Daniel Watson and Wesley Woodbourne were married in Brisbane on 1 March 2020. After they recovered from the best day of their lives, Daniel sat down to share his expert tips with engaged couples planning their wedding day.
From the start of the engagement, go for coffee or a drink with your fiancé and talk about the kind of wedding day you want. Not necessarily details, just what do you imagine. Some of us have had a vision for decades, some of our partners just want to know there will be cold drinks, good food and the rest is irrelevant. Be okay with this. They’re not marrying you for your event planning skills or passion. They love you. Berating them for not being as enthusiastic as you are is a recipe for disaster.
Choose a celebrant who maybe is recommended by someone you know has similar taste/style/humour/emotion to you both. The celebrant makes the wedding and ours was incredible [Dan Ford]. The AV at our venue broke minutes before we were to walk down the aisle and he completely managed it flawlessly. You get what you pay for. If you’re worried about details and having the stress off your shoulders, choose a recommended celebrant.
If the budget allows, get a videographer.
Be okay and comfortable that some people including close family and friends are really shit at RSVPs and replying to messages. You could skywrite your run sheet or have it tattooed to the inside of their eyelids and they still won’t read it and still ask you for the venue date and time on the day. The quicker you accept this will happen at the time you are feeling your most nervous and anxious, the happier you will be. And you can rip them a new one after the wedding ~ haha.
Have a run sheet – just dummy one up on Word or Google sheets – and allow generous timings for everything. If you’re running ahead, perfect. If you’re running late, there’s less impact. Send the FINAL run sheet 1-2 weeks to all people who have a role to play in your wedding besides guests obviously. Good preparation will truly minimise overwhelm and stress – the whole day, my partner and I knew roughly that we were on time and it was all good. On the same note…
Prepare mentally that little things will go wrong and there is nothing you can do about it and it’s part of the joy of the day. If the shit really hits the fan and the cake isn’t delivered or the flowers are different or things are not as contractually agreed by the vendors, there’s time to write stern emails after the wedding. For now, laugh it off and go dance with your friends.
Walk down the aisle SLOWLY.
Not everyone will give you a gift or a card. Makes no sense to me as even in my poorest moments I’ve at least given a card but this is not something everyone does. Conversely, people you think are doing it tough can be overwhelmingly generous.
Your wedding party (on both sides) should be there to support and guide you but they also have lives outside your wedding (they shouldn’t but apparently they do ~ haha). The earlier you sit down with them (or call them) and have a friendly open communication about your expectations of them – the much happier you’ll be. If they say they can or can’t do certain things because of money or kids or whatever, then you know and can work around it. People are usually always doing their best but disappointment only happens when expectations are missed.
The hugs and congratulations immediately after the service were the most overwhelming 20 minutes. It was insane. Just breathe and check your partner’s eyes and smile to know you’re both still there. It can be chaotic at that moment.
If you’re doing set family portraits, have a printed list and a person to wrangle the family. We did ours immediately after the ceremony so nobody could escape and it took about 25 minutes to do 20 photo combos of family members. Without the list, it would’ve taken an hour.
Eat before your wedding and before your reception if possible.
Drunk speeches aren’t fun for anyone.
Ask for advice from a small select group of people you trust (in real life) and use a wedding-specific Facebook group too. I searched for lots of things and found cool tips. Also, it’s in my nature to dismiss advice I didn’t ask for, but for the wedding, I learned to just listen and take it in. Some of the advice I would’ve thrown in the bin I actually used after thinking about it.
While I could rattle on forever, the last thing I’ll share that helped us:
In the days leading up to the wedding when it’s all becoming real and exciting and you want to throw up with nerves and party at the same time… stop and take your partner for a coffee again and check in how THEY are feeling. Ask them what you can do to make it better for them and likewise communicate what you need from them. My only request to Wesley was that no matter how much we were lured by friends to go out after, we would go back to our hotel together. Everyone will have something different here (please don’t get blind drunk, please let’s check in on each other, please let’s sneak off for 15 mins for a pash and to take it all in) – just talk to them so you’re completely on the same page.
Ceremony: Brisbane Powerhouse
Celebrant: Dan Ford Celebrant
Photo/Videographers: White Parrot – Wedding Photography & Film
Suits: Black Jacket Suiting
Floral Design inc buttonholes/corsages: Stem Design
Reception: Electric Avenue & Mrs J. Rabbits Speakeasy
DJ/Party Master: Cut a Rug
Brownie Tower: Amy Sargeantson Chocolate
Spray Tan: Aglo beauty
Grooms hair: HQ Male Grooming
Photobooth: Get Photo Boothed