Bride-to-be Genevieve Wilson can teach you a thing or two.
Whether you had it planned to a tee yourself or are completely taken aback, it’s pretty special when someone asks you to be their wife – even though when it happened to me, I was red-faced and sweaty having spent too long in a sauna. No matter what stage of your life you’re in, there’s only one thing guaranteed– you’re in for one hell of a whirlwind.
I didn’t want anything to do with the picking of the ring – I wanted that chosen for me and that’s a decision I’m really glad I made. Each to their own and some women prefer to have control over the ring-choosing but I think, why not have a little faith in your partner and let them do the picking? Either way, be prepared to feel a protectiveness over that piece of jewellery that you’ve never felt before, I still wake up in a sweat having dreamt that I’ve lost it.
Aside from that, make sure the ring fits properly (get it altered if not) and get it insured. I also got my fiancé to place hooks around the house where I can hang up my ring when I’m doing cleaning chores or moisturising/fake-tanning and I’ve found those useful.
This honeymoon period is one of the nicest parts of an engagement, filled with well-wishing people that you probably weren’t expecting to hear from. People reach out to you with sympathy when something bad happens but equally they touch base when they hear nice things have come your way and that’s lovely. It’s nice to know that people can be genuinely happy that you’re happy. This relaxed stage (before the planning stresses start) will be relatively short-lived so enjoy every second, organise a get-together and celebrate the occasion with your loved ones, it’s a time that deserves to be recognised.
For me, the dress shopping started immediately but for sensible people, the budget should be agreed upon first. You need to decide on a realistic amount that you can each put aside every month and that, in turn, will make the rest of your organising much easier.
Writing your guest list before choosing your venue is a great way to narrow down the expansive search. It can be tricky, especially if pushy parents are concerned and obviously you don’t want feelings getting hurt.
Regardless, you need to be cut throat with this. Remember you’re (likely) paying for every head so maybe it’s not necessary to have your old work friend’s new boyfriend in attendance. Decide on a wedding size, make a short list and a long list and when people decline (which they will) you can extend the invite to those you couldn’t invite rst round.
I got my dress five weeks after getting engaged– soon I know, but it allowed the theme to be set for the rest of the wedding. I found Pinterest and Instagram both really great for finding inspiration and websites such as One Fab Day and Fly Away Bride were also very beneficial. Ireland has a huge selection of boutiques so all I can advise is that you research. You’ll quickly discover some favourite brands and find some styles you like the look of. Look out for trunk shows and make appointments, the earlier the better.
I visited a boutique in Newry where I tried on six dresses but ultimately I got my gúna in Drogheda. I fell in love with a bridal brand and when I tried on the dress, I just knew. It’s funny, you really have no idea until you get to the trying-on stage. My real-life dress looks nothing like the dress I envisioned I would be wearing walking down the aisle.
Although there are hundreds of beautiful venues in Ireland, we both knew that we wanted to get married abroad and decided on Italy. We hired a wedding planner (The Different Twins) and for a small fee, they organise absolutely everything. We narrowed our search down to three venues and visited Rome, Florence and Pisa to choose the perfect one. It’s also worth noting that an Irish wedding and a wedding abroad usually cost about the same. However, we will have a three day event in Italy for the same price you would pay for a one day a air in some Irish venues.
When it comes to bridesmaids, you need to take your time and evaluate your friendships. Who has been there for you when you’ve needed them? You want people who know you inside out, make you feel relaxed when you need to be calm and who’ll make your day as stress-free as possible. You also need to consider your budget; remember it’s you who pays for their dresses et al.
So, that’s the stage we’re at now and although there’s still a lot to plan, I’ll be embarking on a fitness plan and I haven’t even started to think of hair/make-up and a skincare preparation routine, but it’s the happiest I’ve ever been. If ever I’m feeling anxious or sad, I think of what’s ahead and my spirits are instantly lifted. It’s a time in my life that I hope I never forget and I’m counting myself lucky every day.