I want to talk to you about one of the BIGGEST mistakes I see couples make when they plan their wedding – working down a checklist.
You know the kind of thing – a wedding planner book or a snazzy Pinterest image with all the wedding planning ahead of you broken into panic-inducing sections like ‘organise twelve months before’. A giant list of everything you must have for your wedding, to be ticked off as you frantically organise them all.
Now, I get the temptation. You probably haven’t planned a wedding before so a checklist feels like you’ve been handed a cheat sheet for the perfect wedding.
You have a list of all the things you need to have in order to throw a wedding! You know how much money to spend and what the timeline is! You have the recipe!
But here’s the problem: you can’t mix £2,000 worth of flowers with a white wedding dress and a dash of envelope calligraphy and make the perfect wedding. The perfect wedding for you is perfect for you. It needs to have your humour and personality and style. It needs to feel like your day, a day no one else could have put together.
That can’t come from a checklist.
I was talking to a friend about this. ‘Don’t worry,’ he said, ‘I’m not going to use it like an actual checklist. I’m just going to see if there’s anything on there I haven’t thought of yet.’
But – and you may have spotted the flaw in his plan there – that’s still working down a checklist! That’s still using it as a be-all-end-all source on what’s allowed at weddings. And – worse still – it’s adding things you hadn’t thought of (and, so, wouldn’t notice if they weren’t there) to your to-do list and to your budget.
They’re not helpful, no matter how you plan to use them. All you can ever do with a checklist of what you should have at your wedding is worry that your wedding isn’t enough and add more things to it that you don’t really want or need. Let’s face it: the only thing you need to have is a marriage certificate. You don’t need an expensive outfit. You don’t need a three-course meal. You don’t need centrepieces.
And you don’t need to listen to anyone who says otherwise.
I’m not saying you should only have a marriage certificate, in some kind of utilitarian in-and-out, paperwork stamped, high-five that we’re legally responsible for each other’s debt service.
But it’s really, really easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re wedding planning. To feel like you don’t know what you’re doing. To want a bit of advice. So it’s really, really easy to listen when everyone – professionals, parents, people passing you on the street – tells you oh, you need this. You must spent more on this. You’ll regret it if you don’t get this.
And I just want to tell you: you won’t.
If cummerbunds weren’t important to you when you were first planning your day – if you didn’t know what they were until someone asked what they were going to look like – why will they be important to you on the day?
Only you know what you care about having and what you’re not that fussed about. Only you can prioritise your budget and spend money on things you genuinely want at your wedding.
But, when you start going through a checklist, you start doubting your decisions. You wonder if you should have boutineers, and you should get a DJ, and you should spent more on your outfit – because the checklist says to.
So: don’t go down wedding checklists. Have the wedding you want instead. (Your budget will thank you for it!)