Wedding Graduate: Peacock Feathers & Diamond Rings

Rachel, from Peacock Feathers & Diamond Rings, who’s been a Team Practical member since, well, a long time, wrote me a little note a month ago. It said something like, “Can I please please write a wedding graduate post? I’m trying to recap my wedding on my blog, and somehow sharing ‘and then this happened’ just doesn’t capture the spirit of what I need to share.” So I’m thrilled to have Rachel on on the blog today, sharing what she’s moved to say. Make us wiser lady:
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We got married in June this year and three months later my Husband and I still turn to each other and say “we’re married!, can you believe it”. Three months on and I am finally starting to be able to write about the day, to share the details that for a long time I haven’t want to talk about with anyone other than my Husband. {It makes me smile every time I speak the word Husband. I think that’s important.}

We got engaged in June 2008 on the beach in Cornwall, where we then returned for our honeymoon. We approached our wedding planning much like we hope we will approach married life: together, as a team, responsible for different parts according to what we are good at.

I guess my advice breaks down into two parts: advice for the planning process and then advice for the day itself.

Beforehand/in the planning stages:

* Enjoy being engaged. Don’t leap headfirst into planning without celebrating that you have both decided that you want to be with each other, forever, forsaking all others.

But when you do start planning, work out what *you* can afford to spend, not what anyone else thinks is the right amount to spend and then prioritise. Whatever your budget or style, you cannot do everything. Choose what matters and focus on that. For me it was the details but not the dress particularly, so I bought a ÂŁ200 dress from a charity shop and had it re tailored to fit me better. For Husband and I collectively it was the service and then the party: the guests, the feeling and the wine. We spent a long long time putting together the table plans and making sure everyone would be well catered for drinks wise. For the both of us, it was not about making sure what we spent was noted to the last penny. We kept rough spread sheets, we roughly allocated things but, guess what, priorities change as you plan. I have roughly an idea of what we spent, but not an exact figure. And we are both happy with that.
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* Don’t be led *too* much by what other bloggers/magazines say is cool and/or over. If you have strong ideas about your flowers, or if you really want a flower in your hair, or whatever, go for it. Just don’t copy weddings image for image. But it’s your day. And by your day I mean ‘you and your future husband’ rather than just you. Which leads me onto

* You are not marrying yourself. Chances are, your future partner will be happy to be responsible for a few things and involved in the general planning but will be pleased to leave the micro planning to you and your (Mum, Best Friend, wedding planner, whoever). But it is their day too.

* Get help. Both with the planning and someone of the day of. We benefited from our Mums who were in charge of ‘laying up’ the tables on the morning and generally making sure everything went roughly according to our vague plan for the day.

* Involve friends and family. If they want to be involved, that is. Our Mums wrote and read the prayers, M’s brother did one reading, my Godmother the other. My Godfather accompanied the second hymn, and then he and a close friend from university played during the signing of the register. Another friend was the DJ, more friends and M’s Dad formed a band and played all our favourite songs. Our best friends were our ushers at the service and during the party. But don’t force people to partake, if they’d rather not.

* If there is something that means A LOT to you (as in, it is a deal breaker for you), pay for it. Sad to say, but just occasionally, a friend who says they’ll do something as a favour forgets. Or doesn’t turn up until the wedding has already started. So we don’t have a video of the wedding. Which doesn’t matter to us really, but if you’re someone to whom it does, pay a professional to do it.

* It’s ok to go with your gut instinct and the first vendor you meet, if the fit is right. We went with the first ‘real’ venue that we looked at but we knew from first glance that it met our criteria {beautiful views, accommodation for family & no recommended caterers or corkage charges}.

* If you are are person to whom details matter in life, then details will matter to you at your wedding. I am all about the details in my everyday, so spent a lot of time creating small details. If you are not, then don’t make the wedding about them. Focus on what does mean a lot to you. But, at the same time, remember that the details, especially the diy details, are not what the wedding is about. So let go if they are making you stressed. In an ideal world, I would have had time to remake BoyBird because he looks too cross, and I wouldn’t have sellotaped them to the beautiful vintage plate. But it didn’t matter, on the day. Also, there is no definition of details: to some it is about the signature cocktail, the monogram and the favours. Those weren’t important to us, our details were in the fabric collected from family members to make bunting, in the whole of both families helping us to collect vintage china.
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On the day itself:

* Treat your vendors well. You may be paying them but they are people too. We overpaid our caterer (deliberately) and he did a fantastic job. I couldn’t recommend him more highly. The food was local and amazing and plentiful. We opted for a hog roast with salads and home made bread and so on, which meant people could serve themselves, so we had no need for any waiting staff. The only other person present not an actual guest was Katie, our photographer. We sat her on a table with some family that she had already met that morning so she would feel comfortable as she ate and so she was in a good position to shoot the speeches.

* Take a moment for just the two of you. We went off with our photographer into the grounds of our old university and looked at some of the sculptures (this one is by my favourite sculpture, Barbara Hepworth, whose workshops and garden we visited on our honeymoon). You need some time to laugh and kiss and exclaim repeatedly “we’re married” before you return to all your guests.
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* Take time to speak to all your guests. Obviously. But you’d be surprised how many people don’t do this at a wedding.

* Let go. Enjoy the day, don’t rue any mishaps. Smile, laugh, dance, enjoy. Because this is the start of the rest of your life together. It may be the best day of your life, it might not be. I don’t think it was mine but it was certainly pretty bloody amazing.

And then take a honeymoon. One night, two weeks, whatever. Just a time for you both to be with each other before real life kicks back in.

Last, but not least, say thank you. To each other, to all those that helped you and to all your guests who took the time to come and celebrate with you.

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