PRONOVIAS
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

planning like a pro: the final countdown

June 12th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh

Pic 2 - Joe Mather Photography

Joe Mather Photography

We’ve made it to the last hurdle readers – parts one, two and three of our ‘planning like a pro’ series have dealt with (most of) the wedmin and now it’s (mostly) the smaller elements left to organise in the final countdown to your big day! Eek! Notebooks at the ready ladies and let us chivvy you along to Operation Get Wed!

In the last three instalments we’ve covered how to choose a season and date, venue choice, how to make a decision on key suppliers, the guest list, budget thoughts, the dress and styling and now we’re really focusing in on those all-important details.

Phew! So now it’s time to round things off by taking a look at what should be filling your days when you have just a month or so to go until the vows and celebrations!

mood music

It’s time to speak to your celebrant and find out the rules surrounding music for your ceremony before making some tough choices. Churches are often more flexible than they used to be and allow ‘secular’ music, but you’ll find that registrars must check the music for civil ceremonies and that it must be secular in nature. So what, you might think, I wasn’t planning on hymns, but if you’re a diehard Jeff Buckley fan (Halleluiah) or you fancy a classical piece that doesn’t immediately strike you as religious but is (Ave Maria), you might run into difficulties. So, get thinking, discussing and checking – it’s a great excuse to run up a Spotify playlist or two and pit each other’s choices against each other…can we convince you to go for Frankie Goes to Hollywood Two Tribes? Pretty please?

Pic 7 - Joe Stenson

Joe Stenson

hot off the press

You’ll also need to print your Orders of Service, your menus and other bits of stationery if you’re doing these yourselves. Run menus by your caterer or venue for a final check, especially for the spellings of obscure French wines and vegetable varieties and ask at least two other family members or friends to look over your Orders of Service – preferably those with a particularly beady eye or, you know, an English degree. There’s nothing more dispiriting than unearthing a typo two hundred copies in. Doh.

Pic 3 - Kate McCarthy

Kate McCarthy

take a seat

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the scenes in our living room leading up to our wedding were reminiscent of Churchill in the Cabinet War Rooms – minus the cigars, but probably with a comparable amount of claret. How to sit our uni friends together without putting one particularly bitter pair of exes within spitting distance of each other was a feat of problem solving that would have taxed Alan Turing. Where to position Uncle Willy out of harm’s – and the bar’s – way? Our advice: do not underestimate the time a seating plan will take. It’s not a last-minute admin task and the squabbling that may (will) endure will test your marriage before it’s even begun. And that’s before you even get started with the last-minute cancellations. You have been warned!

Pic 6 - Stu Ganderton

Stu Ganderton

thoughtful gifting

You might also want to buy your other half a gift for the morning of the wedding – nothing says ‘I love you’ like a carefully considered gift or, you know, a novelty tea towel if that’s what floats your boat. We’ve seen everything here at Brides Up North from a favourite scent to a designer watch – I had a beeyootiful leather satchel made especially for my other half (lined with William Morris fabric, no less) and presented it to him (via his best man) on the morning of our wedding. He was bowled over and still uses it to this day – and I’m still reaping the #excellentwife points. Choose well, readers.

Pic 5 - Melissa Beattie

Melissa Beattie

spreadsheets at the ready

It’s time to work with your key suppliers – we’re thinking celebrant, photographer, caterers, wedding planner/master of ceremonies at the venue and evening entertainment – to compile a definitive running order for the day. This needs to be given to the best man and other members of the bridal party – it’s what they signed up for! – with instructions for them to follow it to the letter. They’ll need to give directions, guidance and hurry people along if they seem to be stalling at certain points, so encourage them to be assertive – after all, you’ll be too busy mingling, posing for pictures and scoffing canapes to take much notice. Plus, you probably won’t have any pockets keep a copy close at hand sooo **insert shrugging emoji here**

Pic 4 - Jess Yarwood

Jess Yarwood

preened & pampered

Every bride wants their skin and locks in tip top condition come their big day but it’s best to have those final cuts, colours, peels and facials a few weeks in advance of the wedding to avoid any skin reactions or overly toned/trimmed tresses.

Pic 1 - Emily Olivia Photography

Emily Olivia Photography

bits & bobs

Confetti? Check. Some smelly spritz for the venue loos? Check. Flip flops for tired dancing queens and umbrellas and blankets in case the weather turns? After watching the weather forecast for weeks, could this….be it? The final purchase?

Pic 8 - Victoria Baker

Victoria Baker

treat-tastic

And after all of that, if there’s any cash left in the budget, it’s time to treat yourself – it’s the least you deserve after organising a full-on event for 100+ people! So, time to book into a boutique B&B, head for a spa or go shopping – believe us, you’ve earned it!

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about the author

Laura McDonagh
Laura is a true Northophile: she married Adam in Durham in 2011 accompanied by 200 Northumbrian lamb shanks and a Mackem 1950s tribute band who did a rockabilly cover version of Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On. They honeymooned in Northumberland in a 1972 MG convertible, went surfing in Alnmouth and made it to the Edinburgh Fringe (let's ignore the fact that it rained all week). Her big mantra is 'no regrets'...but if she could travel back in time and wear a wedding dress with a Peter Pan collar and pockets, she'd pretty much die happy.

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