Planning a wedding can be one of the most daunting tasks around, I mean it’s the biggest event in your life that you’ll be organising after all! Despite having all these grand ideas in my mind, I never quite realised how much work it would take to bring it all together, and I’m only at the very beginning! Today, with the help of wedding website, WeddingWire UK, (whose planning checklist tool has been a godsend so far!) I’m going to talk about my planning process to date; the challenges I’ve faced, my top tips I can offer and the things I have learned along the way.
If you too are planning your wedding, I cannot tell you how useful WeddingWire UK will be to your planning process! Not only is it free but it is also like an online Aladdin’s cave – a website full of treasures waiting to be discovered. WeddingWire UK will be like your little virtual wedding black book, your one-stop-shop for everything involved in planning your big day. From their budget calculator to their guest-list management tool and from ideas for that dream dress and access to thousands of the best suppliers around, they have it covered! I’m hoping this little roundup of my planning so far will help any of you brides who don’t know where to start with your organising, or even those of you helping the bride-to-be. So, without further adieu, let the planning begin!
Set yourself a budget
First things first, let’s talk money. Before you even BEGIN to think about those Pinterest-perfect flower displays or what wedding favours you’re going to have, make sure you and your partner set yourselves a budget. This will likely always be a little bit of a soft spot for many couples, it definitely was for us. My fiancé Luca is more of the level-headed one between us, who wanted to keep our budget realistic, whilst I was away with the fairies planning my extravagant decorations and 10-course meal! Of course, we had to come to an agreement (and yes, I will be popping in last minute bits and bobs before the big day that he may or may not find out about – let’s be honest :P) but identifying a budget definitely gave us a realistic starting point.
The minute you set yourself a budget, you can then begin to define the number of guests you can host and how much out of the budget you want to spend on the main elements such as the catering, location, entertainment, photography and so on. I loved using the budget calculator on WeddingWire UK – it actually breaks down your budget into a pie chart so you can see visually how much of each element is eating into your overall figure. I’m sure this will be super helpful for me when I see how ridiculously over the top our florist quote is… oh well it will be worth it in the end 😀
Top tip: Always OVER budget. I’m terrible at that, I splurge on things and round the price down in my head to make me feel better on how much I’ve spent. You don’t want to be doing that because big costs will creep up on you when you least expect, so you definitely need to have more than you think is necessary. And let’s be honest, those extra pennies you didn’t spend can go towards another bottle of bubbly on the honeymoon right?!
Make lists! I love making lists personally but I would not say organisation is my forte. I’m not TERRIBLE at it but it’s just not one of my best qualities – though I do love checking things off when I’ve got them done. The checklist on WeddingWire UK is perfect for me – not only does it pretty much list everything you need but it gives you a time bracket for when these things should be completed. It’s so easy to get lost and lose momentum on what’s important, I personally find it so hard to prioritise but WeddingWire UK does this for you.
Myself and Luca also have a shared Google Drive on all of our wedding info. I created a bunch of documents in the drive where I can copy and paste and access at any time. This has been so useful when I was researching hotels, wedding dress shops etc – it allowed me to quickly paste in websites that I came across whilst browsing online and then refer back to them in the future when I couldn’t remember which site I had been on.
Top tip: If something comes to mind, jot it down right away. I constantly have new to-do’s that come up in my head and then 5 minutes later I’ve forgotten what that thing was. Get those little bits written down as you go along, because I’m 100% certain there will be lots of them! I’ve even been to weddings when someone has forgotten to bring the rings and had to do a last minute mad dash!
Book the important things asap
As I am getting married next August, I’ve given myself to the end of this year to book most of the main elements that I can do from my computer (things that don’t require me to physically be at the venue) – i.e. the photographers, DJs, entertainment, planning invitations, wedding website etc. One of the most important elements for any wedding is the catering – we were indirectly quite lucky on this occasion because our venue came with one caterer who has incredible reviews, so that saved a lot of research from our side. We will of course have to go for a menu tasting, but not having to choose the catering took a big thing off my list. Once we get into the new year, the hunt for outfits starts, we will have to have meetings with a florist, organise the wedding favours etc – this is a lot more hands on than other stuff so I’m just trying to get what I can done before the real countdown begins.
The Wedding Wire can help a lot with these tasks. Once you sign up on the site, you’ll have access to their amazing directory of photographers, florists, cake makers, entertainment and so much more. It will automatically show you the best suppliers in your area and you can specify your search based on budget, locality and service type. I can safely say that instead of getting lost in the world of google search, the directory provided by WeddingWire UK saved me so much time!
Top tip: Use recommendations as much as possible! Ask around friends and friends of friends, because the likelihood if you’re after something very specific you’ll find what you’re looking for! This will also coming from a real trustworthy source. I’ve booked things super quickly through friends giving me advice on who to work with and use! I also joined a few wedding Facebook groups which have helped me get lots of great recommendations very quickly.
Pinterest is obviously number one for inspiration. As soon as you have your venue booked, get pinning! Create sub-boards within your wedding board of various things such as flower displays, favour ideas, table decorations and so on. One of the things I love most about Pinterest is finding amazing DIY ways of doing things. I want to have as much involvement in my big day as I can, I’ll be allowing the professionals to do their thing, of course, but elements that I might be able to create myself I want to research as much as possible!
Top tip: Be inspired, but equally be realistic with your ideas. I know a lot of florists get frustrated when people come to them with these grand ideas but don’t realise the cost behind them. Get as many quotes as you can so you can gauge what your budget realistically allows you – the more information you can arm yourself with, the better!
Whether it’s a Save the Date, a wedding website or just simply the invitations, communication is key! In our case as we are getting married abroad, communication as early as possible was of upmost importance. The minute we announced our engagement the flurry of questions rolled in – When will be? Where is it taking place? How do we get there? Where do we stay? Being in the 21st century, we are now blessed with the most amazing forms of communication, so use them! I really think that regardless of whether you’re getting married abroad or not, I would get a wedding website. WeddingWire UK offers some really elegant and simple website designs I think would be really appreciated by your guests attending. I’ve often found it so useful myself for friend’s weddings that I’ve been to, even ones local to me, as I needed links to hotels, taxi numbers and so on. Long gone are the days of getting married in your church down the road, well particularly for those of us who live in London, so your guests will need that extra level of communication!
Our communication timeline is as follows:
- Wedding – August 2019
- Save the Date went out in October 2018 (10 months before)
- Website will go out in November 2018 (9 months before)
- Invitations should go out around Easter time (4-5 months before)
Top tip: The more information you can give your guests quicker, the better. I’m still in the very early stages of planning, so I’m sure that as things get closer, people will come to us with specific questions etc but at least the general timeline and details of events is online available for them to digest.
Do some ground research
Lastly, I would say get out of the house and get researching! Before I got engaged I remember thinking how I couldn’t wait to visit as many wedding fairs as possible and get in all my research. What I didn’t know was how close together they were dates-wise (most of them take place September-October time since the majority of weddings are during the summer!). I did manage to get to Brides the Show, which was a fantastic event (you can read my review of the event here) and gave me so many ideas for my big day. What I love so much about fairs is how many elements of the day you can be inspired with – from cakes to bridal jewellery, flower walls to entertainment, you can see for yourself how the suppliers will work their magic for your special day!
Ground research also applies to wedding dresses. I’ll be honest, I actually found my dream dress on the first real day of wedding dress shopping. Even though I fell in love with it, I said to myself that I wanted to make sure I had covered all grounds before I made a final decision, and let me tell you, I have seen almost ALL the wedding dress boutiques in London (which are all listed on WeddingWire UK’s directory)! I will be ordering my dress shortly but I know now that it is the one for me and I’m glad that I did shop around to make sure it truly was THE ONE!
Wedding dress shops I’ve been to: Mirror Mirror, The Wedding Club, The Wedding Gallery, Saks 5th Avenue (NYC), Angelica Bridal, Morgan Davies, London Bride Couture, Blush & Ivory, Wedding Atelier, Golden Sash Bridal.
Top tip: Most wedding fairs will release their dates well in advance so get them pencilled in as soon as possible to avoid missing out! Being on top of things with dress shopping is important too – most Saturdays and evenings will get booked out really quickly, particularly in London. I would try and go during your lunch hour if you do get chance to, partly because boutiques are less booked during the day but also because boutiques in London tend to charge a minimum consultation fee £25 for evenings and weekends, which soon begins to add up!
***This post has been sponsored by WeddingWire UK. All opinions are my own.***