Updated: Feb 21, 2020
Just got engaged? Wondering where on earth to start with wedding planning?
Firstly mahoosive CONGRATULATIONS! I hope you celebrated accordingly, whether that was a romantic night in with a bottle of fizz or a fabulous knees-up with your loved ones & besties! But after the first few weeks of celebrating are over, the adventure really begins, & you might begin to wonder where on earth to start with planning your dream wedding. Along with all the excitement, it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed. But take a deep breath & don’t worry – we’ve got it covered! Just follow these simple tips for stress-free wedding planning!
1. Prioritising Together – From Budgets to Guest Lists...
Working out your priorities together is so important when you start to plan your wedding. For example, think about whether you both want a big wedding, or something smaller for just family and close friends. Do you want a religious ceremony in a church, or a more informal civil ceremony? Sitting down early on & honestly discussing what you would both love (or really don’t want – I’m thinking themes here…I know of one bride who had her heart set on a Disney themed wedding, whilst her partner preferred Peaky Blinders!) will make things so much easier as things progress.
This is the time to talk realistically about budget so you have an idea of what you can afford, or what you can both tuck away each month to get you closer to your dream wedding. It’s also a great idea to draw up a provisional guest list now, so you have an idea of the number of people you would like to invite. This will be really helpful when you start to approach venues.
2. Setting a Date
So now you are engaged, pretty soon friends & family are going to want to know when the wedding will be! Start by getting your diaries out & see what works best for you both.The sooner you can work out a date, the sooner that exciting countdown can really begin!
You may have a favourite date in mind, or clear ideas about the time of year you want to get married.
Maybe you have always wanted a winter wedding, or pictured yourself as a summer bride. Sometimes the styling you want will guide you towards a particular season. If you are not sure where to start, Pinterest is a wonderful resource for this, but I also think there’s nothing better than meeting up with your besties, settling in with coffee & cake, & working your way through a pile of wonderful Wedding & Bride magazines for some inspiration!
If you have an exact date in mind, it’s worth remembering that this might limit your choice of venue. Being flexible on which date you choose to get wed, makes you much more likely to celebrate your marriage in the venue of your dreams.
It can also make a BIG difference to price. If budget is a consideration, think about getting married midweek or out of ‘peak season’. I can say from experience that provided you give your guests enough notice, a Wednesday wedding won’t deter people from sharing your special day. If they love you they will be there to celebrate whenever you choose!
If getting married sooner rather than later is also a priority, always ask venues about any last minute availability or cancellation deals – remember being flexible is the key to unlocking some fabulous venue offers.
3. Location, Location, Location!
For lots of couples, there will be more than one place where you feel a connection, whether it’s where you grew up, where you met or live now. Narrowing the area down will really help you in your ceremony & venue search. Once you have this you can start drawing up a shortlist of wedding venues to approach.
Venues usually book up fast, so it’s a really good idea to try & cross this one off your wedding checklist as a priority. Think about the style & size of wedding you want, & then look for locations that will compliment your theme. A traditional church? An elegant hotel? A casual outdoor ceremony? Separate locations for the ceremony & the reception?
As soon as you have your list, make some appointments & visit. My best advice here would be to keep an open mind. There are often some less well-known real gems of venues tucked away. If you are unsure where to start, try joining a local wedding forum or social media group & ask for advice. People absolutely LOVE sharing wedding advice, tips & first-hand experience. We can of course also recommend some fabulous venues for you - always happy to help!
4. The Legal Bit!
Hand-in-hand with resolving your venue, will be arranging your wedding ceremony & deciding whether you would like a civil or a religious service.
For some really straightforward guidance on the legal requirements of getting wed, I recommend you pop on over to the Citizen’s Advice Website here:
This site covers all aspects of saying ‘I Do’ explaining everything from where you can legally get married to what is involved in the actual ceremony (civil & religious). It has lots of great links to help you navigate your way through the legal arrangements including finding your local register office & how to arrange a church wedding.
5. From Bridesmaids to Groomsmen…
This is a such fun job because it’s a bit like a mini proposal of your own! Bridesmaids, Maid of Honour, Best Man…decide with your fiancé who you really want to be involved in your day – think about who is going to enjoy the journey with you & provide support along the way. There are no right or wrongs here. Families come in all shapes & sizes, so it doesn’t matter who gives you away or walks you down the aisle. At the end of the day, it has to be what makes you happy & works for you both. Always remember, it’s your wedding so whatever you decide will be just perfect, whether that means 10 bridesmaids or a wedding-ring bearing Labrador!
6. Save the Date & Invitations
So now you have sorted the all-important date, time & venue, it’s time to focus on your guest list & decide whether you want to send out ‘Save the Dates’ or simply go straight to invitations. There are so many options here. We have worked with brides who have designed their own invitations using online templates, couples who have opted for electronic invitations & couples who have used specialist wedding stationery suppliers from start to finish. From a design perspective, Pinterest is fabulous if you are looking for some ideas to get you started.
My advice with regard to the guest list is to use an online template or a simple spreadsheet. This means you can easily tick off RSVPs against names as they come in & keep track of numbers for catering. It also makes it so much easier to follow up any late responses to invitations & to add in simple columns for things like dietary requirements.
7. Start Gathering Wedding Inspiration
When I got engaged, I had a very clear vision in my head of exactly how I wanted the day to be, from venue to flowers, colour (a complete love of brights!) & overall styling, but this didn’t stop me from signing up to lots of wedding websites for new ideas & inspiration.
Now I always have a ‘wedding inspo’ folder open & on the go, whilst I continually search for wonderful new ideas & beautiful new props & decorations to add to The Wedding Library.
My advice would be that it’s never too early to start to collate all of your ideas & inspiration in one place for reference. I LOVE Pinterest & Instagram saved collections for this. Keeping an online file, or making a ‘mood’ board is really easy! If you see something you like, it’s so helpful to print things off & start to compile them. You will very quickly see a colour or theme start to emerge.
The trick is often knowing how to pull everything together so that it appears coordinated & seamless when you tie the knot…& this is something we can definitely help with. I can promise you that when you choose to book with us, we are with you every step of your wedding planning journey to make sure your day is picture perfect, with our amazing wedding décor, just the way you want it. Do have a look at our Wedding Library Gallery for lots of wonderful ideas.
8. Wonderful Wedding Suppliers!
Now your date, venue, legalities and invitations are in hand, you can turn your attention to bridal wear, wedding cakes, catering, wedding music, wedding photographers & videographers, wedding make-up & hair stylists…the list goes on! But please don’t feel overwhelmed because we have an absolutely fantastic list of wedding suppliers that we are super proud to be associated with – people with the same ethos as us, putting your dream wedding
at the very heart of their business. Just ask and we can point you in the right direction of some seriously lovely, professional people!
Don’t worry either if you want to contact someone to check availability a couple of years in advance. Many suppliers will
accept bookings this far ahead with a small deposit to secure your date, & if you have set your heart on something, much better to book it than to miss out.
9. And finally...
A wise man (my dad actually!) once said to me 'Life is a journey best travelled in twos'. This great piece of advice came at a time when I was dating and at the point of giving up! Now I am so very glad I didn't having met my lovely husband!
So one of the very best pieces of advice I can share with you is to enjoy the journey together. Wedding planning can be stressful but with a little bit of guidance & help, I promise you will breeze through it. Sometimes you just need to take a step back & remember you will be marrying the love of your life. Try & schedule in regular date nights, celebrate with family & friends along the way & trust that everything will be just perfect on your special day – especially with The Wedding Library on your side!