Congratulations! You’re engaged! Once you’ve peeled your eyes away from that sparkly ring on your finger, let the planning commence…
If you’re planning the big day yourselves then it’s best to break your planning down and give yourself dates of when to have things done by. That way these milestones will give you a real sense of achievement and you won’t feel so overwhelmed about how much you have to do. Instead you’ll have a clear vision of where you’re at and what else needs to be done and when you plan to do it.
Set your budget
The very first thing couples should do before anything else is to figure out what budget they have for their day. No decisions can be made until you know how much money you have to work with. Seriously think about what your limit is and speak to family members early on about what they may contribute. This is likely to feel awkward to bring up but it is important to do before you begin so you can then make plans for your day that are realistic within your budget and do not get carried away.
Once you have added any contributions from family to your own money for the wedding allocate it sensibly to all of the elements (venue, dress, flowers etc). If you have a wedding planner they’ll be able to guide you on this. Remember to leave 10% for contingency to give room for changes. Create an excel spreadsheet with two columns, ‘predicted’ and ‘actual’ so you can keep track of everything that has been spent.
Book your venue
Decide whether you would like two separate locations for the day, one for ceremony and one for the reception or if you would rather have it all in one place and begin making appointments to look around potential contenders. Venues get booked up far in advance so this should be top of your list, along with booking your officiant. Make sure you have a list of questions for your venue before you go to view it. Once you’ve booked your venue, it’s time to start organising caterers, photographers and entertainment.
Time to decorate
This is when Pinterest becomes your best friend. Spend some time thinking about your wedding vision and what’s important to you for your wedding day. What are the emotions they want to evoke? Forget about how it will look for a moment and thinking about how you want it to feel. For example fun, heartfelt, romantic, full of surprises, respectful of traditions, or one hell of a party!
When do you start?
Start early but not too early. Starting early gives you the luxury of taking your time to handpick your suppliers and it also means you won’t rush and panic book. You’ll have time to negotiate and do enough research. But be warned – your taste and ideas for your day can change over time and if you start too early you may regret some of the decisions you have made later down the line. Couples often leave the booking of the entertainment until late in the planning. This is usually when their budget is looking a little low and the music has almost been seen as an afterthought. Music and entertainment is super important as it can really create the atmosphere for the day so make sure you don’t leave it too late!
Finally as the wedding draws closer be careful not to tire yourselves out the week before the wedding with all those little jobs to do, such as picking up the table decorations, folding the name place cards or writing the photographers shot list. If you don’t have a planner then get help from friends and family. The last thing you want is to be shattered on your big day. Lastly, enjoy it and don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help. You’re only ever going to do it once so do it the right way!
If you’re newly engaged and you’re about to embark on wedding planning, check out Jenny Wren Wedding and Events.