So you're perfect partner has just popped the question, you said yes and now you're looking for a wedding planning guide to help you get started? Reality has hit. What are you meant to do next? Unless you've had visions of your dream wedding and been planing ahead you're likely to feel just a little bit overwhelmed. Picking a venue, date, guestlist can all sound a bit daunting and that's just a couple of things to consider.
After shooting weddings for the last 4 years and planning my own big day 3 years ago understand the need for a good wedding planning guide to help organise the chaos and help you enjoy the process. Hopefully this small wedding planning guide will help you through the begining of your wedding planning process so you can stress less and spend more time drinking champers and admiring your new bling!
First things first, take a second to get excited with your nearest and dearest to share your news. They're likely to be just as pleased as you are. Whether you have an engagement party or just crack open a bottle of bubbly at home, acknowledge that you've just made a huge life decision and commited to spending the rest of your life with your special someone. This is your moment, milk it!
2. Think about the big picture
Take some time to discuss with your partner some of the bigger details so there's less confusion when you come to the planning.
Some of the main things to consider are: time of year for your wedding, location, type of venue and size of wedding. Coming to some mutual agreements will help to narrow down decisions later and avoid wasting time looking at venues your partner would hate.
3. Get Appy!
Thankfully some clever techy people have created some apps which list all the elements required when planning a wedding. Some popular ones include: Appy Couple Wedding App, Bridebook and AppyEverAfter Wedding Planning.
These apps provide helpful checklists, guestlist and budget managers. Of course if, like me, you're slightly obsessed with new stationary I'm sure you can double up with new notebooks and sticky labels!
4. Agree a budget
Before you begin looking at anything you need to work out exactly what your budget for your wedding is. How much can you afford to put towards your big day? Are your parent's contributing? If so finding this out in advance will help you have realistic goals. Nobody wants to be in debt when the wedding is all over if it can be helped.
Once you know the budget you can decide what the most important things are for you. Is it the venue, the amount of people, the dress and suits, the band? Split the budget according to your priorities.
Finally you can start actually planning and the first thing you need is a venue and registrar. Discuss with your partner the locations you have in mind. Do you want something local or further a field? Think about the style of wedding you had in mind. Do you want a city wedding, an exclusive manor house, a country barn? The options are endless.
Once you know the type of venue you are after get googling. A great way to get a look at a few options in one go is to look through local photographers websites where they will likely display full albums of multiple venues.
Popular venues may be booked up far in advance so try and book early. If you fall in love with a venue that is outside of your budget consider booking your date in quieter months or on a weekday as discounted rates are often available.
Once your venue and registrar is confirmed and you have a date the next thing to look at is a photographer as we can only commit to one wedding per date and can book up years in advance.
The main thing to consider is the style of photography you want for your day. Do you want something formal, where you will be guided into flattering poses and good light? Something more documentary where the photographer will just catch what happens without stopping you, or do you want a mixture of both?
Editing style will also be important. Do you want mainly colour, black and white or a specific style to your final images. Narrow your selection down to a few and be sure to look at full albums to make sure the images link in with what you want for your own day.
I would always recommend meeting or chatting on the phone with the photographer prior to booking as they will be with you for the majority of your day so you really want to get along with them!
7. Pick your people and delegate!
Think about who you want to be a part of your big day, in particular, your bridal party. Who do you want stood beside you when you say those important vows? Getting friends and family members involved early will let you get some additional support.
For my own wedding I had friends and family involved with finding dresses and suits, selecting my guest list, making table centre pieces and namecards, picking music etc. Not only does it share out some of the work but it's way more fun having people there with you!
8. Enjoy it
When it all get's that little bit too much just take a second to breathe and remember what it's really all about. You're marrying the person of your dreams surrounded by the people you love. No amount of detail disagreements, family feuds, wedding day mishaps (trust me there will be at least one) should take away from what's really important.
Remember, you're commiting to each other for better and worse, the rest is just fluff! x x
Rosie x x