So if you read my blog, you’ll know I waited a while for my other half to pop the question. As much as I tried to resisted the urge over the years to not think about getting married until he got down on one knee, I buckled on a few occasions. Day dreaming in my head about my special day, screen shotting nice ideas I accidentally came across and pinning a few bits and bobs, I just couldn’t help it. So once he had finally proposed and I had got the ring on my finger, I knew I had decided a lot about the wedding already (although I obviously still had to run it past him!). So if you’ve just got engaged and aren’t sure where to start or you’re planning a wedding already and could do with some pointers then read on! I’ll list them in the order I did them, but it’s totally up to you! I’ll link products/services/people we used and would recommend if you did want to check them out. Here’s how I had the most perfect wedding…
1. Get on Pinterest! It can feel very overwhelming when you start to plan a wedding and sometimes it can be hard to visualise things. I created boards for all aspects of my wedding, from venues, to dresses, to hair styles, to favours, to song choices. I found it helped to have them separately so when I went back to them when I needed to, I didn’t have to scroll through masses of pins about all sorts of things to find what I was looking for. Even if you just pin a few bits to start off with, it all helps in the decisions you make. If you’re not a fan of Pinterest pick up some wedding magazines and cut out pictures of things you do like, you can make a wedding theme board, a bit like Pinterest in real life! Plus by now, it’s good to have decided on who you’d like in your wedding party. I asked my bridesmaids with a cute bracelet on a card but there’s lots of other nice ways to do it. Etsy has some fab things or maybe do a bit of a DIY make for the real personal touch.
2. Get yourself a wedding planner. I was given this one by my lovely momma. I found it so useful throughout the wedding process to help me. It was sectioned into relevant parts and had hints and tips as well as room for notes and wallets to put things in. It was handy just to have everything in one place. There are lots of different ones on the market so shop round to find your perfect one.
3. Decide on a budget. Obviously really important to do before you really get started as it will have an impact on your decisions. Work out how much you and your partner have and if you’re being gifted or lent any money. Then, try and work out what you can afford for the different aspects of your wedding. There’s plenty of checklists and budget planners online to help with this.
4. Choose a venue. Personally this was quite a tricky one for me and my other half. After all, it is the biggest part of your wedding day! Budget clearly comes into it. You should hopefully by now have a date in mind too as that will be a key factor in the price. I scoured the internet looking for venues nearby and spent hours doing so. Emails were sent, enquiries were made and costs were looked at. I would definitely recommend visiting a range of venues and getting a feel for the type of place you both like. We both knew when we found ‘the one’. It took a bit of time afterwards to decide on a date which matched our budget but we got there. We got married at the beautiful venue Hogarths. We had the ceremony and reception there, but if your planning a church wedding it’s important to decide where and make sure you can get the date you want for them both. If you are having your ceremony at the venue like we did, you also need to give notice of marriage at the registry office within the town you live.
5. Look for your wedding dress. I must admit I got my dress before I had even booked the venue! It was actually by accident. A wedding shop nearby were having a sale and I thought I would go and check it out just to see what they had in stock. And then I ended up buying the first dress I tried! I just knew it was ‘the one’ and that it was a little bit different to the traditional style. However I think it’s quite good to know your wedding venue first to know what kind of style you are going for. This was my dress…
6. Visit wedding shows. I think this is something that’s good to do throughout the wedding planning process. I did it around 3 times during the time I was engaged and planning the wedding and it really helped with ideas and inspiration and was a handy way to talk to wedding related people all in one place. It’s also a good fun girly day out, or a nice day out with your partner!
7. Decide on a photographer. I think it’s quite important to decide early on as photographers can get booked up quite far in advance. Just like looking for a venue, we found this quite a hard decision. Photos are a lasting memory of your special day and you want them to be perfect. I researched a lot and put together a short list of photographers that we might go for. We met them and had a chat about what we wanted and again talked about costs. We knew the photographer for us as we just seemed to be on the same wave length and had similar ideas (ones I had already pinned actually!). Plus we knew he would be great with our guests and a welcome addition to our wedding. The photographer we used was Chris J Turner.
8. Shop for bridesmaid dresses, the grooms suit and the grooomsmen. I knew the types of dresses I wanted to go for, it was just a question of getting hold of them and having them in the right size for my girls! These were the ones we went for. I left my other half to get suits for him, his best man and ushers and he also got ties for some of the males in our families.
9. Think about flowers. I knew the kind of flowers I wanted and what my colour scheme was and I had pinned my ‘perfect’ bouquet. I used a florist I knew who told me she could recereate my design. We also discussued bridesmaid flowers and flowers for the venue. This was the bouquet I went for…
10. Decide on venue decor. Do you want chair covers? What about sashes? How do you want the tables to look? What favours are you going to have? I knew I wanted rustic look to my wedding that also went with my colour scheme. After lots of talking to different people offering this service I decided on the Backstage bridesmaid who did a fab job. We made the table plan, name places and favours ourselves but there are plenty of companies who can do this for you. We went for mini eggs in nests as it was an Easter wedding and scrabble name places and table plan. We sourced the items from Hobby craft and eBay and here’s how our table decorations turned out…
11. Think about if you’d like a videographer. I knew I did, but I also knew there wasn’t much room in the budget for it. In the end we used the fab company Shoot it yourself. The company basically sends out a camera or 2 (depending on your package) to you just before your wedding. Then your wedding party or guests can record your special day, before the cameras get sent back to the lovely people at SIY to edit it for you. It was fab for us as we trusted our family and friends to do a good job and felt comfortable infront of them rather than a random stranger with a camera!
12. Finishing touches – songs, vows, gifts, speeches, accessories, transport. We sorted out these last few bits just before the wedding. We found it hard to agree on the songs we needed for the wedding, especially the first dance, but once we heard it we knew! We also had to let the registry office know our choice of vows. I purchased gifts for my bridesmaids and flower girl, giving them a ‘survival kit’ for the day, including jewellery, a pashmina incase they got cold and a pair of sunnies incase the sun decided to make an appearance. My other half got his men special wine boxes filled with gadgets and a vintage wine. Last if all was accessories, so my jewellery, shoes and hair accessories. I had a hair trial and a make up trial and was ready for the big day! We also chose the cars we wanted to take us to the venue for the wedding.
13. Hen do and stag do! When the wedding is fast approaching you know it’s time to celebrate! I had a couple of different hen dos with different sets of friends, from a long weekend in center parcs, to afternoon tea, to a night at a comedy club and then drinks with my friends, I had a blast! My other half had an equally fun time with his friends in Liverpool for the weekend.
14. Last minute arrangements… and relax! Make sure everything is at the venue for the agreed time and is ready for your big day. And when there’s nothing else you can do, it’s time to relax and get excited for the most amazing day!
I hope this post has helped a bit with wedding planning! Tell me about your big day in the comments below or if you have any tips.
Until next time…