The Essential Guide to Planning a Wedding
You’re engaged and have shared your wonderful news with family and friends. Now it’s time to start thinking about wedding planning.
Whether you’re approaching wedding planning with a clear idea of what you want from your wedding day and how you’ll achieve this, or are unsure of where to begin, this guide to completing essential wedding planning tasks will help you stay on track and organised.
Wedding planning should be enjoyable and exciting, and the best way to avoid stress and overwhelm is to take wedding planning step by step, and to follow an easy to use checklist which includes the most important wedding planning tasks.
This simple guide to wedding planning, from budget and prioritising, through to venue searching, supplier bookings and thank you cards, will help guarantee that you have a positive planning experience.
Pop the Question
Bridesmaids, groomsmen, the maid of honour and the best man all play important roles in your special day and you should put some thought into who you are going to ask.
It will of course come down to the people you love most but you might also wish to consider whether your maid of honour is well organised and will help with planning, or whether a potential best man will be happy to make a speech.
Set your budget
One of the first things to think about when planning a wedding is your budget.
Although you might not have a clear idea of what things cost at this stage, it’s important to sit down and work out what you can afford, what you’re likely to be able to save, what you both feel comfortable spending and whether your families might contribute.
If you think that your parents might help you pay for the wedding, it’s a good idea to have a conversation with them early in the planning stages to avoid the stress of not knowing later in the process.
Once you have a wedding budget in mind, you can begin to think about how much you might like to allocate to each aspect of your wedding and which areas are most important to the two of you.
Priorities will differ, but might include:
- A big guest list versus a small, intimate affair
- Who will be doing wedding speeches
- Big budget florals such as an elaborate wedding arch
- Whether food is formal or informal
- Importance of an open bar
Consider Style and Season
If you haven’t already completed Pinterest, now is the time to start collecting lots of ideas and inspiration for your wedding day.
Spend time grouping images that you love, whether they’re table decor ideas, colour schemes, themes, wedding cakes or dresses. Soon, you’ll notice a pattern in the types of wedding styles you’re drawn to.
If you haven’t already decided on a spring, summer, autumn or winter wedding, now is the time to lock in that decision too.
Compose Your Wedding Guest List
Before you start searching for the perfect wedding venue, it’s important to have a good idea of how many guests you’re likely to have for both the day and the evening.
Bear in mind that you’re likely to spend the largest portion of your budget on catering, so if this doesn’t fit with your initial plans why not consider an intimate wedding ceremony and reception, followed by a big party with everyone else in the evening?
You probably also want to consider whether or not to invite children to your wedding day. If you are concerned about rising numbers, it’s completely acceptable to have an ‘adults only’ wedding day or just to invite children who are part of your immediate family.
It can also be tricky deciding on whether to invite plus ones and colleagues, and how many maximum invites each partner should aim to work with. Have these conversations early to avoid confusion or stressful misunderstandings later on in the planning process.
Find Your Perfect Wedding Venue
Now you have an idea of budget, guest numbers, priorities and wedding style, you can begin to shortlist potential wedding venues.
You should have a clear idea of whether you’re searching for a rustic barn, a beach-side hotel or a fairytale castle by now, so you can begin to narrow down your search by location.
Next, you’ll need to ensure it can accommodate the number of guests you have in mind and decide whether it’s important to you to find a venue with overnight accommodation – like Curradine Barns – or whether you’re happy to search for accommodation close by.
Make sure you’re happy with catering options and that you have the freedom to choose your own suppliers, if you wish.
Of course, your venue should blow you away when you visit. You should be able to envisage your wedding style suiting the venue, and picture your loved ones celebrating with you in each space.
Read reviews and take a look at real weddings to gain perspective of other couples’ experiences. We believe that when you know, you know.
Set the Date
You’ve already selected a season, so now is the time to check availability with your chosen venue. Make a note of any dates you’d like to avoid due to diary clashes, national holidays and even important friends and family dates.
It’s worth bearing in mind that certain dates can be far more expensive than others. For example, getting married on a Saturday in August will cost significantly more than getting married on a weekday in February.
With a date secured in the diary, you’ll want to confirm and book the church or celebrant before reaching out to other suppliers.
Send Save the Dates
With a date confirmed with your wedding venue, you can now finalise your guest list and prepare to send save the dates (to day guests only, not evening). Save the date cards will give guests plenty of notice so that they can keep your wedding date free.
Create a Wedding Website
Many couples find it helpful to create their own wedding website to help manage RSVPs, menu choices and allergies, accommodation recommendations, gift registry and information about the day. It also reduces paper waste as well as stationary and postage costs (option to link out eg https://www.theknot.com/gs/wedding-websites?vers=4)
Book Your Suppliers
As soon as you’ve booked your venue, it’s important to begin searching for wedding suppliers to make sure that you can secure your first choices for your wedding date.
Suppliers to book might include:
- Caterer & Bar
- Photographer & Videographer
- Cake Maker
- Wedding Planner & Stylist
- Music & DJ
- Hair & Makeup
- Wedding Transport
At Curradine Barns, our catering team is based on-site and we would be delighted to assist you with the details of other suppliers whose work we admire. Always choose suppliers that you get along well with, who understand what you’re looking for and can work within your budget. The Curradine Barns Events Team is here to help you every step of the way, making your wedding planning a thoroughly enjoyable process.
Go Dress Shopping
There’s nothing not to love about wedding dress shopping! It will be one of the most exciting parts of the wedding planning process.
Give yourself plenty of time to find the wedding dress or suit of your dreams as you’ll want to try on a range of styles and some dresses could take up to six months to make, plus you’ll have to return for fittings and alterations. And, of course, don’t forget the accessories, shoes and wedding rings.
Take a look at some of our favourite bridal and accessories shops.
Once you have chosen your wedding dress, you can start to think about bridesmaid dresses and grooms-wear that will complement your dress and suit the style of your big day.
It may not sound fun but it is essential to periodically check where you’re at with your wedding budget, whether that’s weekly, monthly or as and when you book suppliers or make wedding day purchases.
It’s also important to make sure that you’re keeping on top of contracts and invoices, and that you’re aware of when payments are due to help you manage costs.
Send Your Wedding Invitations
Now that you’ve made most of the big decisions and have the majority of your wedding planning taken care of, it’s time to send out your wedding invitations and RSVPs. You should aim to send invitations out between three and six months before your wedding date.
You’ll need to be sure to include all essential details such as location, RSVP information and menu choices (complete with allergies), and if you did create a wedding website, you should include a link or QR code on the invitation to guide guests there for more information and to submit RSVPs. You may also wish to include a wedding gift list.
Ensure that your wedding invitations make it clear as to who is invited, and create separate invitations for evening guests.
Booking your Honeymoon
Booking your honeymoon will be one of the most exciting parts of your wedding planning process. Hello, dream holiday anyone?
If you know where you’re planning to go and have already budgeted for it, you might want to book something right away.
But you don’t need to jet off as soon as you’ve tied the knot. In fact, there’s something rather lovely about taking time to plan a special adventure and save up for a bigger trip.
Planning a minimoon for straight after the wedding is a popular choice for good reason. It gives you both a few days to relax and unwind, whilst making bigger plans for later in the year
Finalise the Details
It’s time to think about the details and to make some final decisions on how you would like your day to flow. If you haven’t already, you will want to make final decisions on your menu, drinks, décor and other personalised elements from favours to floral arrangements. Liaise with your suppliers, discussing all possible options and finalising practical ‘on the day’ arrangements.
Now is the time to decide on wedding songs and wedding readings for the ceremony, and to arrange any thank you gifts that you might want to give out.
You may also wish to create a schedule for the day’s events. This will give your suppliers something to work from and will remind you if there’s anything you might have forgotten. Include things like what time suppliers will arrive, what time the ceremony will take place etc.
The Final Weeks
Within the last couple of weeks leading up to your wedding day, check in with your key wedding suppliers and venue to ensure everyone is comfortable with your plans and schedule, so that you can approach your wedding day with complete peace of mind.
You might even consider having a few days or a week off work to enable you to make any final arrangements, pamper yourself and to enjoy the build up to your big day.
Congratulations – you’ve done it! Now it’s time to relax and enjoy one of the most important days of your lives.
Want to know more?
If you have yet to visit Curradine Barns, we would love to show you all we have to offer. Simply give our friendly team a call on 01905 670039 or contact us online.
Everything and more…
Find out more about celebrating your perfect wedding day at Curradine Barns.