Congratulations, you’re engaged! You’ve told your friends, family, work colleagues and the old lady next to you on the train. You’ve taken a few (hundred) ring selfies and the all-important facebook status has been updated.
It’s now time to think about actually planning the wedding; cue overwhelming panic when you realise quite how much there is to do!
That’s why I’ve put together a new series of blog posts that will guide you step-by-step on how to plan your wedding. From setting your budget to making sure the big day goes off without hitch via the wonderful world of guest lists, supplier sourcing and wedding day styling.
To help get things off to a flying start I’ve put together the 5 key questions to answer to launch the planning process. Let’s get things underway with….
1 // When do you want to get married?
Firstly consider if you are happy with leisurely engagement or if you are keen to hot foot it down the aisle as soon as possible. Are there any key life events such as job changes, house moves or study plans that might have an impact? Do you know exactly what type of wedding you want or are you less sure? If you don’t have a clear idea or like to take more time making decisions a longer lead up will be better.
Next decide which season would you like to wed in; perhaps you’ve always envisaged yourself getting married in the Spring or saying I do in the Winter? Consider factors such as the weather and average temperatures, flower availability, major holidays and family commitments when selecting which month to marry.
As for the big day itself Saturday is still the most popular for weddings but Fridays are becoming a popular choice and more clients are opting to marry on Thursday or Sunday too. It can save you money and while many couples panic that fewer people will attend on these days, with a bit of extra notice most guests will move mountains to be there to help you celebrate.
2 // What kind of wedding do you want?
Decide if you will have a religious ceremony in a church or whether a civil celebration is more your cup of tea. Don’t forget the option of a blessing either which unlike a civil or religious ceremony can take place anywhere and at any time (although you will still need to pop down to the registry office to make things official.)
It’s also worth starting to consider the style of day you’d like. We’re not talking full-on theming or concept design but instead just a few key words or phrases that you want associated with your wedding. For example, will it be relaxed or formal? glamorous or rustic? modern or traditional?
3 // Who do you want to be there?
You don’t need a finalised guest list at this stage but an indication of whether you would like a large or intimate wedding and a very rough draft of invitees is a great place to start. You might not think that you have particularly big families or social circles but you’ll probably be surprised as how quickly the numbers add up when you actually list them out on paper.
If you want to be super organised then go a step further and categorise the rough list into 3 groups. The first group contains close family and friends, the second group is for other friends and extended family whilst the third group contains guests that it would be nice to have at your wedding if your budget allows. By taking this step you’ll have made a head start if you do need to increase or reduce your guest list further down the line.
4 // Where do you want to get married?
Decide which part of the country you’d like to say your vows in. It could be where one or both of you were born, grew up or studied or perhaps where you met or now live together? Don’t forget to cross check any potential locations against where the majority of your guests will travel from to join in your day.
Also consider the style of venue you like to hold your wedding in. From country houses to garden marquees, rustic barns to industrial spaces and woodland clearings to tipi-filled fields. The possibilities are literally endless but make sure your venue style fits with the look and feel you have in mind for your day.
You might actually decide that a destination wedding would fit the bill. Whilst it offers weather and scenery you simply won’t find at home it could result in fewer of your nearest and dearest being able to attend and can involve a lot more red tape. I’d definitely recommend bringing in professional planning help if you want to marry outside of the UK.
5 // How much do you have to spend on your wedding?
The answer to this question depends on whether you have any wedding savings, how much can you realistically put aside going forward and whether anyone else is contributing financially to your day. Adding all three of these together will produce your wedding budget.
If you’re not sure how much wedding products or services would be then ask recently married friends and family or check out a few venue and supplier websites to get a benchmark of wedding costs in the area you want to marry.
Be wary of the budget guidance that most bridal magazines print; they are based on national averages so if you want to marry in a more expensive part of the country the figures are going to be disappointingly inaccurate.
So there you have it; 5 simple-(ish!) questions to get those wedding planning juices flowing.
Every couple will assign different priorities to these questions and the answer to some questions will inform others. Knowing for example that you need space for 200 guests or having a very specific theme in mind will dictate the type of venues you are able to shortlist. Or if you need to save some money towards your big day then you’ll want to set your date far enough in advance to allow you to stash that cash away.
Speaking of budgets if you’re struggling to set yours then you’ll definitely want to pop back for the next post in this ‘How to Plan a Wedding’ series as I’ll be covering that very topic.
And if you’d like to chat about kickstarting your wedding plans then I’d love to hear from you – you can find out how to contact me here.
About the Author
She loves epic checklists, heartfelt wedding details and country walks (as long as they end at the pub.)
Her dislikes include all flying insects, bad timekeeping and most wedding chair covers.