Weddings: The 3 extras I will always be glad that I booked for my wedding
The only thing that I regret about my wedding was that the day wasn't longer.
My husband and I got the day exactly as we wanted it, surrounded by all of our friends and family.
While I was booking things I was very conscious of our budget, so I made a priority list of the things that I really wanted and some other things that I could live without having.
We decided to forgo doing wedding favours, and instead made a donation to the Irish Cancer Society. My aunt had just gotten the all-clear after her cancer treatment the week before my wedding so it was a charity that was particularly close to my heart.
When it came to picking some extras to add some of our personality into the day, there are three things in particular that I am so glad we booked:
1. VW Bus
A few months before my wedding I attended a bridal fair and spotted the most gorgeous Volkswagen bus outside. It turned out to be from a company called Volksweddings who rent out their buses for nuptials.
At the time I felt like it would push us over our budget and didn't book with them, but a couple of weeks later I changed my mind.
A photobooth we had hired for the wedding had to cancel and refunded me the deposit that I had put down. I decided to use the money we had put aside for the booth on hiring out the VW bus and I couldn't have been happier that I did.
Our wedding had a vintage theme running through it, so the classic car fitted in perfectly and we got some really stunning photographs. I arranged a permit to bring the bus into St.Patrick's Park for our photos and we were swarmed by tourists dying to get a snap of it – we got to feel like celebs for a few minutes.
2. Bouncy castle
I have a huge family and I knew that there was going to be a lot of children attending our wedding.
We chose to rent out our local rugby club for the day as we knew it would mean that there would be a massive amount of outdoor space for the kids to play in.
I always feel so sorry for children at weddings when they're stuck in ballrooms with nothing to do and I didn't want this to be the case at mine.
To make the most of all the outdoor space we had available to us, we decided to rent out a bouncy castle and, I'm not going to lie, the adults got as much out of it as the kids. Some even brought a change of clothes so they didn't have to bounce in their formal wear.
Wedding bouncy castles are a big trend at the moment so I guess I was on the ball with that one!
3. Instax camera
As I mentioned previously, we had planned to have a photo booth for our wedding reception but unfortunately, the company had to cancel. There wasn't a change of being able to book another one so close to our wedding date so it meant that I had to get creative if I still wanted a booth.
The previous year my husband had bought me an Instax mini 8 camera for my birthday, which was still sitting in my room untouched in the box because I hadn't found an occasion special enough to use it.
We ordered over 100 slides of film and set up a photo station during the evening part of the reception. I'm not gonna lie, I was a little apprehensive at first when I added up the total cost of the film we would need, but in the end it was well worth spending that little extra.
Not only did we end up with lots of candid photos to add to our album along with our professional shots but the guests loved having them as souvenirs, especially in the age of digital photography.
I think probably the loveliest example of our camera being used was when my mother-in-law and her siblings recreated a photo from when they were children, which is proudly displayed side-by-side with the original photograph.
My advice for anyone planning their Big Day is to choose the things that mean the most to you and not the things you think you ought to have.
Weddings in Ireland have changed a lot in the past few years, with fewer couples going for the traditional package and instead opting for something a little more personal.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is that after all the planning you actually enjoy the day that's in it. Your wedding day will fly by in the blink of an eye so let go of all the stress and have fun. Dance, eat lots of cake, dance some more and revel in the day you've put so much energy into preparing.
I've met so many people who have regretted not doing what they really wanted for their big day but honestly, if I could go back in time, I wouldn't change a thing.