Congratulations, You're engaged! Now its time to start the wedding planning.
Little overwhelmed? Really don't know where to start!
I meet couples regularly that are being torn between getting excited and sheer panic of where to start, how are they going to afford everything and how do they know who to book! Well.. I've put together a little checklist that I hope will help you begin your planning and allow you to actually enjoy this process!
Now, the big day is still a little while off but it's always worth getting stuck into the planning early.
Choose the Date
First things first, choose your wedding date. You may have a month or season in mind, but now's the time to really pin down an exact day.
Think about whether you want a spring wedding, with the prettiest pastel shades and warmer days or maybe an autumn wedding is more your style with rich burnt oranges and gorgeous sunsets.
Is there a date that means a lot to you? I have many couples marry on the day they first met, the day they got engaged or even to follow in the footsteps of a family member.
Decide on a Budget
Before you can properly start looking into everything, you really need to know what budget you have in mind. Make sure you can definitely afford your budget, and make note that you may end up spending slightly over! Don't get into debt, be smart and plan wisely.
"Wedding Planner" have an amazing tool that I can't shout more about. Click here to see their free wedding budget tracker that shows you exactly how much of a budget you should be putting by for the big things and the little things!
Draw up a Guest List
Start thinking about the size of your wedding and who you would like to invite. It's hard, especially on a budget not to invite everyone including your next door neighbour however sometimes you have to be strict. Remember, its your day, invite who you want to be there!
The National Wedding Survey stated that it costs an average of £120 per head for your wedding including the meal, drinks reception and canapés.
Now this is where is gets a little more fun!
Firstly decide what style of wedding you'd like.. a rustic barn wedding or something elegant and grand at a Manor House or maybe DIY is your style and you want to plan a very unique wedding!
Once you know the style you'd like, search for your favourite venues online, create a shortlist and visit them in person to get a real feel of the space. There are some amazing sites out there such as bride book, guides for brides etc which will show you the best places in your area!
Make the most of open days and wedding fairs too, they often have free fizz and goody bags!
Wedding photographers get booked up quickly so find your favourite and get your date in their diary soon. At Laura Jayne Photographer, I usually book up 12-18 months in advance for high season however always have dates last minute and have been known to photograph weddings at short notice.
I could write a whole blog on this, and I will do in the future but my main tip for choosing a photographer is make sure you like them, as a person! They are with you all day! Also, don't skimp on a photographer, work out your budget and find someone amazing within that price range. Photographs are all you have left after your wedding along side your wedding certificate, your rings, your memories and each other.
Registrar/Celebrant or Church Wedding
Crucial to making the marriage legal, you'll need to get this booked as soon as possible. Many venues also require you to have this sorted before you can even book with them, so it's really important you get this organised.
It's so important that your wedding is insured before you start booking anything! Deposits are usually covered but also, (& Ican't stress this enough) make sure you sign contracts with all your suppliers. This will give you a second coverage if anything were to go wrong. Plus a contract costs you nothing and wedding insurance can be as little as £50!! In the grand scheme of things thats nothing but could save your bacon.
- These next few things don't have a specific order however they just add to the checklist of things you may want to organise for your day!
Choose Your Wedding Party
Who will be your bridesmaids, groomsmen, best man(men), maid of honour, ring bearer, flower girls and Paige boys.
Save the Dates, Invites, Gift ideas, Placecards, Order of service etc
Sometimes these are included with your venue however you may want to think what food you'd like. A sit down meal or food carts?
DJs, Musicians / Band, Magician, Fireworks etc
The Dress / The Suit
Visit bridal shops, have a style in mind. Always make sure you've budget for alterations.
Bridesmaids / Groomsmen
Places online such as Asos do an amazing range of elegant evening dresses and suits!
Floristry can range from small arrangements, your bouquet and centre pieces to beautiful floral decorations around entrance ways, flower walls, hanging flowers! If you want bespoke floristry I massively recommend The Floral Cheyne.
Decorations / Table Settings
Many companies offer these services along side entertainment. LOVE letters were a massive hit in 2019 as well as flower walls! Often stationary will cover table settings too! However many businesses in the industry offer both services in one
The Wedding Cake
Taster sessions are offered by many cake makers, and personally being a sweet tooth I would be at so many of these!!
So special to be able to go and choose your wedding bands together, its also a lovely idea to have them blessed before your marriage!
Many people get married and have their reception in the same place nowadays so Transport isn't used as much anymore. However I love seeing a bride arrive with her father in the Rolls Royce, or cute white VW beetle! Its definitely a special touch!
Hair & Makeup
Always budget for a trial!
Other things to note:
Shoes, Accessories, Favours, HONEYMOON!!
Lets hope I haven't missed anything off.... if anyone has any questions or would like me to send them my suppliers list I'd be more than happy too.