Wedding Planner

The moment has finally arrived for me to put all my garbled mess of wedding plans out onto a post and hopefully get my thoughts and arrangements much clearer! As I’m sure you all know by now, I and my partner got engaged in May 2021, I immediately started speaking to both sets of our parents and my friends and we started trying to piece initial plans together, but I soon realised that as much as everyone wants to help, everybody also wants to inject their own ideas into your wedding day. Don’t get me wrong I'm so thankful for the support and the help from my friends and family who have had weddings or at least helped to plan others, but there comes a point when you have to say to yourself that this is a day just for you and your partner so no matter what anybody else thinks, the decision ultimately has to come from you.

That is both an incredibly exciting and terrifying thought! It’s all well and good having a Pinterest board from the age of 14 full of wedding ideas (guilty) but when I actually look back at this board of ideas, I realised how impractical a lot of it was and how I didn't actually want a lot of the grander things I had originally wanted. I started to panic because I didn't even know where to start, but then I found this app called Hitched. 

***I want to make it VERY clear. This post isn’t sponsored by Hitched, they didn't ask me to speak about them, it's just that this app has become my saving grace so I’m hoping if you’re feeling the same way as me it might offer some help***

I’m gonna go through all the things on Hitched wedding day checklist that they suggest you do, even if we decide not to do some of the things, I’ll let you know about them anyway in case it’s something you’re interested in. This post will be something I update whenever there’s something to be ticked off the list or a new development, our wedding isn’t until 2023 so we have a lot of time to plan it and get it just the way we want it! 


I had a look on the Hitched website and saw they had a different checklist to our one, this one detailed planning for a wedding from 18 months in advance which is perfect for our time scale, so I’m going to use some ideas from that one too and let you know what we’ve done so far and what’s next. 

  1. Plan a preliminary guest list 
This is such an important step and one that we did almost straight away. As I started researching venues, I realised that every venue would ask us how many people were coming, obviously, this is so they can give you a rough price and see if the venue is suitable for your wedding party. The best way to plan the guest list is to split it up into 2 parts; the ceremony and the reception/ evening. If like us, you have people coming from all over the place it may be better to only invite some to the ceremony and save the rest for the reception, we’re planning on having a relatively small ceremony with no more than 50-60 people, this may sound like a lot but when you think that each person has a “plus one” that really means we only have 25-30 people coming plus their partners/ children. 

When you start to think of it split into the people you want for the ceremony and those that you want to join in with the party aspect later on, it became clear to me who to invite to which part. Of course, some of you may want all those present at the reception to also be there at the ceremony, which is great, but we found it easier to split it up and invite some people later on. 
We’re all able to think of our close friends, parents, and relatives to come to the wedding but it may be worth sitting down with a parent or someone close to you who knows your more distant relatives (if you would like them to come…remember, this is still your day) and decide who would be able to come from that group. 
We have a preliminary guest list and have settled on 50-60 for the ceremony as mentioned before and then another 30-40 for the reception, so that overall (if everyone is available to come) there should be between 90-100 people at the wedding reception. For us, this is a good amount and it gives a little buffer room to invite others if some of our friends and family can’t attend. 

If you have a similar time scale to us, then this preliminary guest list needs to be done 18 months before the wedding day (by November 2021 for us). 

  1. Prepare a rough budget 
This is obviously a key part of wedding planning, we aren’t gonna get very far if we don't know how much money we have to spend! We are very fortunate in that my dad has offered to pay for the wedding, although this is a huge weight off our shoulders it does mean that I think it’s only right my parents (especially my dad) have the main say in the decisions we make as ultimately it’s his money being spent. 
This only needs to be a rough budget, for now, just one that outlines what you can afford to spend on the venue, wedding outfits, wedding favours, florists, hair & makeup, photography/videography, music/ band, ceremony food, and drink, reception food and drink. 
There are probably other minute things you could add to this list but these are the main ones and with the help of your preliminary guest list you should be able to plan out how much certain things will cost and decide what's best for you and your budget. 

Everybody’s wedding is different, some things on here that I deem important you may not have thought about at all compared to other things I may not have mentioned. Each wedding is unique and what works for one is not always suitable for another, if you have plans to make or arrange certain things for yourselves like we have with the florist and music then you might not need to really budget these things in apart from materials/resources you may need or people you need to contact. 
Making this rough budget just lets you lay out the money you have and see if it’s enough, too much (well done!) or maybe you need to save a little bit more. Remember, we’re still looking to get this done by November 2021 so there’s still over 18 months to add to the budget if it’s not enough. 

  1. Reserve a venue and settle on a date 
Now the venue has been booked and paid for I can tell you that we're getting married at Nonsuch Mansion in Sutton! I'll add some pictures down below but it's an absolutely beautiful venue that offers us loads of space for a great evening as well 11 bedrooms upstairs for all of our family to stay too. Finding the right venue I think is the most important step, it’s the setting of your entire day, the place where all your pictures will be taken, the environment that your family and loved ones will always remember, and of course, a place that will always become special to you! 

Photo from Nonsuch Website 

We researched so many venues near to us, near my partner's family in Manchester, and near my family in Wiltshire so that we had seen all the options available to us. There were a few stand out places such as The Natural History Museum in London, Hampton Court Palace, Kew Gardens, and Chester Zoo (yes, really) that I had dreamed of a wedding at and although it wasn’t meant to be I had a lot of fun speaking to people from the venues and seeing what our day could have been like with them. 
When looking at venues you don’t just want to see if you love how it looks, they need to have the right capacity amount, offer a suitable menu or food suppliers, have ample space for the bridal party to get ready, or even possible accommodation if like us you have people coming from far away. All of these things had to be taken into consideration and when you find somewhere that ticks all those boxes you then have to see if they’re not only available on your date but that their pricing fits in with your budget.  

The date of your wedding is also hugely important and shouldn’t be overlooked. For some, they don’t have a specific date and if a venue offers a more affordable date then that may be the one they choose. For us, I had originally planned to get married on the 8th March as that was the day we first became a couple, but I was advised that winter weddings are no fun (I was a bit upset but I understood), thankfully we got engaged in May so I then chose this date as our wedding date, speaking with the venue my preferred date was DOUBLE the price of the day before, I spoke with my parents and we agreed that we’re still getting the same experience, same wedding, and same venue but it made more sense financially to book the day before so that we had more budget for everything else, again I was a bit disappointed that I still couldn’t have the exact date I had planned but I’ve had a thought that now our wedding anniversary and the day after can become a little 2 day holiday each year, so maybe it worked out for the best! 
As before, this initial reservation of a venue and date needs to be done 18 months before (November 2021 for us), we are currently at this stage where the venue is aware of what date we want but we just have to book a registrar beforehand, which we’ll talk about in the next part! 

    4. Research and Book a Registrar 

This part I didn't know anything about, I knew we needed someone to legally come and marry us during the wedding but I kind of assumed it was provided...it is most definitely not provided!

 Luckily, our amazing wedding planner at Nonsuch, Olivia told us that our local registrar for the wedding is Leatherhead Registry Office, so I got in contact with them, and over the course of about 2 months, I was able to speak to them and book the date and time that we wanted! They were really lovely there, making the whole thing personal and being really kind and positive. After speaking to the registry office, Olivia, and our parents we all agreed that a 3pm ceremony would be best so that we had plenty of time to get ready beforehand. Much like finding a venue, a registrar must be done AS SOON AS you've chosen a venue, much like I said in the last part, the venue should advise you to book the registrar before paying the deposit for the venue, because as beautiful as Nonsuch is, it's not much use if we can't legally get married there! 

After I spoke with the registry office, they emailed me over a whole host of information, but most importantly a "ceremony checklist" that outlined how the actual ceremony would go, from the introductory (optional choice) of the "giving away" of the bride, through the vows and then exchanging of rings (also optional). I think as the vows are a binding contract I probably can't post them on here but you have three options (unless you use your own, of course). 
    OPTION 1: "I am" This option is quite short, the registrar will just outline why you're here, who you are and you'll then be asked if you agree and are legally available to marry the person in front of you, to which you reply "I am", of course, it's far nicer than I'm making it sound but if you're particularly nervous this one might be ok because it's quite short. 
    OPTION 2: "I do" this is probably the most famous set of vows, it has all the same information, it's slightly longer and focuses more on the bringing together of these people and their close family, rather than just the vows itself. 
    OPTION 3: "I will" this is the version we've gone for. Although this may be the longest one, it's so beautiful and I think fits perfectly with us and our day. The vows focus on not only bringing us together but it speaks about bringing all our family and friends together too. But the part we liked best was that the vows focus on us as "best friends" and says how being best friends has brought us to now being life partners and how we should always remember the friendship that brought us together in the first place, I think that's really beautiful and I can't wait to hear it for real!  

There are a few more legal bits to do with this that I'll get into later on in the plan but for now, I'll let you know that booking the registrar was around £600 which includes them bringing a physical copy of your marriage certificate for you to sign at the end of the ceremony, I know this is nowhere near as expensive as the venue will be, but it's still a huge cost and should be budgeted in early. If you're following an 18-month guideline you should aim to have this done by months 5-6, just so that it's out the way as this will be your biggest cause of stress. 

That's all the big, legal bits out the way, now we can get onto planning all the little bits for the day! Next up we'll talk about choosing a theme and color scheme.

H x 

Comments

  1. Amazing reading this, can't wait for the next steps! Makes me so emotional l! We need a wedding facetime ASAP! X

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    1. Aww thank you!! I'll message you and get something arranged <3 xx

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  2. Yay ❤️ enjoy your planning and don't get stressed. It's all about you and Joseph and your special day but I'm so glad I'll be part of it (I hope lol) love Aunty H xx

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    1. Thank you! Yes of course, i think Joe is going to message the family over the coming weeks to get some stuff arranged xx

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