Congratulations, you’re engaged! Now you can start your wedding planning journey, and we’re going to show you where to start…

We caught up with The Wedding Fayre Boutique‘s exclusive wedding planner Janet, who has revealed her 12 top tips to ensure your planning journey is as smooth and as stress free as possible. Here’s how to get memories you’ll treasure for the rest of your life!

Get the basics right

First things first, Sit down together and set a workable budget, with a wish list of essentials and decide what aspects you can be more flexible on. Prioritise what is important to you both. Wedding Ideas has some free Budget Planning Spreadsheets that you could start using today!

Pick a date and choose a venue

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Decide what is more important to you both, is it too accommodate all your preferred guests, or that your venue reflects your style and personalities? Remember that if you pick a date that is in low season or midweek or on a Sunday, you could make big savings on your venue. This might mean that you can have more guests than your originally thought, giving you added flexibility to celebrate your love with all your nearest and dearest.

Book the celebrant

Once you have decided on your venue, secure your booking and the attendance of your celebrant / registrar or minister / church, too. You don’t want to have to reschedule because there isn’t anyone available to officiate the day. Hold your venue until your celebrant can be confirmed and then put down your deposits.

Save the date

At this point it would be prudent to send out your save the date cards, giving everyone as much notice as possible to arrange time off work, transport and accommodation. This is especially important if your wedding is abroad – send your save the dates out as early as possible, up to a year in advance, if that is the case.

Key suppliers

Next, secure your key wedding suppliers. It is essential you choose reputable trusted suppliers as early as possible. Reliable suppliers are in demand. Take recommendations from family, friends, colleagues and trusted people within the wedding industry. View their work, meet with them and go through your requirements. Are they attentive, flexible and willing to accommodate your needs? This will give you confidence that they are not going to let you down at the last minute. Once chosen, listen to them – they are the experts.

Don’t scrimp on photography

Top of your list of key suppliers should be your photographer and videographer. Don’t try to scrimp on this as these photos and images will be a tangable recording of the day’s events that will last a lifetime. You can’t afford to get it wrong you can’t go back and change things at a later date.

Get the dress!

Your wedding dress should also be at the top of your priority list. Bear in mind it may take up to six to eight months from ordering the dress to having the finished article perfectly fitting you. Your other key suppliers such as florist, caterer, and entertainment, will also need booking as early as possible.

Think of a theme

Look at your choices of location, venue and dress and your wedding theme may start to emerge naturally. If not, think of what will suit your celebration and the time of year. Winter wonderland, English summer roses, 20s, 50s, seaside, funfair… the options are endless. You could pick a favourite colour and build a theme around that. However it’s not essential – an eclectic mix of things you love, will work just as well as a coordinated look.

The little details

Now you can start to bring the details together. Choose your bridesmaids, how many and what they should wear and the groom to do the same with his groomsmen. Choose  stationery to complement your day. Invitations should be sent two to three months in advance of your day. Enclose RSVPs with your invitations to make it as easy as possible for your guests to reply. You could include other details such as dietary requirements, maps and accommodation information, too. Give careful thought to the entertainment of the day. Your guests will set the atmosphere and mood for the day, make sure you take care of them and include everyone.

It’s good to talk

Communication is key on the day. Make lists and spreadsheets to help you. Plan it out with key members of the bridal party so they know in advance the order of the day and their role within it. Don’t forget to take breaks from the planning process, don’t let it consume you. You can’t please everyone so make sure the day remains about the two of you. Enlist the help of friends and family and delegate. Better still, hire a professional planner who can help you with it all and be an independent voice when it comes to dealing with family stresses!

Adapt and overcome!

Finally it’s worth remembering to be flexible – something unexpected will happen but don’t let it ruin the day or distract you from the amazing experience you’re about to have. Smile! Remain gracious and enjoy your wedding day!