Planning a wedding can sometimes feel like a particularly daunting task. Here are the six golden rules of big day planning that will get you started - after the initial excitement of engagement ring selfies, status updates and celebratory cocktails has passed of course!
1. First thing’s first...
Sit down together and discuss honestly what you both want. From the ceremony (civil, religious, humanist?), to the venue (barn, stately home, tipi?), working out the basics of how you imagine your wedding is key. Think about when you want to get hitched too – depending on when you get engaged, the time of year will influence your planning time.
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2. What’s your spend?
There’s no getting around it – weddings cost money. Work out what you have already, what you can save, and what parents might contribute to get an idea of what you have to play with. “
Knowing your budget from the outset makes planning fun rather than stressful as you can disregard venues and suppliers (or large numbers of guests) you can’t afford,” says wedding planner and Director of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners, Sandy Moretta. “Don’t forget to factor in a 5–10% contingency to your budget, too”.
3. Priorities, priorities...
The easiest way to focus your time and energy is to work out what’s key to you both. Catering, entertainment and your dress, or flowers, photography and venue – there are so many elements that will make up your day, so choose your priorities and divide your budget accordingly.
“Make a priorities list when you first get engaged, which you can go back to whenever you make a major decision,” says Sundari Ferris, aka The Wedding Stylist. “If you’re torn between two things, looking at your list and remembering what was initially important to you can make decisions easier.”
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4. Finding your style
In theory, the advent of Instagram and Pinterest means choosing a wedding look has never been easier. But with thousands of inspirational images to look at, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Magazines are a great source of curated ideas, broken down into trends and colour schemes, and real weddings can give you realistic inspiration, rather than the often professionally styled shots on social media.
“The main thing is to be true to yourself,” says planner and founder of online wedding planning course, Fearless Authentic, Michelle Kelly. “There’s nobody else like you, so celebrate that and make your wedding an extension of you as a couple, and what you’re passionate about.”
“Create a moodboard to communicate your wedding look to suppliers. A selection of images, materials, fabrics, and colours is all you need to get started.”
5. Venue decisions
One of the biggest things to shape the look and feel of your day is your venue, so book some viewings!
“Start by creating a list of things you want from your venue that are non-negotiable to help you narrow down your shortlist,” hitched.co.uk editor, Caroline Bradley, suggests. This will include how many guests you want, the type of ceremony you have in mind and the overall style of the day.
“Write down all the questions you have about each venue so you don’t forget to ask any of the crucial details during your viewing, and give yourself time to think it through,” adds Caroline. “Choosing your venue is a huge part of your wedding planning so really consider your choice before you put down that deposit.”
Once you have your venue, you’ll find that a lot of other details start to fall into place – you’ll have a date that you can work around, and the venue will be able to recommend suppliers that have worked in the space before. It’s also a great stage to cement your wedding look, too. “Let your venue choice guide your style,” says Sundari. “If you’ve gone for a beautifully rustic outdoor barn venue, choose details in keeping with this – you’ve chosen the venue for a reason!”
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6. Staying on track
Now your date is set, it’s time to work out what needs to be done, and when. Our wedding planning checklist will help to keep you on track, and it’s worth setting up a few wedding day spreadsheets to keep track of suppliers and payments.
“Once you have your schedule, keep wedding planning exciting by setting aside part of the month (perhaps two weekends) to undertake tasks like research and supplier meetings,” suggests wedding planner, Sandy. “Make sure you schedule some non-planning time together too to avoid the wedding taking over,” she adds.
The key thing is not to stress – once you have big suppliers like your venue, photographer, caterers and florist in place, you can relax and put some thought into the little touches that will make your day amazing. And trust us, it will be!
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