Congratulations on your engagement! So the planning begins… It can feel like a monumental task if you listen to the wedding magazines or websites, so I hope these article will give you some top tips on more manageable feeling steps about what order the big steps need to be tackled to get your wedding plan started and on the way to creating your big day.
Start with a budget in mind
First things first, get a rough budget sorted out!
I know this isn’t the most exciting thing in the world but you definitely need a rough number as a first step. There is no point looking at flying 100 guests to a destination wedding, all expenses paid, if you then have to disappoint yourself later when you realise that there is no way you can afford that.
So work out what the rough wedding budget you’ll have is between you, plus if any other family members will be contributing and that will be a great starting point.
Pick a wedding date
It’s a good idea to have a think about your date fairly early on. If you have a set date that you’re desperate to get married on, for example your anniversary or New Year’s Eve, then it will cut down on the number of venues available to you.
If you have a shortlist of dates within the season you prefer for your nuptials then that will dictate how much time you have for your planning. (Yes, weddings can be planned without a year or more – 3 months is plenty of time for the wedding planning process, I know from personal experience!)
Find a wedding venue
The first step of your wedding plan needs to be finding a wedding venue as then everything else can take shape around this.
There are so many venue options starting with whether you want a church, civil or humanist ceremony and then whether you fancy a barn, hotel, marquee, country house wedding etc.
Before you head to venues, make sure you check their websites to find out when their wedding fairs will take place which can be good for wedding inspiration. Be warned, there will be lots of other couples around!
It’s also a good idea to have a rough think about your guest list before visiting venues too, as you need to know vague capacity of how many guests you’ll want to accommodate. And do you want all guests to attend all day or will you be having a more intimate ceremony with a massive wedding party in the evening? All of these things are worth having a vague think about before visiting venues.
Don’t forget that as well as a celebration, your wedding is also your legal start of your lives together and you need to remember to apply for your marriage license in the right time frame before your wedding day! No licence, no wedding!
Your wedding suppliers
Once you have the big elements of venue and date sorted, you can start thinking about the suppliers you’d like for your wedding day.
Good wedding photographers can book up for summer weekends well in advances so it’s worth checking that off your to do list. If you want to see more Hertfordshire wedding photography to see if I might be what you’re after then I have lots of examples for you (I travel all over the UK and Europe too, hint hint!)
Similarly live bands can also get snapped up well in advance so that’s another one to get sorted if you have your heart set on live music.
Do you need any transport from your ceremony to reception venues? If so, what will it be? Traditional wedding cars or London buses or something else? All of these things need booking in advance too.
Florists, cake makers, your wedding rings and other suppliers usually have more capacity to take on more than one wedding booking for each day so have a little more flexibility.
Nailing down the wedding details
Once you’ve got the big bits done, you can start sorting out the smaller details.
Here the sky is the limit and this is where you will make the day your own…
Start having a think about your bridal party and doing exciting things like asking your maid of honour and best man; pick carefully, you want a good team of people around you on the day!
You can also pick out gifts, shoes, jewellery and all the other exciting things, but these really are the tiny details that can be finalised as time ticks on!
This section is basically a whole article in itself but all of the other details can be left until later, although I appreciate how tempting it is to want to dive into Pinterest boards of wedding details the minute you get engaged!
Nearer the day your venue will be in touch to finalise the last-minute details like times for the day and your wedding photographer will also double check the day timings with you to make sure they know how everything will run on your big day.
I hope this has been helpful, but for now, get back to staring at your gorgeous engagement ring and enjoying your wedding planning!
If you want a check list of this step by step guide then you can download it here.