You’ve dreamt of this moment your whole life, the love of your life has got down on one knee and placed a beautiful ring on your finger. You’ve rushed to buy all the Wedding & Brides magazines the local shop has to offer and once you’ve finished the stack…it suddenly dawns “I have to actually plan a wedding!”
Getting engaged is one of the most romantic times in a couple’s life, so here’s our step-by-step guide to ensure you are worry-free and wedding-ready.
It is imperative that before you dream board, wedding venue hunt and start pinteresting dresses, that you have an open discussion with your partner and perhaps family involved with how much you can spend on the big day. Once you get all the numbers out the way, you can pin, pin, pin until your heart’s content.
Don’t know where to start? Not sure if you want a Summer or a Winter wedding, a beach or bohemian inspired wedding, start drawing inspiration from magazines, Pinterest, Instagram and online.
Start to think about key ideas such as; theme, colour scheme, table décor, bridesmaid & groomsmen style, invitation styles.
- Guestlist & Dates
Before you start venue-hunting, you will need to have an approximate number of guests you wish to invite. Ensure you are on the same page for what you both want – a small wedding of 50 people or big wedding of 300. Sit down with your partner and start consolidating your list. Contact both sides of your family and ensure you have also included respective family friends on behalf of your parents. Weddings are the perfect time to offend people, so this will ensure that this doesn’t happen. Use this time to also select your bridesmaids & groomsmen so you can ask them to be a part of your special day.
Don’t get fixated on a certain date i.e. the date you first met a year from now or the date he proposed a year from now as this can most likely be restricted by the venue. Instead, firstly decide on the season you want to get married and then narrow this down to the month and be flexible on a few weekends which suit you best. Be sure to check the calendar for any bank holidays, religious holidays etc as this might be beneficial to your celebrations or in fact rank up the costs.
- Choose A Venue
This is the moment you see in movies, walking around the grounds of some beautiful country estate hand-in-hand. Do your research; are you having a destination wedding, city celebration or country affair? Once you’ve narrowed this down, arrange meetings with a few venues in the area so you can blitz the venue-hunting (especially if it isn’t a stone’s throw) and you will soon start to work out what you like and what you don’t.
- Book Vendors
Depending on whether you’re having a big wedding or a small wedding will depend on the amount of suppliers you will involve on your big day. Now you have finalised your dream venue and date, your next step is to start arranging photographers, transport, hair & make-up, floristry, catering, bands and any other necessary even furniture & staging. Your venue might well have help on hand with this but if you are doing it all by yourself then this is when your budgeting firm-hand is crucial.
- Send Save-the-Dates
Now that you’ve bagged your dream man and dream venue, you want to ensure it’s not an empty room on the Big Day. Make sure you send out Save-the-dates. Send these as far in advanced as possible, especially for any destination wedding to ensure guests can make travel arrangements. Etsy have great download at-home templates or use this time to get creative or for an even quicker approach, send with the touch of a button with Paperless Post.
- Dress Shopping!
It’s time to start looking for your perfect dress. You might’ve had wedding dresses secretly saved on Pinterest since you were 16 but styles have changed and most importantly, you are no longer marrying a fictional character out of a TV program. Research styles you like but be mindful of the season and style of wedding you are having. Be open to trying on different styles of dresses and have a bit of fun. Limit the number of people you take with you when dress shopping as lots of conflicting opinions can often become confusing to what you really want.
- Bridesmaid & Groomsmen Attire
Once you have found your dress, all you need to worry about is your next fitting. In between fittings, your next focus is styling your wedding party. You should by now have decided on a colour(s) theme for this and can therefore, start shopping. You may have a particular vision in mind but be aware that your bridal party come in all different shapes and sizes. Show them styles of dresses and decide on whether a matching colour palette with multiple styles will work best for your friends. Note down all your friend’s sizes and if you are ordering high-street, then make a night of it and arrange a dress dinner. Order a range of dresses and get the girls round for a trying on session and send-back what doesn’t work instead of trawling your mates through the shops.
- Start Your Wedding List
You need to start thinking about your Wedding List. There are a number of places which offer Wedding Lists, from Amazon.com to John Lewis or more bespoke registry services which will fund your honeymoon. If you already live together, then a toaster might not be that useful but if you are saving for your first home, then curating the content for your perfect kitchen might be a great idea.
- Create a Wedding Website
Lots of people set up a wedding website these days to help keep their guests up-to-date with arrangements surrounding their special day. If you are having a destination wedding then a listing local hotels on the wedding website along with travel information will be imperative for your guests.
- Send Invitations
According to Debretts, wedding invitations are usually sent______ before the big day, whilst an RSVP deadline is typically ________. This will ensure you have an accurate head count of guests, allowing you to tell the appropriate vendors, such as; caterers and furniture suppliers.
- Create A Seating Chart
You should have an idea of how many tables you are using and of what size. Use a wedding planning tool or the simple old-fashioned way with post-its to help determine the best seating chart marrying both of your families together. We would like to debunk the myth that creating a seating chart is stressful. This part does not have to be stressful and can be simply and seamlessly be finished only a few hours if you focus. There is no right or wrong way, only the way which suits you and your partner best. But just remember, if Aunty Betty hates Uncle Bertie, maybe you should split them up…
Now…just enjoy your big day