The first days, weeks and months of your engagement are a happy fug of romance, congratulations and misty-eyed ideas of your wedding. Then the serious planning starts and it all starts to get very real, very fast. It’s at this point you will probably start to realise that you have no idea how to plan a wedding. What you need to do first, what can wait until the last minute and how you coordinate all the moving parts. The whole process can become overwhelming but the key to a successful wedding day (apart from choosing the right person) is getting an early handle on the planning.
The very first major decision is the venue and once you have found your perfect spot you need to fire up the spreadsheet. Here is our guide to some of the most important steps to tackle early on, the ultimate wedding planning priorities:
Book a photographer
It might not be an obvious decision to make at the start of your planning but good photographers get booked up fast. High quality images of your day create a memento that lasts for the rest of your life so this is something you need to get right. Look through portfolios to find a style that you love and where possible get a recommendation from family or friends. You should always meet with your photographer in person and get a feel for their personality. A good fit will ensure that your interaction on the day flows smoothly.
Buy wedding insurance
Dull but important. The average wedding falls into the region of tens of thousands of pounds. That’s an awful lot to lose if your venue goes bust or your guests all contract food poisoning at the reception. It’s very likely that your day will go without a single hitch, but it’s nice to have a safety net if anything does go wrong. Search for specialist insurers or speak to your local broker.
Find the dress
The Dress. The dress that is quite possibly going to be the most important bit of clothing you ever invest in. For none traditional brides it might not be a dress at all but whatever your outfit, you need to get it pinned down early on. The recommended advice is at least 10 months pre-wedding where possible. This gives you plenty of time to have the dress fitted perfectly so it fits like a couture glove on the day. Not sure where to start with dress shopping? Take your time, visit a whole selection of stores from vintage to your local boutique and never feel pressured into buying the first dress you see. Go slow and make sure you get this absolutely right.
Send Save The Dates
If you have decided to go for Save the Dates, you need to send them at least 6 to 8 months pre-wedding. Hopefully, by this point, you have your guest list refined and are ready to go. If you want to get super-efficient, you can order matching Save the Dates and Invitations through the same supplier, at the same time. This will allow you to claw back some pennies on the budget through bulk order discounts. Get creative with your Save the Dates by choosing magnets, pencils or balloons as a unique way of spreading your message.
Pin down your suppliers
Just like photographers the best make-up artists, florists, caterers, and bands get booked up many months in advance, particularly if you are getting married in peak wedding season. Write a list of all the services you need to make your day flow, starting from when you wake up in the morning through to the end of the reception. Create a wish list and begin making enquiries. You will feel fantastic if you get a team of experts in place early on. This is another area where you should lean on your loved ones for personal recommendations, it’s important that you feel comfortable with the suppliers you are relying on.
Pick your rings
The rings one or both of you wear on your wedding day will be with you for the rest of your life. If you don’t want to feel underwhelmed every time you glance at your own hand you need to put a lot of thought into this decision. Even if you find your perfect ring it’s likely to need resizing to be a great fit, so choose early and enjoy having a key part of your day in the bag.
Your wedding plan will be guided by what’s important to you. Whatever your wedding vision make a plan, stick to a budget and start with the big stuff that really matters. Most of all try and enjoy the experience, you’re building up to an incredibly special moment in your life. We hope that these wedding planning priorities give you a solid foundation to start from.
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