After you’ve just got engaged, where you start when it comes to planning your wedding is a great question, and one I’m keen to answer. I’m all about the logistics and planning of a wedding, and I know that some firm groundwork always produces the most amazing days.
You might like a glass of champagne in hand, as that really is the first thing to start with! But seriously, here are my top tips on how to start your wedding planning journey…
Work Out What You Want
It might sound simple, but make sure that the ‘you’ is the two of you marrying, not a whole team of well-intended advisers. As soon as you announce your engagement you will have advice thrown at you from all directions. This is the time to listen but not to act.
Focus instead on working out how you both envisage your wedding looking and feeling, before taking on board other considerations. Be prepared for some compromise here as invariably you will both have slightly different views. Write it all down and refer to it regularly during the wedding planning process.
Decide on Your Priorities
Following on from the above, I always ask couples what their top three priorities are for their wedding day. Work them out and stick to them as you get into the nitty-gritty of the planning.
It might be the most spectacular marquee you can afford, it may be an ‘all you can drink’ bar, a wow wedding cake creation or very special paper goods. As you work out the must-haves, also list those things less important to you and stick to that when you’re allocating budget and spending.
Know Your Wedding Budget
Since we’re talking budget, it’s key you work this out from the start. Have those difficult conversations with family early on and really pin down, as closely as you can, how much money you have to play with. It shapes everything in event planning. It’s not to say you have to have a luxurious and large wedding budget, but you do need to shape and tailor your choices right from the off.
I’ve had couples come to me over the years having overspent on their venue choice right at the start. From here it’s very difficult to alter the path when there is simply not enough to do the venue choice justice.
As a guideline no more than 50% of your budget should go on the venue and food and drink elements, allowing the other 50% for everything else.
Dates and Numbers
Before you get carried away with all the gorgeous wedding sparkle (and boy are there lots of amazing wedding products and services out there), work out some key things which you’ll need a firm grip on before you tackle the first big task – the wedding venue/s.
Plan your guest list (write it out if you can because in your head it’s always smaller than it actually is) – you need to look for venues with the right capacity – that is vital. Also work out your preferred dates and days – keeping some degree of flexibility is always good, and certainly if you’re looking for special offers.
Enlist Your Team
As you probably already know, your wedding is a special occasion for so many of your nearest and dearest, and one you want to be memorable for all the right reasons. Enlist some help from early in the wedding planning process by appointing your brilliant team of bridesmaids and groomsmen to help you with hen and stag planning, dress fittings, DIY projects, invitation envelope stuffing and more.
Also, whilst it’s key to know in your minds before you consult with too many of your closest, there is nothing like the support and involvement of parents along the way. Don’t feel like you have to go it alone – sharing really is better!
Guest post by Kelly Chandler
Image from Shan Fisher Photography