I’m coming to you with something a bit different today – a post about wedding planning! I was approached by Bark.com to write about my experiences, and enjoyed every minute of reminiscing!
You often hear the phrase ‘best day of your life’ floating around when people are talking weddings. It may seem a bit of a cliché until you’ve been there, but I can truly say that my wedding day was the best day of my life! If I could go back in time to August 2013, I would do it in a second! Your wedding day is such a busy, hectic day that it almost feels like it’s over before you know it. With that being said, can you just indulge me for a few minutes here whilst I take a trip down memory lane? Don’t worry, you’re invited along!
My husband Dave and I got engaged after 4.5 years together, and had a generous 16 months to plan our big day. Whilst there was no rush to plan, we were both busy people. Dave worked full time with a 1.5 hour round commute each day; whilst I worked full time (and then some!) alongside training with my roller derby team three times a week. As you can imagine, that didn’t leave a lot of time for getting my Bridezilla on! I’ve found a website called Bark.com which didn’t exist when I got married, but if it had, things would have been a whole lot easier…not to mention less stressful! I had to do lots of searching online for each person/service I needed, followed by phoning them for quotes and comparing all the prices until I found the best deal.
“That didn’t leave a lot of time to get my Bridezilla on!”
To save any future married couples some unnecessary hard work, here is how you can save time and effort by using Bark.com to plan your wedding.
Contacting the Registrar
The bit people often aren’t aware of before they say ‘I Do’ is that you have to have a meeting with a Registrar before you have permission to get hitched. They see you both together, and then… they see you separately with the partner banished to the waiting room! Forgetful people beware, they will be asking your partner’s job title, date of birth etc. This caused us some amusement as Dave used to have a bad habit of getting my birth date wrong! Do a little bit of reading beforehand so that you know what to expect and have the right documents with you.
One Ring to Rule Them All
The ring – the iconic symbol of all weddings! For some people (especially men), a wedding band can be the first and only piece of jewellery they wear. This means they have a lot of browsing to do, to try and find out what style they like. You have to wear this ring for the rest of your life (hopefully!) so it is important to take your time and choose the right one. I would suggest going to a few shops and having a look – ask to try them on, see what suits you and what feels comfortable. If you have a bit of creative flair and you’re looking for something custom-made or bespoke, check out custom jewellery on Bark!
Finding the Perfect Venue
Phew, this is the tricky one. Before you can choose your venue, you need to know how many guests you will be inviting, what sort of ceremony room you’d like, whether you want to have the entire day in one venue and whether you need rooms for people to stay in. Once you’ve made those decisions, you can use Bark.com to quickly request quotes from venues which will suit your needs. Make sure to choose a venue where you feel comfortable, and ensure they have somewhere that will make a nice backdrop for your wedding photos!
Arriving in Style – Vehicle Hire
I had to be at the wedding venue quite early and my husband had stayed there the night before the wedding, so we didn’t hire fancy cars, but a lot of people do actually arrive at their venues after the guests and like to make an impact! For some people, this is the chance to finally have a ride in that car of their dreams. For others, they just want something classic that will look great in their wedding photos! Before hiring your car, do a bit of research and make sure the company/driver is reputable and reliable – if the car is late on the big day then so are you! You can find local vehicle hire and get quick and easy quotes on Bark.
“This is the chance to finally have a ride in that car of their dreams!”
Trust, What Can go Wrong and Arranging a Band/DJ
It is really important that you can trust the people and companies you hire, to ensure everything runs smoothly on the big day. We had a great relationship with the Wedding Coordinator at our venue, but sadly had a big issue at the evening reception…. Our DJ didn’t show up! His phone was going straight to voicemail and nobody could track him down. We found out weeks later than he had ceased to trade, but had not let anybody know. This left us without music for the first *2 hours* of the evening reception, meaning we didn’t have our first dance until 10pm! Although it didn’t spoil the day as we were both so happy, it did add a bit of extra stress.
We were very lucky that a friend with his own DJ’ing equipment stepped in to help, but it was only by sheer luck that we knew someone who could DJ. Bark.com makes this so much easier, as you can read professionals’ profiles and reviews before hiring them. If you see a bad review, at least you know to be cautious! After my experience, I would definitely recommend reading reviews of anyone you plan to hire – it will give you some peace of mind that you can trust them on the day. Find your band or DJ quickly and easily here.
Choosing Your Dream Dress / Snazzy Suit
There’s only so far Google can get you in your search for the perfect wedding dress! You can find beautiful dresses online, but you really need to try them on in person to see what suits you. Find out where your local wedding dress shops are and make appointments to go and see them (you almost always need an appointment in order to be allowed to try anything on. Wedding dress shops get very busy and generally don’t let you try dresses on if you don’t pre-book). I chose the Tom Flowers Heaven wedding dress, which I absolutely loved! I didn’t find anything else that even came close for me.
Men commonly choose to hire rather than buy their suits. From my experience, there is a huge variation in suit condition and quality depending where you hire them from. My brother has experienced some pretty shoddy suits as a Best Man; even one where an emergency sewing job had to be done on the wedding day! I would suggest asking around your married friends or reading reviews online, to see how happy other customers have been and make sure you swerve any potentially shoddy suits!
Getting a Great Photographer
Out of everyone you hire to be involved in your wedding day, I personally feel the one you need to have the most rapport with is your photographer. Your photos will last you a lifetime, so you need to be happy with them. Good photographers put you at ease and know how to get the best shots and the most flattering angles.
“Your photos will last you a lifetime, so you need to be happy with them!”
Our photographer was amazing – she took a lot of time to make sure she knew what we wanted from our photos, even bringing sourced props with her. We both felt really comfortable with her and our wedding photos show that – we got the perfect balance of family portrait shots, wedding party shots and then some great natural, un-posed ones.
Sadly our photographer is now on a different career path, so if we ever choose to renew our vows (can we do it after 2.5 years? Please?), I will check out Bark.com’s photography section to get quotes from all my local photographers. They can be extremely expensive, so getting a good price is very important!
Let Them Eat Cake
Cake – the tastiest and often prettiest part of your wedding! The cake is a part of your big day where you can let your creativity shine. People often include colours or styles they love, and even have themed cakes to show something that is important to the bride and groom. I recently went to a winter wedding, where the 3-tier cake had snowflake decorations which were lit up from within – it was beautiful!
Our cake combined all my favourite colours and featured beautiful roses and birds; it was stunning! You can use Bark.com to easily find all your local cake-makers and get quotes to see who can meet your budget needs. My advice would be to think beforehand about what flavours you would like (we had three tiers – Victoria sponge, lemon cake and Baileys), what colours and themes you want, how many tiers and what you’re willing to spend. This will save time once you’re at the appointment.
Finding Your Florist
A beautiful wedding is about all the little finishing touches, such as bouquets and buttonholes. You can find local florists online and decide who best suits your floral needs! Before your meeting, have a think about colour schemes, how many bouquets and buttonholes you will need (for yourself, bridesmaids, groomsmen and family) and again what budget you have for your flowers.
You don’t need to be an expert in flower names – just have a look around once you’re there and point out which flowers you like the look of. Make sure they fit in with any colour scheme you have chosen, and will work with the groomsmen’s ties.
Even considering all the planning that went into our big day, I would happily go back in time and do it all over again. The amazing day at the end of it made it all worthwhile.
*As indicated in the title, this post has been sponsored by Bark.com, but all words and photos are my own*