Bit of background. Although we are born and bred ‘Sheffielders’ we actually got married in Brighton. Why? Well, a number of reasons. Firstly we had family there; amazing memories of trips spent with loved ones and fun times in the sunshine. Brighton is possibly the most vibrant seaside town in the south and cited as ‘London By The Sea,’ the bars, shops and restaurants are some of the absolute best. Formal and traditional weren’t on our radar and instead we wanted our guests to have a weekend away with us to party hard.
So now, nine years down the line, what do I know about planning a huge day that I might not have known before?
Having space to get ready IS important.
I wanted to stay in a boutique hotel close to our venue the night before the wedding and I wanted my friends and family in the same place. Whilst this was lovely, I hadn’t thought through where I was going to get ready in the morning, and neither had I looked at photos of the rooms before I booked. The hotel was quirky and gorgeous but it was a rabbit warren and there was limited space for us to do hair and makeup. This meant a bit of shuffling around and tons of ‘you go first,’ utterings as we squeezed into various rooms. This also caused a little difficulty for the photographer who was often taking shots from tiny corners.
This won’t be an issue if you are staying in a venue which has a bridal suite, but always check you can get all your best girls in one room without falling over each other!
Transport is the most fun it will ever be on your wedding day.
Booking transport might not apply if you’re getting ready at your venue, but I can say that travelling to Brighton Town Hall with my Mum and Maids in a Tuktuk, was one of the BEST parts of our day. I think the excitement really kicks in when you know you’re on the way to see your groom, and having something lovely to transport you there is just brilliant. My sister in law organised this for us and we will forever be grateful. How are you getting to your venue, and does this part of the planning get you excited for what’s ahead?
Your wedding photographs are your greatest investment.
At the beginning of our planning journey and on a limited budget, we looked at photographers charging way less than the photographer we eventually booked. Months prior to the day, we’d scrolled through numerous online portfolios, and whilst I wasn’t sure they would capture our style, I thought we’d have to make do.
In the end we didn’t compromise on something which we deemed to be so important. After shifting the budget around we took the leap and booked the incredible Lisa Devlin. Lisa is a photographer we had swooned over for years but never imagined she would have availability at the height of the wedding season. I actually did a dance around my sister’s lounge when we got the go-ahead.
At the end of the celebrations, your photos are the one thing you will return to again and again and they need to capture every emotion, every detail and the essence of your day. In my opinion, beautiful photography will always be your greatest investment.
If you can stretch, consider a videographer.
We have very few regrets about our day, except perhaps that we didn’t book a videographer. At the end of the day we just couldn’t afford it but we would have loved to have watched the day unfold from our guests perspective. I know you’ll have heard it a thousand and and one times, but the day flies and if you can have the option of being able to relive it later down the line, then you really should.
Can there ever be enough alcohol (!?)
Now, of course, I would never advocate drinking to excess (!) but I’ve yet to attend a wedding where alcohol didn’t feature quite heavily. We didn’t have endless funds when planning our wedding but after many a late-night conversation, we knew where we wanted to allocate our cash. At the last minute, we upped our wine order after worrying there wasn’t going to be enough to create the fun party atmosphere we were striving for. In hindsight, we had more than enough but if you can stretch, I’m pretty sure your guests will be thankful for that extra glass of fizz or another bottle on the table.
Less might just be more.
As we wanted our guests to have a fun, relaxed time we’d steered away from a formal wedding venue and opted for a cute restaurant in the back streets of Brighton serving incredible food. A few weeks before we got married we drove to Brighton to drop off the table decorations. The manager of the venue was concerned to say the least. ‘There are too many decorations here and they won’t fit on the table,’ she declared. I was a little irritated.
In the end, she was totally right. I hadn’t considered the waiters having to shuffle plates across an array of props and regalia. To this day, I still think our tables looked really pretty and whilst this certainly wasn’t a huge issue, it is something to bear in mind. Do you need that extra candlestick or random piece you’ve seen in Hobbycraft? I don’t think I did.
Don’t forget about the loos!
The toilets are going to get used wherever you get married but let’s be honest, you ain’t going to style the hell out of a lav. However, putting a few stems in jars won’t go amiss and try and collect a basket of goodies for the girls. This might include deodorant, hairbrushes, lip balm and such like. Weddings are long days and it’s always good to have a bit of a refresh midway through. On a side note, my bridesmaids were awesome at pulling me to one side and topping up my make up when I got a little teary (and sweaty on the dance floor.)
Get prepared with the boring bits.
If you’ve been on the fizz all day, don’t get caught without a few little essentials. You don’t want to be wandering around looking for paracetamol or plasters for aching feet so have a few of these bits at the venue. If you don’t need them, great. If you do, then equally great to have them on hand.
The music is everything.
If there’s one thing Toby was not going to sacrifice, it was the music. Known as a bit of a playlist genius, we love our tunes and there’s nothing worse than an empty dance floor. Our DJ was a family friend and knew exactly what sort of music we wanted him to play. It’s no good just throwing out tunes aimed solely at your generation if you’ve got a guest list spanning all ages. We made sure that the playlist catered for everyone whilst still being true to us. It’s also worth setting up a chilled playlist whilst guests are eating and drinking as this helps to create a really warm and inviting atmosphere.
Music is so evocative so make sure you are clear on the vibe you are going for. You really don’t want to suffer that awful moment when the DJ slips in a bit of Agadoo.
A little aside. The following images were snapped on a variety of guest’s cameras so apologies in advance…
A change of shoes is an absolute must.
Yep, I forgot to think about changing out of my heels and my feet were in agony. So much so, I ended up in bare feet which probably wasn’t the most sensible idea. Ask one of your bridesmaids to take a pair of comfy flipflops/trainers/anything else that won’t destroy your feet, so you can carry on dancing the night away.
Do what’s right for you.
Over the course of your wedding planning journey, you will no doubt come across those that tell you not to bother with the details as ‘guests won’t notice anyway.’ Well actually some guests will notice the extra detail you have painstakingly created, so if you want to do it then do. Equally if you’ve run out of steam and the thought of making 500 metres of bunting scares the living daylights out of you, then pass it over to someone else or just leave it.
Our day was everything we wanted and more. There was a whole lot of laugher, stories told and raucous exploits which I definitely can’t mention here. Whilst the purpose of this post was to share my thoughts post-wedding (and nine years is a long time to have thought about it,) my number one piece of advice would be this. Stay true to you and everything YOU value. After that, nothing else really matters.
Enjoy this crazy wedding ride.
All our love
The Stubbs x
Wedding Photography by Devlin Photos