The idea behind doing a series of interviews with real brides is to give future brides and all those involved in planning a wedding some insight into wedding days and planning processes. It might help some brides think ‘ oh it’s not only me then!’ Which I think can really help, especially when you are curled up in the fetal position crying about the guest list.
My first interviewee, Sarah, has only just celebrated her first wedding anniversary and I also have the privilege of having her as one of my bridesmaids for my wedding and so it felt fitting to ask her to be one of my first real bride interviews.
Sarah and I met in Maths class when we were about 15 years old. I have counted her as one of my best friends ever since. Sarah became engaged to Pete shortly after Adam and I moved to Oxford so I unfortunately I missed a lot of the wedding preparations, which was pretty devasting for me. Nonetheless, I was determined not to miss her big day and we made a special trip home. I will always be grateful that we had the opportunity to share in her big day.
Q1: Where did you get married, what made you choose your venue and what was it like?
We got married at White Light in Lanseria, JHB. We wanted to keep our wedding in JHB because the majority of our friends and family already live here. We fell in love with the venue because it was very simple, very open and had a beautiful outside chapel in the shadows of some pine trees. The whole vibe of the venue was very relaxed and focused on the surrounding trees and fields. The hall had these big windows looking out onto the veld and I was so tired of visiting venues that had these boxed in reception halls, so the openess and the double volume ceiling really worked wonders. The staff were also very friendly and proffessional which makes a big difference 🙂
Q2: How long was your engagement and did you feel it was too long or too short?
It was a bit long. We felt that we were rearing to go, but once all the big stuff was handled, there was a period of a few months that we felt we were just waiting for it to get closer so we could do the things that needed to be done closer to the day. It felt fast and slow at the same time. I think you only really need 6 months to plan a wedding stress free, but it makes more sense for traveling guests, for financial reasons, and for availability of service providers to wait it out a bit longer.
Q3: Please describe your wedding day for me, in as much detail as you can
Wow, where to begin!! It was an absolutely beautiful day. Not everything went to plan, but it actually didn’t matter at the end of the day. The build up to the ceremony was so emotional and exciting and scary and wonderful that I felt a bit overwhelmed when we were taking photos, but nothing that some snacks and champagne didn’t fix! The food was delicious and we had a live band which was so much fun. By the time it was 11:30, we couldn’t believe the day had gone by so fast. The next day was actually one of my favourite parts. All the stress was over and the wedding was a wonderful celebration and we could just sit back, relax and chat about our favourite part and giggle about the little things that went wrong and the nerves we felt before the ceremony, it was really great to reflect and re-live our special day.
Q4: Did you hire a professional wedding planner and what was the most challenging part of the planning process?
The guest list. Absolutely! We have a big family and to try fit everyone in and keep everyone happy was not easy. We had to cut off our list according to our budget, and we had a wish list or a B-list, so as people RSVP’d no, we could extend the invite to people on our wish list.
Q5: How involved was your husband in the wedding planning?
Pete was quite involved in terms of being hands on and coming with to see venues and decor mock ups and choosing napkins (something I didn’t realise was a thing) etc! He wasn’t overly concerned about the details though, which was nice for me cause I’m quite particular and he would bring me down to Earth when I was making mountains out of molehills 🙂 He was also very practical (I’m talking colour coded excel spreadsheet practical) which was great because my admin skills aren’t exactly wonderful. So it worked out quite nicely.
Q6: If you could start your wedding planning process all over again, what would be the first thing you do and why?
I would get my dress done sooner. I left it a bit late and it took a while for me to decide what I wanted and it was a bit stressful. So I would get on my dress and bridesmaids dresses sooner than I did the first time.
Q7: What did you find the most surprising about planning a wedding?
How the smallest things become major life problems. I didn’t think that I would ever cry about silly little decisions, but when you’re making so many decisions and there is so much pressure for your day to be perfect, the small stuff can become big very quickly and it can be overwhelming. That’s where level headed fiances with big hugs and loving family and bridesmaids become life savers. You sometimes just need someone to tell you that its ok to be caught up sometimes, and more importantly to have them to talk to to help you re-find your focus.
Q8: What was your most memorable moment of your wedding?
The ceremony! Seeing Pete at the end of the aisle and officially starting our journey together was just the best! There were so many emotions flying all over the place, and it was really special to celebrate our day with the people we love. (Also, our band was really cool…when all the stressful stuff was over it was awesome to be able to let loose on the dance floor and just have a good time)
Q9: What’s the one thing you would change about your wedding or planning process and why?
It’s so easy to look back and say, ahhh I should have chosen that colour, or I wish I did that differently, and after the wedding, when your Pinterest is stll full of wedding posts, I landed up redoing my weding about 10 times! But I always looked back on photos and reflected on a day that was just the best, and I honestly wouldn’t change it!
Q10: Any last bits of advice or comments on your wedding you want us to know?
Delegate tasks. Make the colour coded spreadsheets. And have a realistic timeline when you can plan what needs to be done when (Most wedding magazines have an example, I also looked on Pinterest and found some that I put together to make my own one).It’s a great was to feel on top of things and to make sure you don’t leave anything out.
Thanks to Sarah for me being my first Bride! I hope that together, we have helped a few of you out there. If you have any questions you would love me to ask the next bride, please do get in touch! If you would been keen on an interview, I would love to hear from you too.
That’s it from me this a Saturday, I hope yours is wonderfully stress free – over and out!