Congratulations on your engagement, now the fun of planning begins! Of course, this is all very new and can be a little overwhelming at times, so we have come to the rescue by putting together our guide to the initial steps of wedding planning.
Where to start?
Before you start anything, make sure you both have a clear understanding of your wedding budget and the different expenses involved. This will help guide your decisions and keep you in line throughout your planning process.
Of course, guest’s numbers always chop and change. However, one of the first steps is to begin by getting a rough estimate of both day and evening guests, including children. This will have a knock-on effect with your budget and venue size.
What’s important to you both? Top 3 challenge!
Your wedding day is a very special day and there will be many things that are important, with some things being more poignant than others. Weddings planning sometimes involves compromise and making concessions in certain areas, in order to ensure other things with higher importance can take centre stage.
Have a little think about what your top 3 most important factors are to you when choosing a venue – is it the style of the venue? Location? Accessibility? Accommodation? Price? Food and Drink?
Once you have set your budget, drafted a guest list and decided on what is important to you, you can begin to explore online which venues will visually fit your style.
Get a true picture of a venue’s service by checking reviews on TripAdvisor and Facebook. Weddings are organised by real people and it's key to hear what sort of an impact your wedding coordinator can have on making your day not only amazing, but easy and stress-free too.
Take a look at venues' Pinterest accounts, to see previous weddings' photos and get inspiration.
Wedding venues come in all shapes and sizes! Anything from country houses & barns to hotels & golf clubs. Some venues are exclusive use, while others will have multiple events taking place. Some venues will offer packages, while others will personalise their offering to suit you. Some venues will offer ‘dry hire’ (just the venue), while others will provide the whole package (ceremony, food, drink & accommodation)
You know when someone tells you about something you've not heard of before and a week later you've seen or heard about it 10 times? This is very likely to happen with wedding planning too! Tell your friends, family and colleagues about venues or suppliers you're considering and see whether they have any feedback or comments about them. Word of mouth has to be the best recommendation there is, right?
Go and meet them!
If there's one thing you'll read time and time again when you start to look at venues and suppliers, is that looking online just isn't enough. Quite simply, you can't beat a real life viewing or meeting. Although every venue will show off its best images, it is ever so hard to describe the feel of a place and if you're going to put your faith in them to provide you with one of the most special days of your lives, you really need to get its vibe - feel it, see it and meet the people. Could you picture yourselves celebrating there? Are they passionate about weddings? Are they interested in your wants and needs? Can they offer help and guidance from experience, if you want them to?
Unsure how many venues to see? This may help.. According to a recent survey on Hitched, typically couples view 18 venues online with 6 being shortlisted and 4 being visited. You may be lucky enough to find your venue sooner than this or you may consider more. If you find yourself viewing every venue and not deciding on any then it's time to revisit your top 3 challenge, and if that still doesn't help then try making it a top 5/7/10 challenge instead.
View venues See our guide to questions to ask venues
Firstly, choose somewhere between 2-6 venues that you like the look of online and book in to view them in real life.
The two priorities after this are booking the venue and booking the ceremony - setting the date and paying a deposit to the venue and registrar/church.
After this you can get excited about details such as the dress, photography, flowers etc. Knowing your venue and date will help make organising these things a little bit easier too - it's a win/win!
Here are some more tips on your wedding planning timeline.