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How to start planning your wedding in 5 steps

Here is a list of the first 5 things you should do after you get engaged.

You’ve got a ring on it! Congratulations! Now what?

Planning a wedding can seem like a big, daunting task. There are so many things to think about, a lot of expectations, and everyone has an opinion, which isn’t helpful. To give you a hand, I’ve pulled together what I think are the first things you should do to get the ball rolling on your wedding planning.

Step 1: Celebrate!!

If you haven’t already popped a bottle of fizz, why not?! You’re about to embark on an incredible adventure and it most definitely deserves to be celebrated! In all seriousness, this is such an exciting moment and you should make the most of it. It can be very easy to immediately get swept up in wedding fairs and venue visits, but it’s important to take the time to share in the joy of your family and friends, and to enjoy just being engaged!

Step 2: Talk about the kind of wedding you want

This might seem like an obvious thing to say, but it’s really important that you’re both on the same page about the kind of wedding you want. If you haven’t talked about weddings before, you might have completely different ideas and expectations for what your day will look like without realising it. Settle on the basic things now and this will help you when you come to make venue and supplier decisions later on:

- What time of year do you want to get married? Are there any particular dates you have in mind that have a special meaning for you? Will you have to work around your jobs?

- Do you want a big wedding or a small wedding? Now is a good time to start thinking about rough numbers and who has made the guestlist and who hasn’t, as this will dictate the kind of venue you look at. It’s easy to give in to pressure, but my number one advice to couples is to invite the people you want to be at your wedding, not the people who you feel you ought to invite (I could write a whole other blog about this…)

- What kind of venue do you want to get married in? A barn. A big country house. A castle. A tipi. Remember that with a celebrant, you aren’t restricted to a licensed venue, which gives you so many more options. Your parents’ back garden? The forest? The beach?

Step 3: Decide on a budget and STICK TO IT

Work out how much money you want to spend on your wedding, or how much you think you can realistically save. It’s very easy to get carried away and lose track of how much you’re putting into your big day, and then you end up accidentally investing way more than you intended to. Working out your budget at the start of the process will help guide your decisions further down the line. So pick a figure, divvy it up between all the things you want for your day, and STICK TO IT.

A good spreadsheet is invaluable, and there are loads of resources out there that will help to guide you in terms of how much you should roughly spend in each department. But these are just a guide. Your venue and food for the day will usually be your biggest expenses, but after that, it’s all up to you. Another piece of advice I give to couples is to pick the three most important things to you and prioritise those. For example, you aren’t as fussed about flowers but you really want a kickass band. You don’t mind sending out DIY or electronic invites so you can have an awesome photobooth. You’re more than happy to have that Spotify playlist instead of live music during the reception if it means you can add videography to your photography package. Thinking in detail about what is important to you on your wedding day will make it much easier to break down your budget and help you make decisions.

Step 4: Book your venue and your date

Now it’s time to start looking around for a venue. You might have had your eye on a particular place for a while, in which case, this step is a lot easier, but if you’re starting from scratch with venues, having done the planning from steps two and three will really help you here.

There are so many incredibly beautiful and amazing wedding venues in this country. It can be quite overwhelming when you realise the scale of choice you have, and having certain criteria that venues must meet will help you to whittle down your choices. Is the venue dog-friendly? Do they have outside space? Is it big enough to fit your 180 person guestlist? Will you feel like peas in a drum if you’re having a small, intimate wedding? Do they have availability for the specific date/month/season you have in mind?

Free wedding fairs and venue open days/evenings provide a great opportunity to have a mooch around different types of places so you can get a feel for what you might like, but when it comes to arranging venue visits, whittle your choices down to three or four in the first instance, and book your viewings. This will enable you to focus on the pros and cons of each and help you make your decision. If none of them are right then you can widen your search using what you’ve learned from these visits. But more often than not, you’ll just know when you’ve found the one!

Step 5: Start booking your priority suppliers

Once you have your venue and your date sorted, now it’s time to start securing the rest of your suppliers. It’s never too early to book, particularly if it’s a supplier or a service which is important to you (remember those priorities from step three?) Many suppliers, such as celebrants, photographers, planners, DJs and musicians, will only take on one wedding per day, so it’s important to make sure you have your date in their diaries first. Write a big long list of all the things you need to do, break them down into small, manageable tasks, and start ploughing through them at a leisurely pace. This way you’ll avoid getting overwhelmed, leaving everything to the last minute and drowning in stress.

Now you've got the ball rolling!

Ultimately, planning a wedding should be a really enjoyable process, but all too often, people get caught up in all the tiny details, lose sight of the bigger picture, and end up having a really negative experience. If you’re married to your love by the end of the day then it’s all been a success. And if you get your planning off to a good start with these five simple steps, you should be in for a really fun ride!

If you've had your eye on me for a while and would like to get your date in my diary, please get in touch! Email me on, pop me a DM on Instagram, or click below to fill out the contact form on my website, and I'll get back to you.

Photography credits: Baseler & Holmes, Wed In The Wilderness, and Naomi Mills Photography


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