Just Engaged? 15 Things Nobody Tells You You Should Do Before Planning Your Wedding

Be you. Unapologetically.

Well congratulations kiddo!

I remember my own engagement like it was yesterday and the giddy excitement the announcements, the joy and then the planning overwhelm that followed.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already discovered the wonderful world of weddings can feel pretty overwhelming. Well to be fair, it is. The industry is totally over-saturated and it can be hard to find your wedding planning way in a sea of white noise. Yeah. There is a lot of that.

Today I am sharing some wisdom that you won’t find anywhere else.  Wisdom from editors, planners, former wedding managers at Claridges, to award-winning photographers and wedding experts. Don’t worry, we have got your back!

Read on to find out the best way to get started with your wedding planning to avoid overwhelm.

Gorgeous images punctuated throughout the piece by some of my favourite equality-minded photographers in the Snap Photography Festival community

Enjoy the moment

Photo: Chrissy G Photography

1. My tip is actually NOT to start planning straight away. Being newly engaged is a lovely, special time and it’s nice to enjoy it for a while before the planning phase kicks in. The wedding planning can wait. Just enjoy each other and this new stage of your life. Laura Babb, Photographer

Photo: Babb Photo

2. Sit and enjoy the moment!

Start your planning by visualising who you really want to spend the day with. The guest list will drive many of your other decisions.

Editor, Catalyst Wed Co –  more fab tips to get you started can be found here too!

Search for a venue

Photo: Andy Li

3. The venue decision sets the location, date, style and formality or informality of the entire wedding. It’s a massive decision and almost half the budget but once this big step is complete the fun stuff can begin! Kelly Mortimer, wedding venue consultant and former wedding and events manager at venues including the renowned Claridges

4. Take lots of purposeful time out together to visit and find a magical venue (anywhere in the UK or abroad) that will allow you to celebrate your marriage with your family and friends.
Everything else is expensive garnish and can wait. Lesley Burdett, Photographer

5.Start with your venue, photographer, and guest list, once those are done everything else will flow much more easily. Starting by thinking about the invites, or table centrepieces is not the way to go.
Dan, Magician 

Shut out the white noise

Photo: Wild Connections Photography

6. Don’t crowdsource your planning!

Be sure to use your own judgement and opinions as your guiding light when you start planning and not ask everyone in your contact list and everyone online for advice. Of course it’s okay to get tips here and there but make sure that every decision you make is your own. Set out to make the wedding you really want and you’ll have so much fun with it 🙂 Olivia, Wedding Planner

7. Sit down and talk about what YOU want. In this world of pinterest and instagram, it’s easy to get sucked in to what ‘social’ says is on trend. Have a wedding that represents you and don’t forget to have fun along the way! Lina and Tom, Photographers


Get practical

Photo: Matt Badenoch

8. What is important is the commitment you are making to each other, everything else is frosting! Make a list of what you want with a realistic budget then take 10% off. Put the list on your fridge so it is in daily sight – what you want and def DON’T want. Plan according to your 90% budget and then as the date gets near use the other 10% for a nice weekend away to de-stress before the big day or use it for that extra item which was on the wish list

Editor, Ultimate Wedding Magazine

Photo: Marni V Photography.co.uk

9. Ditch the stupid Knot lists of must haves. Sit down and write down what YOU both really value. Make your own must have list, what you must include and budget accordingly. Jacqueline Connor Photographer

10. Sit down & write a timeline, taking into account how long you want to spend doing certain things on your day. How long do you want the day to be. What the weather/light will be like, and what things are important to you. If you don’t care about it, sack it off, and use the money elsewhere – that could be flowers, cakes, favours, photography, whatever. Timings can dictate cost, light, activities & the overall vibe of the day. Ange Ward Brown, Photographer


Photo: Dani Salmon Photography 

11. Nu Bride: Yes, unless you like numbers this is boring as hell, but you can’t plan an inch or your wedding until you know how much you can and want to spend and where you need to seek any financial aid from!  So maybe once the engagement euphoria has worn off, get the calculator out and start budgeting. Excel spreadsheets (or bridebook budget calculator if you want something that does it for you) and budgeting are enough to strip out any romance – so preserve the boring budgeting until after you have celebrated. Remember, you get what you pay for and a wedding costs as much as you want to invest in it.

Photo: Andrew Billington

12. Be budget realistic! Think of what kind of wedding you want then what you can afford first of all. Find out how much things cost. Ask around. Wedding websites and wedding blogs can be a starting point, to see a very lose average cost of venues and food (which will take up the majority of your budget). And of course, hire a planner! It’s worth having someone do the legwork for you and there are good planners to suit all budgets and they already have an understanding of costings and can reduce the overwhelm for you. Jonelle, wedding planner

Remember the point

Photo: Andrew Billington

13.  Remember that the only essential thing is that at the end of the day, you get married. Everything else is fluff and not important in the grand scheme of things, so keep things in perspective when the pressure picks up. Don’t get stuck trying to emulate what you see on social media Ofe, wedding stationer and calligrapher 

14. Remember why you’re doing it – because of each other – and that EVERYTHING else is just trimmings. Emma and Rich, Photographers

15. Quite Simply: Focus on what you want and not what is expected. Lee, Photographer

Photo: Emma and Rich

So there you have it! I think Lee wraps it up quite nicely.  Be you. Unapologetically.
A wedding day is the perfect opportunity to celebrate you. Imperfections and all. You are marrying someone who loves ALL of you. Express yourself in your fashion, music, personality or through your cultures, but express yourself and use that to inspire your wedding plans and the type of day you want. It should be about you both. Start there and you’ll reduce the overwhelm. Also for further advice if you are newly engaged  – hop on over here. Check out the planning advice and inspiration section  to get you to the next stage and of course – save the date for Nu Bride The Wedding Show, naturally! 
Happy Planning and a great big congratulations on finding your soul mate. There really is nothing quite like it! 

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