'I'm getting married next year. Here are 8 things I wish I knew before planning a wedding.'

Listen to this story being read by Erin Docherty, here.

In case you missed it the first 465 times, my partner and I are getting married. Yes, wed! This means that we ("I") get to plan our big, fancy day. 

It's all happening in April next year (your invite is on its way), and it's an easy job that only involves eleventy million small tasks that take up 98 per cent of my free time.

Of course, I have a cavalry of some Very Wonderful people to help lighten the load - my mum, sister, best friend, cousins - but goodness, it's a process. There's so much to sort. Like, SO much haha (help) ha.


There's makeup, hair, photographers, videographers, styling, dresses, shoes, bonbonnieres (what are these?) and the exact amount of alcohol needed for 200 Scottish and Irish relatives. It's difficult. Especially when you're not the kind of person that would describe themselves as a 'planner'.

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Wanna know exactly what I've been doing and how it's been going and all the things I wish I knew before throwing myself into this? I'm just going to arrogantly assume you do, dear friend.

So, here's what I've learnt so far!

1. Set a budget... before you start.

Ha! A budget? Eh, we'll work it out, I thought. And then I just... started laying down deposits? And things got really expensive?? And I'm actually not that great at maths and numbers???

Look, it's fine (it's not fine), but the cost of things blow out SO quickly. And things. Things happen.


Obviously it's impossible to know how much wedding stuff costs - and you can't just set a final number and stick to it. Budgets aren't designed to be strict - they're flexy things that bend in some CRAZY shapes. 

However! I reckon we should've at least set some kind of 'ballpark' budget before we started. 

I mean, we're here now - it is enormously expensive and we might have to sell our firstborn, but you know - I think it just would've helped me gauge things a little better.


2. You might not know what kind of dress you want.

You know how some people just have this vision of what their dream wedding dress is like? Yeah? Right? How cute is it! 

I've... never had this. 

Like, I knew I wanted it to be white and... nice... but I never had a specific image of what I would be wearing.

Meaning? I had to try on all of the dresses in all of the styles to get an idea of what I liked.

SO! I went to a bunch of different bridal stores in Sydney, and I honestly loved the experience. Frothed over it. It was fun! There was champagne! My besties were there! Lots of lols! 

But while there were so many beautiful dresses that all looked spectacular and made me look like a bride - I didn't quite feel like 'me' in any of them. I didn't get the 'this is the one' feeling, and I started getting a little worried that I might never get that feeling.

In a visit to my fourth (fifth?) bridal store, I tried on six different dresses and still, nothing felt right. 

I was flustered, red and panicky when the lovely store manager, Tania, said she thought I should try on One Last Dress.

It was black. And look, having a white dress was the only thing I knew I wanted. So, I said no. 

Tania persisted I try it on. She said they could make it in white, and that it was timeless and classic and would look perfect on me.

I reluctantly tried it on and - I gotta tell ya - I felt the most beautiful I've ever felt in a dress. And gosh darnit, Tania was right! It wasn't at all what I expected (off the shoulder, not yet... white), but it just felt very correct.


Also, I don't want to brag, but the wedding song from Twilight was playing when I was trying it on and WHAT a moment. 


3. You'll think about your guest list. A LOT.

Because sometimes your partner goes away on deployment in the lead up to your wedding and you can't contact him to ask why you both didn't look at the guest list before he left. And now you're doing the Save the Dates. With the names listed in the 'notes' section of your phone. And it's all very inconvenient.


It becomes the last thing you think about before you go to bed at night, and you wake up at 2:33am because - shit - did you add your partner's second cousin's girlfriend? Should you? MAYBE YOU SHOULD, THOUGH. 

We chose to go big for a variety of different reasons (see: Irish Catholic family), but I've also been really scared of offending anyone who I love very much. And I love a lot of people.

And honestly, the whole culling thing is horribly hard. And while your partner/any male will most likely just tell you to cut people and be brutal about it because 'who cares' - you care! Heaps! 

The guest list. It's quite the task.

4. You'll spend all of your free time doing wedding stuff.

Planning a wedding is like a second job. And I'm spending a disgusting amount of time inhaling a whole load of wedding content. Mostly on Instagram, Pinterest and sites like Wedshed. But also, wedding magazines. I have sooo many wedding magazines.


Because it's so fun and pervy seeing what other people do (and don't do!). The flowers! The shoes! The cake! The first dance! The walking-down-the-aisle reactions! ALL the details. 

But then, I'll find myself scrolling on my phone at 12:30pm, insatiably searching for more and more delicious inspo - and it's becoming an ISSUE. 

I feel like I get stuck in an endless spiral of wedding content every time I look at my phone, and Zuck knows exactly what strings to pull. So sneaky.

5. Choosing things is HARD.

Established walkways? Welcome signs? Booklets? Jewellery? Designing a website? There are SO MANY THINGS.


So many enormous decisions from fields that I wouldn't know a cat's knuckle about, yet suddenly I'm now in charge and saying yes and no to all of them, and I never really read the fine print and CAN SOMEONE CALL MUM, I'M SCARED.

6. Organising invites is also hard.

The invites, I have to say, have been QUITE a pain in the arse. 

All I wanted was something that was fun. Illustrated. Wes Anderson vibes (niche, I know). Just not The Same Stuff Everyone Does. You know. 

I went back and forth with a stationary agency in Sydney trying to work out what we could do, and have learnt many many things about invitations - but mainly, that letterpress and custom design is enormously expensive and outrageously confusing. 

Also, I thought that you'd be able to nail down all the details for the Save the Dates first and then do all the stuff for the official invitations later on - but most places do it as a whole package? Meaning, I've had to do the design brief and wording (what am I? A writer or something?) for everything, all at once. Without my partner (refer to number 3).



7. Etsy is a dangerous place.

Omg, be careful in there! As soon as you decide you're getting married, for reasons unknown (unique! custom! handmade!) you just kind of gravitate towards Etsy and live there for six months or more? 

Idk. It's weird. 

Please, just take a wee peek at my inbox right now:

How did this happen. 


But it also makes PERFECT sense that you're slinking around the streets of Etsy, because there's all sorts of stuff you can't find anywhere else, and then you didn't actually set a budget for yourself, did you? 

8. All this stress can affect your skin.

Seriously. Just ask my skin

It turns out that worrying about all this stuff 24/7 can really mess with your face. Cool! 

I've been breaking out like an absolute champion these past couple of months. All across my chin. Been throwing off a lotta red patches. Irritation. It's a big sign that I need to chill TF out about the whole show and get more sleep.

But, until then, here's to getting that wedding skin prep on track, asap!

Anyway, I'll catch you later! Very busy lots on.

If you want to hear Erin waffle on more about wedding stuff (and also, beauty) follow her on Instagram

Have you planned a wedding before? Have you got any tips you'd like to share? OMG PLS DO. Drop them in the comment section below.

Feature image: Supplied.

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