9 wedding planning tips from a non-traditional (almost) bride

…who doesn’t love diamonds.

My wedding is in 38 days… I swear it was six months away like five minutes ago. But that’s cool; now it’s in 38 days *hahahaha*. 

Planning a wedding has taught me a lot of things about myself I didn’t know beforehand. Firstly, I like to do things the hard way. I’ve taken the more difficult route in every possible aspect because apparently, I like to torture myself. Secondly, I’ve discovered I dislike almost everything that is presented to me. It’s all just so… traditional. Lastly, it turns out I’m a bit of a hustler when it comes to getting what I want.

I’m not going to lie, it has been really hard to *execute my vision* with the amount of traditional options that are around. I’ve well and truly become an expert at thinking outside the square. However, these things would’ve been nice to know before I started embarrassing myself via email. 

Here are 9 wedding planning tips if you’re like me, and don’t like French lace or cheesy love songs. 

Your ring doesn’t have to be a forever ring 

My fiancé and I got tattoos when we got engaged, so when the time came to search for our wedding bands, I was starting from scratch. I literally had no idea what I wanted. I knew what I didn’t want – a big ass diamond – which left me with about three rings in the world to choose from.

The solution? Buy a cute, simple and not-too-expensive band I love now, without the added pressure of having to wear FOREVERRRRRR. In 10 years, if I want to add to it or change it completely, I do. I mean I will.

When it comes to your venue, think long-term

They say your venue determines your theme, and once that’s locked in, everything else falls into place. Again, because I like to do things the hard way, I had my brief in mind (a blank canvas for a tropical, Palm Springs-inspired pool party) and it only took about 892735928352 venues to find. 

A blank canvas might sound like a great idea – creative freedom and all that – but make sure you think long-term if this is the path you’re going to take. Will you need to hire portaloos ($$)? Will you need rubbish removal ($$$)? Will you need a marquee ($$$$$$$$$)? 

Bonus tip: Don’t limit yourself to standard venues. I found mine on Airbnb.

Have as many bridesmaids as you want

Look, I’ll come right out and say it: I’ve got eight bridesmaids. Go on, you can gasp. I’m used to it. 

But the reason I’m having so many is that I love them all, and they all bring something completely different to the experience. I couldn’t cut any of them out. Besides, who are the Bridesmaid Police that say I can only have three?

The moral of the story? Think about how fun it will be, and also tell everyone to shut-up.

There are more themes than ‘rustic’

Don’t get caught in the Traditional Trap. Of course, if ‘rustic’ is you, then you should go for it, but if ‘disco ball and neon lights and tequila shots on arrival’ is you, you should do that instead. 

Sure, it is a little more effort considering 99.9% of options follow the same boring rules, but it’s worth it to have what you really want… and to have a wedding people are talking about all year.

Become a full stalker to find your dress

Funnily enough, my dress was the easiest thing to tick off the list, but not because I knew exactly what I wanted… Oh no. It’s because I started looking IMMEDIATELY and also because I became a full-blown stalker.

There are so many tools to research before you even try anything on (like this article). Search overseas bridal boutique websites to find unique labels. Browse hashtags on Instagram. Flip through real wedding magazines until your fingertips rub off. Take a look through secondhand online bridal store, Still White. And most importantly, stalk a million weddings on social media to see what dresses look like IRL. 

It goes without saying you should also try on every style too, because you might be surprised what suits you (might I also suggest having a tan and professional makeup at this point).

Plan music as you go 

If music is as important to you as it is to me, make sure you don’t leave it until the week before to figure out. I’m not just talking about the important songs either – aisle song, first dance etc – I’m talking the fun stuff. The party music.

Many months ago, I created a Spotify playlist that both my fiancé and I can add to. When I heard a song that I wanted, I’d add it to the playlist. Now all that’s left to do is choose which ones we want for the special moments, and pass on the rest to our DJ.

Make saving money a fun game 

I’ll be honest: I’m not a saver. In fact, I’ve been known to spend my money faster than I can earn it, so the prospect of saving A LOT of dollars was slightly daunting (terrifying) to me. That was until I turned it into a fun game. 

This worked best when I had a small chunk saved, as it was more motivating to add to it than when I had $3.60 in the account. Each time you make a deposit or reach a new goal, you can give yourself a little treat. 

It’s also fun to introduce a little healthy competition between you and your better half. Whoever deposits the least amount of money that month has to clean the house / be your slave until next month. (More on how I budget here).

Do whatever you can do early, early

I don’t want to be making DIY wedding favours the night before the wedding, so in the name of organisation, I started ticking off any tasks I possibly could while we’re in the eye of the storm. This includes: organising your bridesmaid gifts, buying your recovery day outfit, picking your first dance song and arranging a menu tasting.

Then when everyone comes knocking for their money, you won’t fall in a heap and cry because you have so much to do (and pay for).

Make a to-do list, tick it off, then stop

This is a handy tip my wedding planner gave me. Make a to-do list of absolutely every final thing that needs doing. Tick it off one at a time. Then just stop. Literally, stop doing all the things. 

Rather than re-arranging at the eleventh hour, second guessing your decisions or using the leftover time to make elements even better, use that time to make yourself a big ol’ margarita, then sit back and relax. You did it.

Illustration by TwylaMae.

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