What I’ve Learned From Being In Wedding Groups

Ever since we got engaged I joined wedding groups on Facebook to get advice, DIY ideas, helpful tips and a lot more. In order for me to find out what would be useful to have at the wedding, what is a waste of money what people didn't even notice on the day etc. I have combed through the groups for people who have already had their wedding day to see what they had to say and here is what I've found so far.

Favours get left behind
This is probably one of the most common things I found when looking in the groups. People will spend a ton of money on favours for a huge percentage of them getting left behind. Sometimes people don't want to take home a personalised pen, some flower seeds or a mini bottle of vodka. Even though these things might be what you like, you have to weigh up whether you'll be left with 60 favours at the end of the evening to take home. I really wanted to make small cookies or something but with dietary requirements (including my own) I just couldn't justify the cost. Every favour I could come up with cost way too much and if I had a lot left over, what would I do with them? Overconsumption is one thing that is contributing towards climate change and for someone who is passionate about trying to save the planet, there is no way I could confidently say I was happy to risk it. If people don't have bags or pockets big enough too, that may be one reason why favours are getting left behind. Think about it in advance before getting settled on an idea.

Sweet carts often go untouched unless you invite children
When you first go to Pinterest when you get engaged you see all these pictures from American weddings and think, wow, all this would be so good at our wedding. I am a fiend for some vegetarian sweets but so many people on wedding groups said that their sweet carts barely got touched. I couldn't believe just how many people said this, with the same going for other food areas that wasn't part of the wedding breakfast or evening food. Well that idea got swiftly thrown out of the window. I couldn't bare the thought of making custom labels for each jar and buying bags and little tongs and things for all the sweets for them to barely get touched. Now with the pandemic too, I don't think I would want people hovering over food or touching sweets. I feel the same way about buffets too and haven't been to one since. You really need to look at who you're inviting to the wedding and look at it from there. We have one child coming who is my sister. I love her but I'm not making an area dedicated to sweets just for her. 

Breaking traditions to have your perfect day
A lot of people were wondering on the groups whether they should stick to old wedding traditions or switch things up to how they'd like things to happen. This could be eloping, having a different coloured dress or wear a jumpsuit, having their hair dyed a bright colour, having different food at the venue and so on. There are certain things you have to compromise on like having a seating plan if you're having a sit-down meal to make it easier for the caterers, and if you're getting legally married in England at least you need to have a Registrar or get married in a Church. There are so many traditions you can break but it really comes down to what you'd like on your own day. This depends also on culture and religion too.

Look outside of major chains for things
We bought our rings from Etsy from two different stores, and we are so glad we did. Not only have we heard horror stories from these wedding groups (think the major UK jewellery chains) with rings breaking, stones falling out, not getting what they were promised etc, we decided to shop small. I feel like even if a store gives you a guarantee it doesn't mean that they won't fight you first before you're able to get what is in the guarantee. Nothing is certain, so we looked at small businesses on Etsy because as a fall back you have Etsy customer service to rely on if something went wrong. You could say the same for outfits as you could use a local business to handmake items instead of buying from big businesses. You could do this for your invitations, your flowers, and little bits and bobs for decoration. You will find that you can find more unique items on places such as Etsy because things have been made by one person, not on a factory line. 

Be present in the moment
Cherish every second and really be present in the moment. People said that the day goes so fast so you should relax and soak up every minute of the day. Another comment of a similar vein is how you set up your tables. We're doing a sweetheart table for me and my partner as divorced families make a top table difficult but it also means we can sit and (attempt) to have our wedding breakfast just by ourselves. We know we will have to mingle and say hi to people or people may come up to us but if we can, we will just be chatting to ourselves and enjoying a bit of down time.

Don't let others opinions get the better of you
As a people pleaser it is so easy to give up and let other people put their opinions across and just plan the wedding for you, how they'd want it. It's yours and your partner's wedding. So many people have been posting dilemmas about how to do things their way, how to tell someone no, whether they should just elope to save the hassle and so on. Luckily we personally haven't had too many opinions thrown our way, but since we re-planned our whole wedding after we cancelled the first one, we've kept a lot of ideas and things we've bought to ourselves. I personally have spent the last few years setting boundaries and have been better at enforcing them so if you practice being firm with what you'd like at the wedding, hopefully it will really help to stop you trying to always please other people there. You can't please everyone, so you need to think about what you as a couple want to do.

Be careful how much you DIY
Doing something yourself or making something yourself does not always guarantee things will be cheaper. Having a read of some Pinterest posts early on really opened my eyes. We bought a Cricut and a Minc foil applicator machine ahead of the wedding as we wanted to make our own invitations and use the machines later on. So many people don't have those machines so you can't just look at a 'laser cut wedding sleeve design' and think yep that is affordable. It costs hundreds of pounds and you could pay someone on Etsy to cut them out for you. Unless you have the items ahead of time, it can cost you so much money paying for all the bits and bobs before you've even made it. You also need to figure out how much you need to DIY; whether you are doing all the decor, just some of it or just the odd bit. You absolutely can put too much on your plate and give yourself a huge workload when you could maybe rent items out. There is a fine line so the wedding groups helped me look at what my ideas were and see where I could rent things and where I could make things myself.

Spend money on things that matter to you
We really value photography, with my partner loving taking portrait photos and his Dad and Uncle being able to take amazing landscape scenery and wildlife photos. We knew that having amazing photos was one of the most important things to us, and that's why we chose Two For Joy Photography. You only do the day once and actually, photography was the very first thing we booked. We got dates from them and booked our venue around when they were available. If you have a budget, prioritise the things that matter to you first. You want an amazing suit, you would like lovely flowers, you want custom made engraved rings, you prioritise them all.

Having a change of outfit
I was surprised to see how many people had a second dress, their Groom changed outfits, they changed their shoes, or just did something different later on. I used to see on Say Yes To The Dress people with a lot of money would get 2 or even 3 wedding dresses and I just thought how ridiculous it was. It wasn't until myself and my partner were looking on the groups more regularly that we saw people were having outfit changes later on, for the first dance or for the 'party' part of the day. Some people changed for the first dance because it was easier to dance in a different outfit or their dress was just too heavy. Some people just changed their shoes for this or took off their outer skirt. Some had completely different outfits for the party side of things as they were too hot or uncomfortable wearing the same thing for hours on end. At first I couldn't see how I'd want to take off my dress but I was quickly reminded that because of my illnesses I have poor temperature regulation and I am likely to get really warm from dancing. My partner has now bought me a lovely dress for the party part and he is looking to get a new shirt and new shoes for himself for the same time. On this one day, we want to look good but be comfortable too, and that's the same thing other people said too.