Me oh my. I love this time of year. My social media timelines are going insane with New Year and Christmas proposals!
If you’re one of the lucky ones…Congratulations!!!!!
Squeal. Jump up and down like a 6-year-old giddy with excitement. Cry, sing, faint, share the proposal story with delight (or not) over and over again. Squeal a little bit more, pirouette, run up your mobile phone bill, announce on Facebook and any other social media network known to man and squeal some more.
And now breathe….
I’ve had a few readers contact me about how overwhelming they found wedding planning when they first got engaged and not knowing where on earth to start! It’s true – it is a minefield out there in the wedding world. But if you take your time it doesn’t have to be.
I have put together a very short guide of some useful ways to get your wedding planning journey started.
It’s very easy to get carried away in the wedding euphoria and automatically think of how many bridesmaids, shoes and Pinterest worthy florals you want….as wonderful as they all are – you can’t kick-start your planning until you do a little bit of donkey work first. Eeyoreeeee! :o) And it involves budgets and spreadsheets.
Image source and fab Save the Date idea by Jason Permenter; Pinterest
Get organised and buy a wedding planner (the paper-diary and / or human kind!)
Whether you like it or not, you will need to get organised. There is a lot to consider when planning a wedding and it’s impossible to keep on track without a diary. If organisation is really and truly not your thing – time to think about delegating or hiring a wedding planner (the human type!) ;o)
Decide when you would like to get married
Now, I’m not talking about specifics of dates just yet – (unless your heart is set on a special date) but what year, this year? Next year? 3 years time? Unsure? Although it is good to have an idea in mind, the timing of when you get married will be highly dictated by your finances and venue availability.
Work out your budget
Everything will be dictated by your budget. EVERYTHING. So take your time.
Yes its arduous and if you’re anything like me with a large disdain for numbers, it’s about as painful as doing a tax return 2 days before the deadline!
BUT it has to be done! Working out your budget may involve working out how much you and your partner can save each month, raiding the savings, awkward conversations with relatives about what they can / can’t / would like to contribute.
There’s no escaping it my beauty – but without an understanding of your budget and it’s boundaries, you cannot plan your wedding accurately. PLUS it’s very easy to get sucked into the engagement euphoria and just want to book anything and everything, especially since most suppliers only request a deposit on booking and ask for full settlement much closer to the wedding. Easy to think ” Excellent – payment isn’t needed for months, we’ll be able to pay for that by then”! Chances are something else will absorb it along the way!
Don’t get tempted to go overboard. To avoid embarrassment, keep your guest list CLOSE to your chest until you have confirmed your budget and venue!
No-one wants to start off married life spiralling into debt and falling out with friends, because you’ve already invited 200 people and can only afford 50.
Have a rough idea of how many guests you would like and be prepared to compromise in areas. Ultimately it is your budget that will dictate the size and type of wedding you can have and whether you can have it in 6 or 36 months, with a party of 10 or 300.
Decide where you would like to get married; Home turf? Abroad? Country? The city?
The world is your oyster when it comes to wedding planning, you just need a little inspiration. The web is a great place to give you a taste of what is feasible. Yes it can be a little overwhelming, but use it as a starting point.
Chic venue ideas can be found at Coco Wedding Venues, or more traditional via Country House weddings , Hitched are a great starting point. Free / local wedding magazines can often be picked up at wedding shows and supermarkets and are another good starting point to narrow down that needle in a haystack.
If you’re really overwhelmed consider hiring a planner that does wedding venue sourcing on your behalf!
Decide what type of wedding ceremony you would like
For example do you want to have a traditional Church of England , Catholic service or your religious equivalent, a Civil ceremony or a bespoke or Humanist ceremony for example? (Note that Humanist ceremonies are not currently recognised by law in England, they are in Scotland!), they offer absolutely stunning bespoke ceremonies so don’t dismiss them, but you would still need to sign your legal paperwork via your local registrar to be legally married).
Arrange venue viewings
Once you have done a little research and have narrowed down where you might like to get married, start booking show-arounds at venues.
Even if you decide to get married abroad, I cannot highlight enough how important it is for you to view potential wedding venues in the flesh before making a decision. Always take someone with you, take your time, don’t feel pressured to make a decision on the day.
Take a note pad and prepare the questions you would like to ask in advance and never be afraid to negotiate on the price! If you are booking several viewings in one day – I wouldn’t advise doing more than 3 and don’t forget to allow yourself travel time in between!
Save the Date Cards / Wedding Websites
Once you have secured your venue and selected a date, consider sending out Save the Date cards for guests you are ‘certain’ you want to invite!
Save The Dates are especially helpful if you are having a destination wedding or if any guests will have to travel abroad for your wedding. The more notice for oversea’s travel the better. These can be created via reputable stationers, or even simple postcards can be created on resources like Photobox for example.
Or you could be really creative and put together a save the date video instead!
Save The Dates to ensure all your favourite people are there by giving advance notice ahead of traditional invitations.
You may also like to consider joining a free wedding website to help you with your planning journey. They are also useful to help guests follow your planning journey and keep them informed of key information and updates. Squarespace Wedding Site and Getting Married are good starting points.
Subscribe to wedding blogs…
(Hopefully you have already subscribed to Nu Bride if you have stumbled across this post! )
There are such wonderful wedding resources out there via the world of wedding blogs. Providing information, wedding traditions (or the opposite!) advice, tips, designs, ideas, real weddings and showcasing quality wedding suppliers. Lots of wedding suppliers that you might not be aware of, are often featured on wedding blogs and frequently offer discounts and reader offers. They also offer couples with a lot of variety and choice, plus a supportive network to share ideas.
About 80% of my planning journey was inspired by several wedding blogs! Hope on over to Bridal Musings extensive list of some pretty epic blogs!
Pinterest is an excellent resource for us visual learners to get ideas for decorations, designs, themes, colours, to view and create mood-boards and ideas along the way! Also great for discovering hairstyles, shoes and make-up ideas to name a few!
Be warned you can easily spend hours on here and just because you see something you like on Pinterest doesn’t mean you have he budget and access to suppliers who can create it. SO just use it as a starting point. Budgets, location, suppliers all have an impact on what you can and can’t achieve for your own wedding, so show your ideas to your suppliers as a starting point and let them work their magic and create something unique for you, not a carbon copy of something you’ve already seen on Pinterest.
Phew – that should be more than enough to get you started over the next month! Finding the venue is the most time consuming part of planning, so once you have nailed that, the rest should start to fall into place.
As enjoyable as it is, I don’t want you to fall out of love with your wedding planning journey. Planning is fuller than a full-time job, so for a smooth journey, do plan ahead, ask for help and delegate. Don’t underestimate the time you will need to dedicate to prepare for it, don’t be afraid to consider getting a wedding planner onboard for some, or all of the planning stages. Their expertise and contacts in the industry could often save you time and money.
So to summarise, confirm your budget, consider hiring a planner, start venue hunting and save a date.
But most importantly…..ENJOY being engaged. Savour it. Enjoy the entire journey because, believe me, it goes so fast and there is nothing quite else like it! Congratulations!
Let me know how you get on!
Header Image: 2 Brides Photography