Wedding Planning - Where to start?
What with house renovations, and busily planning 2018 weddings, there has been no time for blogging, or keeping up with my Facebook page these past few months. This Winter has been a funny mix of going on and on (the rain mostly I'd say), and not having enough time to do everything I would have liked!
But Spring is definitely in the air, and with it comes my intention to start a Mini Series taking you through the wedding planning process.
Congratulations, you're engaged, but what to do now?
Well this is my basic tick list (in order of priority of course) of where to start, I hope you find it helpful, and I will do my best to find the time to go into some of the steps along the way in more detail through the series.
From 18 months in advance;
Buy a wedding note book
Definitely top of the list, make notes, write it all down, and keep in it one place!
Book The Venue
Venues are booked out early, and a lot of other factors will be affected by the Venue you go for, including the date and guest numbers, so this is the place to start. There are so many options out there - Marquees on your own land, Yurts on someone else's, Simple venues with no frills to Old Country Estates that provide everything for you. Can you have the ceremony onsite? We can look at the multitude of options, and how to go about finding the right venue for you in the next blog, but booking your venue in is definitely the first job on your list.
Set the date
Once you have some date options with your chosen venue, check all important people (Bridesmaids, Family, Best men) can make it and get the date set.
Book the Registrar/Celebrant
Registrars can also be booked up well in advance so you need to make contact and book your date with them as soon as you have a venue in place. Spend some time really thinking about how you'd like the ceremony to be, there is so much choice now'a'days that you can really make it your own - you may want to do the legal ceremony separately and go for a celebrant on the day.
Having a good idea of how much you would like to spend on your day from the very beginning is the best way to keep your budget in check. My advice would be - draw up a spreadsheet and stay on top of it - it is so easy for the budget to spiral out of control without regular checks!
Guest lists are always a little tricky to navigate, but knowing numbers early on is really helpful when booking your suppliers, so get this job out of the way nice and early.
12 months in advance;
Save the dates
If you feel inspired this a very good time to set up a wedding website or email address where you can slowly start to put helpful info up for your guests.
Order of the day
Planning a basic schedule for the day is really helpful at this point. All the services you book will need to know rough timings, and although this is something that can be constantly tweaked along the way it's very useful to have rough plan in place early on.
Depending on what option you go with there is often quite a lot of pre planning required. Finding the perfect dress is the first mission, then once the search is over, tailors may need up to 6 months to either make or alter your dress. Always good to start the dress hunt early on ladies.
If you are tying the knot far from home make sure you get your accommodation booked up well in advance, and if you are feeling really organised, putting a few local B&B options on the website for your guest and reminding them to book early is super helpful.
Book all other Suppliers;
I would always recommend getting every supplier booked in as early as possible, many in the industry are booked up a year in advance. Making these choices early on and securing your suppliers will free you up to relax and enjoy planning the finer details.
This takes a little more consideration than you might expect. There is always the option to bring in professional bar, which makes life very simple, but a little expensive for either yourselves or your guest. However if you go with the "bringing in all your own booze at wholesale prices" option, there are lots of other things to plan - The bar itself, people to staff it (take it from me there is a lot of work involved in a bar, they definitely need staffing) glass hire, chilling all the booze etc. I'm not saying it's a bad option, I think it's a great one, and most the weddings I am involved with bring everything in themselves. I am just letting you know that there is a little more involved than organising who does the booze cruise.
Finding a good local Florist, preferably who grows their own flowers, or buys in local seasonal blooms, would always be my advice. Then you can look at whether you would like to buy in buckets and do all your own arranging with family and friends (or a planner) or get the florist to do it all for you. I am a big fan of buying in buckets of locally grown flowers, it's a great way to save on the budget, and for me there is no nicer way to spend a day than arranging flowers!
- Hair and Makeup
Fitting in trials can take a bit of planning if you are not getting married close to home, so it's good to get some trial dates booked in as well as securing your wedding date.
Again there are lots of options, and it may be that a family member would like to make the cake, but if not I would suggest finding someone local to the venue.
- Prop/Decor hire
- Toilets, Parking, and Generators
These are definitely the less glamorous details, but very important ones non the less.
From 10 months;
This does feel a little far down the list in many ways - it is one of the most exciting bits after all! But it's not something that needs to be set in stone too early on, and over time, as you know the venue, you have chosen a food style, and colour schemes are coming together, you will start to get a real feel for what atmosphere you'd like to create and how you would like the day to look.
Now that you have all your suppliers booked in you have time to create Pinterest boards, work on a design concept and floristry brief and start to collect and create. I am definitely going to dedicate a blog to decor as I love it so much, and there is so much to talk about!
All other outfits
Bridesmaids, Groom, Best men - make sure everyone is sorted
You can fit this detail in anywhere really - You can even book a day to make your own weddings rings for each other which I love!
Give Notice with the registrars
The registrars will walk you through this process and book a date in with you.
3 months in advance;
Time to send them out. You should have enough of the final details in place now to keep your guest updated. Request that RSVP's are back a month before the wedding with all the necessary details (dietary requirements etc). This is when a wedding website really shines, not only can your invitations be digital but all the information from the rsvp's will be organised and stored ready for you to pass onto suppliers.
Finalise Decor and finish making anything you have been working on
1 month in advance;
Checking in with the local Taxi firms in advance is important in Wales as they are generally far and few between and will definitely need a heads up if they are going to be busy and working late that night.
Booking a local minibus company to ferry guests is often a very good option if your venue is in a remote location.
Complete Payments with all Suppliers
Make sure you have completed all your supplier payments
Supplier check in
It's time to check in with all of your suppliers and send them final numbers, timings, menus, seating plans, dietary requirements, play lists etc. Make sure you have all their arrival times and contact numbers for the day, and that they have a point of contact for the day (preferably not you) should any issues arise.
Draw up a schedule and check lists
- Things to remember to pack
- A job lists for the week leading up to the wedding and who will be covering what.
- A detailed order of the day covering everything including suppliers arrival times, who needs to be where when and covering what roles.
- Schedules for the Ushers
Enjoy your day
This goes without saying, but it's time to let anything that didn't happen go, and have the best day ever!
I haven't put a planner in this list as couples tend to get me on board at all different stages of the process depending on how much help they are looking for, and it maybe that you're going to nail it without needing a planner (but definitely make sure you have lots of very helpful friends and family)
Most importantly - Enjoy the process!
Depending on what sort of wedding you want to achieve it can be quite all consuming, there is a lot to think about, but you are only going to do it once, so have fun!
If you would like to speak to us about partnering with you to create your dream wedding get in touch here.