Have you just got engaged at Christmas or New Year? Here’s how to start the wedding planning process!
In a survey organised by Festive Lights, it was found that 33% of people get engaged between Christmas and New Year. I did! Which goes to show the stats must be true. This means that 33% of brides start planning their wedding during the first few months of the year. January, February, and March are then popular times to start viewing venues, looking at churches, and deciding on a date.
So, as a bride to be who is only two months from getting married, I have plenty of tips for you about how to start the wedding planning process. It’s baffling, it’s a bit of a minefield, and there are so many suppliers out there it can be confusing as to what you really want. Hopefully I’ll be able to spread some advice. Here’s what you need to do in the first few months of being engaged.
It kind of goes without saying that weddings are bloody expensive. So if your engagement was a complete surprise, you’ll most likely (like I did) have no savings or a wedding fund whatsoever. Don’t panic!
You need to discuss with your family members about budget. It’s important for you to know how much your parents and your partner’s parents will chip in. Then you can work out how much you and your partner need to save on top. You cannot start saving for a wedding if you don’t know what your estimated budget it. How can you book a £10,000 venue, if your total budget is £12,000? It’s unrealistic. I understand you might feel awkward about asking your parents if they’re planning on helping you out, but it’s normal nowadays.
Set up a wedding account email, e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org. You can give this to all your suppliers, keeping all wedding emails in one place.
Sort your venue(s)
Choosing a venue sounds easy, but there are a lot of variables you have to consider:
- How many guests you’re having (an estimate at this stage is fine)
- Your budget
- Your theme
- Whether you want a church and a venue, or just a venue for the whole day
You need to decide on all of these things before you can choose a venue. Try not to get all excited (LET’S GET MARRIED IN MARRAKESH IN THE DESERT) too quickly. What if your partner wants a family church local to where they grew up? Make decisions on all of the bullet points above, which will then narrow down the venues you can actually get married at. This will make deciding much easier.
Deciding on a venue should be done within the first couple of months of being engaged so you can book the date you want. You can have a date in mind, but don’t set your heart on it as the venue might not be able to accommodate. Especially if you’re booking with less than a year’s notice. If you’re not too fussed about a particular month, you can ask what the venue has available. This works well if you want to get married quickly.
Sort other important suppliers
Once you’ve booked your venue, you officially know the date of your wedding. This means it’s time to book important suppliers. The photographer and videographer are the most important. They’re usually one of the biggest expenses (after the venue and catering) and you want to spend money on them to get someone good. You don’t want to regret your wedding photos for 50 years after the day, and wish you’d paid more for better photos.
Other important suppliers include the florist, caterers, and live entertainment. You should plan to spend more on these than things like the makeup artist or cake. Though these things are equally important, they’re not where you should prioritise your money.
Once all of the above are clarified, confirmed and booked, you can relax for a little bit. My biggest tip is start the wedding planning process early. The time you’re engaged goes so quickly. Don’t let time run away with you. I’ve been engaged for 2 years and 2 months. I booked my venue nearly two years ago, in March 2016.
The first year of wedding planning was mainly booking suppliers and paying deposits, whereas the second year has been spent organising the smaller details: stationary, lawn games, cake design, etc. Remember to enjoy your wedding planning, no matter how long you’ve got left.
*Information provided in a press release from Festive Lights