Where the heck do we start planning our wedding?
You’ve just got engaged, you’re excited about it, and so you should be! Planning your own wedding can be a lot of fun, and the best thing is you’re in charge of it woohoo! It can also be a bit daunting, certainly if you’ve not organised anything on this scale before, don’t worry though - it’ll be fine, enjoy it, don’t stress, you’re in control.
So then where do you start? What should you do? Here’s a few things to get you going.
Tell people, tell everyone…apart from the people you really don’t like perhaps. Get that status changed to ‘engaged’, post some pics of you looking sickeningly in love - make your mates jealous…and happy for you, of course! Go round, see the folks, the family (maybe do that first - unless they were in on the proposal of course, then just go round and get the bubbly open for a celebratory drink), while you’re there get the old folk on speakerphone and give them the good news - they’ll love to hear from you! Spread the word, this is excellent news!
Get you ring insured
Not being all doom and gloom here but seriously, your other half has just got you a lovely ring because they love you…and want to marry you. Accidents can happen, so don’t take the chance, give your home insurance a call and get it added! Right, that’s the only ‘boringly sensible thing!’ here, I think.
Start thinking about a date
Summer wedding? Winter wedding? Your date is kind of important, it helps you to start focusing on saving and planning the details. It also lets people make sure they can be there once you’ve announced it. Now you don’t have to set a date in stone just yet, hold your horses - you might have to be flexible if you have your heart set on a venue. Same goes for things like a photographer (yes some people arrange their wedding around the availability of a specific photographer!).
If you want to save a bit of money, consider having a midweek wedding, or out of season, venues are typically cheaper. Saturday is obvs the most popular day to get married, Friday is probably the next popular. Thursdays and Sundays can be a good option if you want to try and keep costs down.
Get a rough ‘who do we like’ list together
I mean a guest list btw. Now then, I’ll start by saying this - it’s your wedding day, invite whoever you want, don’t feel like you have to ask people because you feel obliged to. Being someone who’s witnessed first hand a helluva lot of weddings, the people you invite make the atmosphere what it is, surround yourself with the people you want to be surrounded with.
Who, or how many people you invite to your wedding will help dictate your venue choice, and quite often your budget.
What kind of wedding do you want?
There are an abundance of options for the kind of wedding you might want, outdoors, indoors, teepee, festival, boho (I’m still not sure what this is exactly!), traditional, marquee, barn, castle, pub - Jesus the list is endless. Don’t feel tied to a particular theme, you can have a mishmash of anything you want.
Gah - money !
Unless you’ve got a money tree, you might want to start thinking about a budget. Decide together, get parents involved if they’re helping out but at least get a general idea. It’s boring and can lead to some ermmm debates, but it needs to be done - sorry!
What’s important to you?
Most people don't have unlimited funds for their wedding, so it's a good idea to start thinking about what's important to you on your wedding day and putting those things in order, that way you can begin to calving your budget up. Remember - it's YOUR wedding, therefore, your choice as to what to spend on.
Some couples put a really high value on entertainment and want a kick-ass band to finish their day off. Others would rather have more for that dream dress and shoes, for others pictures are the most important thing or a cake or flowers - who knows but It's ultimately your choice!
Once you've decided what's really important, don't skimp on those essential things - you get what you pay for and if it's important to you then spend your money on that. You can always cut costs elsewhere if you need to. Uncle Derek, you haven't seen for years and don't like - cut him off.
Start researching venues
Once you kind of know how many people you’re thinking of inviting and the sort of wedding you want you can start looking at venues. Google is your friend, closely followed by arranging a visit to get a feel for the place. Good venues do get booked up early just bear this in mind.
Start looking for a photographer
The next most popular thing to look at is a photographer, they get booked fast too, often up to 2 years or more in advance if they’re any good. There’s an abundance of styles but bear in mind that most photographers will write stuff to try and appeal to you, my honest advice is to ignore the stuff written and look based on pictures - you’re looking for a photographer not someone to write nice words for you. Make sure you look at LOTS of pictures from anyone you’re interested in, ask to see full galleries (don’t rely on blog posts).
Learn to say “ermmm nope”
You’ll find people are full of useful advice when you’re planning your day, the future in-laws may have their own ideas about how your day should be. Learn to tactfully say “No chance”, it is your day not theirs (even if they are helping out financially), don’t get steamrollered into having the things people think you should have if you don’t want them.
Go and get drunk
Ok, not necessary BUT go out together to celebrate, make it a regular thing if you can leading up to your wedding - planning can sometimes be a pain in the ass and a bit stressful. Go out and remember why you’re actually doing all the planning in the first place - because you want to marry each other!
Obviously there is plenty more advice floating around, these are things I’ve learned in my years as a wedding photographer, the things that immediately spring to mind. If I think of any more I’ll add them to this page (if you have any golden nuggets of advice because you’ve arranged a wedding yourself, feel free to pass them on and I’ll add them).