10 Tips on Planning Your Own Wedding

10 lessons on wedding planning, from a couple who planned their own.


6 minute read

So you’ve just gotten engaged and you wake up with the biggest smile as you look at that gorgeous ring on your finger! That’s before the rush of wedding planning has begun…

10 Tips on Planning Your Own Wedding

I never understood why wedding planners had a job. I assumed it was just another way for people to splurge on weddings. That’s until Jordan and I had to plan our own.

The months leading up to your wedding has well meaning people continually asking you how planning a wedding is going. I used to jokingly answer “It’s more effort than I expected, I used to think it’s as easy as planning a braai. (South African way of saying BBQ)”..

Wedding planning is pretty serious business. It’s the first time you and your future spouse have to host people and possibly the only occasion that you will have all your loved ones in the same space at the same time, so understandably you want it to go ahead without any glitches. If you decide to be more hands on with your wedding and plan it yourself, here are a few lessons and tips we’ve learnt from planning ours that we hope will help you with planning yours.

Wedding Day

1. Set two budgets

Extra expenses often creep up drawing closer to your wedding day. When calculating your budget, calculate an extended budget in the event that you do need to spend on unexpected items.

2. Network

You can get some really good tips and find connections from speaking to people you know who’ve recently gotten married. They most likely have a few vendor’s contact details in their phone book and know what the latest prices are. Going to your local bridal expo could also be helpful as they usually have discounts and all sorts of vendors to choose from. I found our photo booth provider at the Cape Town Bridal expo, despite not having planned to hire any additional vendors. But it was a fun day spent with my mom and it turned out to be pretty useful.

3. Have an intimate wedding

The number of guests that make up an “intimate” wedding is one you must decide on. However, the more people you have at your wedding, the harder it will be to organise. Besides the cost included in the amount of guests you have, you also need to consider the logistics of arranging for out of town guests and ensuring you get to speak to everyone at your wedding reception. You also want to remember everyone who was at your wedding.

4. Become Pinterest savvy

Pinterest is the best and worst invention to help with wedding planning. Back in the day there wasn’t as much pressure for brides to have decor or great wedding photography. Thanks to Pinterest, we’re exposed to some great ideas, and tips on how to DIY projects (see next point) and unique wedding ideas, but it also puts brides-to-be under pressure of having a “Pinterest dream” wedding. Therefore, use with caution!

5. Don’t overdo the DIY

If you feel like you’re taking on too many tasks, dip into your extra expenses budget (point 1 above) and save yourself the stress of trying to finish off many tasks for the sake of your sanity. Consider if you could rent items instead of purchasing them or if you really need the item all together.

Wedding Details

6. Write stuff down

Besides Pinterest, to help you be organised and arrange your ideas, have something offline where you can jot your ideas down and include details specific to your wedding, such as who’ll be giving speeches, what will the timing on the day for your wedding itinerary be like, etc. Tools like excel could also be useful for such lists if you prefer to go paperless.

7. Delegate duties

Planning your own wedding doesn’t mean you have to do every single thing on your own. Almost everyone loves the romance of a wedding so you’ll be surprised to learn just how willing to help your friends can be. You can delegate reasonable duties to people who offer, or your wedding party-especially concerning things to deal with the day of your wedding. You’ll likely have zero time or energy to deal with any unwanted surprises. You could assign each vendor to a person. E.g. Bridesmaid no. 1 is in charge of communicating with the make-up artist the day of, X is in charge of dealing with the photo booth person when they arrive etc.

8. Make decisions together

Everyone has their preferences and opinions, especially when it comes down to planning a wedding. For example, whenever people asked us what our wedding colours are and they found out that I wanted my bridesmaids to wear white, I’d often get a perplexed expression in response, because traditionally that’s the brides colour. Not to say having bridesmaids wear white is right or wrong, it all comes down to preferences. Consider people’s opinions, but to make things easier for yourselves, communicate with each other and decide on things as a couple. Because you’ll be the ones who look back on those pictures the most.

Bridal Party

9. Choose two

Jordan told me this as we went ahead with our wedding planning and it was some of the best wedding advise I had received. As the wedding planning unfolds, things could go wrong or not exactly how you envisioned. Don’t go planning worst case scenarios and stress yourself out. Instead, choose 2 aspects relating to your wedding that you wish on having your “dream” way, or the items you insist on spending more on because it is that much more important to you. Several brides told me that wedding photography was their most important. So I copied them and chose photography (good photos really are important) as well as my wedding dress/his suit.

10. Keep your sense of humour

Almost every bride I’ve spoken to had one or other “catastrophe” unfold on their wedding day, such as the cake didn’t show up or the boquet of flowers didn’t bloom. In my case, I completely lost my voice and had what apparently sounded like a “husky Russian accent” while saying my vows. When all else fails and there’s nothing you can do about it, find the humour in it, it will likely make for a funny story in the near future.


Have you learnt anything from planning your wedding you’d like to share? Or if you might have a wedding in the future, do you find these tips helpful? Leave a comment below! xx

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