First of all, if this applies to you, OMG CONGRATULATIONS! HOW EXCITING!!!! You are now officially engaged and having a wedding! Be it big or small, local or destination, here are a few top tips to starting off on the right foot.
Photo by Marianne Taylor
1. Tell friends, family, anyone and everyone
That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but do not feel shy about telling everyone your news. Weddings are always something to be excited about and people will want to congratulate you. Obviously, use your best judgement in terms of the way that you inform people, neighbors from 10 years ago are probably better off finding out via Facebook, but either way, feel free to share the news. People will be happy for you so allow yourself some over the top announcements if you must.
Hooray! This is mega exciting and you need to celebrate in the way that is best for you. This might be a super formal engagement party with a proper theme or it might be a casual get together with friends who come ’round with beer and pizza. Do it your way and no way else, but invite your friends over to share the good news. Make sure to invite only those you’re sure you will have at your wedding though.
3 & 4. Start thinking about your guest list
This will inform your venue choice and vice versa. You never really know how many people are going to come but you will always run into issues with venues being too big or too small for your guest list so it’s good to have a ballpark in the back of your mind no matter what. Food and drink are often one of the biggest single items on the budget so having a list of how many people you would like to invite will help you understand costs and what’s feasible given your budget. If you don’t know your budget, see No. 4.
4. Think about budget and be realistic.
Have the conversation with your other half / parents / soon to be in-laws and talk about who is going to be paying for the wedding. Traditionally it is the parents who help foot the bill but modern day couples are covering the cost of their weddings more and more so sit down and figure out how much money you will realistically be able to put down for your big day and go from there. Remember some of the best weddings featured on the most amazing blogs are super DIY and incredibly affordable, it less about the money you have to spend and more about how you decide to use it.
5, 6 & 7. Book your Photographer / Wedding Planner / Videographer
A 3 way tie in my opinion, these are the people you should really consider spending your budget on. Ever single aspect of your day is important and there will be things that some people prioritise over others because we are all different but consider these guys before you make any choices! There have been loads of posts about why it pays to invest in your photographer and why hiring a wedding planner might actually save you money and will definitely save you time. In addition to these guys, the 3rd wedding expert I would suggest including is a videographer because while photos absolutely capture the beautiful story of your day in moments, a video of your dad’s speech or of the moment you turn the corner and walk down the aisle helps you remember just a bit more about the blurry whirlwind that is probably going to be your wedding day. Research rates, packages and do it early as people book up super quickly and you don’t want to be disappointed! Also, if you book a planner first, ask them for suggestions on who they might think will suit you – remember they’ve worked in the industry for a while and will have great suggestions.
8. Buy bridal magazines and visit some blogs
These two, for me, go hand in hand. There is nothing like a cheeky little break during the work day to look at a link a friend has sent you from a popular wedding blog, but equally enjoyable is carrying that big fat glossy onto the long tube journey home and disappearing into the pages of even more fabulous dresses, accessories, decor, flowers and more. Also, its fun knowing everyone on the tube with you knows you’re engaged. (Yay!) I somehow managed to convince myself that since I was only going to be engaged for 18 months (which is actually quite a long time) I was entitled to spending a bit of money on magazines I wouldn’t splurge on in the future. Now. Being a blogger, this excuse thankfully still exists but for different reasons now. Lucky me 🙂
9. Visit some venues and set a date
It’s pretty hard to envision the design and set up of your wedding before you have a venue so this process should really start as soon as you’re ready. Equipped with a general idea of how many people you’d like to invite, search blogs, magazines and ask for recommendations from friends about venues suitable for a big party. Some venues that are not typically used for weddings might be your dream reception space, so make sure you don’t just type “wedding venue” into google. Think about the type of party you’d like to have – industrial and warehouse inspired or old English Townhouse. Then, when you’ve compiled a list, make appointments and visit every single one of them. It took me AGES to figure out what I wanted, but visiting all the places that were options helped me feel like I exhausted all the choices and I could be even more confident in our decision. It takes time, and your other half might or might not be excited about joining you, but it is one of the biggest and most defining decisions you will have to make. Write down a list of questions before going to each place, and write down a list of pros and cons once you’ve left so you can be as objective as possible. Once you’ve chosen a few top choices, search for the venue on wedding and photography blogs for weddings that have happened there already – look at how people have used the space and think about how you might use it.
10. Book tickets to a few wedding shows / fairs
Wedding fairs are really good ways to start looking at ideas whether its flower arrangements, cake designs, stationery ideas or dresses – you name it, they’ve got it. What’s great about these events is that they pull together a lot of suppliers and experts in a single space that you can bring your mum or bridesmaids to meet to kickstart your wedding planning. Going to the Designer Wedding Show was a really good way for me to find out what dress designers were out there to begin with, instead of booking loads of time consuming and sometimes costly appointments – I could see the different styles of dresses and then choose the places I wanted to visit. This applies to so many other aspects of planning your day and is just a really good way to starting the process.