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Help: I don't even know where to start!

(20 Posts)
OrganicFreeRangeBoys Wed 24-Aug-11 16:52:10

So we've decided next year will be the year we get married!

Great I thought, let's get planning!

And that's as far as I got.

I just don't have a clue.

We have actually decided to get married somewhere in Northampton and around the middle of August!

That's it.... Help.

JanMorrow Wed 24-Aug-11 17:46:17


First thing is to set a vague budget, because from there you can think about what sort of venue and catering you want/can afford (that's the main expense). Then decide on church or civil, and vague guest numbers, because that all contributes to deciding the budget.

Then you can get to the fun bit of looking at venues, dresses, flowers, food, cake, decorations, invites etc.

If you buy a wedding magazine there's usually a list towards the back of stuff you need to think about and tick off.. "you and your wedding" I think does that.

iklboo Wed 24-Aug-11 18:03:34

We asked parents to contribute instead of getting us a present (they'd already said they'd spend £x on gifts if we wanted). My folks got photographer & my dress hire, MIL got suit hire & car, FIL got flowers & balloons. It helped us out loads.

emsyj Wed 24-Aug-11 18:22:28

OK, you need to choose a ceremony venue first of all, and get it booked. Are you having a church ceremony or civil? If civil, you need to check the availability of the registrars in your area as this will dictate your date and time.

If you are having a civil ceremony, your local council website should have a list of local licensed venues for you to choose from. Check their availability too and get your date booked with the venue and registrars.

If you're planning a church service, you will need to speak to the priest/vicar and check what their requirements are. If you are not a regular churchgoer, they may ask you to start attending services etc and may also require you to do a pre-marriage course. If you have a church service that is not a CofE one (e.g. catholic) you will need a registrar to attend also to make it legal.

Then once your 'legals' are sorted you will need a reception venue (if you aren't having the ceremony and reception at the same place).

You should start dress shopping quite soon as it can take a long time for a dress to arrive in the shop once ordered.

But really do get going with booking your ceremony - some registrars take bookings up to 2 years in advance and bridezillas some people ring on the very first day that their chosen date becomes available and book all the plum time slots. I booked a full year in advance (the maximum period allowed by my local registrars) and couldn't get the time I wanted on the date chosen. Tis madness!

JanMorrow Wed 24-Aug-11 18:27:38

yeah we had to queue up at the crack of dawn to book our chosen time (2pm which is the most popular I understand). Bastards.

OrganicFreeRangeBoys Thu 25-Aug-11 07:48:05

Thanks everyone.

Right, I have a budget of 4k although want to spend quite a bit less than that really.

I have seen a venue where we can have the civil ceremony and reception.

Partner and I are sit down at the weekend and sort out a guest list then once I have numbers I can phone the venue on Monday and see what date's they have available.

Then I guess I need to ring the registrar to see if they can do any of those dates.

I don't want a massive affair with wedding breakfasts (what the bloody hell are they anyway)

I just want people to turn up around 2pm, have a drink and a mingle, ceremony at 3pm, photo's then reception with a hog roast. (Hog Roast is the only thing my partner has asked for the rest is up to me)

I have a friend who can do the entertainment in the evening, as long as I keep her topped up with Port then she should be pretty keen to do it for me. grin

I'm not getting a wedding dress made or anything and I want to get rid of the "mummy tummy" first so do you reckon I can just buy of EBay/off the shop floor a few weeks before hand?

Then it's just all the little things isn't it? Rings, table decs, invitations etc.

Have I missed out anything important??

Tillyscoutsmum Thu 25-Aug-11 08:03:27

Sounds lovely organic but I would check with your venue first. A lot of venues are unlikely to take a booking for a civil ceremony in August (especially a Saturday wedding) unless they can rip you off a sit down meal is involved because that is where they make the most money

WRT wedding dresses - you can buy off the shop floor in places like bhs, Monsoon etc. but a "proper" wedding dress from a bridal shop will need to be ordered around 3 months in advance as they don't tend to keep stock in.

Flowers ? Photographer ? The latter get booked up pretty quickly so I'd look at that once you've got venue and registrar sorted (if you're having one obviously)

OrganicFreeRangeBoys Thu 25-Aug-11 08:08:36

Thanks Tilly.

The venue we have seen uses their own caterers which happen to do a Hog Roast so we'll be using them. Hopefully we won't need a sit down meal in this instance?

And of course I would forget something so obvious as flowers and photographer so I have put an alert on my phone to remind me to look Into that on Monday after I've sorted out venue and registrar! blush

OrganicFreeRangeBoys Thu 25-Aug-11 08:14:45

Thanks Tilly.

The venue we have seen uses their own caterers which happen to do a Hog Roast so we'll be using them. Hopefully we won't need a sit down meal in this instance?

And of course I would forget something so obvious as flowers and photographer so I have put an alert on my phone to remind me to look Into that on Monday after I've sorted out venue and registrar! blush

moomin156 Thu 25-Aug-11 08:22:08

We organised our wedding in 10 weeks and had the full works! Venue and timings is the first thing to do......had ours on a friday and this cut costs down, other days can be even cheaper.
We had a hog roast but the venue insisted on their caterers so our compromise was a sit down starter and desert with hog roast / salads as the main.
Got my bridal gown off the very specific when you go into the shops on time frame, it limits your choice but if you are a standadish size ( im a 12/14 ) then it is possible. Also got it cheaper as others had tried it on etc.
If you are brave leave things til closer to the date, we negotiated prices on the photographer and band and as they werent booked and a reduced rate is better than no booking. We emailed people saying £xx is our budget can you help. But dont leave hair, make up etc appointments as they have to fit in with your wedding time smile
We did our own invitations etc from a Kit bought in M&S, you buy all the cards and a disc that does it for you, you just fill in your names etc.

The order we did it in was.....venue,invites,dress,photographer, band,flowers.......what ever your budget is you will go over so have a float as the little things soon add up!!!!

Good luck, its very exciting......

worldgonecrazy Thu 25-Aug-11 08:26:18

The most important thing is venue and registrar. You are probably okay datewise in August, as a handfasting celebrant I have always found May, July and September to be the busiest months.

Unless you just want lots of informal photos, you will need a professional photographer, so allow around £800 - £1,000 for that.

Flowers can also be a huge expense - I did an evening class for a few weeks and just had my bouquet made professionally. Table decorations, etc. are fairly easy to make, just very time consuming, though I did find it a good way of relaxing the day before.

Things like table decorations and party favours can be home made very cheaply and look fabulous.

I have heard some good things about the Chinese wedding dresses made to order on ebay, but you may want to allow time for alterations to be made, just in case.

You may also want to look at ways to make the civil ceremony a bit more personal. You won't be allowed any religious readings, or vaguely religious music - some even ban songs such as "Angels" by Robbie Williams, but there are things you can do to get around that. (Or of course you could always treat the civil ceremony as just a legal hurdle and have a handfasting instead!)

byanymeans Thu 25-Aug-11 14:57:02

If you are local to Northampton may I recommend you pop into a beautiful little bridal shop in called White Orchid I have been in there to see and try on dresses with family and the lady who runs the shop is amazing and very very well priced. She has stunning dress including the one my future sister in law wishes to have which is a (bridesmaid dress though you would not know at all) very light and stunning (ideal to not show any mummy tummy you are worrying about wink) for £160 i think.

Please be very careful of ordering any 'Chinese wedding dresses made to order on ebay' I have since first hand one turn up 2 weeks late and when my friend opened it in front of me, it was urmm... bright pink sad no joke it was very very pink and not at all ivory. she was devastated, though they did get her one in ivory it was so close for time that she had to have a Bhs dress on stand by and the cost was not then her budget time 3. Not saying it always happens but some times it does.

OrganicFreeRangeBoys Thu 25-Aug-11 15:23:01

Ok, byanymeans

I've, just 30sec ago, opened that link you gave me and found my perfec wedding dress!

We're nowhere near Northampton at the moment but in 5/6weeks we should have the keys for our new house there so will definitely go into that shop.


byanymeans Thu 25-Aug-11 15:30:24

Oh great, grin the lady that runs the shops is very nice. Best of luck with your wedding next year.

Tillyscoutsmum Thu 25-Aug-11 19:34:04

Ooooh OP - show us the dress smile I love wedding dress shopping !

xmyboys Thu 25-Aug-11 19:41:47

eBay is great for wedding dress shopping, I bought my sisters from here for £80 and posted it to her in oz. Perfect fit and amazing dress.

OrganicFreeRangeBoys Thu 25-Aug-11 19:50:26

wedding dress

I don't know if the link takes you to the actual dress but it's the 3rd row down and 2nd dress along.

Tillyscoutsmum Thu 25-Aug-11 21:24:21

That's beautiful smile

xmyboys Fri 26-Aug-11 22:24:23

Stunning dress! Great choice

OneOfTheBoys Fri 26-Aug-11 22:35:11

In Rothwell/Deborough, north of Northampton, there is the Fantasie/Rigby & Peller (and other major underwear brands) factory outlet shop that sells wedding underwear at a fraction of the cost, worth phoning to see if they have what you want in stock as it's often not on display. They are seconds but you'd be hard pressed to tell why.

Don't know if you intend to wear one, but coincidentally at the wedding shop in Rothwell (which doesn't look much) they sell tiaras and weddingy hair accessories that do not cost the earth.

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