5 things money just can’t buy when it comes to drama free wedding planning

Whilst stats show that hiring a wedding planner is on the up from 19% of couples using a wedding planner in 2010, to 26% in 2016 and 31% in 2017, a whopping majority of us are planning our own big day. With access to smart phones, wedding apps and inspiration through google, Pinterest, Instagram and the hundreds of wedding planning Facebook groups, there’s not much that we can’t access at the tap of a screen.

Whether you’re the bride or groom, when planning your own wedding you’ll find a guzillion magazines telling you what venue, honeymoon, dress, favours and cake to buy to make your celebration of nuptials one that people will remember for decades to come. A few days ago one of my insta memories popped up showing me doing exactly that. Diving into pages of wedding inspiration. Stats also show that couples are now spending double on their weddings compared to 10 years ago.

Wedding planning on my lunch with My Laura Ashley wedding planner and some cutsie wedding magazines
Back in 2016: Wedding planning on my lunch break with my Laura Ashley Planner and some Cutsie wedding Mags

A wedding day marks the beginning of an epic new season between two individuals that become one flesh, with the idea of complimenting each other as God designed them to do, and illustrating the relationship between Christ and His bride. What a powerful union! Of course we want that day to be beautiful and celebrated.

Every couple should have the wedding of their dreams and the day itself should be stunning and whimsical, whether big or small, but the truth is that planning a wedding takes a lot of skills, whether you’re already an amazing planner, or you can barely organise the simplest of gatherings. Having been a bridesmaid or maid of honour about 7 times, and a bride that planned her own wedding, I’ve seen that it can get pretty stressful for some. Some brides have a beautiful time, and for others…..well let’s just say I’ve seen a lot of tears, drama and stress. I pray that the latter is not your portion.

And so, rather than sharing another list of best-buys for your wedding planning and adding to your bill, we wanted to share 5 things that money can’t buy, but every Christian bride will need for planning a wedding with minimal drama and stress:

  1. Excellent Communication skills
  2. Patience, Grace and some good old lovin’
  3. Flexibility
  4. Prayer
  5. And Attitude of Gratitude, Joy and thanksgiving

1. Excellent Communication – This is essential to a stress free smooth wedding planning

  • The Groom – You’ll need clear communications with your partner so that you’re both on the same page. It’s not yours and your mums wedding, or yours and your maid of honours wedding. It’s yours and the grooms wedding. Talking and listening to each other is going to be critical for a smooth journey to the big day.  Your love is the priority and healthy communication skills between you and your boo, will serve you through the wedding planning and well into your marriage. A wedding is for a day, your marriage is for a life time.
Christian Marriage
Dominic and I in Southbank London for a pre-wedding shoot
  • The Bridal Party – Whether you have 1 bridesmaid or 7 (like I had), keeping them well Informed is a must. Discussing things like who’s paying for their dresses, suits, shoes, hair and all that good stuff is something to be clear about early on. Having been bridesmaid several times, some brides have paid for my dress, alterations and everything else for the wedding, and some have asked me to pay. Both are absolutely fine. It’s just about clear communication.
The bride and bridesmaids
Bridesmaids get a first look on my wedding day…My sisters face in this pic makes me emotional. The way she is holding her mouth. Haha


Our beautiful bridesmaids giving a speech at our wedding breakfast

For example, you can’t choose a £6000 couture bridesmaid dress and tell your bridesmaids after you’ve ordered that they’re paying when your bridesmaid is currently a struggling uni student that can only afford to have pot noodles everyday. Have these discussions early on even if you are paying or splitting the bill, just so that they know where they stand and are not stressing about it in secret. They may not want to bring up the topic as they don’t want to feel they are stressing the bride.

Point 2, as much as they are your besties, your bridal party are living lives of their own that don’t revolve around your wedding day. Giving them dates for things like rehearsals, dress fittings and all that other good stuff, as soon as possible, will help everyone to stay coordinated and limit people not being able to attend. Timely communication is key.

Lastly, If the bride gang are doing a lot to help you, remember to communicate your gratitude and that you appreciate them. Yes, they are the bride’s maids, aka literally there to help you and make sure your day runs smoothly, but let them know you are thankful.

  • The Guests – Can they bring their kids, or can’t they? Are they invited to the ceremony and the wedding breakfast or just the ceremony and the evening part? Or are they invited to all? Is it invites only or bring a plus one?

We kept it simple and had the same set of guests at the ceremony and the wedding breakfast, but with couples these days having so many variations for their big day, it’s easy for guests to be unsure.

  • Invitations – Your invitation is the perfect way to communicate clearly the important details for your big day. The only kids we had at our wedding were in the bridal party so this had to be communicated to our guests with kids. We had a simple cute one-liner explaining that it was their time to chill and have fun, so get a baby sitter.

I’ve also had brides that are having kids, but their invites only say the name of the adults and so people come on their own not realising that they could’ve bought their kids. People would rather know either way.

If you’re desperate to keep your invite simple and uncluttered, you might want to consider putting additional information on a separate insert or on website set up for your wedding day. Whatever you decided communication is key.

Flower girl dresses
Our beautiful Little Flowers (my sister and niece) making their awesome stamp on the wedding before attacking the sweetie cart! Love ’em

2. Patience & Grace and some good old lovin’

Patience, grace and love. You’ll need for good living, like chicken needs salt and pepper. It’s an essential ingredient.

Patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay or problems without becoming annoyed or anxious. With so many things that need to come together, it’s likely that something or someone might go array, so this is a must have when planning your own wedding – You may need to demonstrate patience with suppliers, friends and family, your partner, the rest of the bridal party and even with yourself!

Grace – When we think of grace we consider receiving God’s unmerited favour even when we don’t deserve it. We pray the everything goes swimmingly well, but if there is a slight hitch (pun intended), handling it gracefully is a chance to demonstrate the same grace and patience God has shown you.

A thought to consider is that if you have unbelievers around this is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate God’s love to others. If things do get tough and others expect your bride-zilla scale to go from 0 to HULK SMASH, surprise them with a good old dose of lovin’, patience and grace.

3. Flexibility

Many of us have an idea of what we want at our wedding well before we’re even engaged. In fact, many of us think about this as a little girl, after watching all the romance in Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Little Mermaid. For example, for years, I thought I’d wear a mermaid style dress, but when it came to my big day, it so wasn’t the one for me! I’d also decided I wanted peony’s everywhere. But peonies were out of season for the time of year of my wedding so sourcing them would’ve made them so much more expensive. As my husbands dear nanny was a florist and was gifting us our flowers, I wasn’t going to be demanding and insist on having my way. Nanny Mags did my wedding flowers perfectly.

Being flexible and open to change will go a long way when making your dream wedding into a real one. At the end of the day, yes I would’ve loved to have had all the beautiful details I dreamt of, but I knew that it was just one day and my real goal was ultimately a healthy happy marriage to the love of my life. Our perspective being focused on what really matters helps us to be more flexible.

Nanny Mags did an awesome job on my flowers

4. Prayer

Christian woman of God praying for her wedding planning

Last week at church a new friend of mine told me about a wedding that she recently planned and one the key things she felt she needed was prayer. I couldn’t agree more.

I Thessalonians 5:17 Reminds us to pray without ceasing. God cares about the big details and the small details of your life. Prayer is two-way and God loves when you can share your heart with Him, and if you’re listening, He can whisper His ever-flowing love into your soul.

Many of us Christian woman would’ve prayed about meeting the right person. Prayed about marriage. Now that you’ve found the one, it’s not time to quit praying, because God answered and you have what you want.  All it means now is that you have a prayer partner for life. Long may prayer continue. Consider praying together as a couple and with others. There’s something powerful about coming together in prayer that brings us into alignment, agreement and unity in Christ.

A Christian Couple praying for their wedding planning

5. And Attitude of Gratitude, Joy and thanksgiving

That same verse, I Thessalonians 5:16 – 18 says “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ for you. Three attitudes or behaviours that a woman of God should adorned with, prayer, joy and thanksgiving.

When I’m not working for The Hope Table Sisterhood, I work part-time for a Learning & Development company. In a team meeting today the Managing Director was talking about people that are always complaining about being back at work. You know, those people who complain and moan and bring the mood down. Then he said that as a trainer and leader he has decides not to get drawn into it but it’s his job to find the positive. To find what’s good, focus on it and celebrate that. Regardless of the moaners. He talked about how he would lift the atmosphere influencing it for the better. He would override the negativity, with intentional joy.

We have learned from our mentor Paul the apostle to find in joy and contentment. In Philippians 2 he asks us to do things without complaining. I believe we are good trainers and leaders.  As women of God we have the power to shift an atmosphere for the better. It might not always be easy or come naturally but with the holy spirit and some intentionality, as you plan your wedding, despite the challenges that may come, you have the power through Christ in you, to influence that atmosphere with joy and thanks giving. As a a woman of God you have the ability to draw attention to what’s good and to be a light, because of the light you carry. Share that light through rejoicing and thanks giving.

Woman of God. Light and salt

And finally, some borrowed wedding advice

The Sunday morning after I drafted this Post, we went to visit a church and there was a beautiful couple that had bought cake for the whole church.

They were celebrating 60 years of marriage and they wanted us, the congregations to celebrate with them.

The pastor invited them to share a short testimony and between them they gave the following advice for marriage:

A) It’s a choice not a feeling – they repeatedly choose each other

B) The quicker we forgive in our marriage, the sweeter the atmosphere.

C) Stay close to the Lord and remain strong in Lord which will keep you close to your partner

D) Pray together for your family

The hubby ended with saying, despite going through some rough patches, and even questioning their relationship at times, by God’s grace, today they are more in love now, than when they married in 1959.

My prayer is that you experience such a wonderful love through the divine connection called marriage.

With Heart and Hope,

P.s. Here’s a little clip of our just a few of our wedding day highlights. Enjoy xxx

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