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How do you plan a wedding when you've never been to one?

(40 Posts)
ExplodingCarrots Thu 21-Jan-16 08:14:26

I totally sound like Billy no mates....

Me and DP got engaged a week ago today. Obviously very happy and excited, but now a sense of dread has come over me.

I have never attended a full day wedding. I have only been to a few evening receptions. DP was only a kid when he went to one. Its just people who are very close to us havnt married or already are or. Just one of them things not very popular grin

I have NO idea where to start! I have no idea how a wedding works/what happens when/what you need to organise. I'm just sat here feeling confused.

I know MN is a fan of if you want to be married just go to a registry office and be done with it but I want a full on wedding (minus the church)

Where do I start?? Do I pay a random couple to go to their wedding for a nose?

mrsjskelton Thu 21-Jan-16 08:25:39

That's a tricky one! There are lots of traditions/quirks/"must haves" on wedding days - you could see your "never having been to one" as an advantage and just do exactly as you wish wish without the usual rules!

As I'm a coward - here's what I'd do:
I'd speak to all of the married people you know and ask about what happened on their big day! You might start to see a pattern.

IME weddings are usually something like this:
No sleep at all because too excited
Get ready all morning with bridesmaids (groomsmen elsewhere!)
Flowers arrive
Put on dress
Get picked up in car
Go to church or venue (you're last obvs!!)
Walk down aisle
Have ceremony
Exit church
Confetti
Go to venue
Chill for a little bit and greet people
Photographs
Wedding breakfast
Speeches
Bit of a lull before evening guests arrive
Music starts
First dance
Cut cake
Evening buffet
People leave
Honeymoon suite!

ExplodingCarrots Thu 21-Jan-16 08:38:56

Ha thank you Mrsj ! Good point about doing everything our own way. I've actually screenshot that list grin

My friend who got married recently moved away so she's out.

I just have NO idea about things that need to be booked/flowers. DP is even more clueless than me (not surprised)

Are wedding planners pricey?? grin

mrsjskelton Thu 21-Jan-16 08:50:59

Wedding planner a total waste of money wine wine helps!

My top tips would be:
Set the date
Hold off on your bridesmaids for now. That can be a real time when people show their true colours and many brides regret their choice.
Get an idea of what things cost - so go to a wedding fair or visit suppliers for things (I booked nothing at a fair, I just got ideas for my outdoor wedding)
Didn't bother with save the dates because you end up having to decide too early who is coming to the day/evening and it's impossible to get right. You may also meet people after getting that sorted and they become your best friend!! I did..
Wedding invites must go out at least 3 months before!
If you're worried about organisation, use a hotel/castle etc. They are basically like machines when organising the day and can tell you exactly how things happen.
We had a marquee and that means organising everything yourself! Tricky!
Pick your colour scheme and go to the florist to talk about seasonal flowers. Don't limit to a single colour, go for a range in the same tone so you're not limited in everything you choose!

Just out of interest, where in the country are you? If you're up north I can suggest some suppliers!

Iloveonionchutney Thu 21-Jan-16 08:55:10

Do you have any idea where you would like to get married, some venues have a wedding co-ordinator who could talk through it with you too. It's just getting to wedding fare season as well so have a look for some near you, good excuse to have a look around venues as well, they can be a wealth of information and you can get a feel for what you do or don't like!
If you lived near me i'd help you, I love planning weddings grin

ExplodingCarrots Thu 21-Jan-16 09:03:44

Wow thank you for all the tips! I'm in south west wales...smile.

I have 1 venue in mind after having a search last night and it would seem they have a wedding coordinator. I'm going to book a visit. The bad thing about where I live is the lack of wedding fayres. There's one in April but the others are quite far away (hours) but will try to get to as many as possible.

My wedding organiser is coming today so at least I can jot some things down.

Wer planning for 2018. Is that too early to be worrying or is this the normal time to start planning?

mrsjskelton Thu 21-Jan-16 09:12:19

If your wedding is 2018 then all you'll need to do for now is choose your suppliers and tell them your date. You've got bags of time to make other decisions on the way smile I had a year which is pretty typical and so I went to the baker, suit hire people, caterers, Rolls Royce owner, florist, hair dresser, beauty therapist etc and just booked my "slots". Your venue may have all these services available though as you're more remote!

Iloveonionchutney Thu 21-Jan-16 09:12:48

I'm South Wales too but not that far west! It's a good time to start planning, some venues book up years in advance and a wedding dress can take 6-9 months to arrive.
Definitely have a visit with the venue, they will have their own reccomendations of companies to use too.
Dyfed menswear is great for suit hire, they are in Cross Hands if that's not too far away and Champagne wedding cars in Swansea cover right down west too (I used to drive the cars occasionally).

ExplodingCarrots Thu 21-Jan-16 09:18:39

Thank you! So do we book a venue with a date or pick a date then a venue? blush Sorry if I sound silly.

Cross hands isn't too far away. Around 50 minutes! Thank you for that. I don't think we'll need cars as Wer planning to do the ceremony and reception all in one place. Right, going to look at dates for 2018 now. Hopefully we can make it work. How long did it take you to save for your weddings if you don't mind me asking?

mrsjskelton Thu 21-Jan-16 09:23:09

We were very lucky that family paid for a lot - weddings are noooot cheap! My DH also gets an annual bonus so that paid for the rest. Be serious about saving though! Life gets in the way!
Have a date in mind, the venue will more likely ask if you have a date in mind and then see if it's available. Also ask about mid week weddings if you're worried about cost - they are hugely discounted with lots of suppliers (people who usually work on the day rather than cake bakers etc who's work is already done) so photographers, DJs. Just be realistic about how many of your guests could make a mid week wedding.

Ruthiesj Thu 21-Jan-16 09:24:28

For now I would recommend viewing some venues and then when you find the 'one', book a date. That's all you really need to do this year (and even that could wait). Of course you can do more if you like, but if you're worried about the organisation, keep it simple with the venue for now.

You can build up ideas this year through fairs or reading wedding reports on a website like Hitched, etc. Lots of the forum members there write a wedding day report including pictures that will take you through the prep in the days before the wedding, the morning of the wedding and then the ceremony and reception. You'll get loads of ideas and develop your own tastes with regards to flowers, decor, dresses, photography styles, formality of the day, etc.

You could also consider photographers this year and booking them in once you have a date.

FadedRed Thu 21-Jan-16 09:25:14

Congratulations!
I would suggest you buy a range of wedding magazines, traditional ones like 'Bride' to quirky ones like 'Rock and Roll Bride', and have a nice evening with your fiancé and a bottle of wine reading them. You'll get an idea of what you might want and loads of ideas about what you don't want!
Then make a few lists, Mrsjskelton list is a very good start.
Decide on your budget.
Make a rough starter list of who you want to attend.
Do an Internet search of local wedding venues. Go and look at a few and if you like the look of them, make an appointment with their wedding arranger/co-ordinator. You do not have to agree to anything at the first visit.
There are lots of things that don't really matter, like favours for the guests and over stressing about decorations.
Church or civil ceremony?
One all inclusive venue?
Buy in a package or do your own thing?
There is lots of stuff on t'interweb and Pinterest to copy/adapt.
Good luck!

Iloveonionchutney Thu 21-Jan-16 09:26:10

It's a bit of both with dates, we had a particular date in mind and luckily the venue was free, if you don't mind the date I'd wait and see what the venue has available.
I was very lucky in that I had a lump sum payout that covered the wedding cost, I wouldn't have the wedding I did of it wasn't for that so can't really help on the savings front. Though I would say get a budget in mind first, weddings can quickly escalate if you left them!

HumptyDumptyBumpty Thu 21-Jan-16 10:07:10

I second doing lots of research - read wedding mags, wedding sites (like Confetti) and blogs. I kept a scrapbook of ideas - pics, links, scribbled notes. That helped me narrow down everything, from venue to colours.

You can pretty much do whatever you want, so have fun! And congratulations.

ExplodingCarrots Thu 21-Jan-16 10:09:01

Thank god for MN. Great info and tips thank you!

I'm thinking it'll be on the weekend. Not many people will be able to attend a midweek wedding. We'll be working it around DPs shift pattern and luckily we'll know what's he's working in 2018.

DP also gets an annual bonus and it'll work out we'll get 2 of them before the wedding which will be a decent amount. This years is going towards redecorating the living room and installing a log burner and wev been dying for one for ages!

I very much like the sound of rock n roll brides grin

A friends cousin forked out over 20 grand for her wedding and I was just shock . We can easily cut back on stuff and sell a lot and there's a lot of overtime available.

Photographer was decided and agreed on within an hour of getting engaged. It's a much loved friend and she's perfect.

LemonBreeland Thu 21-Jan-16 10:11:13

One word - Pinterest!

Loads of ideas on there. Going to see your venue and getting an idea of their packages and prices will give you starting point.

Couldashouldawoulda Thu 21-Jan-16 10:12:15

Get 'Debrett's wedding guide'. It's a lovely book, surprisingly up to date and sensible, and will explain what usually happens and how to do it all, at length! I had it for my wedding and found it really helpful.

Crumpet1 Thu 21-Jan-16 10:12:18

Not read the full thread so don't know if anyone has mentioned it, but the wedding breakfast is the meal you all have after you've got married, not your breakfast. That had me confused for ages!

BasinHaircut Thu 21-Jan-16 10:15:49

I think you are in a very unique and lucky position in that you haven't had the idea of what a wedding should entail forced down your throat yet.

I wouldn't research anything in your position, just do exactly what I wanted.

Obviously you have the legal bit to get right but apart from that there are no boundaries!

So what if you don't do all of the usual things? Most of them are boring anyway!

ExplodingCarrots Thu 21-Jan-16 10:17:20

Lemon I already had a secret wedding board on Pinterest blush.

Crumpet I was confused about that too until not too long ago grin. When you've never experienced one you don't have a clue.

DP is going to be my challenge because he's very last minute and VERY laid back. He already gave me a hmmlook when I told him I'd bought an organiser. He's get to 6 months before the date and then be like 'oh shall we start thinking of ideas now?'

Luckily I'm a SAHM for the time being so will have time to have a browse.

LemonBreeland Thu 21-Jan-16 10:22:04

ExplodingCArrots I like your style.

notretiringyet Fri 22-Jan-16 07:48:07

There is a wedding fayre in the county show ground in Haverfordwest on sunday 13th March if that is anywhere near you.

ExplodingCarrots Fri 22-Jan-16 11:10:20

Thank you for that! That isn't too far away

daydream86 Fri 22-Jan-16 11:29:18

hi exploding carrots congratulations on your engagement! watching with interest at your thread for planning tips as I got engaged at Christmas too but apart from starting to get saving up I haven't a clue where to start! bit of googling and my Bessie bought me a bridal mag but that's about it.Xx

Diddlydokey Fri 22-Jan-16 11:40:30

Guest list/numbers
BUDGET
Ceremony place - book registrar & venue
Reception venue
Drink
Food
DJ/band/both
Clothing - you, bridesmaids, flower girls, the men
Cars, if needed
Invites and the info for guests - transport to venues, hotels etc. Request dietary requirements and RSVP date. Setting up an e-mail account is a new way to do this and quite convenient.
Flowers
Decorations
Wedding gift list/money poem i jest
Honeymoon!
Rings

If you go to a wedding dress shop it can take 6 months to order in a dress and they cost around £1,000(+++++) before alterations. Sample sales and high street stores you can get dresses off the peg for a lot less. Ditto bmaid dresses really.

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