Matt and I were lucky enough to get married in the winter of 2019, a simpler time where COVID didn’t exist and ‘pandemic’ was a word I would not be using in a sentence but Googling the definition. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for 2022 brides, with the added stress of having backup plans to reschedule, downsize or cancel their dream wedding. Wedding planning is already a stressful place, with a million elements to bring together and the pressure of social media on top of it all (for me, this was particularly true, as I was working full time in social media at the time of our wedding). We were married within 7 months of becoming engaged, and as a perfectionist who regularly has a computer-crashing-amount of Google Chrome tabs open at one time, I was determined to make my planning as efficient and stress-less as possible. I embedded the following two things into my mind in order to successfully achieve this, and I believe they are applicable to a bride pre-, during- and post-covid:
- Advice I read in the very early days from a bridal mag. Be decisive; it's so easy to screenshot/save too many ideas and become overwhelmed with choice (as I mentioned, opening too many tabs is literally the story of my life so this was like, the most helpful and resonating thing I could have read).
- The only thing that matters on your wedding day is that you get to marry your best friend! This was so true and helpful for me, that I held it close to my heart and put it in my wedding speech.
Yes, both of the above points are very important, but we all know branding is cool too.
Below is my unconventional guide to the perfect wedding, with tips which are applicable whether your day will involve 2 or 200 guests.
I am an obsessive Trello user and struggled a lot to manage the wedding board I created, which once populated with to do’s stretched about 1km wide.
My favourite website/app, Trello, became way too much to handle, so I migrated to my second favourite program, Google Sheets - best decision ever. Google Sheets allowed me to share it with my husband, and others involved in the planning process who could make live changes.
Google Sheets also allowed me to go through and filter by different status I chose 'to do, in progress, canning, completed'. When something was completed I refreshed the filter and the list became smaller. #HACKS!
Here’s a link to my wedding tracker template for anyone to create a copy and use for their own planning. I left in any information I thought might be helpful so just delete!
Other important Google Sheet tabs to manage ourselves/everyone else included:
- Finances tracker
- Bridal party (details ie. shoe size, dress size, PJ sizes, star signs (I gifted the girls zodiac necklaces - you can get very cute low end versions of these from Ali Express (beware of a long shipping time), or high end versions from Sarah & Sebastian or Aligheri))
- Run sheet for rehearsal dinner and wedding day
- Bridal party hair/makeup timings - I recommend don’t leave this to the last minute and do not go last yourself as a bride or you will be STRESSED and this is the time where you want to have a breather/have fun! Second last slot is the sweet spot.
- Guest RSVPs
- Seating chart (Google Sheets was actually an amazing place to do the seating chart)
Whilst this didn’t apply to me, a timing element worth noting is, if possible, space out your hens/bucks more than 2 weeks prior to your wedding date. This ensures no one comes down with COVID from your respective parties and, depending on your state government restrictions and isolation policies, no one is stuck at home unable to attend your wedding as a result of the hens/bucks (most importantly you!).
Throughout the planning process I added to an ongoing 'wedding day survival kit' list…
If makeup is something you take seriously (and I envy you if it’s not), choosing lipstick is a task that you do not want to wind up doing on the day of the wedding. I made dedicated trips into Mecca and the Chanel counter at DJs and struggled hard to choose with the unnatural lighting and overwhelming options.
In the end, I went with my all-time favourite Chanel La Romanesque (Rouge Allure Velvet) for myself and Chanel Suspense (Rouge Coco Shine - more glossy, sheer and wearable) for my brideslaves.
Wedding tape trial - necessary for booby gals/low cut dresses! I tried every stick-on available from eBay, myer, cotton on, the local bra shop. Paul Vaseliff suggested this Secret Weapons boob tape and I can’t really describe how amazing it was. It will continue to change my life!
Hair & Makeup
In my opinion… Wedding hair trial - necessary. Wedding makeup trial - necessary. Remember crying before a school formal because your hair and makeup was not what you imagined? Do you want that on your wedding day? Avoid the vision (which possibly only exists in your mind) failing to come to life, and unnecessary anxiety on the day. Only do your hair and makeup trial for your hens if you plan to have it recreated exactly the same for the wedding. I had my trial separately due to my 💅🏼extra💅🏼 hens makeup.
I also believe a wedding tan trial is very worthwhile! Firstly, you can be allergic to this stuff so it’s quite important to test it. I wasn’t allergic, but wanted a spray tan for my hens, so I combined this with my wedding trial on the Thursday night before my hens to see how it appeared on the Saturday (same time in between as the wedding).
Choosing nail colour (getting a bit hardcore I know). I have an at-home gel kit (unsolicited advice for another time) and use Faby in Pink Nude on the reg. It is basically the beautiful sheer, but simultaneously bright, light pink in this picture and I knew this was the colour for me and the gals. I went to the local nail salon we were using and selected a similar pink in advance, so I didn’t make a rash decision on the day we all had them done.
- No phones during the ceremony. Your professional photos of your family & friends aren’t going to live up to their full potential if they’re all watching the ceremony through an iPhone
- Count to four during first kiss (we practised this every night in the two weeks leading up to the wedding and it was very fun)
- Remember to hold on to each others hands after the ceremony (everyone wants to get couple shots whilst also wanting to hug you both so it's easy to get pulled apart!)
- If your celebrant is not a celebrantzilla, they will happily oblige to wear neutral colours as well as step aside during the first kiss. 100% request this if it's important to you not to have a second party standing in between you for your first kiss photo)
- When I got married TikTok and iPhone video content was only on the verge of becoming a thing. I’d ask someone you trust in your wedding party to take vids for you if you want to capture that part of the day in that way.
- My wedding year New Years resolution was perfect for the stressed ‘zilla: No phone in bedroom. I charge and set my alarm in the kitchen. This lead me to reading (books from @reallygoodrecommendations) and therefore sleeping. I only had one bad wedding nightmare where my face peeled off a la Babyfoot (see Babyfoot chapter below).
- Saying no to plans. Important for me.
- Hot showers and baths.
- Essential oil diffuser. My little sidekick I carry around with me between bedroom and living room.
- Regular exercise.
- Spending couch and sleep time under a weighted blanket (one of the best presents Matt’s ever bought me).
- Words to live by: ‘not everything that weighs you down is yours to carry’. Everyone has an opinion on the wedding, everyone involved is stressed by the wedding, sometimes it gets too much and that’s when it’s important to take a step back and let things go. I tried really hard to be nice and always think of the other perspective (not always easy, the word bridezilla exists for a reason). The purpose of a wedding is love and this should go beyond you and your partner - if someone has an opinion it’s because they care which may be annoying but it’s also heartwarming.
This is one of my biggest hacks to date. Gave up on pilates for something more calorie crushing, bought a $300 treadmill (today I would suggest a walking pad - I love mine so much) on Ebay and combined exercise time with wedding planning/Instagramming/also playing some Crash Bandicoot here and there.
I also discovered ability to kill three birds with one stone and Olaplex at the same time. This said, you don’t need to lose weight for your wedding (or for anything at all), and I’m actually sad I lost a lot of weight because I haven’t been able to fit into my wedding dress for fun dress ups with Matt ever since, and I don’t intend to get back to such a low weight ever again.
This really only applies if you’re lightening your hair, but Olaplex No. 3 (cheapest on Amazon) was my answer to healthy strands dyed brown but platinum blonde underneath). For the healthiest lightened hair, I recommend using the No. 3 treatment weekly. Olaplex is insurance for your hair and the only patented chemistry that repairs broken bonds. It works! I used to work for Olaplex and I’ve seen the science behind it. Olaplex, however, does not hydrate. Moisturising treatments should be done separately and most people don’t realise this, but the combo of both will become a game changer for your hair.
I splurged on every expensive skincare you can imagine. I had no control over the hormonal acne I had on the day (which was easily covered up by makeup!). I’ve lost faith in a lot of skincare and I now believe the best options are from brands The Ordinary and CeraVe. I also highly appreciate that these brands are very affordable. I recommend…
- The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid for hydration (plus LOTS of water every day and herbal teas)
- The Ordinary Niacinamide
- The Ordinary Retinoid - (or, if you want hardcore retinol, ask your GP for a script of Tretinoin (the cream they prescribe is called Retrieve. It increases skin cell turnover, is amazing at clearing up acne scars, makes new ones fade away incredibly quickly, and has taken years off my life through my skins texture and appearance. If you go this route, this is a necessary read.
- CeraVe foaming cleanser (can I share a pet peeve? Expensive cleansers which spend about 10 seconds on your face and then are washed down the drain. How much could they really benefit your skin?)
- CeraVe daily moisturiser
- Mecca To Save Face SPF50 Sunscreen (particularly important if you’re using a retinol at night)
Babyfoot (sold here on Amazon) deserves a story of its own. Just trusttttt me if you want nice feet! This product is literally nuts and most people that haven't heard of it do not even believe what it does. I will never ever waste my time buffing my heels again. Babyfoot is an acidic solution that (in 5ish days) causes every shred of dead skin to peel off your feet leaving you with BABY FOOT. There's a great @refinery29 article I based my practice on - in summary the instructions are:
- Soak your feet in water (ie. have an hour long bath at least)
- Soak your feet in the plastic bags of solution 👉🏼 tape up (sticky tape is easier than the tape they provide) 👉🏼cover your bagged feet in socks 👉🏼 sit on the couch and watch a movie or go about your life for an hour or more. The longer the more effective
- Soak daily if you can and when skin starts to come away, rub (but dont peel) after soaking. Take pics of the process too, it's messed up good.
Somehow despite having the most extra hens and being real busy in work and life in the wedding lead up, plus spending time around winter colds and a few cases Matt’s man flu - I did not even get sick pre-wedding! This must come down to having Bioceutical Armaforce bottles: at home, in my work drawer, loose tablets in handbag... also talking about armaforce to anyone who would listen also potentially helped
Moving Away From Inspo
At some point when your ducks are in line, you 100% have to stop looking at Insta wedding inspo and be happy with your choices. For me, the no phone in the bedroom thing was helpful for this, so was having a winter wedding. I imagine this would be much harder during wedding season and think a strategy around this is not a bad idea ie. limiting Instagram or unfollowing at least 50% of the 500 wedding grams you follow.
The Morning Of: Vibe
I had just watched Kim K's Met Gala fitting video and her mantra for the day of the met was to ‘be zen’, so that was my mantra for the morning of the wedding.
I think it worked because my best freind reportedly described the morning to someone as ‘actually really chilled’.
The Morning Of: Food
My grandma's pineapple meringue pie is my favourite thing. She made it for me as a surprise but I highly recommend asking a family member to make your favourite food - food memories are the best kind of memories as far as I’m concerned! In the morning, also request that your bridesmaids remind you to drink water and eat throughout the day.
The Drive To The Wedding
We had the rehearsal dinner around the corner from our wedding venue Mitolo Wines and opted to stop there en route to the ceremony so we could all nervous wee. One of my best ideas!
Find somewhere nearby to go or you might bump into someone in your venue bathrooms before the ceremony and that would be annoying.
We initially planned to go on honeymoon directly after the wedding but had work commitments so pushed it back three months.
My husband was devo about this, but it ended up being the best thing ever, because…
- Planning a honeymoon at the same time as a wedding would have detracted from both the wedding and honeymoon.
- Having something to look forward to post wedding is fabulous.
- The thought that if we had gone on an immediate honeymoon, the wedding and honeymoon would have been over in just over a month makes me feel a little bit sick.
I recommend you push the honeymoon back!
Hope this helps! Yay, weddings!