How to plan a simple wedding

There is a common misperception that a simple wedding is cheap or lacks aesthetic value. To tell you the simple truth, this is one of the biggest myths of the wedding industry. I even want to go so far as to say that planning a simple wedding should rather be “Making planning your wedding simple”.
When planning your dream day, every bride-to-be starts with a list of things that need to form part of the wedding day – the venue, the perfect dress, a suit to make her groom look and feel dapper, flowers and décor, the photographer and the list can go on and on based on each bride’s needs and wants. Then we have trusty Pinterest, helping us to shape our ideas and bring colour schemes and dreams to life. 

Here is where we need to stop for a moment. 

There are three very important things to remember about pictures and inspiration in the online realm –
1. Budget: You have no idea what the budget was for the pictures you are looking at.

2. Time: Certain things may look easy to make but we have no details as to how long it took to make or how many labourers were used in the making of that object. Also take into mind how much time you might have between everyday life, work and planning your dream day.

3. Relevance: It is very important to take into consideration the season, area and availability of things for your wedding day. Certain flowers are only available during certain seasons, etc.

As you start talking to different suppliers, you will be guided as to what is available, what your timeline should look like to have those perfect golden hour sunset photos, what your budget should look like, what extras might add to your day, etc.
This might all feel very overwhelming, but the key components to remember is breaking things down into different categories and clear communication. Communication is very important to not only convey your ideals to service providers but also to your friends and family. Believe me, that person constantly nagging on you to help or lend a hand or sending you ideas of things to have for décor, they are just as excited as you and mean well, it is your chance to guide their thoughts to what you really like with clear communication.

With all that being said, what are things to look at to simplify your big day?
1. SPACE: Your flowers, décor, extra signage, cake table, candles will all be influenced by the space available at the venue as well as the space on each table. Make sure that you have all the relevant measurements of the venue. It doesn’t help to want an elaborate table arrangement of flowers and candles, yet your guests have no space to put their drinks on the table. Having measurements will help to plan this out.

2. VENUE DÉCOR: This is very much venue specific but enquire about any available décor items the venue might have that you can use. This could include items such as chalk boards and easels. Just one (or two) less things for you to hire in or travel with to the venue.

3. STATIONERY: It is important for guests to know what is happening next on the day, where to go or what to do at specific places. Wedding stationery is a great way to do just that but take the amounts of each thing into consideration. Let’s be honest, does every guest need a menu that they are going to discard after dinner or is one menu per table enough? That way you use less space per table, decrease your wedding footprint and save a bit of money.

4. SPEECHES: Yes, the length of people’s speeches influence the simplicity of the venue night. There is nothing wrong with asking your speakers to keep to a specific timeframe for their speech. And in many cases, when there is less time for uhm’s and aaah’s the speeches are a lot more personal and meaningful.

5. GIFTS FOR GUESTS: Honest talk for one second, who needs another plant or magnet? And no, I’m not dissing plants or magnets, they really are great, just being real about it. We as people are visually stimulated but, in most cases, our stomachs govern our bodies. Rather than spending months propagating succulents, rather have your gran or aunt bake a few “soetkoekies’ or rusks, put it in a beautiful jar and just like that, guests can enjoy a bite in the wee hours of the morning, it has sentimental value or a special story you can share and they can use the jar afterwards at home.

6. FLOW: The flow of your wedding day is very important, and this is influenced by two aspects:
• Your timeline – make sure that your timeline flows effortlessly from one thing to the next. When the natural rhythm of the event is kept, your guests will stay present with what is taking place in that moment and will take part more than you believe. For example – when starting with the speeches, finish all of them during one sitting, even if there are 5 or 6 speakers, do not divide the speeches with a “drinks break” or quick breather. This breaks the attention span of the guests and they are more reluctant to come back to their tables for the second round of speeches or to fully pay attention to what is being said.
• Your MC – the person you choose to be your Master of Ceremonies does not have to be a professional speaker, but it definitely needs to be someone that is comfortable speaking in front of people. It is also of utmost importance that the MC is well informed of the events and timeline of the day. If the MC is falling over his/her words, giving the wrong information, etc this not only breaks the flow of the evening but also interrupts the attention given to the evening’s proceedings. The MC should also know the guests, in order to keep a thumb on the rowdy bunch but also speak to the heart of the older crowd. A great MC is KEY to a great day!

7. PERSONAL TOUCHES: There is nothing more special than personal touches at your wedding day. These may include hand drawn name cards, table numbers in the form of photos of you at that age or memories shared with the people sitting at that table, signage with a quote or phrase that you love to use, that when people read it, they know they are at your wedding. A personal thank you note around your cookie jar, wink wink 😉

8. BEING REALISTIC: There are 1000’s of inspirational wedding websites and photos on the internet and they are all only a click away. If one idea does not work, make use of these sites to help guide your vision and inspire your imagination BUT, once you have decided on a colour scheme, table layout, décor and flowers, remove these sites from your immediate disposal. There will always be something better or newer, trust in your choices, trust your service providers and trust that the picture you have in mind will be brought to life and that your wedding day will be as special and memorable as you wish for it to be.

To bring this all together, it is really important to remember that your wedding day is an extension of the people that you are, of your relationship with each other as well as with friends and family and that the memories made are the only things that will remain once the candles have burnt out and the flowers have wilted. Enjoy the experience, learn from the difficulties and keep the process as simple as possible.

Photos by: Sonja Walker Photography

Flowers & Decor by: Husband Wife Team


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