Plan Yourself A Flawless Wedding
This bride planned and executed an utterly flawless wedding, so it was only expected that we asked her to share advice on planning your big day.
Is there such a thing as a perfect wedding? When the images of Emily Revell’s (owner of State Of Reverie) wedding to husband Paul started to surface, we knew that certainly was the case. A flawless wedding in every sense of the word.
Every bride or groom to-be overloads themselves with questions that no one really seems to answer - what is expected when planning my big day? Which leaves them to wade through the process naively.
We went straight to the bride herself to see what real and honest advice she had to offer.
Interview commences below image.
What was the very first thing you decided on?
The guest list has to come first. You need to know rough guest numbers before you start venue hunting as I found a lot of venues were either too small or too big. It was quite disappointing to find venues that I loved only to find out they could only fit 90 people for a sit-down dinner. Likewise, there were gorgeous spaces that were best for a 300-person event and would have made my party look a little sparse at just 100 guests! Following on from that, I would recommend not booking anything else until you’ve decided on your venue, as this will often dictate your wedding date and styling plans as well.
Where did you gather most of your inspiration?
Well, I spent more hours on Pinterest and Instagram than I care to admit, that’s for sure. Both are a great source of inspiration, and you can easily go down a rabbit hole that leads to some ideas you never thought of before. Make sure to set up a Pinterest board, or Instagram is much better now you can save posts in folders, which works really well for collecting wedding inspiration.
How did you find the process of bringing your ideas to life?
I loved the process because it’s something that comes naturally to me, and I have experience in design and event planning from previous jobs.
I just gathered all the ideas that I’d seen and loved (not just from weddings but other events too) and decided on an overall styling theme. I gave my theme three words: tropical, industrial, minimalist, which helped make sure everything I sourced and made stayed on theme and would work well together as a whole.
From there, I tried to think of ways I could bring the theme to life and create unique experiences for my guests. Rather than copying directly what I’d seen in my inspiration search, I sought to put my own spin on things.
I also created a mood board to share with my suppliers so they were on the same page as me. Pictures are the best way to convey what you want and means there’s little room for misunderstanding.
How did you choose your vendors and why did you go with whom you did?
My biggest piece of advice regarding vendors is to start shopping around early. The good one’s do book up quickly. In addition to an Instagram search, ask your venue to recommend suppliers, as they’ll have the lie of the land when it comes to your venue, and you won't have to worry about logistics on the day.
I always tried to get 3 quotes for each vendor category but didn't always go with the cheapest. Sometimes it’s better to go with the ones who provide the best customer service or have the best previous work. Go with your gut feeling, if a supplier is difficult to deal with or is unresponsive early on, then don't expect things to improve after they’ve won your business! You’ll find as the wedding gets closer the emails back and forth will rapidly increase and the last thing you want is to be stressing about loose ends in the days leading up to the wedding.
In the end, I was so happy with pretty much all of my suppliers and very glad I took the time to research them thoroughly. They got my vision and were really on board to bring it to life. My other piece of advice (which sounds obvious but doesn't always happen) is to just be nice to your suppliers. It really goes a long way, especially when unexpected changes or problems arise and you need their help.
What was the one thing that stressed you out the most? And did this even matter when they day came around?
The biggest stress for me was that I chose a ceremony venue that wasn't a usual function spot. It was really meaningful for Paul and I to get married at the university we went to together, but getting the permits sorted and a whole slew of other red tape was a bit of a nightmare and I wouldn't recommend it.
This would apply to any public outdoor space. You have to think about every little detail and organise it yourself - right down to figuring out how your musician will have access to power, how the furniture hire truck will unload the chairs, when the grass is going to be mowed etc. It was worth it in the end, and on the day it was perfect so I probably stressed for no reason, but it’s important to keep this in mind if you’re thinking of doing something similar. It will take a lot more of your time than choosing a space that’s set up for wedding ceremonies.
What was the most exciting thing out of the entire planning process?
For me, it was pretty exciting to create my own stationery and styling pieces from scratch in a style that totally reflected me (oh and my fiancé of course). When I got great feedback from my friends it really gave me the confidence to start my own business in the wedding industry.
But of course, the most exciting part was seeing everything come together on the day. I mean most people are engaged for at least a year so that’s a long time to be dreaming and planning for one big day! When I walked into the reception and saw the amazing installations and floral displays that my florist Secret Blossom had done it quite literally took my breath away. Coupled with my styling and stationery that I’d spent so many hours designing and making, it was a dream come true to see my vision come to life.
The most exciting thing about being a bride?
To be honest, I’m a bit of an introvert, so I don’t really love being the centre of attention, but on this occasion, it was nice to be made a fuss of by my gorgeous friends and family. They really made me feel special and it was so touching that they put in so much effort for me. My maid of honour organised the most beautiful hens party with lots of funny games, and another bridesmaid organised a secret flash mob dance for the reception with about 15 of our friends. We even had a global dance rehearsal with live video conferencing to practice, and it ended up being one of the highlights of the night.
The most challenging element of wedding planning?
The most challenging element of planning your own wedding is other people. While everyone has the best of intentions, ultimately you’re going to have instances where opinions differ, someone may let you down, or others project their stress onto you. It’s a challenge to keep your cool in these situations, but just try to remember that everyone wants the day to be a success because they care about you. You’ve just got to pick your battles sometimes. Know when to pull rank and when to let things go.
How did you calm your nerves leading up to the day itself?
Oh gosh, it’s not easy! The week of the wedding I was so nervous and didn't get a lot of sleep. What worked for me personally was to meditate. I used an app called One Giant Mind at night to help me get to sleep. But the night before the wedding, meditation just wasn't going to cut it. The adrenaline was pumping and I had to resort to a sleeping tablet otherwise I was certain I would have been staring at the ceiling all night long. If you are going to do this, make sure you get your doctor/pharmacist to advise on a good one that won't make you feel groggy the next day and test it out before the wedding day!
The best decision you made about your wedding?
To book an after party! Knowing our friends, it was clear none of us would be ready to go home when the reception finished, so we booked a private section of a club in the city so we could kick on with our friends. We ended up partying till 4am!
Any other advice?
You need to be really organised with managing this huge beast that is your wedding! For most people, it will be the biggest thing you’ve ever organised and can get quite overwhelming at times. You really need to embrace your inner nerd here - I’m talking a mega spreadsheet that has multiple tabs for budget, payment due dates, suppliers, styling items etc. Document every detail so you don't forget anything. I kept mine on google sheets so I could jump in and update it wherever I was (don’t tell my old boss that)!
Finally, I would recommend allowing an extra hour on top of what you think you’ll need to get ready on the day. I felt very rushed the morning of the wedding and didn't really have any time to just relax and enjoy myself. It would have helped calm the nerves to have a bit more time to chill out and enjoy a few drinks with my bridal party and family before leaving for the ceremony.