Most women have been dreaming & planning their big day since a little girl – this does not mean however we have got our heads together when he finally pops the question! Logic & ruling with our head goes out the window, to allow room for ruling with our hearts & becoming a great accountant trying to stretch our methodically planned budget so we can actually book that pink sparkly unicorn to carry us to our wedding at Buckingham palace!
With so many options to look at for our big day it’s no real wonder that we find it’s not just the best day of our life, but also the most stressful. When our parents married it was either a registry office or church followed by a good old knees up, buffet then followed by a party with the local DJ (potentially I am now showing my age) whereas these days there is also civil licensed venues where you can hold the entire days festivities, outdoor venues that are licensed, marrying abroad or for those of you that want something completely unique you can marry in secret at a registry office & then hold a ceremony built by you with the assistant of a celebrant where ever you wish and that’s just the ceremony! Gone are your cheese & pickle, scotch eggs & pork pie buffets and in replacement comes hog roasts, BBQ’s, hot buffets & four course sit down wedding breakfasts.
I feel that we are missing something? Ahh that would be THE dress, suddenly we have flashbacks to dressing up with our friends when we little and arguing over who was playing the bride today, memories of daydreaming in science class about how big our dress was going to be when we married that hunk of a teacher that was teaching us……sorry what was he teaching us again? These days we have gowns to suit every height, size, shape and most of all budget!
All jokes aside though most of us work insane hours – especially to pay for this now impending wedding and that means that there is now possibly less time for you as a couple. When you are together do you find yourself trawling websites, online directories, facebook wedding groups and so on to get an ideas of what you want, how much it will cost and when to do everything? Well if so may be I can help just a little on the time management side, in the hope it relieves a little stress and free’s up a little time for the odd date night. Below is purely a template for timescales on planning your big day, hopefully it will ease your diary rather than cramming it all into one weekend full of wedding shows & fayres.
With 12 months & over:
-Set a date make sure you take into account any school or public holidays
-Choose & book your venue, most well known & established venues book at least a couple of years in advance. If you are flexible on your dates look into any winter or mid week wedding discounts they may offer
-Choose a theme or colour scheme, you could even choose both!
-Start to draft your guest lists, preferably over a bottle of wine! Don’t be pushed into inviting your great aunts second cousins niece!! Do take into account people may have a plus one even though they are currently single & now could be a good time to decide whether you are going to allow children to attend
-Send out Save The Dates, that way apart from the usual family fall outs & surprise pregnancies no one has an excuse to not attend the wedding of the year!
-Now would be a great time to look into & purchase your wedding insurance. None of us like to think that something may go wrong but if it does you are covered
-Write a reasonable to do list. Don’t over stretch yourself physically, emotionally or financially
-Book your registrar or church & esure you understand what is required of you both for your chosen legal bit of your wedding
-Always confirm rules about readings, music etc as a civil ceremony can not have any religious content
-Work out your budget, carefully & politely find out if any parents are assisting you with anything and then plan & distribute your budget accordingly. It would be wise to keep a little aside as a contingency just in case you come across any unforeseen expenditures.
-Prioritise your budget to what you want & need, not what someone else believes you should want or need
-Do your homework, ask favourite suppliers for quotes so you can get an idea for your budget allocation
-Choose your bridal party wisely, don’t feel guilty this is who you want around you on the morning of YOUR big day. At this point it would be wise to decide what you are prepared to pay for if anything. Not every bride wishes to stretch her budget that thinly just so her 12 bridesmaids can all have their hair & make up paid for, don’t be afraid to ask them to pay for their own. Your groom also needs to be thinking about who he is going to ask to be his grooms men & most importantly his best man.
-Once your parties are chosen & informed it may be an idea to start considering outfits and what will compliment your chosen ideas for your big day.
-If you are considering a stag or hen do now may be the time to start looking into it as people need time to sort their finances and possibly child care as lets face it a week in Ibiza sounds pretty darn good to me!
-Consider thank you gifts to those who you have decided will receive them.
-Pinterest is now your best friend, you must have pinned what like a hundred different wedding dresses by now? Well now its time to start trying them on, take people with you that will give you an honest opinion & not blow smoke up your butt as sometimes we can look at this bit with very rose tinted glasses on, you don’t want to not love your dress when it finally arrives. Wear nice underwear! This is no joke ladies in a day of trying on dresses you will strip in front of a stranger more times than you have stripped in the past 12 months! Ask about costs of alterations when you finally chose THE ONE & also aftercare regardless of whether you plan to sell it or keep it
-Photography & videography aside from the venue & dress will possibly be your biggest investment and most definitely a worthwhile one. A number of photographers now either offer a photography & videography package or have someone they can contract in that they work together with on a number of events. If you cant afford both don’t be pushed into it, decide together the style of photographs you want as there are so many to choose from. Ask for recommendations from friends who are married & on forums or facebook groups. Think about whether you want something very traditional or something that breaks the mould and wows the crowds, ask whether they can take images with smoke bombs or in the dark with sparklers for those mesmerising shots you swoon over all over instagram & pinterest. Ensure you discuss any additional costs you may incur, how many hours coverage you receive for your fee, how long until your receive your photographs and also how you receive them. Not everyone these days chooses an album, ensure you do your research of their portfolio and reviews…..you do not want your day to have been & gone and only then find you chose a photographer who couldn’t live up to your expectation
So that brings us to the end of your planning guide part one, I hope you have enjoyed having a read and this helps a little with the start of your planning. Part two will be covering 6-9 months before the big day