Congratulations on your engagement!  Such an exciting time, sharing your wonderful news with the ones you love and writing down all your ideas and plans. As well as exciting, it can also be overwhelming with seemingly endless to-do lists and sometimes that fear of not knowing where to begin.  This guide is here to help, and take you through the steps of what to do next now you’ve said yes:

Hire A Professional Wedding Planner
Weddings are complex events with a lot of moving parts and having an expert on board to help you plan and be on there on the day, saves you time and relieves a lot of the stress involved in planning your wedding.

While you might not think your budget will stretch to hiring a professional, it is always worth asking the question.  Your wedding shouldn’t be stressful, it should be an enjoyable experience (for you and your guests) and if the planning is causing you stress and worry, it’s worth the investment to hire a Wedding Planner.

 

Wedding reception table setting with napkins, menu, crockery, cutlery and glassware

 

Set Your Budget
Arguably one of the very first steps in planning your wedding is setting your wedding budget.  This is one of the more difficult tasks you will need to do as you’re not going to know how much things will cost, unless you’ve planned a wedding before.

There are no formulas or rules on how much you should spend on your wedding, or on the different areas involved.  Think carefully about how much you are willing to spend, but be realistic.  Consider the things that are most important to you and where you want to spend more of your budget, such as an abundance of high-end flowers; Champagne instead of Prosecco.

Be mindful when compiling your guest list – whilst it would be wonderful to have every person you know attend your wedding, each guest costs you money so be sensible.  Adding on 5 or 10 guests might not seem a lot, but the costs add up quickly once you’ve added tables and chairs, crockery and glassware, stationery and floral arrangements.

Typically, the majority of your wedding budget spend will be on venue hire and catering, with the remainder of your budget allocated to attire, flowers, photographer, stationery and so on.  You may also want to have a separate honeymoon budget.

Working with a Wedding Planner will help you allocate budget to the different areas of your wedding, spending your money wisely.  They’ll also be able to help source venues and suppliers that best match your requirements as well as your budget, and keep you on track so you know how much you are spending, avoiding any nasty surprises. 

 

Wedding ceremony with Chiavari chairs at Holland Park Orangery

 

Choose Your Date
Choosing your wedding date is one of the key decisions you’ll make in the wedding planning process, and it’s something best tackled at the beginning.

Choosing your date (or time of year you want to marry in) early isn’t just for practical reasons – it will impact all the other areas of your wedding and once you have made that first decision, you’ll be able to go ahead and secure your venue and suppliers for your wedding day.  In the UK, the most popular time to get married is late Spring/Summer (peak season) which is June, July, August and September.  There’s only so many weekend dates available during this time so you may need to opt for a week day wedding if you have your heart set on a date in one of these months.

If you’re not fixed on a particular season, month, or even day of the week, there are a lot more options and greater flexibility available to you.  Many venues offer more affordable or flexible pricing for mid-week weddings; however, this does come with the challenge of giving your guests enough notice and the understanding they may not be able to take time off work to attend. 

Choose a date that suits you both, you may want to take into consideration any significant dates that involve your family or close friends, major sporting events and bank holidays.

 

Wedding stationery including invitations, save the date, RSVP car, menu, wedding details

 

Imagination & Inspiration
Now the fun really begins!  Imagining how you want your wedding to be and what it will look like, and drawing inspiration from home décor to fashion, travel to design. 

Instagram, Pinterest and wedding blogs can be invaluable resources for getting the creative juices flowing and for inspiring ideas.  Creating mood boards with images of things you love is a great way to keep track of your ideas and for sharing with your suppliers so they can get an understanding of how you envision your wedding day.

 

Wedding Style & Venue
Now you’ve started to collate ideas about how you envision your wedding, think about the type of ceremony you would like – will it be a religious or civil ceremony?  Will the reception be in a marquee or a ballroom? Hotel or Country House wedding?  Once you have an idea on your wedding style you can start to think about venues.   

Working with a Wedding Planner can really help you to picture how you would like your day to be and narrow down all the endless possibilities. They’ll be able to source venues that suit your requirements and budget, and may have a few hidden gems up their sleeve too!

 

Outdoor wedding ceremony in Italian Garden at Wotton House, Dorking

 

All The Questions
Once you’ve shared your engagement news, the first question you’ll be asked is ‘when’s the wedding?’.  It’s natural for people to be excited for you and want to know all the details of what you’re planning, but don’t let the pressure or the overwhelm of so much attention and interest get to you. 

Everyone will have an opinion on what you should do, or how your wedding should be – embrace the love, share your engagement story, and be diplomatic around questions of when and where the wedding is and who is invited. Having a Wedding Planner on board can really help navigate you through all these questions.

 

Peace Of Mind
Your engagement ring will be with you for life, so it’s important to protect it as it’s not only an investment but also holds sentimental value.  Getting your ring insured will give you piece of mind, just in case something happens to it.

Also consider taking our wedding insurance – weddings are expensive and emotional and it is best to be prepared in case something does happen.  Wedding insurance covers you if there is a problem with the venue or a supplier, but be mindful that it does not provide cover if one of you changes their mind.

Be aware:  Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, many companies are no longer offering wedding insurance.  It is still being offered by some insurers so do your research thoroughly, know what you are covered for, and speak to a certified Insurance Broker who should be able to help.

 

Diamond engagement ring sitting in blush pink velvet ring box

 

Enjoy Being Engaged
Your wedding is about the two of you, and the beginning of your life together; it’s a special day to celebrate your love for each other and your relationship.  Sometimes it’s difficult to ignore all the varying opinions about what you should do and how you should do it but stand firm. Make sure that planning your wedding doesn’t take over your life, or your relationship – having a Wedding Planner on board to support you both is really worth their weight in gold.

Want to know more about working with a Wedding Planner?  Discover my services and how I can help.

Image credits: Neli Prahova | Lloyd Dobbie Photography | Bailey & Roo | Neli Prahova