Chances are that if you’re here, you may have recently become engaged. If this is the case, a big congratulations from us! Although, whether you’re engaged or not, fantasising about planning a wedding is something that we’re sure everyone has done at some point or another. You may have had your dress picked out since you were 10 years old, or are just starting to think about the prospect of getting married; either way, we’re here to take you through The Step-By-Step Guide To Planning Your Wedding to help you become the ultimate wedding planning guru.
- Theme & Styling Brainstorm
- Decide On A Budget
- Compile Your Guest List
- Book Your Venue
- Make An Announcement
- Say Yes To The Dress
- Suppliers And Finishing Touches
Follow The Step-By-Step Guide To Planning Your Wedding
Whether you’re right at the beginning of your wedding journey or nearing the end, you’re sure to find some helpful tips in this guide in order to make the whole process as enjoyable as possible. So get comfy, gather your bridesmaids or future spouse, and maybe throw in some of your favourite snacks for good measure. Let the wedding planning commence!
Theme & Styling Brainstorm
Potentially one of the most important decisions you can make in regards to your wedding day; the theme and style of the event will really set the tone for the day. Take this as an amazing opportunity to inject some personality into your wedding and make it completely your own. There are so many unique wedding theme ideas nowadays, so much so, it may be hard to choose. If you’re in need of a hand, Pinterest is an absolute goldmine for wedding themes and ideas. We love the board Themed Weddings from Artfully Wed for a range of out-of-the-box ideas.
This brainstorming session will direct a lot of your subsequent decision making, from the style of your dress to the choice of venue, so it’s important to choose a theme that you’ll be happy to stick with throughout the planning process. It’s a good idea to consider the location when making your choice, as this will dictate the style of the day to a certain extent. For example, if you have your heart set on getting married abroad, you’re more than likely looking at a beach wedding. Whereas, if you’d like a romantic, countryside wedding in a large stately home, your day may be a little more formal. Either way, this is a great starting point to help you on your way.
Decide On A Budget
This varies for every couple and depends on a lot of factors. Your budget is important to pin down as early as possible in order to effectively plan the rest of your wedding. Things to take into account include the following –
- Any savings that you may have
- Your monthly income
- Any outside financial contributions
Figuring out the amount you have to work with straight away will help you decide where to allocate your money. This helpful wedding budget calculator from Shutterfly will take your overall budget, and suggest how much you will need to spend on each part of your wedding. You can adjust it where you see fit and export it as an excel spreadsheet for your own use. It’s also a good idea to have a little extra money set aside if you can, for any unprepared surprises. When planning a wedding, you’ll undoubtedly come across little things that you may not have planned for, such as invitation postage costs or perhaps any added extras that you may want along the way.
Compile Your Guest List
This is renowned to be one of the trickier parts of the wedding planning process, as a lot of people tend to have their own ideas on who should be invited. It’s important to note, that no one but you and your fiancé should make the final choice, so don’t feel pushed into inviting that 3rd cousin twice removed whom you’ve never met! Remember, you can have separate day and night guests, allowing you to invite extra people to just the evening reception if you find that your ceremony guest list is filling up fast. This handy tool from Bridebook is great for putting your guest list together as well as keeping track of who has replied.
Factors to take into consideration are whether you’d like to invite plus ones, non-immediate family members and children; all of which may already be decided based on your budget constraints. Making these decisions early on will help you gain a better understanding of how many people you’ll need to cater for, and whether you need to think of things like a children’s menu or entertainer to keep the little ones happy. Always remember, you are well within your rights to do what best suits the wedding day you’d like, so the final choice is yours!
Book Your Venue
This is an extremely exciting part of wedding planning, as it will bring your special day to life and allow you to visualise how everything will look. As we have previously mentioned, your chosen theme and style will heavily dictate your choice of venue, so let this be the guiding force when researching potential locations. By now, you have probably decided whether you’d like to hold your ceremony and reception in separate venues or the same location. If you’re getting married in a church, there are some important things to remember. If you happen to be choosing a Church of England venue, this useful resource for couples hoping to get married in one of their churches will fill you in on everything you’ll need to know. Whatever faith you may hold, it’s a good idea to contact the church you are hoping to get married in and find out the necessary steps you need to follow in order to do this.
If you are hoping to have your ceremony and reception in the same venue, you’ll need to make sure that they hold the correct licence to allow this to happen. You will also need to obtain the correct documents yourself and book a registrar once the date has been decided. Gov.uk have a handy checklist if you’re looking to have a civil ceremony. Once you have chosen venues to suit your needs and made all of the necessary arrangements, you’ll officially have your date set in stone and can begin to move forward with the next steps.
Make An Announcement
So you’ve managed to decide on the venue as well as the final guest list, now comes the exciting part; making an announcement! This is where your theme can really begin to come into play. While some couples prefer to just send out main invitations, we recommend sending out some kind of ‘Save the Date’ in the first instance, as this will make sure that your guests are given plenty of notice and can keep the day free.
If you’d rather save on postage costs, why not consider sending out virtual announcements. The range of virtual ‘Save the Dates’ from Paperless Post is massive, allowing you to choose a design that will fit in perfectly with your chosen theme and style. Alternatively, if you’d like to send out physical cards, Notonthehighstreet.com have a fantastic variety to choose from, along with matching invitations and ‘On the Day’ stationery once you get to that point.
Say Yes To The Dress
Arguably the most important decision any bride will have to make – the dress is a huge part of any wedding planning journey. You may already have your dream dress in mind, but it’s really important to try on a variety of styles to really discover what you feel good in and eventually find ‘the one’! Take a look at this article from Rock My Wedding on wedding dress ideas, to get an insight into the many styles you could choose from. During any appointments, it can be fun to ask your accompanying bridesmaids and family to pick a dress each, without any input from yourself, so you get a really broad range of styles and designs to try.
Bear in mind the aesthetics of your venue, location and time of year that you’re getting married in, as this could influence the type of dress you go for. For instance, if you’re going to be a winter bride, choosing a long sleeved dress may be a good idea, or a pretty fur stole to keep you warm. If your theme is vintage however, you may want to choose a design that incorporates lace, as this will provide a beautifully classic finish. Whatever you do, have fun and try on as many dresses as possible to make the most of this exciting part of wedding planning.
Suppliers And Finishing Touches
This step requires quite a bit of organisation, in terms of budget allocation and communication. With so many different suppliers to book and collaborate with, it’s a good idea to invest in a wedding planning book. Using a planning book to your advantage means that you can keep all of your supplier’s names and numbers handy, as well as your budget for each so you can effectively keep track of everything. We love the range that Paperchase have on offer.
As well as the more traditional finishing touches to your wedding, such as flowers, photographer, wedding party attire and ‘On the Day’ stationery, you may want to allocate some of your budget to include some more unique extras to make your wedding day personal to you and truly memorable. Photobooths are becoming increasingly popular and are a great way to create a fun focal point for your wedding guests. We offer a variety of different Photobooth packages to choose from, which all include a USB for you to keep, containing all of the photos from the day. Alternatively, why not include an amazingly interactive addition to the wedding reception, with the help of our Digital graffiti wall. This will provide your guests with a fun activity to get involved in, perhaps while you are having photos taken? Your guest’s masterpieces can then be printed onto a range of items, creating incredibly unique keepsakes of your special day.
Enjoy Your Special Day
After following these helpful steps, all you’ll have left to do is send out your wedding invitations, and let everyone know the specific time, date and venue details. Try not to let the stress of wedding planning get to you, by staying organised, and following each step one by one. Ask for help if you need it and most importantly, enjoy the experience! Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life, so make sure you savour every minute.
If you’ve found this article helpful, or perhaps want your wedding party to get in on the wedding planning action, why not share our step-by-step guide on social media so you can all get started!