Planning Your Wedding
No matter how long you’ve been engaged, wedding planning can be an overwhelming experience. It’s full of excitement and anticipation, but also the stress and anxiety that comes with making decisions. You might find yourself wondering where to start or what to do first. We’re here to help! This blog post will walk you through the bride’s wedding checklist step-by-step so that your day is as perfect as it should be. I’ve not put them in order of importance but you should consider each one carefully. Enjoy your wedding planning journey!
Start wedding dress shopping
Let’s start with the fun stuff! Although, not as important as securing your wedding venue (hey, we’ll get to that next!), let’s celebrate these wonderful times with champagne, cake and wedding dress shopping!
Start by looking online, in magazines or even on Pinterest for styles you like. You’ll find all the wedding inspiration required! If your style is more boho than classic bridal gowns, don’t be afraid to try a dress that’s not typical of the traditional wedding look.
Many stores offer free appointment times so you can get one-on-one time with a stylist and a full range of gowns to try on. This is important because you want to make sure the dress fits properly, feels right and looks great in your body type! You can also ask about an additional fitting or two before it’s time for alterations.
Wedding dresses of course can be very expensive but that doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune. You can find beautiful dresses at lower price points as well as on sale and even used! Just make sure the dress has been cleaned properly so it’s ready for you when you put it on your big day.
A final dress fitting is important. Your wedding dress won’t be perfect if it’s not as you want, so make sure your stylist can fix any issues before the big day!
Choose a date!
An exciting process that helps make the whole experience a little more real. You’ll be able to start planning for vendors, guest lists and all those other wedding details once you’ve nailed down this essential!
You’ll want to consider your guests, availability and budget when choosing a date for your wedding. If you’re not sure about options available in your area, do some research! Ask around or check out local venues online so that you know what’s possible before booking anything – this is especially helpful if it’s a peak
Search for a wedding venue
The backdrop to a brilliant wedding day with all your loved ones. The wedding venue is the focus of every event and it’s imperative that you find a site with a stunning look, excellent service and responsive staff.
Start by asking friends for recommendations or going online to see what pops up when looking for venues in your area. Contact each one to learn more about their services, availability. The most popular venues have limited availability with the more exclusive ones booked up well in advance.
Will you seek a local venue or perhaps, an out-of-town wedding destination? Each choice has benefits! Local weddings are generally more affordable and close to family. Out-of-town events can be memorable experiences for guests, especially if it’s somewhere they’ve never been before.
Set up a wedding email account
Using a wedding email helps with keeping all things planning a wedding in one place. It’s also a bit of fun to have a wedding email that will be unique to you and your fiancé!
Set up a wedding website
A wedding website is a great place to share your wedding plans with friends and family, or even use it as an online registry.
Creating a website is relatively inexpensive and there are many free options available so you don’t need to spend time worrying about this one! Just make sure that the site has all of the basic information such as location, date, RSVPs and other important details.
Engage in the process of selecting your marriage license
Not particularly a glamourous step but a necessary one! Marriage licenses are required to marry, and you can’t get married without them. While the details vary by state, most require your name, age (or date of birth), place of residence (ditto) as well as information about previous marriages if applicable.
Select a photographer
A wedding photographer is more than just a person with a camera. They’re the ones who capture your day and preserve your memories in beautiful photographs that will live on long after you return from your honeymoon!
Start by speaking to friends, family members or wedding planners about their recommendations of photographers. Check online for portfolios and availability plus what packages they offer.
Inquire about what kind of wedding photography coverage they offer, including on-site or off-site editing and prints. Many photographers also have a range of albums to choose from with different page numbers and cover materials. Investigate different styles of photography to see which one fits your personality and wedding aesthetic!
Arrange to meet up with a few photographers (over Zoom or in-person) as this will give you a chance to get comfortable with them. You’ll have plenty of time later for wedding photography so don’t feel pressured into hiring anyone before the first meeting! Why not have a chat with Helen Weir Photography your Hertfordshire Wedding Photographer for more assistance.
The Groom & Groomsmen’s attire
The groomsmen play a big part in making your wedding day so special.
There’s nothing more photo-friendly than a well-groomed team of men!
Choose wedding suits that are timeless, elegant and will make your groomsmen feel like the best version of themselves 🙂
There is no standard dress code for weddings so you can be as creative with this part of wedding planning as you wish. Tuxedoes are becoming more popular recently – which make for wonderful stylish wedding photos!
Get hair and makeup trial(s) scheduled
A wedding day can be stressful so you want to make sure your hair and makeup is done right the first time! Go ahead and set up a trial for both, whether it’s on-site or off. Your stylists will customise a look that compliments each other while being in line with what you have envisioned for yourself.
Consider a wedding planner
A wedding planner is one of your most valuable wedding investments. They can help you choose vendors, manage the day-of logistics and even offer tips to save money on things like flowers and other suppliers. A wedding planner will take care of details so that you don’t have to worry about a thing on your big day.
Choose and order personalised items such as stationery, programs, table cards, menus etc
Planning an elegant wedding means incorporating personalised items like stationery, programs and table cards to make your big day memorable.
Customised stationery is one of the most memorable touches you can add to your wedding. Shop online or head to a store that carries bridal accessories for invitations, envelopes, RSVP cards, thank-you notes and more!
Send out save the date card to friends and family
You and your fiancé should sit down together to determine how many save the dates you need to send out. Most couples order anywhere from 50-100, but it’s also okay to start with fewer if money is tight or if you’re going for a more intimate wedding.
This is an equally important step in the wedding planning process! Once you’ve determined who will receive invites, get to work on the design and wording of these all-important pieces. You can always hire a designer or stationery company for help with a more customised look.
Choose a wedding theme and/or colour scheme
Wedding themes vary from rustic to vintage, modern or even destination weddings. Make sure you choose something that reflects your personality while fitting with the overall vibe of the wedding day!
Choose your Bridal Party!
Your wedding party will be your go-to people on the big day as well as for events leading up to it. They’ll help with everything from shopping, fitting and delivering bridesmaid dresses to organising travel arrangements for out of town members or renting a limo!
Your bridesmaids will play a significant role on your wedding day but also in the run-up. They will be there to help you get ready, make travel arrangements for out of town members and stand by your side through the ceremony.
Make sure they understand their responsibilities before it’s too late (i.e., ordering dresses, securing hair appointments etc.). Also, ensure that everyone who is part of the bridal party gets a fitting and try-on session for dresses well in advance to avoid any last-minute panic!
Look into your entertainment options
Great entertainment at a wedding is important so you want to start looking into it early. Wedding entertainment can include everything from wedding bands, a wedding magician, lawn games, photo booths, the list is endless.
Wedding planners are also helpful for this step as they may have suggestions based on previous experiences that fit within your budget.
Decide your budget
In the UK, a typical wedding is estimated to cost £20,000. But this doesn’t mean you have to keep up with the Jones’!
Work with a wedding budget that is both realistic and something you can afford!
Some of the best weddings I’ve been to have maximised their budget whilst creating an authentic, love-filled atmosphere without breaking the bank.
Send your invites!
Once you’ve settled on your guest list, your wedding invitation should be sent around 9 months before the wedding date.
There are so many different ways to send wedding invitations. For example, you can opt for traditional paper invites or if your budget is tight explore the option of sending digital ones! A nice touch is to have engagement photos that you can include on the wedding invitation.
Whichever route you decide on, make sure that they fit both with the overall tone and theme.
Consider adding wedding insurance to protect your big day.
Wedding insurance is relatively inexpensive and can be purchased from a variety of wedding planning websites or companies that offer it. It’s an added security blanket on the one day you never want anything to go wrong! Also, consider having your engagement ring insured.
Wedding bands come in a variety of styles, all with different metals and finishes.
The first decision you’ll need to make is whether or not your wedding band should be the same as his. In most cases, it’s okay for them to be slightly different but if that doesn’t suit your style then go ahead and have matching bands! Wedding rings symbolise the eternal love between the couple.
Regardless of which route you go with, make sure your wedding band is comfortable enough for everyday wear and fits well with any engagement ring that may already be
The wedding cake!
The wedding cake is an important part of the wedding party.
Historically, wedding cakes were all about symbolism and it was believed that a cake made of wheat, sugar to represent sweetness in life along with fruit that symbolised fertility would bring good luck to the couple.
These days wedding cakes can be as simple or extravagant as you’d like them! The best part of this is the tasting process which I’m sure you’ll agree… is pretty great!
Finding the right wedding shoes will make or break your big day. Get the wrong ones, and they’ll likely break your feet 🙂
It is important to find a style that fits both with your dress and personality as well as comfort since you’ll be wearing them for most of the day!
Remember to practice wearing them before the big day too… nothing worse than blisters at a time like this 🙂
Wedding flowers are a beautiful addition to any wedding.
The possibilities for wedding flowers are endless and you can get really creative with your choices!
A great wedding florist will get to know you and your partner’s personalities to help choose the perfect wedding flowers for you.
Use Pinterest to look for inspiration and have fun with this!
Choosing your wedding mode of transport will depend on a variety of factors such as budget, distance and guest numbers.
The most popular options include cars, horse-drawn carriages or even an old fashioned bicycle carriage if you’re looking to go really traditional 😉
Consider a Celebrant
Celebrants are becoming more and more popular in wedding planning.
Using a celebrant is an option to help create the tone and atmosphere that you are looking for on your big day. They can also conduct civil ceremonies if needed, which means they’re able to marry couples regardless of their religious beliefs!
A great wedding celebrant helps bring alive your love story with beautiful words whilst also making what can be a “dry” legal process into a truly memorable occasion.
Your wedding day may seem a long way off at this stage but you should start planning your honeymoon right away!
Start dreaming about where you would like to spend your first married holiday together… there are no limits when it comes to destinations these days 🙂
Having your guests buy you wedding travel vouchers is another great option for your honeymoon fund.
Oh – the most important and overlooked thing to check…your passport! Is it still in date?!
Attend wedding fayres
A lot of wedding inspiration can be found at wedding fayres.
Wedding fayres are a great way to find local suppliers and get inspiration for your big day.
There is usually lots of free advice, discounts on services and the opportunity to meet with experienced professionals who will be delighted to guide you through this exciting process 🙂
It’s also a great time to build all-important relationships face-to-face with wedding vendors – something which can be difficult to do online. Wedding suppliers are usually very busy throughout the year, so make sure you take full advantage of wedding fayres to secure your preferred date 🙂
Organising seating plans for your wedding is a really important part of the planning process.
You’ll need to find out how many guests you will have at your wedding and then work with each table or group.
Remember that you should try to keep family members together as much as possible – particularly siblings who are close in age 🙂
Pairing strangers is a difficult task when wedding planning so consider introducing some table ice-breakers on the wedding day to help the guests connect and relax.
This could be something as simple as a quiz based on the members around the table.
A rehearsal dinner is an important part of wedding planning because it helps to bring everyone together.
It’s a great time for the families and friends who will be attending your wedding to get together, relax and enjoy each other’s company before all things become chaotic on the big day!
The rehearsal dinner also gives you another opportunity to thank those people that are most special to you for sharing this day with you 🙂
Rehearsal dinners are usually a US tradition but are becoming increasingly popular in the UK.
Write your vows
Writing your wedding vows is a really special experience.
It can be very personal and end up being one of the most memorable moments on your big day 🙂
Take some time to think about what you would like to say before writing it down or recording yourself – this will make sure that everything comes across as planned! You could even ask a professional to help you with this part of wedding planning.
Remember to practice your vows before the ceremony so that nerves won’t get in the way. If it helps, make sure a friend is standing next to you and speak slowly and clearly – making eye contact as much as possible!
Select your caterer
Food is, without doubt, one of the most important parts of wedding planning. Weddings are long days are great food will often be an element that your guests long for with relish!
Wonderful food is a great conversation starter too!
Wedding venues will offer tasting days so you can try out different caterers and venues to find the perfect match for your big day.
It’s a good idea to speak with as many wedding caterers as possible, explain what you’re looking for and view sample menus – this will help narrow down those interested in working with you 🙂
Wedding Party Gifts
It’s all too easy to get carried away with wedding planning and forget about buying your bridal party gifts!
It might seem like a nice gesture, but it will also show how much you appreciate them for standing up at such an important part of your life 🙂
A great wedding party gift idea is to buy each member something handmade.
The ceremony is such an emotional part of the wedding day so it’s important to get this part right.
Wedding ceremony musicians will help you do just that and they can even play during your pre-ceremony photographs too 🙂
Think about what music means to you as a couple – how does it make you feel? What memories come flooding back when certain songs are played?
The best wedding ceremony musicians will be able to offer you a range of songs that are perfect for your big day.
Remember, this music should reflect the two of you as well as how much your family and friends love celebrating with you!
Wedding planning can be an exciting and fun process that you look forward to. However, it is also a lot of work! With so many decisions to make about your wedding day, the best way to start wedding planning is by creating a timeline for yourself with all the important steps in place. This will help you get organized and feel less overwhelmed when making these big decisions. We hope this article has helped shed some light on what goes into deciding where to have your ceremony or reception, finding vendors who are right for you, selecting food options that meet certain dietary needs (e.g., gluten-free), choosing colours or flowers based on specific meanings behind them, hosting rehearsal dinners if they’re part of your tradition,…there’s just so much to do! With this checklist, you can get started one step at a time.
Wedding planning tip: When wedding planning it’s important to remember that everything doesn’t need to be perfect – your memories of the day will be what matters most 🙂
Planning you wedding – Some venues that I have been lucky enough to shoot at:
Fanhams Hall Down Hall Ware Priory West Lodge Park Gaynes Park Colville Hall Hertford Registry Office Cheshunt Registry Office St Albans Registry Office Orsett Hall St Michaels Manor The Barn at Redcoats Ye olde Plough House Oakley Court South Farm Aubrey Park Tewinbury Farm Mulberry House