to not know how to plan a wedding. ....(20 Posts)
DP and I got engaged two weeks ago. We have decided we would like to get married next summer/early autumn.
I haven't been to many weddings (none as an adult) so really don't know how they work!
What do we need to do?
What do we need to do first??
What are wedding essentials and what can we do without?
We are clueless and have so far made a pretty cover for a wedding book where we can keep lists, contact details, ideas etc etc.
waste of time but I wanted to do something
Decide if you want church or register office? Or other?
Decide size...which will grow.
I'll not be much help tbh. First wedding was just exdh and I in Florida. Second wedding I've just had. Very small, 16 people then party after honeymoon for 50ish? All was fantastic though.
I decorated the party room myself and it looked great. I'm good at making rooms look good
who do you want to invite?
how much do you want to spend?
work out the answers to these 2 questions first and it will help with all the other things....venue/dress/cars/photos/etc/etc/etc
Congratulations on your engagement
Planning a wedding can be a scary prospect but the important thing to remember is there's no "right" way to do things. It is yours and your DP's day and make sure you have the day you want.
Having said that I would say the first thing you need to decide is a venue. You can't choose a date until you decide on your venue and you can't book anything else until you have a date.
Buy a couple of wedding magazines. They often have checklists in them for things you should think about and what sort of timescales you need to plan for.
When I planned my wedding I decided that the 3 must important things to me were to have a good venue (good food) and entertainment as these would be the things that everyone would remember when they looked back and a good photographer because the photos are a lasting physical reminder of the day.
Look out for wedding fairs in your area as well and take your mum/sister/best friend with you as well as your DP to give a different perspective on things.
Most importantly try to enjoy the planning. Good luck!!
Congratulations! I have a load of books on wedding planning. If you would like them, I'll send them to you!
Work out your budget first, its no use setting your heart on a huge wedding abroad with 300 guests if you can't afford it. Work out what you want to spend and how much wiggle room there is until you reach the limit of what you can afford to spend
Once you have a budget start thinking about who you want to invite, if you end up with a big list is it more important to you to have those guests there (and a BBQ or buffet instead of sit down meal) or the sit down meal etc (for less guests)
Have a think if you know anyone who makes cakes, has a nice car, takes good photos etc and ask if they could do, or do as mates rates, instead of a gift
Congratulations! First just have a chat with your DP about the kind of wedding you both want - small/large number of guests, church/registry office etc - and then decide your budget. This will give you a guide for when you start to look at venues/booking the church or registrar, which are the first things you should do. Definitely have a fairly good idea of guest numbers first though!
Then have a think about whether you want all the "other" stuff like photographer, band, DJ, professional flowers. We had a few things that we prioritised, like the venue, food and photographer but that is very personal to the two of you, and areas where we were happy to save money (we did our own playlist for the evening reception, I had a strict budget for my dress). It's just about what matters most to the you both. Do enjoy the planning! It needn't be stressful!
Oh and DO NOT mention that it's a wedding when asking for quotes for anything, we had a wedding cake made, 3 tiers, ribbon and flowers to match the colour scheme, exactly how we wanted it but it was a birthday cake (we just added bride and groom) and it was around a quarter of what it would have cost if we said wedding, one of the staff members told us this while taking our order, it was the exact same cake!!
First work out how much you can spend, then work out what you really want and what you can compromise on.
Then where do you want to marry, church, registry office or venue. Get that booked and your reception booked at around the same time. Booking them will be your biggest cost, once they're sorted you k ow what's left in the budget.
Start entering endless wedding competitions, there's always loads. I won dhs wedding ring, it was a really expensive beautiful one too saved us hundreds.
There are always compromises to save money. EBay search wedding and filter by distance from you. After weddings people are desperate to get rid of all the space taking decorations and you can get all the table decs for under £50 if you are patient. Sample sales for wedding dresses are amazing, even better if you can find a bridal boutique that is shutting down you'll get a steal.
Fake flowers cost way less than real and no one will notice or give a toss. Plus they last forever which is lovely. Your local technical college may have florist students if you want real flowers though. Student photographers are cheap and usually pretty good. This is all assuming you are on a budget, although saving money on some bits gives you more elsewhere. Also pinterest, you need one now.
If you have some idea of what you want to spend:
You need to start with type of ceremony (church, registry office, other) and what sort of reception you would want and where you could have it. So that, plus number of guests you want, tells you if you can afford it.
This needs to be only in general terms at this stage.
When you've got a reasonable idea where, book the celebrant! And any venues for the reception, plus any entertainers you want at any part.
Then you can get into the nitty gritty of how the day will run, how you will feed and water your guests.
After that covers the essentials of actually getting married and looking after your guests, you can move on to Other Stuff, knowing how much money you've got left. So flowers, cake, proper card invitations, photographs, carriage hire, clothing and any decorations or anything else that occurs to you.
Congratulations!! Me and hubby sat in bed with a pen & paper the morning after we got engaged and talked the day through, the key 'ingredients' and overall feel for the day, you'll have a solid base, know what eachother wants and can fit the little things in around it.
You also need to register your 'intent to marry' or something like that wording. Look at your county council website, it involves taking some paperwork, photo ID and a fee to a short meeting, ours was at council offices, where you are both chatted to individually to check you are free to marry each other. If the county you choose to marry in is not the same one as this meeting you'll need to send off the paperwork to the relevant office too.
Have fun planning - it's your and hubby's day xxxxxxx
As pp have said, first you need a budget and if you can have a contingency fund.
Then you need to decide on church, registry office or other venue for the ceremony itself. Church weddings are more expensive, ours cost about Â£500, maybe a bit more, and that was six years ago.
Then decide on the guest list as this will both constrain, and be constrained by the ceremony venue and reception venue. Registry offices can have limits as low as 30 for the number of guests and some can be much bigger.
Then start looking at venues that can fit the guests in and works with your budget. Decide on catering as well, some venues will allow outside catering, some won't.
It's generally the ceremony, catering and reception venue that need to be booked months in advance, everything else can be done here and there.
After that it's things like your dress, suits, bridesmaids dresses that need to be sorted if you're having them made and hiring the suits.
If you're having outside catering don't tell them it's for a wedding when you get quotes, the same for the cake, as the price is usually doubled (or more) as soon as you say 'wedding'.
I used to be a wedding co ordinator.
Work out your budget, decided on ceremony venue, then look round some reception venues. Most venues will offer at least some assistance in organising the reception and lots of venues can hold civil ceremonies. So they will help organise that too. They also give information on how to go about it.
Once you know the venue and and the budget you can start setting Numbers. All the venues I worked in would have recommended suppliers or you can find your own.
I have done weddings were I did it all. Booked flowers, photographer etc. some I did hardly anything.
Thanks for the replies.
We don't want a church wedding, we would like a relitively small, intimate ceremony ideally in the same location as the reception.
We have a friend who has already offered to be photographer (she's not a professional but has really good equipment and an eye for good pictures). She will only charge for printing.
I plan to make the cake, I'm a decent baker and am confident I can knock up something suitable.....
I don't want real flowers as dp has terrible terrible hayfever!
So I guess we need to find a suitable venue and think about a guest list
Sounds like your plans are coming together! Let me know of you want those books. They are only gathering dust here and I got lucky first time round so intentions on planning another wedding!! No charge or anything, would just loveto help out x
The lists in wedding magazines are helpful, but they might make you think you need chair covers, favours and all kinds of stuff that is optional. Watch don't tell the bride for an idea of horror stories/successes.
Chair covers are a big no for me, the chairs look fine without as long as they match! Waste of money
EBay is really good for odds and ends, any personalised stuff (we had cake ribbon done) and artificial flower arrangements, much cheaper than anywhere else and you can get some really nice stuff. We have had invites from eBay a few times (wedding and 3 parties we have organised), they are great, personalised (saves you writing it all out again and again) to your colours etc too and look really professional, people are generally really impressed with them
I'd probably do the guestlist before looking at venues... The sort of venue you want/can use will be dictated to a certain degree by the number of people you want there.
DH and I semi-fell in love with one place, but then we did our list and found it wasn't big enough.
Civil ceremony venues are licensed for a maximum number of guests as well, so it isn't just a case of squeezing a few extra chairs around a table for the meal.
Your wedding already sounds lovely - friendly, warm and everyone hands-on.
Enjoy the planning, remember the end goal is the marriage and make sure you and DP make the decisions you want, don't be bulldozed by interfers (however well intentioned).
Have you ever planned a wedding before? If the answer is no, why on earth would you expect to know how to do it?
Think (and talk with DP) about stuff you really do and don't want at your wedding. Lots of stuff that happens at weddings is optional. I'm not a fan of smashing cake in each other's faces or the bouquet or garter toss, which are common at weddings here in the US at least. So we didn't do those things at our wedding. We're still legally married, as far as I know.
You do want to book your venue early, but before you do, make sure that venue can actually accommodate what you want to do. On another board I read, there is a guy whose fiancée really wants to be married by an Orthodox Jewish rabbi. Orthodox rabbis often will not conduct a wedding if the reception doesn't have kosher food. The venue they booked (and put a deposit on) doesn't have a kosher kitchen, and bringing in a kosher caterer from outside would cost them around $60 per guest. He's having money problems, and having booked a problematic venue is of course contributing to them. That's why you need to think about stuff like this before you put down a deposit on a venue. Make sure it's actually going to be able to accommodate the things that are important to you and DP, at a reasonable cost.
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