The Insider's Guide To Planning A Wedding

Our Win Your Dream Wedding 2015 bride, Marysa, shares what she learned about planning a celebration in no time flat.

  • Story by As told to Philippa Prentice & Photo Carolyn Haslett

Our Win Your Dream Wedding 2015 winners, Marysa and Peter, tie the knot in a few short days. We've been following their journey to the altar – now Marysa shares what she learned about planning a celebration in no time flat.

You can't go past Pinterest

Before I started planning our wedding, I didn’t understand it, or even know how to pronounce it, but Pinterest truly is a great tool to inspire you. If you're finding it hard to visualise certain elements of your day, such as your colour scheme or how to wear your hair, you're pretty much guaranteed to find it on Pinterest, which will help no end with your decisions. Your florist, cake decorator, bridal designer and wedding planner will all ask for ideas, and this is the easiest tool to pull out to show yours to them – plus it’s free.

Budgeting is vital

Costs add up and add up quickly. Even though Peter and I were privileged to win a complimentary wedding, there were additional costs we hadn’t even thought of (such as extra chair hire, bridesmaid/groomsmen gifts, and we invited 11 more guests). Before you start anything, make sure you sit down and draw up a budget and speak to the people, such as your parents, who may be contributing financially. Don't be afraid to negotiate with your suppliers, too, as the money you save could be put towards your honeymoon.

Female relationships matter so much

When I got engaged, I thought that planning a wedding with my mum by my side would be fun, but I underestimated how special it would feel to bond with her throughout the process and how much I value her opinion. Living in different cities (she's in Christchurch, while I live Auckland) made organising things tricky at times, but she was only ever a phone call away. This experience has made me realise just how important the women in my life (my girlfriends, sister-in-laws, sister-in-law-to-be and mother-in-law-to-be) are to me  – I couldn’t have done it without them.

Make decisions, then move on

You'll change your mind 100 times about 100 things before the big day. But once you’ve made a decision, move on, as there are a million other tasks you need to tick off you to-do list. Don’t waste time researching what you could have chosen, but do listen to your gut. If you've made an incorrect decision, that's okay, as most vendors will be used to brides changing their minds; just let them know as soon as you can.

Planning with your husband-to-be really is the best

Pete's had the perfect amount of interest in our wedding. He's loved knowing what's going on (after all, it's his wedding too!), but understood when I needed to take the lead or I needed more time to research to find the perfect shoe, dress or colour scheme. He's had his own ideas about things (he chose the cake), which has helped a lot, but it pays to remember that guys are guys, and probably don’t care about the finer details as much as we do, so don’t keep going on about something once your man's shared his opinion. Ask him to take responsibility for a few projects that mean more to him (the music, his groomsmen’s attire and RSVPs) and give him full rein. It might have been stressful at times, but it's been so fun getting to do this together in a such a short time frame – it's brought us even closer and it's lovely knowing that our day will be made up of everything we want and have chosen together.

Read more about Marysa and Peter's amazing experience in our gorgeous Summer issue, on sale January 4! For the full story of their dream wedding, grab a copy of the Autumn issue of New Zealand Weddings, out in April. 

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