Congratulations on your engagement, such an exciting time. A life changing moment, I remember when my husband proposed to me and the first thought that went through my head was wow I am engaged and this is what it feels like. I was buzzing and so filled with joy, an amazing feeling. Live in the moment and enjoy it, wait until the euphoria subsides and you come back down to earth, and then start making plans. It may be that you have your whole wedding planned on Pinterest or maybe you just do not know where to begin.
So how do you start to plan your wedding. A good start is to sit down with your fiancé and write down how you imagine your day to be, what is important to you, whether it is excellent cuisine and accompanying wines, a headline band or whether styling and decor are an absolute must. Be bold, you can make changes and modifications once you have a more realistic idea on budget. You now have the beginnings of a plan and you can move on to the more practical elements. Think about dates but be prepared to be flexible if you fall in love with a venue and they can’t offer you your first choice date. If once you have built up your plan but feel overwhelmed and unsure whether you have the time to carry out the research and organisation, then it might be the time to engage a wedding planner. Most wedding planners have an array of services from full planning to wedding day management which actually starts a month before the wedding day. Check out my wedding services page here.
- Budget – this seems really unromantic but you need to work out how much you have or wish to spend on your wedding day. This will help the decision making process. You can have a preliminary budget that can be fine tuned once you have booked big ticket items such as venue and caterers, and received quotes from additional suppliers. Always allow 10% extra for unforeseen costs. If you are sharing the cost with parents then set down the contributions from each party.
- Numbers – write a list of everyone you would like to attend the wedding, and ask both sets of parents to do the same. You might well have to revise this list once you have chosen your venue or your budget looks tight on those numbers. Go back to this list once you have all your suppliers on board and look carefully at everyone on the list and reduce if necessary.
- Wedding Ceremony or Church Service – this really needs to be considered before moving on to choosing your venue. It might be that you have a particular church that you have an association with. If so you will need to find a venue no more than 30 minutes away, as you don’t want guests getting held up in traffic or getting lost on the way to the reception. Civil ceremonies are very popular and most venues will have ceremony space as well as separate space for the reception.
- Venue – this is the first supplier to secure and will account for a fairly large chunk of the budget. There is so much choice available now and even if you are going to hire a wedding planner to help you, you still need to make decisions on location and general style of venue. I specialise in weddings in the countryside and typical venues are country houses, well appointed barns and of course marquee sites within the grounds or parkland of historic houses. Some couples will have a ready made venue if they wish to get married at their parents and have a marquee in the garden. This choice gives you so much flexibility and a blank canvas to build that perfect wedding day. For top tips on finding the perfect venue see my blog on – How to choose the perfect Wedding Venue.
- Caterers – the choice of caterer might go hand in hand with the venue as they may well have in-house caterers. Other venues will have recommended suppliers where you have a list to choose from and dry hire venues will allow you to choose for yourself. Think about the style of food you like and how you want it served. It is traditional to have table service and this works well for a wedding, especially with Covid still around. The caterers have a very slick method of serving tables so guests are not left waiting for a while after some tables have been served. Look at the list of caterers and their sample menus to see if they match your tastes. For dry hire I will also offer a short-list of three suppliers for my couples to choose from. There is always the danger of too much choice and then a decision becomes difficult. Once you have finalised your choice and booked the caterer you will be offered a complimentary food tasting. This is an absolute must and gives you the opportunity to choose an array of food and then make a decision on the final menu.
Once you have followed these steps you will be ready to start on the next chapter in planning your wedding. Part 2 will be available soon.
I hope this helps and happy wedding planning.