HOW TO PLAN YOUR WEDDING | P1 – 12 months to go
So you’re engaged (congrats!) and you’re finally ready to plan your wedding, but where do you actually start?
Over the next few blog posts, I’ll be publishing “How to plan your wedding in 12 months” in 5 parts. My mission is to take you on a journey to help you plan your wedding.
There are a few versions out there, but here’s my personal one. Enjoy and don’t forget to come back for the next part! x
1. Decide on what type of wedding you want to have
Do you both want a religious ceremony wedding and a reception at another venue, or want an outdoor wedding, beach wedding, festival wedding with a registrar or celebrant instead? It’s really important that you come to this decision together and that you’re both happy with what you decide on. Deciding on a religious ceremony vs a civil ceremony vs a celebrant ceremony, or an outdoor vs indoor wedding will impact certain parts of your timeline and will certainly be a deciding factor in which venues you’ll need to look at.
You also need to start to consider what’s most important to you both. There may be certain aspects of your wedding that are more important to you than the other and it’s a good idea to discuss this at the beginning stages of your planning journey together.
2. Decide on what year you want to get married in
Having an idea on what year you want to get married in, will help you hugely when putting together your plan and your budget. It’s not important, just yet, to select an exact date as there a few things you need to do and see first but having an idea of how long you have to organise everything and how much time you have to save, to pay for everything, will help greatly.
3. Decide on where you want to get married
Where you get married will help determine the type of budget you need, what venues you can view, will help when deciding on what type of wedding you’ll have and the theme, how many guests will be able to attend and how many you invite.
You could decide that you want a destination wedding, that you want to get married in your home village, in your closest city or in a location where the majority of your guests will come from.
4. Decide on where you both want to go on your honeymoon and when
Once you have decided on what type of wedding you want, your needs and wants, what isn’t too important to you, the year you want to get married in and the location, start thinking of honeymoon destinations. Everyone tends to forget that choosing your date will impact where you can go on your honeymoon.
Unfortunately, certain honeymoon destinations don’t have the same seasons at the same time as to where you are looking to get married, so the last thing you want is to end up selecting a date when your chosen honeymoon location is in monsoon weather! Yuck!
Start thinking of where you both want to go and what months are the best months for the dream honeymoon you want and keep that in mind when selecting your date. This obviously doesn’t matter though if you have decided to have your honeymoon at a later date and won’t be travelling to your chosen honeymoon destination straight after the wedding.
5. Select your wedding party
Now it’s time to choose your tribe! The gang that will be there to help you through your planning process, help you get ready on the day and stand up there with you.
There are a few things to consider when selecting your bridal tribe. Remember the more you select, the more you’ll technically spend. If you’re looking to organise and pay for all the dresses/suits, the hair & makeup, shoes etc, the thank you gifts, the getting ready outfits, then the more you have in your gang, the more you’ll spend.
Also, think about whether you want the same amount each. I always like photos to be even, so having the same amount on both sides would make that possible.
6. Work out your budget
Start putting together your budget for your wedding. First, you need to decide how much you’re willing to spend on your wedding and what that needs to include.
Start using that list that you created at the beginning of what is important to you and what you must have and what you need and what you want and what you could possibly let go of if you really had to. This will help if you need to tighten the budget at all.
Then work out how much you both already have and what you have to save up in order to ensure you have enough for your wedding. Don’t forget that most suppliers and the venue, will require a deposit and most of the payment (if not all of the payment) paid upfront, so you need to make sure that you’re saving up as you go along, to ensure you can settle all invoices when required.
Don’t forget to factor in the honeymoon and any travel expenses you’ll have, depending on the area you are looking at getting married in.
7. Consider hiring a wedding planner
Depending on your needs, you may wish to hire a wedding planner to plan, organise and run your wedding for you. If you’re looking to hire a wedding planner for their full planning service, now is the time you want to book, as you’ll want them to start venue searching.
Make sure you have an idea of what services you want, do your research and meet them before hiring. You’ll be spending a lot of time with them and it’s important that you connect!
8. Start visualising your theme and what you want your colours to be
You may be told to select your venue before thinking of your theme, but I don’t think this is necessarily true. Imagine you end up booking your venue but haven’t thought about your theme and get stuck with being limited to what your theme and your colours could be. Pinterest is great for putting together boards and different ideas for your theme, so start creating and pinning!
Don’t forget to factor in the honeymoon, accomodation, any travel expenses you’ll have and a contingency fund (just in case) into your budget!
9. Start compiling your guest list
Even though you won’t be sending the invitations out just yet, in order for you to find the perfect venue that’ll accommodate the number of guests you could have on the day, it’s best to start to get an idea of how many guests you will be inviting.
Don’t forget to revert back to what type of wedding you want to have and if you’re looking to only have a certain amount of people for the ceremony and wedding breakfast and more for the evening.
Make a list of dates that the most important guests (wedding tribe, family etc) aren’t available on as well as that’ll be a deciding factor when you have to select your wedding date.
10. Start looking at wedding venues
By this point, you’ll have a better idea on what your date is, how many people you’ll be inviting, the type of wedding you want, your budget and where you both want to tie the knot.
Make a list of venues you want to go and see and set up a few days to do this in or allow yourself a couple of weeks, depending on how far away these venues are to where you’re either working or living. It is exhausting travelling to and from one venue to another and answering the same questions, so squashing this all in will not be fun for you both. Making sure you allow enough time for this, will make it more fun for you both and you’ll enjoy it more. Cramming lots of things will inevitably make it feel more stressful than it actually is.
11. Book your venue/s & pick your date
They say that when you find the perfect wedding dress you just know and that’s the same for your venue/s. When you know you’ll know!
Since you haven’t decided on an exact date, you can be more flexible when booking your chosen venue. Imagine you had already chosen a date and sent out your save the dates and then had to find a venue. It would be a nightmare if your perfect venue wasn’t available.
Find out the availability for your chosen venue for the year and month range you have selected including any dates your VIP guests can’t do and decide and book from there.
TIP – if you have decided on hiring a wedding planner, then you’ll have needed to have selected a date already so that they can ensure they are available for the day of your wedding. No one wants a wedding planner, that cannot be there on the day!
12. Book the officiant for your ceremony
Now that you have your wedding date and your venue booked, now it’s time to book that person that is going to marry you both. Depending on what type of ceremony you’ve opted for, will depend on the type of officiant you need to book. As it’ll be a different procedure for booking a religious officiant to a non-religious officiant, make sure you do your research so that you allow enough time to book them in and complete all the necessary paperwork or appointments required.
13. Consider getting wedding insurance
A wedding is going to one of the most expensive things you purchase, other than when you buy a house, or a car and it’ll give you peace of mind to have that extra cover in place, in case something does, unfortunately, go wrong.
14. Send save the dates
Yay, you can start telling everyone where and when it’ll be! I always like to give people enough notice where possible (especially if you’re looking at having your wedding in another country, in an area where most of your guests will have to travel further than normal to or in a period that you think could be busy either for other weddings or during peak periods that your guests could be away such as Christmas).
15. Create your wedding timeline
Make a list of everything you want and need to research and book and start making a timeline of when you need to get all of this done by. You’ll feel a lot more relaxed and a lot less stressed knowing when you need to complete certain tasks by.
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Siobhan Zulch trading as By Siobhan Louise
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