I know nothing. Where do I start?

(41 Posts)
YoniBottsBumgina Mon 06-May-13 21:32:03

DP and I are planning to get married next year. However despite being engaged since just before Christmas, we haven't really done any planning yet. A bit of fantasy planning and that's it! ^shock] he found some nice rings the other day which he showed me, and I fell in love with too, and i's sparked me off into an urge to start planning properly. The only flaw in this plan is that ky planning skills are utterly shit. I probably couldn't organise a puss up in a brewery blush

(ffs, apologies for terrible typing, I despise this phone)

The other complicated thing is that DP- who is brilliant at planning and organising stuff, lives in Germany which is where myself and DS will also be living in a few months . So I'm thinking there are probably some things which will be easier plan before we move over (we want to get married in the UK) like the venue.

I don't know the first thing about weddings. I have a vague idea of what we want but I don't know what happens at a wedding, I've been to just one ever and I think that was just the reception. So I'm worried I might fond somewhere good but miss some really important detail. I also have no car, no money for deposits and limited childcare. How do you go about looking for somewhere? And what else needs sorting out when? I've never even organised a party or coffee morning ffs!

Can anyone help with an idiot's guide to what needs organising when? Preferably in words of one syllable and/or explaining what everything actually is.

Fuckwittery Mon 06-May-13 21:34:01

venue and date first. do you want to marry in a church to have a civil ceremony?

Fuckwittery Mon 06-May-13 21:35:01

i am quite excited to help you. i love wedding planning. taking it one question at a time.

TeamEdward Mon 06-May-13 21:38:00

Have a look around for wedding packages. They can be good for arranging everything in one place - a local motel here does a low season wedding package, inc 26 bedrooms, for £3999.
Also many venues have dedicated wedding planners.

MOst weddings are actually in two seperate parts.

First the ceremony - that makes you actually married and can be in a church or other religous building or a registry office or other building with a licence to conduct marriages. You and DP will make promises, exchange rings AND sign paperwork which is witnessed. (That's the key bit)

Then the reception - basically anytthing from a cup of tea and slice of cake to multi course banquet.

You can't get married without a ceremony but you can get married without a reception. I think most venues will want a deposit though. How are you going to pay for the wedding?

Here's a description of a pretty standard wedding.

nocake Mon 06-May-13 21:47:40

Your wedding can be whatever you want it to be. A register office with two witnesses... right through to 300 people in a church with a silver service dinner and dancing to a live band until the early hours. What's your desire and budget? The only thing you must have is the marriage ceremony. Everything else is optional and don't let anyone tell you that you must have this or you must do that.

Essexgirlupnorth Mon 06-May-13 21:49:00

Well first you need to decide if you want a church wedding or a civil ceremony. Then find a church or venue. You will need a deposit to hold the venue. I you have an area look online and get them to e-mail you prices etc then make a short list and have a look at your favourite. If you are having a civil ceremony once you have made a provisional venue booking then you need to contact the local registry office to book a registrar to marry you. If this in not in your area you will need to give notice at the registry office near where you live this can be done a year in advanced up to about 3 weeks before. Your fiancé will need to go too.
Once you have your venue if they don't do their own catering you may need to find a caterer. They will probably be able to recommend DJ's, florists etc.
You may need to organise cars if you want them or need transport. A photographer, a florist to do flowers for the bridal party, buttonholes and flowers for the venue if you want them. If you want musicians for the ceremony but not essential. Need invites, maybe order of services, table plans, menu's but we did these ourselves.
Traditionally you have the ceremony, a drinks reception where photos are being taken, then a wedding breakfast (sit down meal) followed by an evening reception. You can just have a buffet after the ceremony instead. Will need entertainment for the evening reception either a band or DJ.
Will need rings, outfits for groom, bride, bridesmaids etc. bridal dresses take at least 6 months of you buy from a shop.
If you have a look on wedding websites they have lists of what needs doing when try confetti or you and your wedding. Or buy a wedding planner.
It is hard work but will start falling into place once you have a venue and am idea what sort of day you want. Good luck!

MortifiedAdams Mon 06-May-13 21:49:46

Decide what is the most important aspect and work around that so is it
1-quantity of people
2-stunning venue
3-amazing food
4-stunning 'look' ie outfits, colour scheme etc

I went witg amazing food, and had a small.intimate wedding where people.could order exactly what they wanted so no standardised menu. I then prioritised the rest. I paid under £100 for a dress as im.just not that into clothes. So it.was bottom.of. my priorities.

cogitosum Mon 06-May-13 21:51:19

You firstly need to figure out the type of ceremony you want ie church or civil etc. that will be a big factor for everything else. You then need to book ceremony and reception venue (may well be one place) and then the date's sorted. After that everything tends to fall into place and nothing else is that important (dress etc). Your venue will also decide how many guests you can have but obviously it makes sense to have a rough idea first as a venue for 10 will be very different to venue for 100 do you'll need to know what you're looking for.

YoniBottsBumgina Mon 06-May-13 22:05:17

Not particularly bothered about church but would like the ceremony part to be in a nice place if possible, although I don't really know what a registry office looks like! DP was going on about hiring someone to play music to walk down the aisle etc live instead of a CD. Is this practical or is he bonkers??

I'm glad people love planning weddings grin I quite like putting things together etc I just feel a bit daunted as not sure where to start!

Essex when you say we'll need to register at our local registry office, how dies that work if we're living outside of the UK? We're both UK citizens but DP is already officially living in Germany and I will be too at the time of the wedding. Maybe something to ask my German friends!

Fuckwittery Mon 06-May-13 22:12:57

you should book the register office before you go to germany.

first thing to do is look at venues and think about dates, you can book s registrar 12 months in advance

what sort of venue are you thinking of (budget will dictate this)
would you like to marry and then have the meal and party in the same building?
are you thinking stately home, modern hotel style, pub, village hall, marquee in a field?

some venues you can marry and have the reception or you may need two different places if the venue you want your reception doesnt have a marriage license.
can you post rough budget and location and we can post some links for you?

Fuckwittery Mon 06-May-13 22:17:36

register office itself varies from place to place, some are in lovely old buildings, in my town its awful squat brick thing next to a magistrrates court with the criminals hanging out outside.

lots of wedding venues have licensed rooms for weddings.
e.g. i went to a wedding at claridges and they had the ceremony here
www.claridges.co.uk/private-event-venues/the-drawing-room/
and thendrinks next door while they changed the room sround for dinner.
this is common at most venues that do ceremonies and weddings.

i have been to a civil ceremony in a stately home, similar type drawing room ceremony, then drinks on the lawn then all off to counrtry pub for reception.

another in islington town hall register office and then private hire bar after

just e.g.s of recent weddings ive been to with civil ceremonies

Fuckwittery Mon 06-May-13 22:19:28

sorry with the claridges one click on the images to scroll through to no 5 to see it set up for a civil ceremony
stealth boast about amazing wedding we were lucky enough to go to, but id definitely model a wedding on that one if i had my time again

YoniBottsBumgina Mon 06-May-13 22:20:38

Location is Coventry/Warwickshire area, budget I'm not sure yet. DP reckons we can save about 4k but I don't see it happening in a year when we're using our savings for the move! I'd rather wait another year and save up but he reckons it's better to get credit if we need to and pay it off which I don't mind doing either as long as we have a plan. Trouble is we won't know how much money we have spate until I get over there and see how much I can earn. Argh. I'm starting to realise why we haven't planned this yet.

TeamEdward Mon 06-May-13 22:57:31
gallicgirl Mon 06-May-13 23:03:24

You must get the registrar and venue booked first. Try your local council's website and they will tell you all the legal stuff.
If you want to get married away from home, Cornwall for example, you still need to post notice at your local registry office. The council's website will probably have a list of approved licensed venues in the area.

YoniBottsBumgina Mon 06-May-13 23:13:42

Right, but what happens if we live in Germany and don't have a local registry office? I'm guessing British consulate maybe.

This is so frustrating without proper internet sad

YoniBottsBumgina Mon 06-May-13 23:15:35

Council's website good place to start though, thanks smile

gallicgirl Mon 06-May-13 23:18:44

Are you planning on getting married in the UK or Germany?

The website for the General Registrar's Office might have the answers, sorry can't link.

YoniBottsBumgina Mon 06-May-13 23:24:38

In the UK. I'll have a look smile

YoniBottsBumgina Mon 06-May-13 23:51:53

What we've sort of decided so far:

Guest list around 160 ideally. Could probably squash down to 120, poss 100. But for me it's important to have the people we care about there and DP has a big family.

Child friendly, definitely. If at all possible I'd love to have a room available at the reception where children can be put down to sleep if parents want to stay later. It would have to be close to the main room as my friends are uber crunchy types who probably wouldn't be keen on a random nanny watching their DC without being able to check on them.

I had an idea to sort of split the evening part so that it's more child centred early on, thinking this would give people an option to attend e.g. 5-9pm if they have kids or 7-11/late if they don't, or attend all of it if they want - meaning those who don't want to be out late still get a decent amount of time and those who want to get drunk can avoid hordes of children I'd they desire. I was thinking of doing separate children's food at 5 or 6ish to prevent horrendously overtired low blood sugar preschoolers running riot at about 7.30 waiting for a buffet.

I think we've planned more for the children than adults grin mainly due to a very child unfriendly wedding I went to recently, but also because I hope the adults will have a good time regardless!

We're both quite geeky and into music and computers and certain sci fi (not really space type stuff, more time travel, steampunk, gadgets etc) I want to make a playlist ourselves, and DP has a friend who works in AV who might be able to lend us some proper speakers and lights which he reckons we could rig up to a laptop, which would be perfect.

I'd love to get married at this time of year but obviously weather is unpredictable. Perhaps later in the summer, if we did that, I'd quite like a huge marquee, let people bring their own tents to camp (maybe hire caravans for elderly relatives and some kind of glamping tent for us!) A glamping wedding grin with a campfire and barbeque catering. I have no clue if this would be possible though - where would we find a field that will let us pitch tents all over it? Loads of lovely picturesque views round here though. Maybe I'll just go around sweet talking farmers!

160 guests on a budget of £4000 total is going to be quite tight. You might want to think about a big church but keep other costs - such as flowers there - right down and then have a buffet in as cheap a space as you can get. Maybe a church hall?

Some 'avereage' costs here

For that budget and those numbers you'll need to be very frugal - DIY budget at church hall kind of frugal. Don't even look at hotels. Rule 1 is Don't Mention the W word! You are having "a big party", buying "a dress", getting "a hire car" everything goes nuts on price once the W word creeps in.

YoniBottsBumgina Tue 07-May-13 08:03:57

I don't know how many of those we'd also invite to the ceremony, so that part could potentially be smaller. If we have a sit down meal we were thinking immediate family only too. And we may be able to borrow money and/or push it back a year to save up. Plus 160 is if we invite everyone we want to invite comfortably, so could cut back.

I've gone really mad with planning a fantasy wedding in a big field now grin thinking that might be a lot cheaper, although would have to look up how much everything would cost altogether.

Weddings in fields need loos. Don't forget the loos! And parking.

MrsBranestawm Tue 07-May-13 08:29:09

Why not do the ceremony quietly at your local registry office, then have a camping party later? That way you can make the party your own, without having to factor in registrars and licences.

YoniBottsBumgina Tue 07-May-13 09:13:26

Do you need registrars and licences for a reception? That's basically what I want to do but on the same day.

MrsBranestawm Tue 07-May-13 10:22:42

Well, then, fix up the marriage bit early on in the day and do your own thing for the reception later on. The reception is just a party. It can be whatever you want.

Fuckwittery Tue 07-May-13 15:37:23

agree, camping party with a bring a dish and booze might work. that sort of wedding seems to divide AIBU threads, but if you make it clear what it is, people can choose to come or not, id rather my friends were happily married and chip into a party than see them bankrupt themselves.
for 4000 you could have a marquee and hog roast maybe
have you got a friend who DJs?
definitely agree to do not mention the wedding word to any suppliers if you can help it! it seems to automatically double the price.

Fuckwittery Tue 07-May-13 15:38:16

and bouncy castle and loads of games for the kids. fingers crossed for good weather!

Fuckwittery Tue 07-May-13 15:39:27
Fuckwittery Tue 07-May-13 15:41:30

with regards to posting notice, the coventry website says you can post a notice up to 12 months in advance, and must both be living in england fir 7 days before your marriage. so youd need to be a week before from the looks of things but could do the paperwork up to a year in advance. suggest you ring local register office to confirm
www.coventry.gov.uk/info/317/marriage-arrangement_and_ceremonies/516/marriages/2

watchingout Tue 07-May-13 15:57:11

Bouncy castle is great for kids! and adults too we got a popcorn machine "thrown in" for half price along with the castle hire. Also fireworks make a perfect ending to the day as it gives guests the polite message of "shows over, leave us to our own celebrations" wink

Exciting planning times grin - make sure you include things that are important to YOU and don't get pushed around by the organisers. We looked at one venue where the co-ordinator told us that "everyone gets engaged at New Year and chooses their venue in January" and made us feel really out of touch to have dared to get engaged in April and think of getting married the same year.... Needless to say, she didn't get the booking

starfishmummy Tue 07-May-13 16:27:17

Coventry register office is in a nice old building with some good spots for photos. There is a choice of rooms which hold different numbers of people. so you need to have an idea of numbers before you book. Don't know all of warwickshire but Rugby office is more modern and business like but there are nearby places for nice photos. You need to give notice at the relevant offices - we married in coventry, Dh "gave notice" (the legal bit) there and I had to go to rugby.

starfishmummy Tue 07-May-13 16:31:39

Fuckwittery - it is. We get married in the Black prince room and I have just been to a small wedding in the statutory wedding room. - the small one is fairly plain and standing only (apart from the witnesses!) but was lovely and friendly.

starfishmummy Tue 07-May-13 16:32:06

* we got married!!

YoniBottsBumgina Wed 08-May-13 00:21:31

Direct.gov says if you live abroad to register at the district office where you want to get married. It shouldn't be a problem for us to do that anyway as we'll be visiting family at some point presumably.

TeamEdward Wed 08-May-13 11:33:16

Maybe you could approach local farm, orchard or nice campsite to ask about hiring a field.
Don't forget things like parking & access, toilets, and contingency plans for terrible weather (a barn, mats for muddy paths etc)

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 09-May-13 20:28:14

I've got DP in on the planning now and we're having a great time grin It's all starting to take shape! smile

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