Need some inspiration? There are some fantastic wedding blogs about now, each with a different personality and style. Blogs are a great place to start gathering together some concepts for your wedding, so we’ve asked some of our favourite wedding bloggers to give us their top tips for planning your big day.
When you first start planning, sit down together and work out your budget before you book anything, be realistic. Now use that as a reference point and try not to go over it.
Decide what is most important to both of you and what is less important to you and split your budget accordingly.
Split your jobs up into what needs to be done first, and then allocate each job a month, giving yourself a monthly check list of things to do.
Always spend as much on photography as your budget will allow; it’s one of the only things from your wedding you will be able to keep forever and your lasting memory.
Don’t get a friend to do your photography (unless they are a professional) you will regret this forever!
Don’t do wedding planning every day, give yourself set days in the month for ‘wedmin’ jobs, otherwise the planning will consume you and you will begin to hate it.
Never lose sight of what the wedding is for. At the end of it all the wedding is a day, but your marriage lasts forever; remember your relationship.
However, if parents are contributing to the budget be mindful that you may need to ask for their input at times, but lay the law down from the beginning.
Don’t ask too many people for their opinions, this will lead to confusion and will blur your own vision of what you want.
Guests will cause you stress no matter what, so try not to worry about pleasing everyone, this is impossible. No matter what you do, someone will not agree with your decisions.
Send out invitations earlier than you think you need to, people need plenty of notice. And always give an RSVP date earlier than you need it, guests will need to be chased for their reply.
When looking for suppliers ask friends who are recently married for their recommendations. Also ask other suppliers for people they have worked with and would recommend.
Book the venue first, then photography, dress, catering, bar and then entertainment; these are the things that get booked up way in advance. Try to get these booked as soon as you can to avoid disappointment.
When dress shopping, only take a maximum of two people with you. These two people need to be people whose opinions you value, who know you well and will tell you the truth.
The week before the wedding, draw up a list of everyone involved, the wedding party and all the suppliers including full contact details. Give this out to the main people in the wedding party for any last minute emergencies. Make sure that everyone has allocated jobs.
Try to make the wedding personal to you by adding in little DIY bits yourself. Call in the help of friends and family, people love to be involved.
The day of the wedding take some time together away from the wedding party to reflect on the day. The day will fly past and you will hardly get to see each other. Take it all in and enjoy it.
Hire a wedding planner, they can take all the above stresses out of your wedding planning.
The day of the wedding, try to accept you won’t be able to talk to everyone for a long period of time, prioritise the people who have travelled far and you don’t see as often.
There is a lot of wedding advice out there and pressure to conform to traditions and formalities. Don’t be afraid to be different and mix things up a little.
Everyone says it, but the day really does go by in a flash, so just try to relax and enjoy every minute of it. Take a few minutes to take everything in.
Make sure that you have someone at the venue on the day who you trust to look after the small details of the day, and know your suppliers so you don’t have to worry about anything going wrong.
Plan and execute your wedding the way you want to – don’t try to impress anyone or make anyone other than you happy. If you plan your wedding like you want to, you will enjoy it, and your guests will, too.
If you are having children at the wedding I cannot recommend children’s entertainers strongly enough! They will make sure that every child has a brilliant time (which in turn means every adult will, too!).
Have a set plan, style and theme, and then delegate little jobs to others. Your loved ones will be happy to take a small part in the planning of your special day!
Make sure both of you are involved in the planning and execution process. It’s not just one person’s day but a celebration of the love two people have for each other.
Don’t get bogged down in the admin side of wedding planning. Make quick decisions and if you are in doubt move on – when it’s right you know it is!
Remember, saying ‘I do’ is the main objective!
Make use of social media. Sites such as Pinterest are loaded with great ideas for decor, dresses, hairstyles and DIY ideas.
Collect all of the ideas that inspire you. You could even print out your favourite images and keep them in a binder for reference. Making an inspiration board is another great way to get those creative juices flowing.
Buy a calendar or datebook and use it to make deadlines for yourself. Mark the dates you want to have the venue reserved by, the flowers chosen, and your dresses ordered. Staying organized is key!
Consider choosing a day of the week each week where you and your groom sit down to discuss wedding plans. This way, tasks will get done on time and everything will stay as organized as possible.
Create a guest list early on and send out invitations so that you know how many people are actually coming. You can then better plan for food, seating and guests’ gifts and so on. Keep a spreadsheet for the guest list and you can use it to send out thank you cards after the ceremony as well.
Keep in mind that not everyone has the time or budget to travel to a destination wedding so, if you want a larger wedding, you may want to consider a venue closer to home.
Set a budget. This is easier said than done but it is a must! Check around with different suppliers to get the best price and quality that you are looking for. Sticking to your budget will help keep your stress levels down and keep you focused on enjoying what the day is really about.
Try not to stress over the small stuff. Everything will not go perfectly on your wedding day. The flowers may arrive late, you may run your stockings or it may be too windy – but who cares?! Remember that this day is the first day of your marriage, smile through it all and squeeze the hand of the one you love!
Consider the bar. Will your reception serve alcohol? If so, decide if you’ll have a signature drink, if so, you may need to hire another bartender.
Create and carry with you on your wedding day an emergency contact list. This way, if anything goes terribly wrong you have quick access to those who can help!
Prioritise which aspects of your wedding are most important to you. If it is your photographer start with them first, find out which dates they are available and prioritise your budget accordingly.
If you are planning on a DIY wedding like many of the couples I feature on WWW, then make sure you delegate. Get your family and friends on board and have crafty parties. It takes away the stress of making hundreds of decorations alone and makes it fun.
Before looking for wedding inspiration, decide together the things you love in life. Then plan your wedding around the things that represent you as a couple. For example your favourite colours, flowers or hobbies you both enjoy.
Have an engagement photo shoot. Not only is this something great to look back on, but will help you to get to know and feel comfortable with your photographer, which will mean better results on the big day.
Make the most of wedding fairs – if you’ve gone so far as to give up your Sunday to attend one of these things, don’t waste the opportunity by shuffling around like a zombie – talk to every supplier you can, get as much data as you can and see what deals are to be had.
Have a stag do, on your terms. Some of the brides reading this might be surprised to hear that booze and strippers aren’t every man’s idea of fun, but these days you’ll find a wealth of alternative options available, from outdoor activities to high culture (we even saw one stag party recreate Da Vinci’s Last Supper in a stag photo shoot). The real point is that you’ll welcome a break from the wedding plans and you’ll give the best man and ushers a chance to bond.
If you like the stress-free, all-inclusive route and don’t fancy badgering your mates into paying deposits on time, or ringing around hotels to see if they do group deals, specialist agents such as Chillisauce have a wide variety of package deals available.
Don’t leave your speech until the last minute. It’s a daunting task, but it only gets worse the longer you leave it. Don’t worry about being too clever or articulate; just start by thinking about what you actually want to say and the rest will follow. Staggered has plenty of tips on speech writing and if you’re really struggling you can hire a Staggered speechwriter to work on it with you.
Unless you’re dead set on the traditional tails, buy, don’t hire, your suit. The bride would never dream of hiring her dress!
If Savile Row is a bit out of your price range/too far to travel, online tailors like A Suit That Fits offer tailoring on a budget from the comfort of your computer screen (to a point, you will have to stand up briefly)
Get your best man a decent gift – and no, socks with ‘best man’ embroidered on them don’t count. Event tickets for him and yourself are a great idea – not just a gift, but a promise to maintain a good friendship in the future.
Get something nice for the parents of the groom. In their traditionally diminished role, it’s easy to imagine how they might feel unappreciated when they often contribute as much as the more openly celebrated parents of the bride.
Finally, don’t forget you’re supposed to get a gift for the bride! We’re always shocked by how few grooms know about this. A piece of jewellery or just a heartfelt note saying how you can’t wait to be her husband will do the trick!