On the 7th July 2018 I married the love of my life, Paul. We got engaged in Santorini two years earlier and it was back on that gorgeous island in the Greek sunshine that we said ‘I do’ in front of 30 of our closest family. Paul and I were getting married because we were in love and wanted to make a commitment to each other – and not for any other reason – and remembering this is what kept me grounded when I began the mammoth task of wedding planning.
It is so incredibly easy to get swallowed up by Instagram, Pinterest and the expectations of others when you’re planning a wedding. But I worked really hard with my husband to make sure that the day was everything we wanted, which inevitably meant we had some difficult decisions to make. The two main things we wanted to get out of our “big day”, our non negotiable’s as it were, was that we didn’t want to be in debt for years to come because we had spent beyond our means on an overtly lavish affair, and we wanted it to be intimate and personal with minimal fuss. That led us to a destination wedding with a small guest list. Whilst that was a tough decision as it excluded our elderly relatives and wider groups of friends, it was the right decision for us as a couple.
Making this choice at the outset meant we were free to create the day we both longed for, and I loved every minute of the planning involved. From choosing my dress (at the first shop I visited) and picking the delicious Greek themed menu for the wedding breakfast, to shopping for wedding rings and designing the seating plans, I delighted in all of it. The planner in me was finally doing what she was made for – I mean does it get much bigger or more satisfying than planning your own wedding?
But of course I found something to worry about. And for me that was that it wouldn’t all go to plan. I’m sure that is something all brides worry about, but for me it was taken to another level. When the big day arrived I was so nervous that something would go wrong I spent the morning dry heaving on an empty stomach. Nervous anticipation mixed with excitement was certainly a sickly combination.
And surely I was right to worry, as so much didn’t go to plan. The clasp on my dress was missing when I finally put it on. I got a dark stain on the hem of my dress just before I was about to leave the hotel room for the ceremony. The wrong place settings were used on our tables – silver instead of the gold I’d requested to go with my carefully crafted colour scheme. England was playing an important Euros match and the kick off clashed spectacularly with our vows – a potential problem for the football fans in the party. There was little shade for our guests on the beautiful clifftop balcony where we said “I do”… situated on the tenth level of hell, the temperature soared to over 40 degrees as our guests sat huddled under umbrellas for shade. And do you know what? I couldn’t have cared less.
The day was so much bigger, better and more beautiful than I could have ever planned for. When I look back now, the moments I remember are the ones that I didn’t plan for at all. The sunrise walk on a deserted beach with my sister on the morning of the wedding, preparing for the day ahead whilst sipping ice cold frappes. Two families coming together and helping each other down the hundreds of steps to our picturesque venue. My mother-in-law rescuing my sister-in-law who was overwhelmed with the heat. Dancing to my favourite childhood song with my lovely Dad. Watching my little Niece squeal with delight on the dance floor as she twirled around in her dress. The best man speech that was unforgettable and full of treasured words and memories.
It is these moments that make a wedding. So plan your wedding, enjoy thinking about the little details, be in control where you can and question every element of it. But take it from this serial over-planning bride, if something unexpected does happen… it will not ruin your big day. If anything, it might make it better! Stop and take a moment on the day to relish in what did go to plan – but most of all, live in the moment and bask in the magic that the unexpected inevitably brings.