It’s time to start planning your wedding. WOOHOO!… Or not! That really depends on the type of person you are. Some people are natural planners (and probably work in events or hospitality already!) and others, well, are not. And others, like Harry and Meghan, will have someone to do it for them!
There’s a natural order to some aspects of wedding planning that, if you get right, will make the rest of your planning a doddle.
What are they, I hear all you unnatural planners cry! Read on my lovelies, read on for our no-nonsense guide to stress free (ish) planning.
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It’s a Date!
♥ Booking your date is not as simple as you might think. Registrar and venue have to be in perfect alignment. So, you go to your venue, choose a date. Call the registrar – not available on that date. Or you call the registrar first, get your perfect date. But your favourite venue is not available. Put your hair down, no need to pull it out. Off season (November to March) you’re probably not going to have too much issue, but whenever your wedding is, chat to your venue and hold two or three dates, then contact the Register Office and get their availability. You’ll get synergy on one of those dates!
NB – your registrar comes from the area where you’ll get married, NOT the area where you live. BUT you must register your intent to marry in the area where you live.
Bear in mind that you could go the Celebrant route, much easier to find a celebrant on your perfect date as they are far and wide and don’t have to be from your area. Check with your venue that they’re happy to have a Celebrant. Most will be.
♥ There’s no hard and fast rule about getting your invitations out, but if you want to make sure the important people in your life are able to attend we suggest the following: If you’re booking your wedding with around 6 months or less to go then just get those invites out. 18 month plan? Go the Save the Date route, otherwise people may book something else in on your special day. Both can be as elaborate or basic as you like – recently my friend sent a save the date postcard with her dogs on the front – perfect and personal.
NB – If you’re getting your invitations printed you’ll have a date to work to for the printers, and you’ll (usually) get two proofs. Take your time, read them carefully, give them to someone else to read. Say each word out loud.
Dress me up
♥ Your dress, and your bridesmaids’, could take around 6 months to make. Unless you’re buying an ex sample dress (great for brides on a budget and the boutique will usually fix any issues free of charge, just pay for alterations – but do ask!) your dress will be made to measure and come in around a month before the big day in time for alterations.
DO be careful when it comes to sizing. DON’T go on some major diet or eating binge. Try and get to the shape (not weight) you want to be before you go trying on dresses. DON’T go trying on dresses the minute you get engaged. Your dress is part of the day and should suit your plans, fit in with your venue (ie probably not a good idea to have a giant ball gown if you’re getting married on the beach – extreme example but you get the idea!). We also recommend getting your dress first, then work on the bridesmaids to compliment, and there are so many more options for BM dresses (such as from a department store) so potentially less lead in. Read How Not to Buy Your Wedding Dress for more tips.
NB – it’s VERY important to have a dress budget, and DO NOT try on frocks outside of this. If you fall in love with something £500 over your price range then either you’re on the hunt for more money or something’s gotta give. Consider Pre-Loved, borrowed, charity (like Oxfam’s wedding shops) or hired if your budget is tight or you can’t bear the thought of ‘all that money on a dress for one day’.
Take me to the Fair
♥ Wedding Fairs can be a great way to get inspiration (read my blog!) but who to take? Well that depends on what you are like, what your fiancé is like and what your families are like! Ideally, go to a couple of Open Days with your other half to help choose the overall feel of the room (and possibly the venue if you haven’t already decided) but leave the nitty gritty choices to you and your posse. Not to say men are not good organisers, it’s just that they’re probably going to agree with you anyway as they are smart enough to know that the wedding is pretty much about you, and you’ll get your own way in the end so they’ll avoid the
NB – most wedding fairs are free, but you will usually need to register (and registration usually guarantees you a goody bag!) but the national shows are ticketed and if you look around you can find discounted tickets.
Money Money Money
♥ For the love of all things financial PLEASE have a budget! Be aware that putting the word Wedding in front of things can vastly inflate the price. When you’re walking around the wedding fairs, have in mind what you want to pay for entertainment (magician, caricaturist etc), for music (band, DJ, string quartet, soloist, pianist). Each will come with it’s own price tag. Whilst you may not be able to haggle on the price you might be able to work in some ‘added value’ – perhaps an extra hour, that sort of thing.
NB – even the least savvy planner will know a spreadsheet, electronic or handwritten, is going to be your best friend when planning a wedding. Costs can spiral out of control quickly if you don’t keep an eye on things. Please also be aware that a cake is around £250-£300 for a reason – a LOT of work and experience goes into it. If you want to pay less, you’ll get less…
Don’t put off til tomorrow….
♥ What you can do today – so the saying goes. Procrastination is a wedding planners worst enemy. You might not want to tackle the boring bits (work out what favours to have) in favour of the fun stuff (working out the favours!)(it really does depend on your personality!). You might go to wedding fairs and get home excited to check out your goodie bag, but all the brochures end up in a pile somewhere and the magician never gets booked. A to-do is your best friend here. Technically minded? There’s an app for that! Not so much? Good old pen and paper and crossing things off is the way ahead.
NB – if you really don’t want to tackle a job give it to someone else! That’s what your family and wedding party are for 😉!
So there you have it, how to start your Wedmin when you have no clue what you’re doing. There’s no dry run for wedding planning, what you’re doing is what you’ll have. Lucky me I was already an event planner and had lots of event planner and hospitality friends I could both off load jobs to and consult with. Not got that and don’t want the Wedmin hassle? That’s what your Fairy Wedmother is for ♥