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Why you should treat Wedding Planning like you would a Holiday

Why you should treat Wedding Planning like you would a Holiday
Cast your mind back to your last holiday… hopefully it wasn’t too long ago! Now, just a little further back, to the day you single-handedly arranged your:

  • time off work;
  • pet and plant care;
  • flights and transfers;
  • international visas and vaccinations;
  • travel insurance;
  • accommodation;
  • tours and activities;
  • shopping excursions; and
  • meals.

Oh… you didn’t plan your last holiday all at once? You took it step by step and organised one small and distinct element at a time until you had a wonderfully planned adventure?

So why are you trying to plan your wedding like that?

It’s as though the moment you get engaged, you get taken over by an unstoppable urge to organise. To get everything done. Right now. Immediately.
That isn’t necessary.
Wedding planning may not be quite as relaxing as a holiday (that’s why you also plan a honeymoon…) but if you treat it as such, it’ll be a lot more enjoyable! P.S. If you are planning a holiday, save $40 with each reservation you make on Sneaky tip… I book each night of accommodation separately so I can save $40 per night! That’s at least two extra cocktails by the pool ūüôčūüŹľ

Wedding Planning at a Reasonable Pace…

Most couples begin planning their wedding around 12 months in advance (for this reason, the little white book wedding planner is also a 12 month diary). If you’ve got 12+ months til your wedding, even if it feels like there are 1200 decisions to make (there aren’t) you don’t need to tackle all of these to-do’s at once. Pace yourself. First things first though:

Yes, there are some things to do before it’s “too late” – that is, before all the best wedding vendors are booked up. At around 10-12 months out, you may wish to at least choose your wedding venue. It’s also the perfect time to view wedding venues, because the climate ought to be the same and grounds similar.
Once you’ve got your venue booked, there’s really no rush to make a lot of other plans. I suggest you take it slow and simple and set just a few priorities, don’t go overboard trying to have it all (read The Life Changing Magic of Wedding Planning).

Planning by Numbers: Wedding Planning 

Remember painting by numbers as a child? That’s where a picture is divided into each part, and allocated a number which needs to be coloured in. Number 9 = red, for example… and you’ll paint all of one number before moving onto the next.
Wedding planning is another (fun) task which can be done according to the numbers – some things are best to do 12 months, 6 months, or 3 months out from the wedding (and everything in between). Not only do you not need to rush ahead to the next number, it can actually be detrimental to do so.
If you try to do everything at once you:

  • get overwhelmed – and that’s no fun!
  • get bored – wedding planning becomes a mundane task!
  • make mistakes – possibly expensive ones!
  • may even change your mind over the next few months!

Break wedding planning down into manageable chunks instead – follow my timeline guides linked above, and the checklists set out throughout your wedding planner book.

Take your Time & Do Your Research

You wouldn’t book the first hotel you came across, so don’t be in a rush to book the first wedding vendor you like the style of. I know you’re afraid of losing the opportunity to book your favourites, but it’s worth doing your research and taking your time. There’s a lot to think about with each of your wedding vendors – especially your wedding venue.
The little white planning pack includes all those questions and much more, because rushing into important and expensive decisions will only cause you major headaches down the line.

Only the Essentials!

Okay, I’m actually the world’s worst holiday packer, I take a lot of things I don’t end up using, and forget half of what I really need… but I always leave room in my suitcase for more! Over the years I’ve taught myself just to take the essentials, anything else can be found en route or at your destination.
Different reasoning applies but when organising your wedding, you don’t need to go overboard and have everything, just because you can have everything. Read The Life Changing Magic of Wedding Planning.

Keep a Journal

Did your parents make you keep travel journals when you were a kid? Mine did… I hated every moment of it I’m sure, but I love the insight and memories they now give me. Keep a wedding planning diary and look back on it for years to come.

Enjoy it!

Many people find wedding planning stressful or totally overwhelming, but I truly think you will enjoy it if you shift your focus. It can be easy to get swept up in lots of little details, and lose sight of the bigger picture – that is the sentiment and importance of the day itself. Refocus – you’re planning a celebratory party with your nearest and dearest, they don’t care what it all looks like or how much you spend on your wedding dress, they just want to see you happy and smiling.
Head to the wedding planning index and only do what you enjoy – and what you know will make you feel good!

How to Choose the Music for your Wedding

How do you choose the Music for your Wedding?

For some, choosing the right wedding day music is a no-brainer: they’ve always wanted a string quartet; love a live singer; or they like to party to their favourite club tracks – so a DJ is the answer.
If you haven’t already made your mind up on¬†your choice of wedding day music, it can actually be a difficult decision. Your choice of music is a major component towards the atmosphere and vibe of your wedding day (and night), and whether your guests party on til the early hours, or spend the evening¬†in a more relaxed fashion.
It may be a matter of budget, especially if you’ve left it til the later stages of planning, in which case you might be wondering if you can get away with an iPhone playlist.
Whether you want to DIY, hire a DJ, or have live music, make the decision well in advance and keep these tips in mind.

Do you need to have professional musicians? Can we just make our own wedding playlists?

No. You don’t¬†need to have anything! Should you choose not to/cannot afford to have a professional DJ or musician, with some forward thinking and organisation, you can absolutely plan a wonderful wedding¬†without them.
For the best result possible with a DIY playlist, you¬†will have to¬†be really thorough, and not leave it ’til the last minute.

  • Ensure you have someone to be responsible for pressing ‘Play’ (and other things) throughout the day – as you’ll be busy. Ideally, someone who can also troubleshoot if there’s a technical glitch.
  • Decide whether you’re going to create playlists for¬†the entire day: ceremony, afternoon, dinner and dancefloor.
  • Work out how many hours each playlist needs to run for, and therefore approximately how many songs you’ll need.
  • Consider whether you might have alternatives for the dancefloor music – if more of the ‘oldies’ are getting into the dancing, you might like to tailor the music to their vibe, or if you get requests from¬†friends and family, how easily you can change the soundtrack to something suitable.
  • If not you, is there someone else who can help you put together the playlists, especially the dancefloor tunes, which can be the most crucial for atmosphere?
  • If you’re planning to use a web service like Spotify, will you have adequate WiFi?
  • Will¬†the venue’s sound system be adequate, or do you need to hire additional speakers, microphones, etc?
  • Do you really have the time, patience and musical ‘nous’ to do so.

How to choose between Live Music or a DJ?

If you don’t¬†immediately¬†fall into one camp or the other, consider the weddings you’ve attended, and whether you preferred the vibe of each. Many consider that a band create the best atmosphere, but a DJ is usually considerably cheaper, and more easily able to take requests or change the¬†style of music played.
For live musicians, you have options including string quartets, jazz, piano, covers bands, solo or duo singers, etc, each which have many options for the style of music played. A DJ, on the other hand can cover every style of music and can play almost every song in the world.
Whatever you do, ensure to listen to potential bands or DJs in person to get a sense of their music, their personality, style and the atmosphere they create. You should be able to attend a gig, but at the very least, see video footage of their performances.

Cost of having a Band or DJ at your Wedding?

The cost of a live musician/band will usually be in the range of $1-5000 (especially dependent on the number of players, and the distance travelled). Keep in mind that if your wedding is far out of town, they may require more than one vehicle to transport their instruments, and that musicians with very large instruments often buy a second airplane seat to transport theirs. Some, not all, will have additional microphones, speakers and lighting for use too.
A DJ, on the other hand, will usually¬†cost $1-3,000, requires one car, and should have all their own equipment, speakers and lighting. If you¬†have a¬†particularly diverse crowd, a DJ can play the greatest variety of music, and can¬†switch between older songs and brand new hits at a moment’s notice.

Short on Cash but really want live music?

If you love the vibe and atmosphere of having live music but can’t afford to hire a professional band, consider having a single local musician. Of course, having just one person is cheaper than an entire band (especially when you consider the cost of transporting large equipment). The guitar player at your neighbourhood cafe, or talented cover-singer who performs at local bars may let you hire them for a smaller fee.

How much Space does a Band or DJ take up?

Your choice may also depend on the venue, for instance the amount of space a band will take up, or whether the venue is better¬†suited for a large dance-floor and DJ. If the venue is particularly large, and not all guests will be able to hit the dance-floor at the same time anyway, a band can create a really nice atmosphere for the entire room, whereas a DJ’s sound and vibe tends not to travel so well to fill the room with.

How much time do you need Musicians for?

Like anyone,¬†your live musicians will also require a break, and especially so if they’re singing, or continuously playing music. Take into consideration how much time you have on the dancefloor, and¬†talk to your musician in advance about the number, and timings of breaks expected, so that you can play around them, with the cake cutting, for instance.
If you’d like to have live music in the afternoon, a good option is to have the musicians continue through the first hour or so of the dance-floor, and then move onto a playlist or DJ. It won’t cost too much more per hour, if the musicians will already be with you, and it can be a nice way to transition between the choices.
If you’ve only got a couple of hours on the dancefloor, maybe it won’t be too hard to craft a great playlist.¬†What worked for your friends mightn’t be right for your style of wedding, but if you particularly loved a friends’ playlist, ask to borrow it as a starting point (just don’t make it identical!).
On the wedding day, you may choose to extend the time you keep your musicians around for, so even if you don’t plan to have them all night, make sure you know what their overtime rates are. The little white planning pack has lots of other essential questions to ask, but at a bare minimum, be clear on setup times and when sound checks will be done.

Plan your wedding music in advance

Whether you’re¬†going with a DJ, DIY or a band, get organised and plan in advance. Most professional bands/musicians can learn special songs for you if given enough notice, and all will tailor the evening to your preferred style of music, you’ve just got to be able to hand them lists of play/do-not play lists a few weeks in advance.

Ask your guests what they’d like to hear!
A wedding invitation arrived in the mail recently with an RSVP card prompting:

The song you’ll actually dance to at our wedding?

This is a wonderful way of making sure all your guests want to get up and groove, and if you get these responses back early enough in advance, they may impact your choice of tunes, or style of music. If all the answers returned are top 40 tracks, a DJ or playlist are an easy choice.

Sound Limits

Make sure to check with your venue what time the music has to be quietened down, or else you’ll annoy the neighbours and possibly end up with a fine passed onto you from the venue, in the worst case. If the dance-floor is inside, you may get away with some quieter tunes with the doors closed, even after the curfew, another reason you might like to put together an iPhone playlist.

Planning your playlist

There are three major tracks to choose, the processional, recessional, and the first dance. For the processional, the size of venue and bridal party might demand that you have a different song for the bridesmaids to the bride, or one song for all if they can make it in time. It’s nice to also choose the track one before the processional, so that you¬†have a bit of a ‘countdown’ prior. Often these are more traditional, classical music.
The recessional track is usually more upbeat, to match the occasion, and often something that means something to the couple, or make them want to celebrate.
Top choices for processional song:

  • La Vie en Rose, Edith Piaf
  • Higher¬†Love, James Vincent McMarrow
  • How¬†Long Will I Love You, Ellie Goulding
  • Skinny¬†Love, Bon Iver
  • A Thousand Years, Christina Perri
  • Hoppipolla, Sigur Ros
  • Your Song, Elton John
  • Marry¬†Me, Train
  • At Last, Etta James
  • Gymnopedie No. 1, Eric Satie

Top choices for recessional song:

  • Love on Top, Beyonc√©
  • Let‚Äôs Stay Together, Al Green
  • You Make my Dreams Come True, Hall & Oates
  • Love Never Felt so Good,¬†Michael Jackson featuring Justin Timberlake
  • Feelin‚Äô Good, Michael Bubl√©
  • At Last, Etta James
  • Lovely Day, Bill Withers
  • (This Will Be) An Everlasting Love, Natalie Cole
  • Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I‚Äôm Yours, Stevie Wonder
  • Home, Phillip Phillips

Still confused? If you’ve narrowed it down to a select few, actually meet with them, attend a live gig, ask for a demo, and talk to your newlywed friends.
Next, head back to wedding planning advice and discover the little white book wedding planner!

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explore the little white book‚Äč

download a sample of the little white book wedding planner to see examples of how to use the pages, and how it can help you plan your wedding.