I have been lucky enough to get advice from a wedding planning expert and I wanted to share her expertise with you. So without further ado I will hand you over to Clare Ridd, Director of The Beautiful Wedding Company
So you’re engaged and you’ve merrily soaked up all those champagne bubbles with friends and family and now people are starting to ask about your wedding day details. Civil or Religious ceremony? Venue or Marquee? How many bridesmaids? Colour schemes? Table themes? Flowers? Transport? The list is endless and all of a sudden you’re feeling hugely overwhelmed with the practicalities of what needs to be done to get you and your hubby-to-be down the aisle! Well you’re not alone. Once the initial engagement celebrations have died down (and seriously make the most of those moments!) You need to take a step back, take a big breath, sit down with your fiancé to get some ideas on paper, this does not need to be everything from venues to hair and nails, my advice, start once piece at a time, like a jigsaw and you will see the pieces coming together naturally.
First thing you both need to be brutally honest about is if you have enough time to devote to organising your wedding. An average time to plan a wedding is between 18 – 12 months, from weddings with 50 guests to 500, of course weddings can be done in 6-3 months if needed, but the pressure to pull it all together is understandably greater. If your lives are busy and stressful enough you might want to think of hiring a professional wedding planner, they can save you money, cut out the stress of trawling the internet for the perfect supplier, and leave all design and final (fun!) decisions to you. Don’t think you need a big budget for a good planner, they often offer bespoke pricing packages to suit all budgets.
If you have the time to invest in planning your big day, great, start with choosing the date and venue. If you have a favourite venue in mind contact them first to see if your date is available. Once you have the date and venue confirmed you can start building in your other key suppliers, and send out those all important Save the Date cards!
If you are having a civil ceremony at your wedding venue remember to call your local registry office exactly a year to the date of your wedding, (you cannot do this sooner) to book your registra for your big day. You do not want to have everything ship shape for your big day, but no one available to marry you! Your registra should advise you of next steps in terms of all the legalities involved. Similarly with religious ceremonies the priest will arrange a series of meetings with you and your fiancé to discuss legalities and the ceremony itself, again don’t forget to speak to your Church asap to book your wedding, especially for weddings in popular seasons such as Summer or Christmas.
Next get your photographer, videographer (if having one), florist, cake, band and / or DJ, and the wedding transportation booked. Break these down and do two supplier bookings a month if time is tight. My advice, try to get these all booked between 9-6 months ahead of your wedding day.
By this stage you should have seen a lot of wedding supplier websites and blogs during your supplier researching, it’s inevitable that design and theme ideas will have come to you during this time. Please do not worry about taking someone else’s idea, you’ll be able to personalise it in some way, all weddings have elements of borrowed ideas in them, it’s unavoidable in this industry! Even better if you have a definite idea that you want to incorporate into your wedding, my advice, just make sure it’s practical too, i.e. If you wanted your ceremony outside with guests sitting on hay bales or picnic blanks, think of elderly guests and their comfort during the ceremony, you may need in improvise with some sturdier backed hay bales, or rustic wooden chairs. You would also need to consider the unpredictable English weather, perhaps make sure each guest has a pretty umbrella, or that an awning of some sort is available if it does rain.
Lastly, you’ll probably be frantic thinking you’ve forgotten something, so keep lists of booked suppliers, write down all your ideas, and if you need help that’s what bridesmaids and ushers are for so don’t hesitate to draft them into the wedding day plans too!
Mostly, remember to enjoy every moment, everyone says it (because it’s true!) Your Wedding day will come soon enough and the day itself will go by so quickly. Top Tip – Keep a scrap book of your engagement journey, from engagement celebrations to cake tastings and the days leading up to your wedding day, it’ll be a lovely memento for you and something to show your children.
Clare Ridd, Director of The Beautiful Wedding Company
Photo Credit: The Beautiful Wedding Company