When you’re planning a wedding, there are so many details to organise that many brides and grooms start asking each other; “Shall we just elope?”.
From the big things, like venues and caterers, to the small stuff, like place names and pens for the guestbook. There’s a lot of ground to cover and you don’t want to forget something important!
That’s why I’ve put together this list of tips and advice for planning a wedding, from real people who are organising their own special days (myself included).
- Know what your non-negotiables are. Do you want the ceremony and evening party at the same venue? Want to get married outside? Do you want your pet to be a part of your big day? If anything is so important to you that you can’t see yourself getting married without it, then book vendors that can make it happen.
- Hire trustworthy vendors. You hear of wedding horror stories all the time. Your vendors make the whole day happen, so make sure you hire those who have good feedback and come highly recommended. Sometimes a venue can give you a list of respectable vendors, or you can find them at wedding fairs.
- Know your budget for each vendor and STICK TO IT. A bit of extra cash here and there will add up quickly, leaving you stressed because you’ve now got to pull more money out of thin air.
- Speaking of budget, if something is out of your price-range, say so. You may be able to get a discount
- Carefully read, and re-read, every contract before you sign on the dotted line.
Who you choose to conduct your ceremony is the most important person you will hire that day. Without them, there is no legally binding contract that states you are married. Without them, you’re just throwing a big party, probably an expensive one at that!
So make sure you hire your registrar as early as possible to avoid disappointment.
- Visit different kinds of venues before making your choice. There are so many venue choices out there; churches and village halls, hotels, banquet halls, country clubs and houses, barns, castles, golf courses, pubs/bars, restaurants, town halls, manor houses, public gardens. You can even get married at your own home!
- Consider what would be included: catering? Bridal suite? Bar?
- Engagement photos – have fun, tell each other jokes and laugh, pretend you’re on a date with your significant other and the photographer isn’t even there. Personal experience: take walking shoes and photo worthy shoes. I was climbing rocks and almost falling down treacherous paths in heels because I didn’t think to pack trainers!
- Choose someone who has worked a wedding before.
- If you can afford one, get one. You’d be surprised by how much of your special day you forget. Photographs are great, but videos can capture special moments such as speeches, dances, entrances, and exits.
- Do your research. Sometimes artificial flowers are cheaper than the real deal and look just as good. Artificial flowers are lighter too. Real flowers, though, have the texture and scent that fake flowers can’t duplicate. Weigh up the pros and cons and choose what works best for you.
A DJ can make or break a wedding. Choose one that has good feedback and/or comes highly recommended.
Hopefully, you won’t ever need to use your wedding insurance. It’s very inexpensive though and could save you thousands should the unthinkable happen. In my opinion, it’s worth doing.
If your venue is already beautiful, you don’t need a lot of decorative items.
- When writing your invites, be clear who the invite is for. If you’re not inviting children, or you have a “no ring, no bring” policy, your guests need to know.
- Your stationery does not need to be expensive in order to look good.
- You do not HAVE to send save the dates.
Favours and gifts
You do not need to provide favours for all of your guests. They’re expensive and often get left behind or eventually thrown away. Now, I’m not saying don’t get them, but if your budget is tight, or you just don’t feel like doing favours, then don’t. Sometimes guests don’t even notice if favours are missing.
If you are making anything for your wedding, or even if you’ve purchased something you intend to bring with you, make sure you know who is taking it there and setting it up, and who is bringing it down and taking it away.
Wedding dress and accessories
When shopping for “the dress”:
- If you plan on losing weight before your wedding day, try to lose it before you go dress shopping. Your dress choice may change as your body does.
- Trust your consultant.
- Try on all the styles – even the ones you don’t think you’ll like.
- Try to have your hair and makeup similar to your wedding day.
- Bring your wedding shoes or ones of similar height.
- Sit in the dress (it sounds silly but some dresses are extremely difficult to sit in, so it’s worth checking).
- A brand new dress does not require a four or five digit price tag. There are perfectly good dresses, from reputable stores, with a much smaller price tag without skimping on quality.
- You don’t have to buy a new dress. You can buy a perfectly good dress from a selling site like eBay or Facebook marketplace.
Wedding rings and jewellery
Your wedding bands are the only items you keep with you every day afterward. Choose them wisely and treat them as a high priority.
Beauty, hair, and makeup
The work of hair and make-up artists can be seen at wedding fairs, on their websites and their social media accounts. Choose somebody whose work you have seen and love.
Bridesmaids dresses and shoes
If you have bridesmaids with different heights, shapes, and tastes, then consider multi-way dresses. They can be worn in all sorts of styles so are adaptable to each individual.
Men’s suits and shoes
- Shop around. Sometimes it’s cheaper to hire, and other times it’s cheaper to buy.
- You don’t need to get everything from the same store. My husband to be’s shoes, suit, and tie have all come from different stores.
Research the local area, of where you’re getting married, for hotels and other accommodation for your guests. Be sure to include more cost-effective options as well as the higher priced ones, so there is a variety to choose from.
People and money are, in my opinion, the most stressful aspects of planning a wedding. Here are my tips on dealing with guests:
- Make rules and stick to them. If you’re not paying for anyone’s accommodation, then that means everyone. If it’s a child-free occasion, it means just that.
Health and Fitness
If you plan on losing weight, growing your hair, introducing a new skin care routine, or changing anything else regarding your health before the big day, the best time to start is now.
My Top Tip!
This is your wedding day. Do not compare it to anyone else’s.
As I continue wedding planning I’m sure I’ll come across some more tips and advice to share with you.
Are you planning a wedding? Or have you already had your big day and have some hints I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments.