Thinking about your perfect wedding, but finding the whole idea of planning a bit daunting? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our Wedding Checklist, to help you plan and keep the process as stress-free as possible! Whatever you plan for your day, just remember, you are unique and your day is too; it’s your day so do what is best for you!
The first thing you need to decide is your date. Try to choose one in each season, a spring date, a summer date and then either autumn or winter. There is a reason for this. Once you have worked your way down the checklist you will see there are many factors to be considered when organising a wedding. One big one is budget. If you decide on a the perfect venue but that it is out of your budget range, by choosing a later date, you give yourself time to save up, also time of year makes a big difference in price. Other factors may be clashing with another wedding that your guest list has been invited to, or work schedules for your main guests, or the availability of your chosen venue.
Top tip: Have three dates in mind. If you stick to just one date, but find you need to move it you’ll be disappointed. Have three dates that work for you, so you have flexibility.
Once you have three dates in mind, and you know your budget, it’s time to start visiting Wedding Fairs. There will be wedding fairs all through the year but the most popular times are out of the “wedding season” of summer. January/February/March is a good time to start visiting wedding fairs. At the fairs have a plan. Don’t just wander aimlessly about as you’ll forget who you’ve spoken to, get mixed up with different suppliers and generally miss the bits you actually went to see. Take a notebook and pen, get details, and speak to at least two suppliers of every service so you have something to compare.
Top Tip: Plan your visit. If you have a particular venue in mind, find out when their wedding fair is. But don’t just stick to one venue, you may find you are pleasantly surprised by going out of your comfort zone.
Now comes the tricky part – the guests. You need to be realistic in your guest list. There’s no point in adding everyone you’ve ever met to the list if you’re on a tight budget. Start with the basics – close family and friends. Then add extended family, and friends. Then add work colleagues and acquaintances. You may decide to just have the first two categories, or even just the first category, and that’s ok. Remember it’s your day, and as much as you’d like to keep Aunt Gladys happy by inviting that lovely fellow from the Co-Op that’s always asking after you, you need to keep within your budget.
Top tip: Set yourself a total number of guests and then work through the lists. Be realistic in what you can afford, and remember that each extra guest is going to cost you not just for food, but in table/seating decor, a drink for the toast and more. Send out your Save The Date cards or invitation as soon as possible once you’ve confirmed your guest list.
The extra bits. Once you’ve budgeted for your venue, and the essential services, you will have an idea of your left over budget for the extra bits to make your day unique. Wedding favours, signage and personalised details are all services which you can source relatively easily through social media, and at wedding fairs. You may even want to have a go at doing your own.
Top tip: It’s your day, so make it as unique as you are!
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Next comes the budget. As much as everyone would love to have the wedding of their dreams without the limit of funds, unless you’re about to become an HRH, it’s likely that you’ll have a budget to stick to. So, be realistic with your budget. Don’t plan for a £10k wedding if you can only realistically fund £6k, it will just lead to heartache and stress. There’s nothing wrong with a lower end budget, you just need to be smart and plan well. Set your budget and stick to it. It’s so tempting “just” add another £100 for this, or another £150 for that, then before you know it you’re over budget by £3k.
Top tip: Be smart with your budget, for example, a mid-week wedding or a Jan/Feb wedding could save you lots in venue costs. Avoid Valentine’s Day, and you’ll find you could get a hefty discount compared to summer wedding prices.
Next comes the choosing of the venue. There are literally thousands of venues across the UK. Each is different, and each will have its own price packages. Think about your theme, your number of guests (we’ll get to that next) and your budget. Your venue needs to tick all three boxes.
Top tip: If you want a smaller wedding there are lots of boutique venues that specialise in smaller weddings, and vice versa for a very big wedding. It’s your day, and your ideal venue is out there. For more on smaller weddings read our blog: Are Smaller Weddings the New Trend?
Now it’s time to book the essential services – photographer, dresses/suits, flowers, hair & make-up, cake, cars and food if you are not using the venue catering. Another trip to the wedding fairs would be a good idea at this point, to get quotes from those you met at the first wedding fairs. Remember quotes only last for so long, so you will need to re-approach service providers for a new quote if its been a while since your last one.
Top tip: Good wedding service suppliers often book up far in advance, so the more notice you can give them, the better choice you’ll have. Choose a service provider that you get on well with, after all this is your perfect day and you want someone you feel you can trust.