Tuesday 7 February 2012


The Dark Side of Wedmin
I have a confession and an apology to make. Firstly, that I have been missing in blogging action for some weeks now. Sorry - bad QBride. Secondly, I need to admit how poor a state my (non-existent) wedmin is in. It was last seen sometime around Christmas, in a sherry-fogged realisation that I hadn't even confirmed with the vicar we were actually booked in to wed! Cripes.

With just eight months to go, I am in meltdown. I have no bridesmaids dresses, no flowers, no entertainment, no transport, no crockery, no spare toilets (the least attractive part of wedding planning), no drinks, no shoes, no hen-do, no rings, no photographer, no lighting, no decorations or props, no readings or hymns chosen, no first-dance, no veil, no grooms outfits, no tables nor chairs, no make-up artist, no honeymoon, no time.

Eight months may seem generous to those amazing brides who turn out a perfectly personal, stylish wedding day in the average six months: but I have been amazed by how quickly the past year and a half of being engaged has slipped past. I know the next eight months will do precisely the same, with the same unforeeables popping up (writing of wedding planning books, moving home, bridesmaids announcing pregnancies...). You get the gist.

This is the funny thing: as someone for whom wedding planning and styling is their day-in-day-out much loved job, the demanding and highly personal task of planning my own wedding suddenly seems overwhelming and appears to transcend everything. I have a new found appreciation of the virtues of the whole elopement or Las Vegas thing. As I start to take to the idea of Elvis as celebrant in all his glittery finery, I know I am in knee-deep trouble.

What is called for is a wedmin makeover - and some serious multi-tasking.

This is where my wedding planning survival guide comes in, drawn up initially to help me but shared with you in the hope it might help brides (and grooms!) as life's too short to worry so much about your wedding that all the fun and loveliness of the planning process gets taken out.

  • Now is the time to unleash a swoon-worthy Smythson wedding planner, as to put it all in one of these beauties is to leap straight into the realms of the slickest of wedding planning - smoothly gets what smoothly does after all. Keep everything together for quick checks, including receipts, direct dials, payment dates and essentials.
· Learn from my mistakes: tackle the less-swoony formal aspects of planning (the ceremony with a church, or if you are opting for a civil ceremony find your local registrar via direct.gov.uk) before you start on the prettier, personal and more romantic parts of the planning process.
Church before Champagne: noted.
  • Make friends with the list: break it into sections of short-term and longer-lead tasks to tick off and include everything you have already done, too. Work out what's missing and what's most important to you from these. Then prioritise: sort your vows out before the favours for example, and if you're a fashion-conscious bride, look to completing your outfit before the wine choices (which you can no doubt happily leave to your groom. He'll love you for it). This will also likely have the added bonus of illuminating how much you have already achieved, and make the rest of the wedmin not seem so insurmountable.
Hotpants optional, although they may help with groom persuasion.
· Play IT girl: get to grips with creating an Excel spreadsheet to accurately track your spending and distribution of your budget. You should have every possible cost and list in a column on the left, note who is contributing to which costs (or how you are going to allocate any money your parents may be putting into your fund) create a column for the deposit figure and an outstanding total column too. Colour code for what 'stage' of the planning process these fit into and note when balances will need to be paid by.
NOTE: Always border on the OCD with your maths, and have a 'reserve' or contingency budget - 77% of brides overspend on their original budget so play safe, not sorry.
· Play dress-up: Put your entire bridal outfit on and check all is present and correct and sort it if not. Move around to check your heels aren't going to make you homicidal come nine o'clock, and invest in some  Party Feet cushions if so. Boots.com
Watters Palm Springs gown: pair with silver shoes and a net beehive.

 · Breathe: cortisol, the stress hormone, increases adrenaline, mistakes and skin complaints. There is only so much miracle last-minute cures and a glass of wine can do. Take a break, go for a walk, take a trip to a soothing spa. I love Hay Barn Spa at Daylesford Organic Farm for some blissful relaxation. Come back refreshed and tackle things anew. Daylesfordorganic.com
Daylesford Organic Farm's Bamford Spa: just looking at it soothes.

· Establish your day’s Running Order (or Production Schedule as we call it here at Quintessentially Weddings). This should list the timings for the ceremony,have an allocation of time for photography and journey time to get to your reception venue, your reception drinks and the breakfast serving times, too. Double check you have suppliers in place for each stage, and put a name next to who is your key contact for each area. Give your running order to a trusted, 'Scout-leader' friend (you know the type, hyper organised and likely to know what the traffic is like in the area some 10 minutes before the rest of you) some weeks in advance so they are briefed and can check everyone is in place with a quick phone call on the day. This means you can sleep easy knowing someone else also knows the masterplan.
· Do not delegate sourcing or choosing items or suppliers for things you care deeply about. This is a recipe for disaster - yes, ask your mum to find a choir or harpist but don't risk someone else's tastes in flowers, decor or food if you are fussy as it will likely niggle on the day.
· Sometimes keeping things simple and doing them well is better than a haphazard, all-or-nothing approach to decor and any concept or theme you are working to. It's always wiser to focus on one thing then only move onto the teeny details if you have time.
Plates, glassware, menus, flowers, ornaments - practical and pretty should come first.

 · Groom your groom: don't shoulder it all and morph into a bridezilla - he's likely to know far more about cars, suits, alcohol, music and insurance than you might give him credit for. Ask him to start looking at these well in advance (8 - 9 months before the wedding) so that if he doesn't manage to come up trumps, you have enough time to rectify any oversights. Also get him to buy himself a sparkly new IamStaggered.com's Staggered Groom Guide.
An Aston Martin to the wedding? Yes please. Get yours from GreatEscapecars.co.uk
Stairway to heaven: the works of By Appointment Only Design.

· Leave the tiny minutae such as place or escort cards which can be done very last minute. Table plans however, riddled with politics and matchmaking fun as they are should be carefully thought through some weeks in advance. Grab your groom and a glass of wine and get it dusted.
Cutture beautiful tableplans - you wouldn't want to ruin one of these with last minute changes!
· Create a wedding planning 'trousseau' or box in which to stash all of the wedding paperwork, samples, fabric swatches, magazines, print out of budget sheets and Production schedules and all the little extras you will unwittingly collect along the way. This means that if panic sets in (remember, breathe) everything is together. The last thing you'll want to cope with on top of wedmin is a house that looks like burglars have been for tea.

Stack 'em high: Trunks from NotontheHighStreet.com

· Smile. It has a radiant effect, and you'll be surprised at the effect when haggling or negotiating with your groom.


  1. Thanks for sharing this guide, my wife will love it ;)

  2. Great Wedmin insight!! x