I find myself having one of those Monday’s where my brain is working in overtime and somehow I have managed to write three blog posts this morning; I have no idea where they have come from, as I’m really not the best writer nor am I really a fan of it! However, even though It’s not my strongest skill I do like to write as many helpful blog posts as I can for couples that are planning a wedding, as I appreciate how overwhelming and daunting a task it can be!
So firstly, if you are reading this it’s because you are recently engaged and are starting your exciting journey of planning your very own wedding… Congratulations!!
I get Brides all the time, whether it be via email or during their wedding photography consultation, telling me that they don’t have a clue where to start with the planning! Although I haven’t planned a wedding myself (even though I keep telling Anthony to get a move on and propose already! Ha), I have worked within the wedding industry now for close to three years so I have learnt a thing or two, so here is my advice on ‘where to start with planning a wedding’…
1.Set a date
This one is obvious! Once your engaged, start thinking about what time of year you would like to get married; whether you would like a Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter wedding. Once you have whittled it down to a season, choose a year, month, then a date. It might already be obvious to you as maybe you have a special date in mind or you want to get married on the day you usually celebrate your yearly anniversary, if that’s the case then choose a year which would give you enough time to save and plan for the wedding.
2.Set a budget
Setting a realistic budget is really important, and breaking this down into a budget for each section of the day e.g. photography, the venue, the dress, cake etc is just as important as it will give you a guide to stick too when your shopping around for your suppliers. Make sure you plan a budget that you are both comfortable with spending on your wedding and can realistically afford. Here is a rough idea of how much of your budget is typically spent in each category of a wedding (from Bridalguide.com)
- Venue: 40%
- Honeymoon: 14.5%
- Photography and videography: 10.5%
- Wedding attire: 7%
- Engagement rings and wedding bands: 6%
- Flowers: 5%
- Music: 5%
- Invitations: 2%
- Miscellaneous: 10%
I recommend buying yourselves a ‘wedding planning’ notebook/planner to stay organised. It’s so helpful and much easier to keep track of where things are up to rather than trawling through emails to remember everything! These are a great way to keep track of your guest list, budget, suppliers etc. There are so many fab stationary places you can buy these from, such as Quill London, M&S, Kate Spade, Fraser & Parsley – (these are just some of my faves!) I would also recommend hanging up a cute yearly planner on the wall and marking off important dates e.g. dates to have balances paid, dates that invites need to be posted out etc
4.Write the guest list
Firstly decide how many people you want at your wedding (and how many you can afford to have there!) You might want an intimate wedding of only 25 people or a larger wedding with 150 people, either way discuss how many guests you would like then start writing your guest list, starting with the most important people first (a given!) Remember to bare in mind if you are allowing guests to bring their partners or a +1, that will build up your guest list (and inevitably cost you more!)
5.Choose a venue
Most wedding venues tend to get fully booked 2, some even 3 years in advance, so choosing and booking your wedding venue should be done as soon as possible, or as soon as you have a date in mind! If you’re struggling for wedding venue ideas, I highly recommend taking a look at Coco Wedding Venues – It’s a beautiful venue directory with a varied choice of venues for all budgets!
6.Book your wedding photographer/videographer
As with wedding venues, photographers and videographers get fully booked 1 to 2 years in advance, so I would recommend booking with your chosen photographer/videographer as soon as possible.
7.Send out your ‘save the dates’
Once you have set your date, budget, wrote your guest list and booked your venue, it’s time to send out your save the dates! If you know how to use a computer/are a little creative and would like to save some money it’s really easy to design something yourself! All you need is some design software (Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, which you can use for free for 30 days) a good font (try Google Fonts, DaFont or Font Squirrel, or if you’re looking for something more specific try MyFonts) and a good printing company (I use Printed.com) You could also try Etsy or Quill London as there are hundreds of designs on there for relatively cheap!
8.Book your other suppliers
Now start thinking about the other wedding suppliers you would like to use e.g. entertainment, florist, stationary, venue stylist, caterers etc. I would recommend booking your chosen suppliers as soon as possible to make sure you get the ones you really want and to avoid disappointment.
9.Buy the dress
Now the fun starts! You may already have an idea in mind of the style of wedding dress you want to go for (if you’re anything like me you would have been pinning away on Pinterest for years already!) however just make sure you leave enough time before your wedding to have any alterations finished!
10.Send out your wedding invitations
Once you have your date, budget, venue and suppliers in place you can send out your wedding invitations! Again, another way to save a bit of money here would be to do them yourself. The U.K average timeframe before the wedding to send out your invites is 6-8 weeks, so as long as your give your guests plenty of notice (as they have already received your save the dates) then you should be fine! If you’re eloping or marrying abroad however you may want to send them out earlier.
I do hope you have found this blog post helpful! If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments.
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If you would like to view more wedding planning tips, the following blog posts are packed full of helpful tips and advice: