I’m going to put it out there, that due to not one but two hurricanes featuring in our wedding last September, I know a thing or two about stuff not going exactly to plan. The main point to remember is not to worry, that these things happen and it’s likely that no one but you will even notice if something’s a little out of place.
Let me start by rounding up some of the things that happened at our Antiguan wedding. Some the guests noticed, like us having to change the day, and some they didn’t, like how there were no name cards or favours on the tables due to the high winds hurricane José invited. Or even how we had to continually move the tables for the reception further up the beach to avoid them being swept away. Yes, our guests ended up sitting with their feet in the sea while they ate.
It all just adds to the experience, right?!
So here goes, some things to remember when you’re planning your big day. Have at it.
Don’t obsess over the weather. This is something that’s way out of your hands. If you have beautiful sunshine, great. If it becomes overcast, know that your photographer will be probably be more grateful. If it rains (we had a topical storm after saying I do), know that it’s meant to be good luck and it makes for some pretty fantastic photos.
Get to know your photographer. Research their style of photography, give them a list of shots you definitely want (we had to get those awkward group family shots for the parents) and then trust them to do their thing. We invested in our photographer, Paul Mockford, by flying him out to Antigua because we loved his documentary style, capturing the moments as they happen.
Be open-minded when looking for your dream wedding outfit. I thought I wanted something boho but actually went for something a lot more classic, which flattered my shape. I had imagined spaghetti straps and flowing material and ended up with lace and sparkles. I let my mum and the shop assistant pull whatever dresses they wanted and it was my mum’s choice that won. Trust me when I say you’ll know when you’ve found ‘the one’. I got teary, felt all tingly and didn’t want to take it off.
Have a total budget in mind and then add a little more. You’ll have some lovely surprise expenditure as you get nearer the day, whether it’s dress alterations or the addition of a last-minute guest. The more you can be prepared for financially, the better.
Don’t get tied up in knots around decorations. I’d had a fairly simple plan for our tables with only name cards, favours and then the bridesmaid bouquets in a vase. Even that didn’t go as planned because the wind kept blowing everything off! In the end our ushers read out who was sitting where and directed them all – they loved it and it was chaotic perfection!
Don’t worry about favours. We never wanted to give guests something they could eat or drink as we were at an all-inclusive hotel and had a bar on the beach. However we liked the idea of donating the money we would have spent to charity, choosing Cancer Research, as it’s close to our hearts. In return we chose some beautiful pins, glittery lips, ‘taches, stars and top hats for our guests. But, because of the weather, who knows if anyone actually got one, or even noticed.
Don’t worry about keeping your guests entertained all day. Just make sure they have enough food and drink and they’re golden.
Make time throughout the day, just the two of you. My bestie told me the whole day will make you feel like you’re in a bubble and will go so fast, so it’s essential to take a breather with each other and soak it all in. We managed to do this a lot as at times it got quite overwhelming.
If something does happen, deflect the problem. Choose someone you trust, a parent or member of your bridal party and let them tackle it and sort it so you can continue enjoying yourself.
Failing all that, laugh about it. Because really all that matters is that you get married. Everything else is an added extra in that moment in time.
Let loose and enjoy the most magical day. I promise you, no matter what happens (hello hurricane Irma and José) it will be the best day ever because you’re marrying your best friend and the person you love the most, surrounded by your nearest and dearest.