If you have started off the New Year by getting engaged – Congratulations!
Now you have some exciting times ahead. So many decisions to make and plans to set. But it can be difficult remembering everything you have to organise, so to make things easy here is our ultimate Just Engaged checklist to help you start your planning.
Of course, a wedding can be planned in as little as a few months, with 30 days being the minimum amount of time you have between signing your intention to marry and actually saying ‘I do.’ But most people will allow at least a year and maybe even up to 2 years to plan the perfect wedding and get all of the details just right.
The more popular venues, photographers, bands and other vendors will book out early, so if you are particular about what you want you will need to get planning straight away.
As you get closer to the big day you will have lots of smaller decisions to make and details to work out, but for now, this checklist will get you on your way. These are all of the things you should start thinking about in the first couple of months after you’ve said the big ‘Yes!’
This is not really the first thing on your mind, but it is one of the most important and savvy things to do right now. That gorgeous new piece of hardware on your hand could be worth quite a lot, and you don’t want to lose it or damage it.
Get this little job done straight away and then all the fun stuff can follow.
You will need to decide how long your engagement is going to be, and set a date for the big day. In the beginning, you might narrow it down to a month you would like to get married, leaving a little flexibility to lock in things you really want such as the venue.
If you want to give yourself enough time to plan properly you give yourself at least a year’s head start.
Figure out your wedding date based on:
Before you plan anything for your wedding you will need to work out how much you have to spend. Figure out if you can access this money easily or if you need a loan.
Everything that comes after really depends on the budget you come up with.
Start tracking what you intend to spend on every individual item. Don’t just include the big ticket items, but make sure that you cover little every cost as well (this is where the money really adds up!)
Estimate what you have for each item, prioritise the ones you really want to splurge on, and figure out where you can save some cash by DIYing. Factor in at least 10% extra for emergencies or blowouts in your budget.
You may also want to do a preliminary guest list at this time to get a good idea of venue size and price. Do you want more people in a bigger venue with a lower cost per head? Or you could cap your guests around 100 people and then choose a more expensive and boutique venue.
Knowing your preliminary numbers will give you an idea of what budget you need (or knowing your budget restrictions might give an idea of what numbers you can have).
Do all of this early enough to let yourself to start saving if you need to.
You should tell the people closest to you in person, but once you get past your inner circle it’s probably ok to let everyone know on social media. You could arrange for a super cute engagement photo shoot, or use pics from the proposal if you have them to announce to everyone your happy news.
Get the word out as soon as you can, then the fun part of celebrating and planning can begin!
This might be an easy decision for you, or it could be a difficult juggle of numbers and relationships. Many people have a bit of a challenge choosing those special few people to be in their bridal party.
Ask people early on so that you know what is coming up in their lives – some may decline because of pregnancy or other commitments. Some may like to use this as a goal to lose weight and look their best, so give them as much notice as possible.
There are no rules with your bridal party any more – you don’t have to have only females on one side and males on the other, you don’t need even numbers. You don’t even need a bridal party at all. But if you do want one, make these decisions early and let people know.
This way you can recruit your helpers and start delegating as soon as possible!
I think this is actually the most exciting part of all.
Before you pick a venue, a dress, or anything really, you need to decide on the overall vision or feel of your wedding. You may not want a specific theme as such, like Gatsby or Rock and Roll, but you will have a general idea of how you want your wedding to feel.
Do you want big or small? Grand and opulent or rustic and casual? Modern or vintage? City or rural? Morning, afternoon, or a three-day festival?
What sort of couple are you? This day can be anything you want it to be, but the best place to start might be to work out what really defines you as a couple and tells your love story in the best way possible.
How can you share your story with your family and friends and celebrate this momentous occasion, to give yourselves the best start to your future together?
There are plenty of different ways to create your wedding vision – it will depend on whether you create better visually, in writing or digitally. You might like to buy a corkboard and start pinning up pictures of venues, themes, flowers, and colours. You might work better in apps like Pinterest or using an app designed specifically for wedding planning like WeddingHappy.
Make sure that you check out our gorgeous Pinterest page to help you get started as well!
It’s all so exciting, and we are excited for you. For more ideas on planning your wedding check out our regular Bridal Bling blogs.
If you have found that one special person you want to spend the rest of your life with, it might be time to propose. You want to put some thought into though – this is the most important person in your world, and you get a chance to ask them just this once. Here are some unique wedding proposal ideas to really make that moment exceptional.
And to guarantee you a ‘Yes’ response!
Well, now probably – if you are thinking about it enough to read this article, then you are probably close to being ready, if you aren’t there yet.
Choosing a special time of year can make your proposal personal and unique, such as on the anniversary of your first date, or your first kiss. You might also choose your partner’s birthday, or Valentine’s Day, for the ultimate gesture in romance.
Christmas is also a very special time of year (and could be a good excuse to propose in front of all of your family or friends!). We also love the idea of proposing on New Year’s Eve, as the last year together ends and the clock ticks over into a new year full of promise together.
There are bad times to propose, but it will depend on your partner’s personality and the nature of your relationship. Some will want (and deserve) a huge romantic gesture. Others will just be happy with their loved one turning to them on the couch and saying, ‘How about marrying me?’
Think about your partner and what they would love the most.
There are a few different opinions on whether you should have the ring with you already when you propose, with pros and cons for both sides. It could be more romantic with the ring already chosen, but what if you have no idea about what ring your partner would like?
You could recruit some of your partner’s closest friends to make sure you’ve chosen the right ring, or perhaps buy or make a super-cute temporary ring that can then become a special heirloom of its own, before you go together to buy the real thing.
Having completely the wrong ring (especially if you have spent a lot of money on it) could be a little bit of a disaster, so consider carefully before you buy one. You want to get this right.
Of course! Unique doesn’t necessarily mean big and showy, it just means that thought and feeling have been put into asking this person to marry you. And when you consider it, you really should put at least a little thought into asking this person to marry you – right?
Think about your partner and what would really blow them away, or what would fit in perfectly with the nature of your relationship so far. Plan big or small, but definitely make it unique, because this special person is unique.
And you know as soon as you start telling people you proposed, everyone is going to want to know how you did it. Wouldn’t it be better to have a great story to tell?
Your partner will go weak at the knees when you propose by hanging an adorable sign around the neck of your dog or cat, and will definitely not be able to refuse you. You could also roll up a little love message and tie it around your missive’s neck with a ribbon.
Make sure you take pictures of this happening – you will want to keep the memories of this forever!
Buy an old book and hollow out a heart-shaped hole in some of the middle pages. Give it to her to read, with the ring tucked away like a magical surprise inside. This idea is great for book lovers or if she has a favourite book from her childhood she has mentioned.
You get extra points for this one if you make it look like you just stumbled across the particular book while you are both browsing through a secondhand store.
We love this idea. Mazes such as the Hedgend Maze in the Yarra Valley will happily help you set up a romantic proposal experience.
What happens could be specific to you as a couple, but may include trails of rose petals, signs and dead ends to make things more interesting, a scavenger hunt of tokens from your relationship, letters and messages of love from you, and of course the important question at the end.
The traditional, or cliché wedding proposal has the asker holding out a small velvet box. Why go for traditional or what you have seen a thousand times before?
When your partner sees the little velvet box, she will know exactly what is coming. But choose something entirely new – and end a beautiful and romantic evening with her finding this customised rustic wooden ring box instead.
Simple and stunning, you can personalise it with your own special message, and it will double forever as a lovely place for your partner to keep their treasured jewellery.
This idea is gorgeous because it seems spontaneous and you are guaranteed to get your partner’s most genuine response on camera.
Sit in a photo booth together and when the camera starts snapping away, pull out the ring and ask the big question.
If the photos turn out well, you have a picture already done for your Save the Date cards!
Arrange to get a personalised wooden puzzle made with your proposal message written in the finished picture. A great idea for puzzle buffs and also can be something you keep forever and even do again and again over the years.
You could also get the puzzle framed and hung on your wall as a lovely memento of this occasion.
At a local fete or show, arrange for his personalised teddy to be put amongst the prizes of one of the sideshows. Then win the prize for your beloved and see the surprise and delight on her face when she gets presented with this little teddy instead of one that looks like all the others.
If you have a unique proposal idea that you set up for your partner, let us know; we love to share in this kind of romantic news. You might even inspire another generation of young lovers to follow your unique romantic lead.
When you are planning your wedding there are literally 75,000 decisions you will need to make. Ok, these may not be the actual statistics, but it certainly is a lot. And just one of those decisions is your maid of honour. But what is a maid of honour anyway?
Traditionally, the maid or matron of honour is your BFF or right-hand girl at your wedding. She is one of your bridesmaids but with the elevated status. This brings with it extra special responsibilities including organising your hen’s night or bridal shower, holding your flowers during the ceremony and signing the marriage certificate as an official witness.
It is indeed a position of great honour, signifying to the world that she is the closest to you, and the one you want most to stand up beside you during some of the most important moments of your life.
She will share in your laughter and tears, your stress and difficult choices big and small. She may need to be on hand with endless supplies of bridal magazines, wine or tea.
It is a big decision for a very big job.
Let’s look a bit more into the history and tradition of it – what is a Maid of Honour?
(photo supplied by Bridal Bling Bride Ashley Dixon: Photo by James Day)
Bridesmaids were originally a group of girls who dressed like the bride and accompanied her on the way to the wedding to reduce the risk the bride would get robbed.
This ‘decoy brides’ concept sounds bizarre, and fortunately has evolved into something quite different and slightly less dangerous. The number of bridesmaids used to be an indication of the family’s wealth and status.
Bridesmaids used to be women of marriageable age who attended to the bride on the wedding day. The chief bridesmaid was called the Maid of Honour if she was unmarried, or Matron of Honour if she was already married.
The term Maid of Honour is actually an official royal court title which has nothing to do with weddings. The Maids of Honour were junior attendants to a queen, the junior equivalents to ladies-in-waiting. In modern times the Queen only really has them for her coronation day, but they act in a role very similar to in a wedding.
A maid of honour is sometimes called the matron of honour if she is married. Of course, her marital status in modern times is less relevant in pretty much everything in life, so you no longer need to use the title Matron for your head girl at your wedding, whether she is married or not.
These are honorary titles only, and you can mix up the titles as well as their specific roles as much as you like.
Absolutely, not! There are no have to’s in modern weddings; it is all about celebrating your personal love story and you can do virtually anything you like.
Some brides will have bridesmaids but no maid of honour because of the difficulty of singling out just one friend. Others will have no bridal party at all. You can also, of course, have a Man of Honour if your BFF is male.
Anything goes in weddings today; the main thing to remember is to do what makes you happy. Having a maid of honour should be a special title granted on a special person. Don’t force yourself to have one if traditional is just not your style.
(photo supplied by Bridal Bling Bride Jaymie-Lee Bray; Photo by Bazland Image)
Some brides will need to listen to family requests with this one, and have their sister, sister in law or closest cousin as their maid of honour. If you have the freedom to choose anyone at all, here are some good guidelines to follow:
Choose someone who will make your life easier rather than harder at this time. This important woman is supposed to support you through stress as well as joy, so pick someone whose opinion you value and who you like having around.
Choose someone honest and who gets you without you having to explain yourself in detail. An intuitive maid of honour is a rare gift to be treasured.
Work out yourself how many roles you would like her to take on, and when you ask her to be your maid of honour, let her know how much work is involved (as well as what it might cost her financially).
It is an honour, but also a big ask, so your friends should be able to turn you down reasonably. You could also have two and split up some of the duties.
Consider family and friends and their feelings in your choice, but in the end, the best advice is to just go with your gut.
Because this incomparable person is taking on such a mammoth role for you, make sure that you thank her appropriately. Gifts for your bridal party are customary as well as thoughtful, but you might want to put some extra consideration into a gift for your right-hand girl.
We especially love this robe with her title embroidered on it, great for the big day itself and wonderful for lazy Sunday mornings for years to come:
Something smaller, but endlessly useful and so elegant is this personalised makeup bag
This lovely vintage look keyring with your own personalised message is sweet and versatile:
For the non-traditional maid of honour, we love these hip flasks:
As always with your wedding, do what feels most comfortable for you. Choose the right person to be behind you as you marry the love of your life. And have fun!
If there is one thing that is unique about your wedding day it is your hubby to be. You are probably looking for the perfect gift to show him how much he means to you at this incredible time.
Just another gift won’t do. We have compiled a list of our favourite unique gifts for hubby to perfectly capture how you feel about your man and why he stands out so much from the crowd.
Bridal Bling has compiled for you our list of exceptional and inspired gifts for an exceptional man.
This is a super-cute idea which can be perfectly tailored to your hubby. If your fellow is feeling nervous in the lead-up to the big day, this survival kit will lighten the mood and remind him that it is all supposed to be a great day.
Buy a personalised mini-cooler or even a shaving bag with his name, and the fill with all the things you know he will need to chill out on the day, such as his fav beer, breath mints, Panadol, poker cards, even the tiny teddy bear you gave him on your first date.
Go big and go original for your unique gifts for your hubby. Why not name a star after him, or perhaps after the two of you in your new married name? This way your future together will be forever written in the stars.
This gift takes a little prep time, but is well worth it. Collect mementoes of your relationship such as photos, tickets, letters, postcards and any little reminders of your love story. Build a scrapbook for your hubby to be and give it to him the day before your wedding, so he can relive every step you took to get to this magical place.
Something fun and quirky and sure to make every hubby to be laugh. Choose personalised ‘cold feet’ socks or undies and get them embroidered or printed with a message just from you.
We love the messages like ‘So you don’t get cold feet’, ‘Husband since 2018’ or ‘Property of Mrs Name.’ This is another lovely way to take away his nerves as well as letting him know how much you are looking forward to marrying him.
Some men may not have many opportunities to wear cufflinks, but one day they can all get away with it is on their wedding day.
Go all out and arrange for some extra special customised cufflinks with your names, pictures, the date or some other personal message that only the two of you will get. These are beautifully made and look opulent; he will be proud to wear them down the aisle on this important day.
Why not choose a small tree that you can plant together on the day you get married, in the garden of the home you are building together? Choose something that will flower or bear fruit right on your anniversary every year.
It will grow old with the two of you and be a constant reminder of this big day.
This one is great for the wannabe chefs amongst the hubby’s to be.
Put together your own personal cookbook with some of his favourite recipes. You could include things you have made for him, or even much-loved recipes from his mum or grandma. Include things that you would like him to make for you on special occasions, such as for breakfast in bed on birthdays.
This gift will be greatly appreciated by any foodie fiancé, both for the thought you put into it and for the fact that it will continue to be useful year after year.
Arrange for a very special monogrammed hip flask as a very unique gift for hubby to be. These are personal and thoughtful, and he will proudly carry it on the day and show it off to family and friends.
Top the gift off with a bottle of his favourite spirits, or some of the very expensive good quality stuff that is only for special occasions.
For the readers among your men, you could source a first edition of one of his favourite books. This might be a book that brought you together, or something that inspired him as he became the man you have fallen in love with.
Another idea is to source his favourite childhood story and give it to him in readiness for the children you’d like to have together.
This gift is a bit of a long-term commitment, but you were probably already thinking long-term with this particular guy – am I right? You could get an adorable puppy as a gift for your wedding, and again choose something that will grow with you and remind you of the love you continue to share.
Name him something that is an in-joke to the two of you, or something personal such as after where you met, where you are getting married or the month of your wedding.
While you probably got plenty of things to plan for the big day, some things are a little bit more important than others, and also might be better not delegated to someone else.
You are really only limited by your imagination on this one. Think carefully about how unique and special your hubby is to you, and choose the perfect gift for this perfect man.
We often hear the term ‘hopeless romantic’, and some people will cringe. It is sort of a badge of honour that some will wear proudly, but to others being described as a hopeless romantic can have a negative spin. Why does wanting a romantic wedding make you hopeless?
If anything, it makes you hopeful!
The idea of romance should never be hopeless, and instead, we would like to think of romance as both inspiring and empowering. We have put together our list of great ways a modern bride can proudly be a romantic, with these unique ideas that create special moments.
Your wedding, almost more than any other day of your life, should be about you. It should also be about what you (and your partner) want, and what tells your story as a couple.
Many brides, however, make concessions about their wedding day because they are afraid of offending someone, or they are worried about what somebody will think.
If you are a hopeless romantic, we say, now is the time to be loud and proud about it. The greatest aspect of being a modern bride is that right now we are becoming more empowered and more courageous to stand up and make our worlds, and lives, the way we want them to be.
You want your wedding day to be hopelessly romantic? Do it! And don’t just do it half-hearted, throw your whole heart into this one incredible day.
Whatever you want, you rock it! Don’t let other people affect the decisions about your day, because you might end up regretting any concessions you make now for the rest of your life.
Do you feel like you should lose weight to fit into a designer wedding gown, but you and your partner are already pretty happy with your womanly curves? Ditch the diet, keep your curves, and rock whatever gown you want.
Do you have a short partner who wants you to wear low heels, but you have fallen in love with a stunning pair of stilettos? Wear the heels you want, and sashay up the aisle like it’s nobody’s business.
Does your mum want you to include your second-cousin Elspeth in your bridal party (who you can’t stand) when you really want to include your best gym buddy (who just happens to be a guy)? Do it! Have your bridesman and include the people YOU want and who will make your day the least stressful and most fun day that it can possibly be!
And if you are a romantic, and you really want special gifts and one-of-a-kind gorgeously schmaltzy moments throughout your day, you should have them!
No more hopeless romantics – just loud, proud, empowered romantics! It’s your day, and (fingers crossed) you will only ever have one wedding, so do it your way.
Unless you are a religious or traditional bride, why not take this opportunity to write your own vows and really make your day unique? Make promises to bring cups of tea in bed, always kiss each other hello, bake chocolate chip pancakes every birthday – it’s all about you, so tell it in your words and make it personal.
This idea looks beautiful in your wedding photos and is something you can keep forever (and even pass down through your family). Even modern brides get gooey over the idea of their new married name; this way you can get a treasured keepsake hanger with this name on it forever more.
More than a few couples have had this idea, but we think there can never be too many cutely-named alcoholic drinks in the world.
As a hen’s night idea, why not have your girls learn to make cocktails, and you can invent one each for you and your partner in the process. Then give them cute names and hand them out to guests on the wedding day either before or after the ceremony.
Romantic weddings are all-inclusive – no longer just a grown-up free zone. If you have children who are important to you, then include them. For many couples, they already have a furbaby – absolutely include him too.
Even if you didn’t want your pup there on the day, you could incorporate a super-cute picture of him into your invitation, or get an original figurine made of him to top your cake.
Weddings are a happy occasion, but they are also a day full of love and celebration with the people who mean the most to us. If you have a special person who has passed away and you just know they would be there in spirit if they could, this is a way to make them a central part of such an important day.
These beautiful memorial charms can hang from bracelets or bouquets, or be made into tie clips or cufflinks. What a sweet way to commemorate someone special and create a keepsake you can treasure forever.
Following a little in the footsteps of Meghan Markle who had a personally embroidered veil, requesting your own special motif be embroidered into your veil is a wonderful way to really make a statement.
From your initials to a symbol that means something to you personally, arrange to have a signature veil crafted just for you.
Guest books are a lovely way to look back on your day and reflect on the treasured moments. These mementoes are more important than ever when the day goes so fast that you barely remember who was there.
But guest books are coming into their own, with weird, wonderful and OTT options galore – why have a basic book when you can do so much more?
Alternatives include signed Polaroid photos that guests can peg up at the reception, buying a giant antique atlas that guests can sign, or even getting them to write messages on pieces of a custom-made jenga or jigsaw puzzle guest book!
If you are a romantic at heart, this day is the day to own it! For more lovely ideas for creating unique and special memories and romantic moments for your wedding, check out our store.