Congratulations, you’re engaged! But what do you need to do now?
Congratulations on your engagement! It’s a very exciting time and the thought of planning a wedding can be both incredibly thrilling but sometimes equally daunting. Most of us, in our everyday lives, are not event coordinators or party planners yet are expected to know exactly how to plan a glitch free wedding day! If you are a generally organised person anyway, then you may find that you thrive during the wedding planning process. However, if organisation does not come to you naturally, then you may wish to bring on board an experienced Wedding Planner - or even a best friend, sibling or parent who is renowned for being ‘the organised one’ to help you out! As an experienced Wedding Coordinator, I want to share with you my top tips to help you get started with a planning your unique and special day -
1. Don’t rush into the planning!
Make sure that you take some time to truly celebrate and enjoy your engagement. Whether that means that two of your go for a quiet weekend away, just to enjoy each others company as a newly engaged couple, or if you throw a big party for all of your friends and family - make sure that you do something to really celebrate this happy time. Far too often couples can get stuck straight into the details of planning the wedding and become stressed, rather than using the engagement as a cause for celebration!
2. Think about what sort of wedding you would really like and make a list!
Have you always dreamt of having the classic big white wedding with over 100 guests - is that what you picture your day to be? Or what about a beautiful beach wedding - can you imagine walking down the aisle barefoot in the sand? Maybe you have a much more intimate affair in mind, perhaps just immediate family and closest friends attending a very personal wedding ceremony? Would you like the full formalities of a drinks reception and canapes followed by a gourmet 4 course meal, or would you prefer a more relaxed buffet style meal? Write down the things that are most important to you on the day and you can then work out the rest from there - some examples are music, family, food and intimacy. It is important to remember that your partner may have a slightly different vision to you, so you will need to communicate with one another and perhaps compromise on a few things to create the wedding day that reflects the two of you as a couple.
3. Get an idea of numbers!
Before you start looking at venues, it’s really helpful to know how many people you will be wanting to accommodate. Some venues that include catering within their package, like hotels and manor houses, will have minimum numbers in place. This means you could end up paying for their minimum number of 90 guests when you only have 50 attending. Write a list of all of those you really want to have as part of your day and then make your venue search relate to that number. It is worth keeping in mind that these minimum numbers are usually lower for midweek dates, rather than the weekends - so if you are looking at a smaller wedding then it may work in your favour to be flexible with the day of the week.
4. Work out a budget that you can stick to!
The average wedding in the UK now costs an estimated £27,161 [source: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/blog/how-much-does-an-average-wedding-cost] and so the amount you can afford to spend on your wedding day will be a huge factor that you need to consider. Some of us will already have money put aside, in a special savings account dedicated to our ideal wedding day. However, let’s face it, the majority don’t! So sit down and work out how much you can spend - if you book the wedding for two years time how much each month can you put aside to pay your suppliers and venue? Do you want to start saving for a while before you make any bookings? This is really only something that you can answer yourself and will be very dependant on your own situation. The other thing to consider is whether you have parents who would like to contribute some money. If you are lucky enough that your parents are able and willing to help you out, then do just bear in mind that they may wish to have some input into decisions that are made about the wedding ‘because they are paying for it’, so make sure that you are happy with that!
5. Get inspired!
Gather inspiration from websites, magazines and social media. Instagram is a great place to gather a lot together as you can search by the hashtags for everything from wedding venues to county specific photographers and even decor styles. Magazines and sites that feature real weddings are great because you can see how real life people have actually created a wonderful wedding day, rather than just an idealised image from a set up photoshoot. Don’t forget that you can see our featured weddings for inspiration from real Love of All Weddings couples!
When you feel you are ready, begin to view a couple of venues until you find the perfect place for you, which suits all of your needs and wishes. Love it, book it. Everything else will then follow - happy planning!