If you got engaged over the festive season – CONGRATULATIONS!!
My husband proposed over new year and I remember it so vividly even all these years later. It’s such a special time <3
I have to admit though, despite being Miss Organisation, it was a moment of realisation when it dawned on me that along with my newfound bling, I had also inadvertently become responsible for single-handedly organising a day long celebration for upwards of a hundred people. Thankfully my love for lists, prioritising and traffic light systems meant that, geek that I am, I relished the task!
I think my love for planning came into its own, and now after organising my own wedding, then several others (I became the go-to for friends and family!), several years as a wedding photographer and six years as a wedding blogger, I reckon I’ve got it nailed. So, now that you’ve had some time to get over the initial excitement of your engagement and have begun to think about how to get started with planning your wedding, here are my thoughts on what to begin with…
I know this may seem obvious, but the date can influence everything else moving forward. You may have your heart set on a summer wedding, or would like to celebrate your wedding on a date that’s special to you (a special anniversary or similar).
It may be that you have a specific venue, photographer or other supplier you want to use and their availability may influence your wedding date.
Or perhaps you want a long engagement (other things you want to do first or would like time to save) or a short engagement (shorter planning on onwards with the marriage bit!).
I know, nobody enjoys the money conversation, but it’s gotta be done, and right at the very start.
Who’s paying for the wedding – is it just the pair of you, or are others contributing? How much can you afford / do you want to spend from your own finances, and if others are contributing it’s really important that you know *shudder* how much?!
Budget is one of the biggest factors that will influence your day, and whether it’s big or small is neither here nor there. Ultimately it’s just about knowing what you have to work with and where your priorities lie so that you can allocate funds accordingly.
Take yourself on a little journey into your imagination. When you think about your wedding day, what’s your vision? Is it laid back, sand between the toes beach vibes you’re picturing? Perhaps it’s candlelit tipis nestled among the trees, adorned with fairy lights and the smell of the wood fire. Or perhaps you dream of an elegant country house, with dramatic florals, decadent decor and the sound of a string quartet?
Weddings come in different shapes and sizes, and it’s really important that you’re on the same page about where you’re headed with it all before you start getting stuck in. If you’re not sure, have a look through some real weddings here on Pasties & Petticoats to get a feel for what you really love and don’t like. Think about what reflects you as a couple, and what you really want from your day.
This is going to help you as you step into the next phase of wedding planning, because process of elimination will become your friend in this wedding world so crammed with prettiness and options!
Another step in the game of narrowing down your options. If you know you’re absolutely getting married in Church, you also know that you’ll be looking for a reception venue. Alternatively, you may like the idea of having the entire celebration at a single location – somewhere licensed for your ceremony where you can say I do and follow onto the party without any travelling.
Another popular choice now is the use of a celebrant. With this option, you do the legal bit of marriage at the registry office, but then plan your wedding day at a location of your choice without the restriction of law. A celebrant will hold a wedding-like ceremony for you, personalised to you as a couple, wherever you want. This opens up your choices no end, with clifftops, the beach or middle of a field becoming an option.
Hand-fasting ceremonies are also a popular option, focussed on joining you together as a couple – not legally binding though so that bit still needs to be done at the registry office.
I guess what I mean here is ‘size of wedding’ – but writing a guest list can really help to gauge this. I know when The Husband and I sat down to draft our guest list, then invited our respective sets of parents to add people, we were somewhat taken aback by the vast numbers before us.
While in reality I’d have loved to have invited everyone on our list, the inevitable fact is that logistics are likely to play a part. For us, we were working with a reasonable, but not almighty budget. And we knew that we absolutely without question wanted our reception to be a marquee at home, which did put limits on numbers.
Knowing roughly how many guests we were accommodating helped us in lots of ways. It helped narrow down venues for our ceremony, as at the time there weren’t that many that would hold 120 people (and celebrants weren’t a ‘thing’ then unfortunately). It also helped with budgeting – knowing how many people we were catering for, the size of marquee we had to work and all the related bits you don’t think about, like how many chairs, tables, tablecloths, plates and cutlery sets we needed to hire!
Once you’ve got all of the above nailed down, you’re ready to get stuck into the good stuff… booking suppliers!
I’m not promising this bit is easy, far from it! But, with the Pasties & Petticoats Wedding Collective at hand you know you’ve got a wealth of incredible, professional, experienced and reliable wedding suppliers here at your fingertips. Any suppliers you see advertised here on Pasties & Petticoats, or in our Fabulous Suppliers directory, you know are members of the Wedding Collective and come with our stamp of approval.
Either way, when it comes to choosing your wedding suppliers it’s really helpful to know which bits are really important to you, and which bits not-so-much, because when it comes to getting things booked and making compromises, you need to be clear where you’re prepared cut back and where you absolutely will not budge an inch!
For finding suppliers… the internet is your friend as a first port of call. Use Pasties & Petticoats to source fabulous suppliers, look at people’s websites, their social media and shortlist those that you love. Make contact, check you’re happy with how they communicate, their portfolio, their pricing and what they’re offering. Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials or examples of their work.
When you’re starting to think about booking suppliers, there are a couple of other things to consider that are worth mentioning too…
The best suppliers get booked up in advance
Venues, photographers, cake makers…. they all get booked up very early on, so for anything of high importance to you, make it top of your list and get it booked.
Lots of things take longer than you think
Take for example shopping for your wedding gown – did you know that if you want to order a designer gown from a bridal boutique, it will be around 6 months before your dress comes in, and you need to allow another couple of months for alterations?
Likewise with any other bespoke service that requires creativity and design – a cake maker or stationery designer will want to meet with you, talk about your ideas and come up with designs before they even factor in time for creating your order. Same for a couture gown, caterer coming up with a tailored menu or florist designing to your brief.
I hope this has been useful and I haven’t scared you off before you’ve even started!! Just take it one thing at a time.
If you haven’t already, sign up for our free WEDGUIDE which has a printable checklist, and use the planning tips and advice section of the website.
Mostly… ENJOY the process. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming but that’s what the facebook chat group is for – head over there and join to share your wedding planning journey with like-minded brides and grooms getting married in Cornwall and Devon. I post there too and I’m always happy to help wherever I can.
I can’t wait to share your wedding planning journey with you. It’s gonna be a helluva ride 🙂