Planning Your Wedding - From The Beginning
Well first thing's first, if you're here that probably means you're engaged. Congratulations!!!! You must be so excited!
I remember when I got engaged, we were absolutely buzzing and we couldn't wait to start planning our wedding. It's such a fun time and one you should definitely enjoy and take your time doing.
If you're anything like me you're probably now at the point where you're wondering where on earth you start, maybe feeling a little overwhelmed by it all? Don't worry, that's completely normal too. It's not very often you plan a day long event for all of your friends and family. So I put together some tips for you. Hopefully it helps you decide what order you should do things and I've also linked to some great resources and suppliers I used when I was planning.
1. Set yourself a budget that you both agree on. Be realistic here, if you're dreaming of horse drawn carriages to a castle wedding venue with a string quartet and 300 of your friends and family you're probably looking in excess of £30 - 40k for the day. On average a wedding is about £25k but there are loads of deals to be had out there if you're on a budget. It's perfectly possible to do the whole thing for less than £10k but don't forget, you get what you pay for.
Once you've agreed a budget between you, stick to it. There's nothing worse than being 3 months from the day and realising you've overspent and you need to rely on credit cards or loans. Don't overstretch yourself! Try this budget planner as a starting point.
2. Now you've agreed on a budget you need to set a date. It's easy to pick a date in the next 6 months because you're so excited and want to get married asap but again, don't overstretch yourself! Personally we were engaged for almost two and a half years, which was a long time, but we needed that time to save up for the wedding we wanted. Work out a savings plan. If family have suggested they want to help towards it now is the time to have that conversation and find out how much they'll be able to help with (on a side note, have that conversation face to face. It's not a phone or a text conversation!). Even if you're in a position to pay for it all tomorrow take into account how long suppliers need to be booked. Ladies, your wedding dress will typically take six months to arrive from the date you order it and you want a bit of time to get the alterations done too, plus the time it takes to find the dress of your dreams.
Also consider the time of year you want to get married. Do you want a summer wedding with long warm days, or a cosy winter wedding? We would have loved a mid summer wedding but we both have hayfever! So we opted for an early September wedding when the days were still warm but the pollen season had died down. No one wants a snotty, puffy eyed bride and groom...
3. Now it's time to write the guest list. This can be a bit daunting and you'll probably end up wanting to invite every Tom, Dick and Harry the first time you do this list. This list will be the starting blocks for your day, you'll be using these numbers to find a venue (they all have a maximum capacity) and the cost of catering will also come into play here. When we wrote our first guest list we had 150 on the day list and another 100 for the evening. The cost of catering was about £40pp (minus the alcohol) and it didn't take us long to realise that finding a venue that would fit that many people would be pricey. It soon got revised to 100 for the day and other 50 for the evening!
4. Start looking for a venue - this was so exciting for us! Visiting venues and imagining your day there, going to places you didn't know existed and finding some real hidden gems. We used Country House Wedding Venues for our search. You can search by county, region and the type of wedding you want. When looking at venues don't forget to ask about things like corkage fees and other hidden costs. Have a read of these things to consider as well.
5. As soon as the Venue is chosen and booked it's time to book the big items as they typically need booking way in advance. This includes:
The photographer and videographer - I'll be doing another post soon about How To Find Your Perfect Wedding Photographer
The catering - if it's not included with the venue
The entertainment - especially if you want a live band. We used Warble Entertainmentto find our band and they did not disappoint!
Your honeymoon - start thinking about where you want to go and when. Do you want to go straight after the wedding or a few weeks later? Some people even do lots of mini-moons now which means they get a few days in some beautiful places. We used Not Just Travel to plan and book our honeymoon. They were fantastic and answered all of our questions in the months leading up to it.
Now go, plan your wedding and don't forget ENJOY IT!