How to Start the Wedding Planning Process

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.

 

Start Saving

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.

 


Top Tip!

Set up a wedding account email, e.g. sarahandjaywedding@gmail.com. You can give this to all your suppliers, keeping all wedding emails in one place.

 


Book planner with highlighted dates

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
  • Location

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

The Truth about Wedding Jitters

Having slight wedding anxiety? Here’s the truth about wedding jitters and how to get past them.

I want to start this post by stating that slight wedding jitters and cold feet are NOT THE SAME THING and I have no doubts in my mind about marrying Jay. I want this to be an honest post about my experience of wedding nerves and anxiety, but don’t want anyone to think that I’m having anxiety about the person I’m marrying.

In my opinion, wedding jitters are anxiety about the wedding day itself: will anything go wrong, do all the suppliers know what they’re doing, will people like my dress, do I like my dress? Most wedding jitters are completely irrational. Of course I love my dress, I know that I do, I woudn’t have bought it otherwise. Yet something (really annoying) is in my head trying to persuade me otherwise.

This post will explain the truth about wedding jitters and why they’re okay and honestly completely normal.

 

Why you’ve got jitters

So to solve the problem you’ve got to find the root cause of your anxiety. Mine was my wedding stationary. I knew this because once I sorted it all (placecards, menus, table plan) my worries almost completely disappeared. To be getting so much anxiety over one small thing is ridiculous, but if you pile one thing on top of another, of course it’s going to get too much.

I decided to save money and make all of my stationary. My DIY invitations came in at under £100. My menus and table plan are being designed by my sister. I’m sorting my own Order of Service instead of going through a company to make them. Although this has saved us money, it’s added so much stress on myself.

 

Common Causes of Wedding Anxiety

  • Money

Weddings are expensive so it’s not surprising if at some point you panic about the budget or how much you’ve spent.

  • Family

No one has a straight forward family anymore. We’ve all got divorced family members, family members that have remarried and the straight up weird family members that no one ever sees or talks to. Just invite who you want there and don’t worry about upsetting people. It’s YOUR DAY (don’t know how many times people have said that to me since I’ve been planning).

  • Your dress

As I said before, I’m having anxiety over my dress. Partly because it’s an ex-stock dress so it’s a size 16, whereas I’m a 6-8. I’m so anxious about it because I’ve got to have about 6 inches taken off it! As long as you felt that it was ‘The One’ when you first put it over your head, you’ll still love it on your big day.

  • The weather

The UK is far too unpredictable to rely on the weather. If you’re worried about rain, do what you can to make sure it doesn’t matter. Ask the venue to provide umbrellas. Have alternative indoor entertainment as well as outdoor.

 

Bride lifting dress to reveal yellow wellington boots.

 

How to get rid of your jitters

Once you’ve discovered the source of your wedding anxiety, it’s time to sort it out.

One thing I swear by is making a list. Make a list of everything you’ve got to do in the next week, or a list of appointments in the next month. This will help you to see everything more clearly, and take one step at a time.

Discuss things with your partner. They might have some good suggestions, things that you’ve never thought of.

Finally, take some time for you. Don’t let the wedding take over your life (like I have). Sometimes you need to take a week off where you don’t have any appointments and don’t send any emails. This will give you a clear head the next time you come back to the wedding planning.

 

I panicked so much when I started getting anxious. I don’t mean just worrying about the wedding, but every time I thought about it, I didn’t want to go ahead with it. Again let me clarify, this wasn’t because I didn’t want to marry Jay. I was just getting so stressed with the wedding that it’s like my brain was telling me to give up. Every time I thought about the stupid menu or the table plan I just wanted to cry.

This feeling only lasted for around two weeks, and I’ve had no other kinds of nerves in the two years we’ve been engaged and planning the wedding. I need to be in control, and I’m having to put a lot of trust into my suppliers, so I’m struggling to let go.

The jitters do come and go, and the more organised I get and the nearer to the wedding we come, the less nervous I’m getting and excitement is starting to kick in. Remember to enjoy your planning. It is an exciting time, although it doesn’t always feel like it.

So there’s my raw truth about wedding jitters. They’re absolutely normal and nothing to worry about if they only last a few short weeks.

 

 

 

Choosing your wedding jewellery

If you’ve found this post, you might be getting married yourself and want some advice on choosing your wedding jewellery.

I know that when I’ve looked at a bride in the past, I focus on her dress and not much else, but there are so many decisions and accessories that have been thought about to complement the dress. I didn’t realise this until I became engaged myself and went to my dress fitting. Once you’ve chosen the dress, there’s then the veil and headpiece decision, the underwear decision (will the bra you’ve bought show over the top of the dress neckline?), the shoes decision (height, style, colour, material) and finally, choosing your wedding jewellery.

The decisions seem to be endless, and everything has to tie in together. The veil can’t be cream with a pure white dress. You can’t have silver crystals in your dress and rose gold crystals in your shoes. This makes finding your accessories so much harder than you thought it was going to be. This post should help you when choosing your wedding jewellery on what to go for and how to style it.

 

Bold and Beautiful

Some brides don’t want any accessories to detract from the dress, but what they don’t see is that they can accent it more. If you have a plunging or a sweetheart neckline, you can absolutely get away with a slightly bolder necklace that will fill the space below your neck perfectly.

If your dress has a low back, you can get some beautiful necklaces from somewhere like Lace and Favour that hang behind you rather than in front. Don’t forget that when you’re getting married, the back of you is what the congregation will see most!

 

Jewellery box from Lace and Favour

 

Classy and Simple

Simple jewellery always works well with a detailed dress or a plain one. Whether you’re wearing satin, lace, chiffon, and whether it’s fishtail, boho or princess, simple jewellery will set your dress off perfectly.

This beautiful set from Lace and Favour is the perfect jewellery for any shape and style of dress. It also comes in rose gold and gold if silver isn’t in your colour scheme.

 

Lace and Favour Belmont Crystal earrings and necklace set

 

Casual and Boho Wedding Jewellery

Nowadays, more and more brides are choosing to do a wedding on a tighter budget, doing a lot themselves, crafting small items and taking a more informal approach. Your wedding jewellery should demonstrate this too.

You can choose beautiful foot jewellery instead of shoes if you’re having a destination beach wedding. You can have art deco or vintage jewellery to match the boho 20s feel. Choose fun jewellery that isn’t so formal. You might go for a necklace with a coloured, statement flower on it rather than sticking to silver or gold.

 

Silver, Gold or Something else?

When it comes to choosing your wedding jewellery, you need to think about what suits other people. My bridesmaid dresses have a small jewelled silver detail on the shoulders, so it wouldn’t make sense for them to have a touch of silver, and then me to have gold.

Think about the day as a whole. What colour flowers are you having, and will gold or silver go better with those? For me, there was no option other than silver. It’s always been my favourite jewellery colour and it’s possibly the most popular.

 

It really is these little details that make a big difference on your day. Not only will you look amazing, but you’ll also feel it which is almost more important.

 

*Thank you so much to Lace and Favour for gifting me the beautiful earring and necklace set pictured above for my big day. I can’t wait to wear them!

Things to Consider Before You Get Married

Getting married is an adventure all on its own, and can be a pretty confusing jungle. There are certain things and steps you need to consider before you get married.

Though not everyone will think about these things, it will make the whole wedding process much easier.

If you follow these things to consider before you get married, you’ll both be much happier.

A Place To Stay

Me and Jay said we would live together before we got married. How else can you truly know a person until you’ve experienced every bad habit? Living with Jay has also made it easier from a finance situation. We share the bills and put the same amount into the wedding each month. 

Living with your parents will have a strain on both of you if you’re also trying to plan a wedding. It’s so much easier said than done, but it would be easier to settle into a house first, and then focus on wedding saving. You don’t want to still be living with your parents when you’re married! It’s always best to marry when you have plans of getting your own place to stay.

With regards to a place to stay, you want to think about where you’re staying the night before the wedding. If you’re not bothered about seeing each other (‘bad luck’ and all that) then stay at home. Me and Jay will each be staying at our parents the night before to avoid any bad luck!

 

Wedding Bands

It’s important to find the most beautiful and suitable wedding bands you can. Paying for premium is something that truly matters here as you’ll have your wedding bands for the rest of your life. They need to be good quality.

They’re a memento which symbolises your entire marriage, so it’s important to find something perfect. The correct wedding bands you should use are often beautifully crafted Tacori wedding rings, as these offer a perfect balance between stylish design and a modern aesthetic while also being made of enviable and durable materials. With one of these on your finger, you’re sure to experience many words of positive approval and jealousy.

Of course, rings are subjective based on the tastes on both sides, meaning that the wedding band you choose should be carefully considered based on the shared personality you have.

 

Wedding bands on a white pillow with pink ribbon

 

Financial Backing

It’s always important to start off the wedding with a relatively satisfying amount of savings.

While the ‘dowry’ is falling out of fashion, having a little money for you to both invest in your future goes a long way in securing the initial and early stages of a great marriage. Nowadays, the bride’s parents and the groom’s parents share the cost of the wedding. It’s also normal to invest yourself, as me and Jay have.

Having this security contingency will help you relax and both feel comfortable in enjoying your future life together. And you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you’re not bankrupting yourselves to pay for your wedding.

 

Storage Space

You won’t believe how much wedding-related stuff you will accumulate before the big day. My mum is currently storing my veil, my shoes, 80 bottles of wine, 30 jars, 14 candles, the bridesmaids’ gifts. This will soon increase to my wedding dress, and anything else wedding related that I buy before now and then (hangers, guest book, table plan, etc). We have to take everything over to our wedding venue the week of the wedding, and I honestly thing we’ll struggle to do it in one car load. 

I never even thought of storage for wedding things, so make sure you clear some space.

 

Hopefully, these things to consider before you get married will help you gain some solid footing to start your marriage on. 

How to Pick a Wedding Venue

This guide on how to pick a wedding venue is for all newly-engaged brides-to-be who have no idea what they want.

 

Weddings are so baffling: how do you even know where to start once the excitement of the engagement wears off?! Nowadays there are so many options to choose from. People are choosing small and intimate over big and showy, or abroad over home, or casual over formal. There is no limit to your wedding. It’s however you want it. So the big question is: how to pick a wedding venue?

The venue will be one of the most important parts of your day. It’s one of the first things guests look at on the invitation to guess what kind of a wedding it will be. Here’s how to pick a wedding venue and get it right first time.

 

Know your location

Me and Jay got lucky in that we are both from Chester, and have lived here our whole lives. But maybe you’re from Scotland and your partner from London, and you both want the wedding in your home town. Will you find a venue in between so that your family have to meet halfway? Or just choose somewhere in the South over the North. Maybe you don’t even want it in the UK, but abroad! Knowing where you want your wedding to be should be the first thing you think about. Choose a location and then search for venues within the radius.

 

Know your budget

How on earth can you choose a venue if you haven’t worked out your budget? Don’t get too excited and start booking appointments at all the manor houses in a 20 mile radius if you don’t know how much money you have available to spend on the venue. You need to think about how you’ll split the budget. Do you want 25% to go on the venue? Or would you rather have a cheaper venue and spend lots of money on decor to dress it up?

Work out your budget and then this will narrow down your search. You won’t be wasting time looking at places you couldn’t afford. You’ll only end up getting yourself in debt if you do book one without working on finances first. Or you’ll have to cut back in other ways which isn’t much fun either.

 

Know your style/theme

Do you want a barn wedding situated somewhere like Cain Manor? Or do you want a classic wedding in a manor house? Maybe you want a fairytale wedding set in an outdoor venue. Whilst most venues can be dressed to accommodate any theme, you do still need to think about whether a masquerade ball will work in a tipi. Or maybe you’ve booked a hotel with red walls, and you want pink as your colour scheme. It sounds like such a minute detail, but it might make you think twice about your venue choice.

 

Know your numbers

There is no point looking around a marquee that can seat 300 people if you plan on having an intimate and personal wedding of 50 people. Similarly, don’t book a tipi, and then invite twice as many people as can fit in it. You need to know your numbers to understand which venues will be most sensible.

 

I hope this guide on how to pick a wedding venue can help some brides out. There’s always websites like hitched.co.uk which are there to help. That’s actually how I found my venue. Whatever you choose, you’ll have the best day ever!