I remember that just engaged feeling all too well…
The question has been popped, as has the fizz. You’re adorned with something sparkly. You might even have bought a couple of wedding magazines. BUT, at some point you have to start – you know – actually planning a wedding. AGH. Where on earth do you start?
There is a lot to do, that’s true. But when you break it down it’s fairly straightforward, and most of the steps are fun! It’s not without its potential hiccups or challenges, but mostly it’s all loveliness. Kinda.
This handy list covers the main things a relatively traditional wedding will need. In a vague order. Have a read through, adapt the list according to your wedding and your needs, but use this as a starting point…
(oh, and if you fancy having a downloadable checklist that you can keep handy and scribble on, join our VIP list for a free copy of our WEDGUIDE).
Set your budget
Knowing how much money you’ve got will help when it comes to making decisions. Agree the general area of your wedding (county/town).
If you’re reading this it’s probably Cornwall or Devon, but if couples are from different areas or one fancies a destination wedding, it’s important to agree down to a particular county, town or village.
Choose a rough date
Do you want a long engagement or do you just want to get on with it? Had you always dreamed of a summer wedding or is there a particular date that means something to you? Have a general idea if not a specific date.
Draft a rough guest list
Are you likely to end up with 25 guests or 150? This will impact on your planning – for example venues have maximum capacities, the cost of catering for more people is higher etc.
Style of wedding
Do you envisage a grand elegant affair or a laid-back barefoot type of day? Are hay bales and bunting your thing or are you more about the fabulously fashionable? This is likely to inform decisions that follow.
Devoutly religious, have a particular venue in mind or want to have freedom where you marry? Consider the type of marriage ceremony you want so you can shortlist venues.
Church, castle, stately home? Beach side, on the clifftops or in the middle of a field? Big or small? Marquee? All in one place or not? Catering supplied or want to have your own? Shortlist venues that fit the bill.
Capturing the day
Once the day is done, the photos and video are what you have to look back on for years to come – think about what coverage you want and what’s important to you. Allocate your budget, shortlist and meet photographers, and get them booked early to avoid disappointment.
Food & drink
What will you be feeding your guests? Do you envisage formal sit down or casual hog roast or picnic style? What about the evening guests? What drinks will you provide? Do you need to hire a bar? Are there corkage charges? Decide what you’re doing about food and drink and get those suppliers booked up.
Band, disco, magician, garden games, puppet show, childcare/creche – the options are limitless. What kind of experience do you want your guests to have? What kind of atmosphere do you want to set? Decide on entertainment and get your preferred suppliers booked.
Brides dress, veil, shoes, accessories. Grooms outfit. Bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents and little ones. Get shopping – there’s nothing like trying on dresses to get a real idea of what suits you.
Let them eat cake
Jaw dropping professionally designed and made, made as a wedding gift, what kind of flavours, traditional or different, cake toppers, decoration, cake stand…all things to think about.
Invitations – when are you sending them, what will they look like and what will they say? Are you hiring a professional to create something bespoke and unique, or adopting the handmade approach? Allow plenty of time and plan out the timings.
If you’re exchanging rings, you’ll have to buy them. There’s nothing like trying on to see how they look, even if you have an idea of what you want – especially if you’ll be wearing it next to your engagement ring.
Writing vows, choosing hymns or music for the ceremony duration, bridesmaids walking in first or bride, who’s walking you down the aisle – think through each step of the ceremony.
Food and drink are covered, but what about stuff like speeches – are you having them? Are you giving anyone gifts during the speeches (mothers of bride/groom, bridesmaids etc?).
What will the song be? Are you going to have dancing lessons or get something choreographed? Allow plenty of time for learning the steps!
Are you jetting off to shores afar or staying closer to home? Sunshine or snow? Countryside, beach or mountains? A week or a month? Think about where you want to go, when you’re going to leave and how long you’re going for.