about what you would like your wedding to look like, feel like, taste like and all the little elements you’d like to be involved in your day.
Elopement or a Wedding
The first decision you need to make together is whether you would like a wedding day surrounded by your friends and family or if you’d like to elope. To legally elope in the UK you still need to give notice so it still takes a bit of planning in advance, however there’s a lot less planning involved because you don’t have the logistics of guests and entertainment. To elope you also still need two witnesses, this could be a parent, a friend or a sibling, whoever you choose needs to be there to witness the ceremony to make it legally binding. Elopements tend to take a lot of the “fuss” away from wedding days, if you’re someone who knows you’d hate all the lead up, you can’t stand the idea of being watched walking down the aisle or having a first dance then an elopement can be a really great thing to consider. There’s nothing stopping you from having a party when you get home, it just takes all the pressure off a traditional wedding day.
If however you’re really looking forward to all the planning and the lead up to the wedding and you can’t even picture a wedding day without your family and friends by your side then a wedding day is probably more your style. There are more decisions to make for a wedding day, the first one is choosing a venue, without your venue you can’t set your date which means you can’t book any of your other suppliers.
Choosing your wedding venue
Your wedding venue is one of the biggest decisions you will make for your wedding day. There are so many options out there for wedding venues, you’ll definitely find one that stands out and where you can totally imagine your wedding happening. When looking at venues it’s worth having a chat to the organisers to see what your options are for personalising your day. This can be timings, food, and indoor or outdoor ceremony, having a band, what wedding activities you’re allowed etc. Different venues will have different rules and some will be more willing than others to let you personalise your day.
Have a good look on social media first to see which venues you like the look of before you go to visit. My friend Hannah set up the very brilliant Giraffe Shed last year, on social media they’re hilarious, sweary and their venue definitely has a very specific style and feel to it. I think Hannah’s venue is brilliant and if I was getting married it would be at the top of my venue list, however they’re also aware that their venue isn’t for everyone, this is absolutely a good thing! You may be looking for a venue with a certain style or a venue that is a completely blank canvas, it is out there, it’s just a case of finding it. If you are looking for a blank canvas, it may also be worth considering a village hall, these can be totally personalised however it does mean that you have to do a lot of the work yourselves. Have a good think about your venue choice, this is always one of the main aspects of any wedding day!
Don’t do things because you think you should
If you take anything away from this blog, please let it be this. Weddings have been happening since forever, this also means there are a lot of traditions that go along with them. YOU.DO.NOT.HAVE.TO.FOLLOW.TRADITION. I’ve already written a blog post about how to have a feminist wedding which touches on this, rules are made to be broken and I don’t think anyone getting married should blindly follow the tradition without really thinking about what it is they actually want for their wedding day. You don’t have to have anyone to give you away if you don’t want to. You can elope if you want to. You don’t have to wear a white dress, you don’t have to wear a dress at all. You don’t have to have any speeches. You can do a speech if you want to. Women can do speeches at weddings. You don’t have to have a bouquet. You don’t have to have any flowers. You don’t have to have a first dance and you definitely don’t have to cut the cake. If you don’t fancy doing any of these things then just don’t! I’ve shot a wedding where the bride had an awesome clutch bag instead of a bouquet because she wasn’t really a fan of flowers. I’ve shot a wedding where the bride walked herself down the aisle because she didn’t want a man giving her away to another man. I’ve shot a wedding where the bride wore a red dress. I’ve shot a wedding where the couple just didn’t do the evening bit because they hate dancing. All of these weddings were awesome and the couples all had the best time because they did exactly what they wanted to do!
Incorporate your interests into your wedding
Your wedding day is a day to celebrate the two of you as a couple committing to each other for the rest of your lives, that’s a pretty big thing and I think it’s really important to remember that the day is about you two and your relationship. With that in mind, I think it’s really important to incorporate your interests into your wedding day. There are loads of different ways you can do this, you can have vinyls from your favourite bands for your seating plan, like Chloe and Kieran did (hand painted by their amazing friend Hannah!), you can create a theme around your favourite colours, or you could have your favourite food for dinner. You can also include activities into your day that you and your partner like doing together, this could be board games, arcade machines or cocktail making. You could base the entire day around your favourite films or books. If you’re obsessed with house plants, you might want to dot them around your venue everywhere. You might both be massive foodies and have different street food trucks for your meal with a doughnut van for your dessert. Whatever it is that you love as a couple take all those things and put them together into your wedding day to really make it the best day ever!