Image is of two hands linked at the little fingers with a clear view of an engagement ring.

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12 December 2022

You’ve just got engaged… but where to start with the wedding planning?

You said YES!

The excitement of telling your family and friends your big news and of course all the celebrations that go with it are a welcomed whirlwind of excitement!

But then the realisation of the planning the BIG DAY hits you! When do we start looking at venues, booking the caterers and deciding who will be invited? This can be daunting, and a wise move would be to not listen to your distant relative’s, neighbour’s, best friend’s or person you sometimes meet while walking the dog’s wedding horror stories!

In the wise words of Martine McCutchen…this is your moment! So, take the time to enjoy it and keep that stress as low as possible.

Reports have shown that the ideal engagement period is around 12-14 months, but this can vary greatly from couple to couple.

Working on a 12-month lead time, here is a rundown of how and when to plan!

Ok, so where do you start?

Budget – not the most romantic part of the wedding day but so important that this is set from the beginning so you and your partner know what you can afford for the day! Going in without a figure could end up costly and ultimately very stressful. NOT how you want to start married life.

There are plenty of helpful apps and planning documents now available that can help you keep a close eye on what you are spending.

How do you want your wedding to look – before you start buying bits and pieces here and there, sit down with your partner and really think about the theme for the day. Will it be very traditional, quirky theatrical theme or maybe a certain era that you love?

Once a decision has been made on the look of the day, you can start creating some visual inspiration. This could be a good old-fashioned notebook (or complete binder if you are like Monica Geller!) or if you are of the digital generation, then Pinterest is a great way to build a portfolio of your perfect wedding. Plus, you can invite your partner to the Board as well so they can get pinning too!

So, you have set the budget and decided on a theme… Now the fun bit!

VENUE SHOPPING – Here is when the fun and reality come to life. Finding the perfect venue can come with its stresses but when you know, you know!

You may have a date or season in mind, but the venue itself may dictate the final date as will be determined by any current bookings they may have. So, try to be relaxed and aware you may have to be flexible about the date.

Things also to consider about the venue:

Do you want onsite accommodation?

In-house catering or bringing someone in to cater?

And the number of guests for the day, not forgetting the evening guests

Be sure to let your venue know everything you have in mind so they can be really clear on how they can accommodate you.

Wedding Insurance – another unromantic part of the big day, and although it’s not nice to think about anything going wrong, it is always best to be safe in the knowledge that you have some insurance if things need to be changed.

Marriage Licence – A very important thing to add to your list and you absolutely want to make sure you are legally married!

You need to apply for a wedding licence whether you are getting married in the UK or abroad. Do bear in mind that if getting married abroad then the process may be more complex and a few more boxes to tick.

Depending on the type of wedding service you are going to have there are certain legal requirements and some fees to pay, you can find out from your local register office about what documents and information you need to provide in more detail.

The Wedding Party – You may already know who the bridesmaids, page boys and flower girls are going to be! Or you may have too many to choose from and don’t want to upset anyone.

So, take your time, it is your day, and you can have it how you best see fit.

You can make the decision and process of telling the lucky people who will be by your side on your big day in some fun and very cute ways too! So, make the most of it and indulge in some memorable activities with your nearest and dearest.

THE DRESS – Oh yes, this is a great time to start making those appointments to try on your perfect wedding dress or outfit!

Even though you may have “the one” decided in your mind, try to go in with an open mind and be willing to try on something that may feel different to your normal style! You might be pleasantly surprised! This is something you can share with your bridesmaids or loved ones so make an adventure of it and expect tears along the way (good ones of course!)

Wedding Website – this is a relatively new idea but a great one! You can add all the information ready for your guests, lovely back story about you and your partner, the proposal and can even have the ability for guests to RSVP on the website!! You can find some great website templates to get you started and the URL can be added to your Save the Dates!

Save the Dates & Invitations – Now that you have a theme, date, and venue, you can look at finding the perfect “save the dates” and “invitations” to send to your guests. Will it be a completely digital or postal invite? You decide!

It’s best to send these out with at least 8-9 months to go so your guests have time to plan some time off (if needed), book a hotel room and of course find their wedding outfit!

Flowers, cake, and photographers…oh my – Recommendations are always a good way to go. Speak to friends and family members to get some contact details for all these professionals. Look them up online and look at past work and testimonials. It is always a good idea to meet in person before deciding too… Especially the photographer, as they are going to be following you around all day so you want to like them!

The Wedding Bands – Make sure you leave plenty of time to find the rings you want and time to have them made. Allow for extra time if getting bespoke rings made.

Hair and Make-Up – This is your day and you should expect to feel amazing! So, make sure you know the look you want to go for, what style will work with the wedding dress and something that will be comfortable for the day. When you have a wedding hair trial your stylist will ask many questions so they can create a look that will be perfect for you, but remember, if you would like anything changed a good stylist will welcome your input. After all, they want you to look and feel gorgeous on the day too!

Transportation – depending on the venue, are you staying on site the night before or staying at a different location? You may need to consider transportation. Whether it’s your own vehicle, a friend or family member’s vintage pride and joy, or hired vehicles for the day, you need to book these in advance and make sure all are available on the day and able to travel to the venue.

So, with all these items safely on your to-do list, you can start planning your big day. But remember, it isn’t a race, and the average wedding takes around 13 months to plan so to summarise..

*Take your time

*Work as a team with your partner and delegate to family and friends too

*Choose your venue and suppliers you like and feel comfortable with  

*Make your wedding personal and memorable

*Read the small print…there will be a lot of contracts to be signed

*Take some time out

*And most importantly……ENJOY. EVERY. SECOND.

It goes by so quickly!