If you’ve recently got engaged but you’re not sure of what to do next, then here are my top tips for how to start planning a wedding. I have listed them in the most useful order to follow.
1. Discuss your ideas – Get together with your other half to discuss your hopes for your wedding. Think about what you both want, what are your non-negotiables? What do you want it to look like?
2. Create a draft guest list – this may seem to some to be premature but it’s important when you start planning a wedding to understand the number of guests you would like to invite. You don’t need to know exactly who, but you do need to have a rough total. This will affect what venues you look at and what budget you should allocate.
3. Create a draft wedding budget – If you haven’t organised an event like this before you won’t necessarily know what money to allocate to the different areas of your wedding and that’s fine. But to start with you need to know how much you would like to spend on your wedding, for example you need to know if you’re working with £10k or £500k. Allocate what you think you may want to spend on the different areas, you may want to allocate more to the items that are important to you. For example, if the meal is important you should make sure you allocate a realistic amount for food and drink per person.
4. Venue search – Your choice of wedding venue will have an impact on so many other elements of your wedding day (from budget and guest numbers to catering and the wedding style), so when you start planning a wedding you need to research this carefully and choose your venue before any other suppliers. For a full list of what you need to consider check out my ‘Choosing your wedding venue’ blog. Start to look at venues in the area you like, whether that be a city, countryside location or you may be looking to hold it at home (in which case you should research marquee companies). Think about the style you like whether that be a countryside estate, hotel, barn, marquee, there are many options. Think about the number of guests you’re hoping to invite. Considering these details (and the other’s mentioned in the venue blog) you should then be able to shortlist the venues that actually fit with your requirements. Once you have shortlisted you can go and visit the venues, see if they live up to your research and then choose the one you prefer.
5. Create a basic schedule – this again may seem premature but putting down the bare bones of a schedule at this stage will give your suppliers an Idea of requirements when providing you with quotes. So, make a note of the venue’s access time (when they will allow suppliers to have access for set up). What time do you want your ceremony to be? Will you have some photos taken after the ceremony? Do you need to allow for travel time between ceremony and reception venues? What time will your reception begin? What time do you want to start the disco/band? What time do you want the bar to close and guests to leave? These are the basic details of your wedding day timeline, but this information will help your suppliers to quote and having realistic costs will help you update your wedding budget and it will also help you shortlist suppliers.
When you start planning a wedding you should start with these 5 tasks. Keeping to this order should mean that you shortlist the most appropriate venues and suppliers, ones that fit with your wedding budget, your style and your priorities. Keeping to this order should also make the process less stressful as each point will advise the next.
The above shows you how to start planning a wedding, but it is a long process and takes an average of 300 hours to do. So, if you simply don’t have the time to plan your own wedding then please do get in touch and I’d be happy to discuss how I can help. Alternatively, if you need the occasional advice to keep you on track then please check out my Planning Power Hours to see how I can help.