“How to plan a wedding?” is the question that most couples ask once they are engaged. Most couples do not know where to start; there are so many aspects to think about and decisions to make, not to mention suppliers to find. However a lot of the work is fun and of course it is very rewarding when you turn up on your wedding day and see your vision and dreams come to life. So here are some top tips to get you started:
- When budget is limited, choose your priorities: The first key to planning is for you to go through your priorities; take time to discuss this together and think about the impact of any actions. Break the priorities down into three categories of importance, this will ensure that you have the parts of the day that are most important to you both.
- Expensive guests – they had better be worth it!: Undoubtedly your guests will bring a lot of joy and fun to your day – however they are expensive! If it costs £110 per person to wine and dine them throughout the day, then having 10 less guests could save you £1,100! Again break your guest list down into three categories or priority. Next discuss children; consider how many children would accompany those guests, how this impacts on your budget and space, and how you feel about having children around.
- How will I manage the Wedmin? It can take around 250 hours to plan a wedding, so think carefully about your wedding date, how long this gives you to plan and how much time you can realistically dedicate to planning. It might be exciting to get married in nine months but can you actually plan it in that time when coupled with work and other commitments? There are ways you can get help, maybe you have some friends or family who are happy to help or perhaps you could employ a wedding planner to do some or all of the work.
- Making the most of friends and family: Everyone loves to help their loved ones plan their wedding, and this can be a lot of fun, but a word of warning – if you accept help from your family and friends, think carefully about the role they are going to take, how they will manage it, for example will they leave it to the last minute leaving you in a panic. If you want them to help you on the day, what will happen once they have had a glass of fizz and get chatting.
- Does the time of year suit your venue? Consider the impact of the weather on your chosen venue; you don’t want your guests to be sat in a chilly marquee in the middle of December, neither do you want everyone to cook in a hot conservatory without shade and air conditioning on the hottest day of the year.
- Make best friends with spreadsheets! You are going to need to record absolutely everything that happens from now on, you will need checklists for each supplier as well as a guest list with individual details and requirements. Most importantly keep comprehensive notes of conversations with everyone so you can refer back to it.
- Trust in those that will support you: You are going to be employing around 30 suppliers to bring together your perfect day, it is important that you choose people that you can rely on, that you will enjoy working closely with and that you can trust to do the job. Ask for recommendations, talk to the supplier about their experience, how they are going to work, and take time to listen to how they feel emotionally about your day – are they enthusiastic and encouraging but at the same time giving you guidance from their knowledge?
- Unforeseen extras: No matter how good you are at planning and how carefully you watch your budget, there will always be that something that costs a little more than expected or that you didn’t think about – so leave approximately 5% of your overall budget for these unforeseen expenses.
- How will I know if the day will run smoothly? It is absolutely essential to make a Timeline for the Day so that everyone knows where they should be and what they should be doing; this includes your key wedding party members as well as the suppliers. You need to work the day back from the ceremony time to ensure everyone has time to get ready and have lunch. You also need to work forwards to ensure there is time for photos before dinner and that the guests are not stood around bored, hungry and thirsty. Ensure you allow time for unforeseen delays and consider the need for promptness of serving dinner at an exact time, depending on the chosen menu.
- How will we all know what to do on the day and if it will work? Once you have the timeline for the day, visit the venue with your key party members and walk through the venue as you will on your wedding day, discuss each event, access issues, timings and how the day will run.
I hope that these ten tips will give you a good head start in planning your perfect day – keep checking back here for more tips, advice and inspiration!