I’ve just got engaged, what next?
With the flurry of excitement and friends and family chipping in with their words of wisdom, it can be easy to get carried away with the planning without thinking things through properly which can cause problems further down the line. So here are our top tips for what to do next…
SELECT AN IDEAL DATE
Although you may have one specific date in mind its good have a few options to give you flexibility when selecting your perfect venue. A lot of venues get booked up over a year in advance so you don’t want to narrow down your options too soon. Keep in mind the style of wedding you’d like to have and how the time of year might affect this, in addition to considering work schedules, school holidays, big sporting events etc., all of which may have an impact on you and your guests.
CHOOSE A WEDDING PLANNER
So I might be bias of course, however the importance of hiring a Wedding Planner can’t be emphasised enough. Planners should be an integral part of a wedding and are just as important as a fantastic photographer or cake designer for example. The majority of couples have demanding jobs and hectic social lives and the reality is that very few couples have the required free time to successfully plan, manage, and execute a wedding effectively. Sadly, many couples don’t realise this until it is too late and may regret their choice of suppliers, feel they’ve wasted money unnecessarily and be stressed throughout the whole process. You do of course need to find a planner who you feel comfortable with to ensure the planning process if a fun one.
CREATE AN EXPENDITURE PLAN
So many couples over-look this in the excitement but it’s key to ensure you start planning on the right track. This is one of the first steps if a client decides to work with us, and due to our experience and knowledge about what everything costs to achieve your desired look we can create a realistic plan, whatever your budget. If you do decide a planner’s not for you however then try to be as honest as possible about the requirements of your day and outline everything needed and always include a contingency fund! You also need to know who will be paying for the day and who may be contributing for certain areas. Make sure you do your homework into expected costs of a wedding as it’s likely to be more than you think.
CREATE A TIMELINE
It’s a good idea to put together a personalised timeline to work from at this stage, as this will help you to visualise what needs to be done and when. You’ll find that friends and family members will all have their opinion on this and by having a clear structure of tasks it can help to reduce the stress levels and help you to feel in control. This is also one of the first areas we look at with a client and we use the timeline as a working document to capture notes as the planning progresses.
THINK ABOUT YOUR GUEST LIST
This is always a tricky one, as the first list is usually pretty extensive once you’ve included the required family members, friends, colleagues and then those ‘friends’ on Facebook. It’s important though to keep cost and also preferred venue styles in mind, and depending on how much you decide to spend on your day you can then decide whether it’s really worth spending X on that particular guest or not, or compromising your choice of venue. Your wedding day is a snapshot in your lifetime and while you may want everyone to be there to share the celebration with you, consider how often you see that person, are they a lifelong friend or more of any acquaintance etc.? You could think about inviting some guests for the evening, although I’m not really keen on this, it can be a good option for a group of work colleagues who may actually prefer to be there for the party only anyway.
CONSIDER THE LOOK OF YOUR DAY
It’s important to consider the style of wedding that you want before looking at venues. Start a Pinterest board and flick through wedding magazines and wedding blogs to get inspiration. Also ensure you and your fiancé are on the same page as the day is of course about you as a couple.
CHOOSE YOUR VENUE/S
At this point you should start working on the fun part of researching venues and considering ceremony options. What overall feel would you like for your big day? Are you looking for a formal or more casual affair? Consider your ideal location and then how far you are willing to travel; keeping your guests and elderly relatives in mind, this will help narrow down the area you are looking in.
Before arranging viewings, ask for an initial quote and bear in mind that venues charge in different ways so it can be hard to compare like-for-like. If your preferred dates are available then I would suggest starting with around 3 venues to view initially, going up to 5 as any more than this can be confusing. Always go back for a second viewing and you see things differently and can be more critical. Also be armed with key questions to ask your venue to ensure your clear on everything. Once you have your venue secured then this will provide the foundation and backdrop to your day and to the rest of the planning.
SEND A SAVE THE DATE
Although you don’t need to send formal invitations until much closer to the date, we always advise send a save the date notification in some form as soon as possible, so your key guests have the date saved. This is especially important if you have lots of guests travelling from abroad and also if you’re at the age where lots of your friends are getting married too.
If you are interested in some professional planning assistance, we can organise every conceivable aspect of the day, but it depends entirely on your individual requirements. Please do get in touch for informal chat about how we might be able to help, by calling 00 44 (0) 207 9474088 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Select an ideal date image: Photographer unknown but image seen on Milestone DJ; Choose a Wedding Planner image: Photographer – Mike Garrard; Create an expenditure plan image: From ‘The Drum’; Think about your guest list image: Photographer – Pippa McKenzie; Think about the look of your day image: Photographer – Mike Garrard; Choose your venue image: Photographer – Pippa McKenzie; Send a save the date: Image seen on Pinterest.
We always credit images used as carefully as possible, however if you do spot an error then please do let us know and we will rectify the situation as soon as possible.