A perspective on your wedding budget

    Your wedding budget

    I’ve often seen articles with such a long list of wedding must-haves, that it almost makes me feel anxious & I’m long since married.

    When I was in my twenties I started to organise a holiday with my then boyfriend. During the planning, my sister & her friend somehow wrangled their way onto our holiday & before I knew it, I was organising a 3 week train trekking tour through Europe & beyond. My sister & her friend then dropped out of the holiday. So now it was just back to the two of us, my boyfriend & I going on holiday. We literally raced (he was on a tight schedule & had to get back home a week sooner than me) by train all the way through Europe & into Yugoslavia & it was there we wondered how had we ended up in this place, when all we’d wanted was a short flight to a week in the sun.

    All that racing around made it a pretty miserable holiday but it did teach me a lesson & that is – not to get diverted by other people’s plans. Decide for yourself what it is you want & it will be easier to stick to your guns.

    I’m still learning but I’m better now at recognising when I’m being diverted away from my original intention or plan. People usually mean well but when they’re offering ‘advice’, what they’re really often doing is describing how they would do it for their own wedding or party or whatever. And you are not them.

    So, I’d say:
    • Decide what your priorities are, not what you feel is expected or what your friends did or what someone on a forum recommended. Unless you have an unlimited budget you’ll probably find it difficult to do everything you’d like to do. But the good news is that when you stop & think about it, you’ll discover that you’re not really all that concerned about a number of items. There’s no right or wrong & each couple will have their own “must have” list.
    • For instance here’s our own wedding spend breakdown
    o 25% Venue
    o 20% Photographer
    o 17% Flights & accommodation on honeymoon. €k’s spent while there not included in calcs.
    o 7% Bride & groom wedding rings/bands
    o 6% Priest donation & church fees
    o 5% Flower girl, pageboy, shoes, bridal accessories
    o 3% Bride’s dress
    o 3% Groom’s purchased suit
    o 3% DJ
    If it’s not on the list we either didn’t have it, else it came in under 3% of total spend.

    So, my advice is, decide what you both want for your wedding day. If you make a list of things you do & don’t want it may be easier to stay focused & not get distracted by others & their plans for your day.

    Wedding Planning Tips

    These are a few tips that I’ve learned along the way & I hope they can help you:

    • Bride – don’t wear a bra on the morning of your wedding – the straps will leave a mark.
    • Groom – arrive at your ceremony venue at least 30 mins before scheduled ceremony time – to greet guests & meet celebrant(s).
    • Bride – Don’t be the last in line for makeup and hair.  If the schedule slips, you may end up feeling stressed & are less likely to enjoy the morning preps & conversations.
    • Allow at least 4hrs (plus travel time) between your ceremony start time & your meal time.
    • There will always be last minute guest cancellations – due to illness & child minding issues, so bear that in mind when estimating meal numbers.
    • Allow ample time for preparations.  The more people that are involved, the more interaction there will be, and the longer everything will take.
    • Bride – If the dress has lots of hooks & loops, it will take 20-30 mins to get dressed.  Allow time for it!
    • Bride – Try & adhere to the time plan that you’ve discussed with your photographer.  If you’ve promised to be dressed by 11am, but you’re still having your hair done at that time, chances are you won’t get (all) the shots you wanted.
    • If you’d rather not have your wedding images posted to Facebook/Twitter before you’re seated for your meal, think about communicating it to your guests beforehand.
    • You’ve invested in professionals on the day, so don’t fret, sit back & let them get on with it.
    • Allow time to chat & relax on the morning.  So leave gaps between each task.  e.g. Her: hair – makeup – getting dressed.  Him: showering – car ribbons – getting dressed.
    • Remember to Eat!  It’s a long time from breakfast until dinner time!  So if it’s practical, pack food to have after the ceremony.
    • Have realistic expectations about your images.  If your venue or house don’t have a sweeping staircase, then you won’t be able to get that shot!
    • Consider doing an engagement shoot before the big day.  As well as giving you an opportunity to work with your photographer, it will be a practice session for you both & should put you more at ease on your wedding day.
    • If you’re having a winter wedding, chances are it will be cold even on a sunny day, so your time outdoors will be limited.
    • It’s okay to be emotional.  A lot of energy has gone into planning this day, so expect tears.  Allow yourself some time & space.
    • Groom – wearing a suit of your own or a well-tailored & fitted suit looks very smart & will look great in your images.
    • Groom – remind your best man to take possession & care of the rings!

    All the best,


    How to create a photographer shortlist

    There are so many photographers out there, I don’t know where to start!

    I hear this often, so I’ve compiled a brief list of pointers, which will help you create a shortlist:

      1. Do you like what you see? Take the time to look through image galleries to make sure that you like the photographer’s style & don’t just take someone else’s word for it. Photographers are like wedding dresses; no two are the same & what suits one may not suit another.
      2. Look for authentic testimonials. What do most of us do if we’re happy with something? Yes, nothing. Good service is what we expect for our hard earned cash. So if someone has made the effort to personally thank a provider, then expectations were exceeded. And a sign of an authentic testimonial is if it’s accompanied with an image.
      3. Hire an accredited photographer e.g. a member of the IPPA (Irish Professional Photographers Association). Why? Because you are guaranteed to be working with a qualified, insured & accountable professional photographer. For those reasons alone, your risk of running into problems are minimised but in the unlikely event that you do, you may get the support of the organisation to help you resolve your issue, rather than hiring an expensive legal representative.