CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve just got engaged and are eager to begin your wedding planning. Sometimes it is difficult to know where to start when planning your wedding. In this series, I will be teaching you the easy way to plan your dream wedding and how to create your magical day.
Wedding planning is exciting. You are working so hard to create the perfect day for you and your partner. And of course your guests. But it’s not always easy to know where to start when planning a wedding.
If this is you, then keep reading!
Once the excitement begins to fade, you may feel a sudden wave of realisation of how much work there is to do. Planning a wedding can be daunting and stressful at times especially as the big day approaches.
Trust me, I know all too well!
In August 2018, I tied the knot with my fabulous husband. You can read about my big day here.
I loved every second of wedding planning once I got into the swing of things. A lot of thought and hard work went into creating our quirky DIY wedding. Although it might sound cliche, it was the most magical day of our lives (so far) and definitely one to remember!
In this series, I’m sharing my real life experience coupled with tips about the industry that you won’t get anywhere else. This includes:
- How to overcome obstacles; negotiate with suppliers; and keep costs manageable
- Managing RSVPs
- Keeping cool, calm and collected
- Wedding timeline
- Budget planner
- And much more!
Wedding Planning: Stage One
You need to make crucial decisions in the early stages of planning. Possibly the most important decisions include:
- What is your budget?
- How many people will be invited?
- When and where will the wedding be held?
If you are overwhelmed, I am here to help start your wedding planning journey on the right foot.
Creating a budget
One of the most important things you will discuss as a couple when planning a wedding is Money.
As they say, money makes the world go around.
And be under no illusion, you will need to know where every penny is going to when planning a wedding. Even with the best will power in the world, it’s likely that you will end up over budget.
Therefore, it is critical for you and your partner to sit down to create a budget outline before anything is booked because you will need to know exactly how much money you have at your disposal.
Top tip: Don’t forget to include a contingency
Speaking from experience, this can mean the difference between being a few pounds, to a few thousand pounds over budget.
To save some vital funds, you may want to get creative and there are certain ways you can do this.
By cutting out non-essentials like wedding favours, or swapping to a more eco-friendly invitation by email instead of paper you can save some much-needed money.
Other ideas to save on your budget are to have a cash bar instead of a free bar. Cutting down on your evening buffet can save money too. Chances are if most of your guests have been with you all day they will be too full to eat in the evening.
Once you have an idea of your available budget, you will need to discuss your guest list. Figuring out key details now will certainly help in the long run. Good questions to ask yourselves are:
- How many people will be invited?
- Are they attending all day or just in the evening?
- Will children be invited?
- Do parents get a say on the guest list?
Your budget will ultimately determine how many people you can afford to invite to your wedding.
If you are working with a smaller budget you may have to get creative in order to afford the number of people you want to have.
However, you should put some consideration into whether or not you would buy any of your guests a meal if it wasn’t your wedding day.
Evening only invitations
Although you don’t need to hash out your full guest list now. If some guests absolutely must be invited to your wedding it’s a good idea to have a list of VIPs.
If you cannot accommodate the total number of guests in the budget, then consider inviting them to the evening reception.
Chances are 99% of people will understand and will be delighted to receive an invite. For those who do get upset, a polite explanation that while you would love to have them there all day but it’s just not feasible will usually suffice.
If you are still worried about how to respond, then check out Easy Weddings’ Answer
Are children invited?
A rather important decision to be made regarding your guest list is if children are invited. This seems to be quite a divisive topic but it is worth careful consideration. For some couples, they couldn’t imagine a wedding without children there to share in the fun. Other couples dread the thought of children at a wedding.
While this topic may be a matter of personal preference, or indeed practicality, it’s wise to consider your options. If you are at maximum numbers and cannot invite everyone you’d like to is it essential to invite children that you may not know that well?
Another element to consider is that most hotels will charge children’s meals as adult meals. Can your budget accommodate this?
If you are worried that some friends or family may be offended by an adult only wedding, speak to them directly. It is likely that they would relish an opportunity to have a night off from parenting to let their hair down.
Who can invite guests?
This may seem like an odd suggestion, however, typically if your parents are contributing to your wedding budget they may expect to invite some guests of their own.
While it may seem like a simple request, it can have consequences on your guest list. Meaning that you may need to be strategic about who you plan to invite.
If your parents do expect to invite some guests, then I’d recommend that certain boundaries are put in place beforehand.
Such boundaries could be as simple as allocating a certain number of seats and approving their list of guests prior to invitations being sent.
Wedding Venue(s) and date?
When you have had the discussion regarding your budget and decided on the estimated number of guests, the next step is to find a suitable venue.
You’ll need to figure out whether you would like to have the ceremony in one location, such as a church, and host the reception elsewhere. Or would you prefer to host the entire wedding and reception in one venue?
Having a civil, humanist or religious ceremony is a matter of personal preference and only you are able to make that call. If you are indifferent or are struggling to decide what the best option is for you, this guide from Bijou Wedding Venues may be of help.
There are pros and cons for almost every avenue of wedding planning and choosing the right venue(s) is no different.
Type of venue
Once you have an idea regarding the type of ceremony, the next step is to narrow down the style of the venue.
Nowadays, you can pretty much host a wedding anywhere. From backyard weddings with marquees to barn weddings, castle weddings or hotel weddings.
It’s crucial to research different venues and weigh up what they offer, does their style match what you envision and can you afford any of these venues in your budget?
Visiting your potential venues
When you have a short list of potential venues, it is essential to arrange an appointment to view each of the venues, preferably when it has been set up for an upcoming wedding.
Failing that, attend a wedding open day if there is one taking place any time soon. This will give you a good feel for what the venue will be like on your big day.
Setting a date
You may already have a date or time of year in mind for your wedding. However, once you have chosen your venue it’s a good idea to discuss this with your coordinator. They will be able to advise you regarding their availability, venue hire prices and in some cases, the catering options that will be on offer.
Something to be aware of is that prices can vary depending on the season or day of the week that you choose to get married.
It is growing increasingly popular for weddings to take place midweek (Sunday to Thursday) or out of the peak season (between November and April). If you have a tight budget, booking less popular days or months could save you thousands!
Most venues will accept a small deposit to secure your booking and will either offer a payment plan or provide a final date in which payment is due.
Although they will typically offer package prices, you do not always need to make every decision straight away. You can tailor your requirements at a later date.
However, a crucial piece of advice is to get up to date costings with any additions that are made. The last thing you want is a hefty invoice that’s much higher than you anticipated.
Do you have any questions on the topics in this post? I would love to be able to help you further. Drop me a comment below!
Until next time…