Between the moments when you say, “Yes I will” and, “Yes I do” a lot of water flows down the Yarra. If scientists claim that time is relative, they couldn’t be more subjective. Time is definitely relative. Ask a bride-to-be, making last minute shopping for jewellery or finalising the invitation cards, or a groom-to-be doing a last-minute round-up of the wedding checklist and you would definitely hear a resounding “Yes”.
The thing is, between those two significant affirmatives time somehow squeezes down to just a few moments. There is so much to do and not much time to do that in. As a premier Melbourne wedding photographer I often hear my clients say this to me. Over the years having shot countless weddings and having shared the anxiety of my clients, the thought has crossed my mind a few times – to make an ultimate wedding checklist. A list that would make planning your wedding day seem like a breeze, taking most of the pressures of the big day off you.
So without further ado, here is my essential wedding checklist.
HOW MUCH TO SPEND
Knowing what to spend is a good way to start your planning, because it is difficult to listen to your heart and your brain at the same time. This is the moment you have been waiting for and you want to make it the most memorable day of your life. Splurging comes as a natural progression emanating from that thought. Having said that, having a clear budget helps you in ways that you will not realise until after the wedding is over and the last guest has left.
THE WEDDING VENUE
Once you have the wedding date finalised the next item on the list is the wedding venue. The choice for the wedding venue goes hand in hand with the wedding date and the wedding theme. Are you planning a summer wedding? Beach weddings can be highly tempting though do keep in mind that temperatures can soar and there can be occasional showers too. Wet sand and a heavy wedding gown doesn’t go well together. Plus, the event will need a lot of cool refreshments if the weather remains dry and hot during the day. I recommend a beach wedding only with a back up plan in mind in case of rain!
Alternatively, there are a bunch of great indoor places where you can host you wedding. Due to its trademark queer weather patterns make sure that you have enough precautions in place to counter Melbourne’s four seasons in a day, especially if the bulk of the event is an outdoor affair.
FEATURED VENUE: MAISON MELBOURNE
THE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
Hopefully, this is where I come into the picture. Make it a point to start your vendor search, including the wedding photographer very early in the planning phase. A reputed Melbourne wedding photographer would be booked up to 18 months in advance and that means you might not be able to employ the services of your first choice. I can’t tell you how many graceful couples I had to turn away simply because their weddings are already booked!
When you come back to reality from your honeymoon your wedding images are going to be your only way to reminisce those wonderful moments from the day. You don’t want just anybody with a camera to shoot. You want someone who knows you as a person and can capture not just images, but wonderful moments of the day; stories that ooze with emotions an linger on as sweet memories.
FEATURED MELBOURNE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER: YOURS TRULY
THE WEDDING DRESS
With so many designers and so many designs this is the time to really get into the fun part of a wedding – shopping! For some though, choosing the wedding dress can be a seriously taxing endeavor. In any case don’t venture on your own. Bring a few heads along who can give you unadulterated advice and help you make your choice. A wedding dress can typically take 5-8 months to prepare. Choosing a dress and putting everything in motion is thus of paramount importance. However, in the hurry don’t settle on something that you are going to regret on the day of your wedding. Don’t just choose something because it looks good on a model who may be two sizes smaller than you are. Choosing a smaller dress can seem like a good idea, an impetus of sorts to shed a few pounds before the big day. Believe me when I say this, you could very well gain a few pounds! So, don’t do that. Finally, listen to everyone but decide on your own.
THE WEDDING CAKE
In terms of priority this point should have come a little later, may be even after the invitation list, the bridal party and the gift registry are done with. But the wedding cake falls under the vendor list of things to do and in my experience the sooner you can finalize the vendor list, the better it is. Make an appointment with the baker of your choice and make it a point to not make more than two appointments a day; ideally one only! With so any choices and micro-decisions to be made one appointment a day to decide the 50 pound wedding cake should be a bellyful.
THE WEDDING RING
I don’t know how she does it but a bride knows the instant she sees a ring if it’s meant for her. Despite the million different cuts and their metaphorical underlying insinuations, every bride has a shape in her mind of the ring with which she will be professed undying love by the man she loves. It is just natural and when she sees the ring she knows it. End of discussion.
CHOOSING THE FLOWERS
Flowers set the mood for the wedding. Flowers for the event, just like the decorations, the bridal and the bridal party attires has to be of a color that is in agreement with the general theme of the wedding. If you are going for brighter shades and the wedding is in October can I make a suggestion? – Try the fresh mauve Delphinium. You can have the entire entourage of bridesmaids dress in mauve together with the decorations and embellishments at the event and even the cake to compliment the color for the wedding. Getting married in April? How about pastel shades to set the tone of wedding and how about an eclectic collection of Cyclamen as the wedding flower? These are vibrant and goes well with most embellishments of green and white.
You can’t have a fun wedding if you don’t do justice to the process of selecting your bridal party. Come ‘on this is the fun bit! Choose the candidates who can be of best help on the day. You need a bunch of quintessential people on whom you can bet your life. And then when the music comes on can liven up the party just as effortlessly. I have the most fun when shooting the bridal party. If they are a lively bunch you can do some really cool and whacky photos.
After all it’s your wedding and you have planned it hard and waited long enough to enjoy. So, I figure you deserve every bit of fun. Think long and think hard but select the people who you absolutely want to be there standing beside you. I know some people would have to be left out and that’s just how it is.
Why do all the bridesmaids have to be dressed the same way? Let’s just think outside the box for a while and change everything around. Unless you are bent on a traditional wedding this could actually be more suitable for the bridal party. Now that I have your attention, let’s just not only have different dresses for bridesmaid but also different colors! It’s perfectly fine and a lot of fun too! At the very least you will not be forcing your bridal entourage into wearing something on your wedding that does not complement their body type. After all you don’t need a bunch of grumpy faces super-conscious of how they look standing beside you.
THE GROOM'S SUIT
An expensive haute couture wedding dress, tailored fashionable matching dresses for the bridesmaids, a vintage Rolls Royce gently driving you to the venue, an entourage of people waiting to catch a glimpse of you, personalized wedding cards, cake, flowers – a wedding is all about the bride, right? Alas, the other half of this beautiful union, the groom, often gets pushed to the back seat and cuts a sorry figure. Hey! Your man needs every bit of attention as you do. After all it is his big day too. With everything cut to size for you to make you look your very best you can’t have the man you are going to spend the rest of your life with looking like someone from the venue staff! He needs to look impeccable as well.
The suit he wears thus comes high on the agenda. What he wears should be decided based on the wedding theme and the venue. If it is a beach wedding obviously leather shoes and tuxedos are out of the question. If it is a fun wedding held at the beach you can really let your imagination run wild and pick up something that would mimic let’s say the punk rock revolution. If it is a church wedding with a dignified presence it would should be a black tie event.
Take your cues from the above and roll with it. Here’s wishing you all the very best for a happy married life!