12 First Steps to get you Thinking & Organising
Ok, aside from dreaming about winning the lottery, it’s best that you both have a good idea about how much you want to spend on your wedding. There are many things to remember, and some will only come to you as the go through the process. It will help if you estimate your costs and add it all up as you go along, giving you a running total as you add more items to the list. You can edit the costs from what you estimate, to actual bills as they come in. Keep an eye on my Blog and articles for money saving ideas and tips.
Your Wedding Venue
I’m sure you may already have an idea of the venue for your wedding but remember to be honest and realistic with yourself. Talk about the venue as a couple. Remember, marriage is about compromise and you will certainly learn this skill together just planning the wedding! If you have ideas about special dates, you need to get it booked with the venue as soon as possible. Will the venue be exclusive to you, or will you be sharing (as many venues do these days) with another wedding party? Many have different size rooms according to the size of your party. Do they offer a choice of locations on their site for the ceremony?
A note about outside gazebos and pergolas. If you are outside – what happens if it rains? Will there be an alternative inside? Did you know that in law, once your marriage has started outside, it must finish outside, so what will happen to your guests if it rains? Is it easy to get to for guests? Does it have overnight accommodation? Do you have to use their catering facilities or can you save money getting a caterer in or doing it yourself? What is going to happen in the evening? Give some thought to the time of year, the weather and your expectations.
Best day of your life? Of course it will be. We at Bride-Buddy want to help you make sure it is and for that reason we would recommend insurance. Some policies cover so much, including honeymoons, so have a serious think about it. The stories I could tell you of weddings I attended where things went wrong due to no ones fault. One bride was so sick at a very expensive venue, she ended up marrying in her pyjamas! Another where candles set light to a table and I remember sewing a torn wedding dress minutes before we about to start. We even had a flood at the Register Office once and had to cancel all the ceremonies for a week and find an alternative venue – the couples had no choice, the new venue, or postpone their wedding!
Sometimes, little things can go wrong can and be memorable in a funny way, wedding insurance can cover the big things – just in case…….
Who’s In and Who’s Out of Your Bridal Party?
Don’t rush off and ask all your favourite people to be bridemaids/witnesses/ushers as soon as your man has proposed. Take some time and think about it. Don’t forget you have a groom and he will want to be involved in these sort of decisions. Perhaps you have lots of little nieces and nephews who will look very cute as bridesmaids and pageboys on the day, but is it practical? Remember, they will all need outfits to budget for.
Maybe you have a complicated family situation. Who will give you away? Will you upset anyone else? Who will break down and go all ‘gushy’ on the day and who will be the sensible supportive one? Is the Best Man a confident speaker? Maybe a friend or family member can do a reading? Check my articles on Wedding Traditions and Who Does What to help you decide.
Registrars will come out to your venue and conduct your ceremony. This isn't the only option for your ceremony. Celebrants can offer you a variety of choices over different parts of your ceremony, for example your vows, exchange of rings and readings etc. Start looking at readings and think about friends or family members who you would like to read for you. Make sure you choose confident readers and try not to ‘push’ people into jobs they really do not feel comfortable with. Who will be your witnesses, bridesmaids, groomsmen, best man etc?
What music would you like? You will need something to walk in to, maybe 2 songs to play while you are signing the register and something for you both to walk out to. Maybe you are considering some live music or asking someone to work a CD for you.
Pick Your Wedding Suppliers
Get yourself organised with regard to where you shop! Add contact information for all your suppliers in your spreadsheet or organiser. That way if you need to contact them, or can’t remember a contact’s name, it will all be directly to hand.
Plan Your Wedding Guest List
Where do you start? Maybe you should each do a list with family, friends, work colleagues and start whittling it down from there. You should have chosen your venue by now, so this will help dictate your guest numbers. Who is having a full invite? Who is evening only? Are you ok with lots of children there? Do your parents want your long lost Auntie twice removed to attend? Do your sums straight away. Add? Take Away? Hmmmm…..
Choose your Dress
Ahhh, wedding dresses……I’ve seen a few! Some stunning, some classic, some big old meringues, , short, long, too tight, too long……. Of course it is one of the favourite tasks in planning a wedding, but try being honest with yourself and think about what you know suits you and take Mum and the girls along with you!
Create Your Wedding Gift List
If this is something you would like to include in your plans, try and get it done so it goes out with your invitations. Your guests will appreciate the simplicity of being able to get something they know you want and it saves them time worrying about what to buy the perfect couple.
Maybe you want to set up a department store list or a honeymoon fund, or perhaps there is something really special that you are saving for and the guests can contribute to? Some couples now even have Charity Gift Lists, where guests can donate to your favourite charities.
With everyone living such busy lives these days, most couples now send ‘save the date’ cards. This is a lovely way to announce your wedding to those who don’t already know and it also gives guests plenty of time to make sure they are free for your big day.
The rule of thumb when sending your ‘official’ invites is around 3 – 6 months beforehand, so make sure you take note and set a reminder for you to start looking around for ideas.
Planning Your Honeymoon
Your honeymoon could be something you have included in your budget, or maybe you have asked your guests to contribute instead of buying you presents. Perhaps you want to return to a favourite place together, or you are looking at something unforgettable and different.
If cash and other restrictions are a problem, you could just look at a just a few days relaxation to enjoy the start of married life. Whatever you decide, enjoy yourselves!
Your Seating Plan
Once you start receiving your RSVP’s you can start thinking about table and seating plans. Play around with your guests, add and delete and keep moving everyone until you are happy with the results. As a general rule keep families and friends in separate groups and remember that you need to think about table names and décor.
We hope these first ideas have got you thinking. Take a look at our other helpful articles for more inspiration and don't forget our Bride-Buddy