How to Plan a Wedding in 4 Simple Sections
Wedding planning can be quite a stressful process, which is why we are here to help you on where to start when planning a wedding.
In this article you will learn
There are a lot of different things that you need to cover when it comes to the wedding planning and it can be overwhelming figuring out exactly where to start. We would suggest before you start deciding on venues, dresses, guest lists etc. it’s important that you decide on a wedding budget and a wedding budget breakdown. The average cost of a wedding in the UK in 2019 was around £14,984.88. You should also discuss a theme you and your partner would like to go for so you have some ideas to go with.
Now would also be a good time to apply for a marriage license, you may be wondering what is a marriage license. A marriage license is a ‘grant of approval’ from the council to hold a civil marriage and partnership. These licenses are valid for a minimum of 3 years and you can renew your grant if it expires.
So you’re ready to start planning your wedding! But where to start? As soon as you and your partner sit down to address your wedding we suggest thinking about the 4 simple sections for planning a wedding:
When to Start Planning a Wedding?
There are plenty of when’s that you should think about when you are wedding planning. These are the first things you should plan. When you’ve decided the basics like this you can then get onto the rest of the wedding planning without any added stresses. Couples spend an average or 7-12 months planning their wedding.
1. When Will the Wedding Be?
Before you have even been asked the question you will have had an idea of when you want your wedding to be right? It’s something us girls dream about which is why this is a great way to start your wedding planning. But when your deciding on exactly what month to tie the knot you may want to think about when the busiest months are as this could affect the price of venues, entertainment etc.
Unsurprisingly, all Summer months are the most popular choice with August at the top with 17%, September 16%, July 15% and June 11%. January is the least popular with only 2% of weddings taking place then. You should also think about the exact day you would like to book your wedding, whether you are wanting a weekend day, this way nobody has to take time off work and you will have Saturday or Sunday. Usually weekends end up being a lot more expensive then say a Wednesday. But having a wedding mid-week you would have to be prepared that some people may not be able to make it due to work commitments etc.
2. When is the Best Time of Year to Have a Wedding?
You also need to think about when the best time of year to have a wedding is for you. We understand that it can be hard figuring out how to choose a wedding date. We would suggest firstly deciding whether you want a summer wedding or a winter wedding. To make things easier for you we have put together advantages and disadvantages of an outdoor wedding vs indoor weddings. Hopefully this will help you then decide the best time to have a wedding depending on if you want it in the summer or in the winter.
So you’ve got your budget, you’ve decided what time of year and a rough date you want the wedding to be. Once you have got the date for your wedding this will then also dictate:
3. Organising the Hen/Stag Do
Another particularly large section that has to be organised before the wedding, celebrating your final night of freedom whether that be a hen party or a stag do. There are a few things you need to decide when you are planning. Do you want a hen party abroad? A crazy stag do location? There are so many parts of this you need to think about. Once you’ve got your location decided you will be able to think about what you want to fill it with.
There are so many amazing hen party activities and stag do activities that will be perfect for your group of friends to add into the celebrations. From a classic cocktail making to an adrenaline fuelled paintballing experience. Did you know? In 2019 the average price to attend a hen or stag do was around £391 per person!
To get you started, we recommend checking out some of these fantastic resources
4. Planning the Honeymoon
Planning the honeymoon is another vital part of the wedding planning. In fact, after planning the whole wedding, the honeymoon is what you and your partner will be looking forward to. Getting away on a holiday for just the two of you! But the honeymoon usually takes up a good chunk of your wedding budget which is why it’s important to get it sorted earlier rather than later on in the planning process. The average cost of a honeymoon is around £2274.49 in 2019 and on average it takes up around 14% of the wedding budget. Which is why it’s so important to get in organised as soon as possible.
Are you planning to have a family before or after your wedding? We can help with all aspects of planning including offering you some fabulous baby shower ideas.
Where to Have a Wedding?
When you have your time of your and preferred dates for the wedding in mind you can then start looking at where you want to have your wedding. Most of your wedding budget will be going onto the Where section of your wedding planning. So sorting it out as soon as you can is definitely an important part of your planning process.
Probably the most important part of the wedding is the venue right? And before you’ve even got engaged you probably have a few wedding venues in mind that you will want to consider for your big day. The most popular wedding venues in 2019 are country house venues (22%), barn wedding venues (16%) and hotel wedding venues (18%). One thing you need to consider is whether you want more than one venue. Like getting married in a Church and then heading over to the venue for the party.
More and more weddings are getting married and having the party in the same place. When it comes to deciding what venue you want to use for your main part of the party celebrations you will want to consider a number of things. Does your venue come with catering? Do they have their own entertainment or drinks packages? All of these things could help you make your decision on where to have your wedding.
2. Wedding Accommodation
Accommodation is another important part of your wedding, the last thing you want is to have your guests travelling far after the wedding celebrations are over. The most important thing is that there is somewhere for you and your partner to stay and your immediate family to stay. A good thing to do for the rest of your guests would be to put together a variety of nearby hotels that they could stay in if they are travelling far for the wedding. Think of 3, 4 and 5-star hotel options for them to choose from.
Depending on what venue you are having for your wedding will depend on what need when it comes to cars. If you are planning a church wedding and your reception in another venue, then you will probably need to sort out some sort of transport. It’s usually a good idea for the bride and the bridesmaids to go in an arranged car and then the bride and groom to go together to the next venue. You may also want to arrange a minibus or bus to take the rest of your guests if some people aren’t driving.
4. Location Weddings
Location weddings are an extremely popular choice for most couples over the recent years. In fact, one in four couples actually have their wedding abroad. If you only want a select few people at your wedding, then opting for a wedding abroad is a great decision. You’ll be guaranteed sunnier weather, over all the cost will be cheaper as there will be less people. And you can make it a wedding and honeymoon in one!
Who to Invite to a Wedding?
So you have decided when you are planning to have your wedding and where you want it to be held. Now it’s time to decide who you want to attend your wedding. From this you can then start organising your invitations and really start sorting out the final parts of the wedding. You may also want to think about how to include children in a marriage service.
1. Bridal Party/Groomsmen
The average number of bridesmaids and groomsmen that are at a wedding is 3 and 20% of brides have over 5 bridesmaids. Of course at first you need to figure out exactly who you want as your bridesmaids and groomsmen as well as your flower girls and page boys. In recent years it has become popular to present your friends with gifts to ask if they will be your bridesmaid. Have a giggle together with some of our mother in law jokes.
2. Wedding Guest List
So you’ve got your bridesmaids and your groomsmen sorted, next up is sorting out the rest of your guests. Start with your nearest and dearest and the people that you 100% want to be at the wedding and then your distant family that you also want to invite. If you have a guest list in an order like this it will make organising the seating plan a lot easier, if you are having one. Once your guest list has been finalised you will be able to get invitations ready to send out to them all. Here are some ideas for a wedding guest book.
Complete Wedding Checklist
Now that everything has been finalised with the venue, guests and when the wedding is you can then go onto what touches you want to add to personalise your wedding. With things like the flowers, wedding dress, suits, gifts, rings etc. There is plenty for you to organise here and these are all things that still need to be planned and organised in advance.
1. Wedding Flowers
Usually when it comes to your wedding you will have an idea of the theme you want all the decoration to be. This theme will then be running through with the flowers you choose. You will need to consider flowers for yourself as the bride, bridesmaid flowers, flowers for the grooms’ suits and table centre pieces if you are wanting them. You may also want flowers dotted around the venue so you will need to consider how they will look. We have a wedding bouquets board on Pinterest that may give you some inspiration.
These are always little touches like wedding stationery that everyone will remember, think about your save the date you send out followed by the wedding invitations. If you are having a seating plan think about place cards and wedding favours to give out to all the guests. Even something to keep the kids entertained if you have any going to your wedding.
3. Photographer and/or Videographer
The last thing you want during your wedding is to be on your phone taking photos right? And you definitely don’t want to not have any photos from your special day. The past few years wedding videographers have become even more popular than usual. 26% of couples now choose to have a videographer for their wedding. As well as wedding photographers of course, and having both of these is a great way to ensure that you have things to look back on from your wedding. The average amount spent on photography for a wedding is around £1,213 and 77% of couples book a professional photographer.
4. The Cake
The centrepiece of the wedding and something that will feed all of the guests. The cutting of the cake is an extremely memorable part of the weekend so you want to make sure you get this exactly how you want it. Make sure you taste different cake flavours and get the exact design you want. The average amount that couples spend on a wedding cake is around £323 and 51% of cakes tend to be multi-tiered. Surprisingly, around 37% of couples have their wedding cake homemade or made by a friend!
And of course during the wedding you want to make sure your guests are entertained in some way or another. Whether you want music or some sort of acts as entertainment there is plenty to choose from that everyone will enjoy. 70% of couples hire a DJ for entertainment and 44% of couple opt for a live band. The average cost of music entertainment is £1,039 (£604 for a DJ and £1,446 for a live band).
6. Wedding Attire
Another costly thing that you need to consider for the wedding is all of the wedding attire. The wedding dress, bridesmaid and flower girl dresses, suits for the groom and groomsmen. As well as the hair and make up for the bride and bridesmaid that you will have to organise. In 2019, brides on average visit 3 bridal shops, they try on 12 wedding dresses and a wedding dress on average costs £1,098.74
7. Food & Drink
An extremely important aspect of the wedding planning, in fact if there is no food you will end up having hungry guests. Which is never ever good. Did you know that over 33% of couples usually overspend on the food and drink for their wedding? If you aren’t wanting specifics like food trucks and caterers from elsewhere you can get a package with your venue. 42% of couples paid for their venues with a price per head package which includes the food and drink.
8. Pre-Wedding Grooming
Your wedding is one of the most memorable and special days of your life so you want to make sure you look your best right? Especially if you are having photographers and videographers, you want the memories to be the things you love looking at which is why almost all couples do some sort of pre-wedding grooming so they feel amazing on their special day. 71% had their teeth whitened, 11% got braces, 11% got Botox, 33% had their eyebrows microbladed or HD’d, 74% lost weight, 52% got a new perfume/aftershave
Extras to Remember
Apart from all the main sections that we have mentioned above that you need to remember when wedding planning. There are some other extras to remember that you may have brushed past and almost forgotten about! So we have added them here to give you a reminder of extras that you need to remember for the wedding.
Some people don’t follow things like this, but there are some bridal traditions that everyone loves to follow and some that maybe people like to forget about. There are some traditions that couples still stick to and in 2019 92% spent the night before the wedding apart, 52% got permission from parents before proposing, 74% had something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue, 50% chose to toss the bouquet, 40% wrote their own wedding vows and 78% of brides took their partner’s last name.
Order of Service for the Wedding Day
With an order of service for the wedding day everyone will know a rough plan of how the day is going to go. This way you don’t have to worry about where your new mother-in-law is or the best man when everyone is ready to sit down and enjoy some food. With an order of service prepared before the big day you will be able to feel less stressed and actually enjoy your day with your partner and friends and family!
Wedding Planning Timeline
Overall it usually takes around 18 months to completely plan and organise your wedding. But where to start? It can be overwhelming trying to even figure out when to plan what which is why with our handy 4 simple sections and this wedding planning timeline you should be able to get off to a stress free start. Have a laugh whilst your planning with some wedding jokes.
18 Months Before
1. Put Together Your Guest List
You need an idea of exactly how many people you want to invite on your big day before you can plan anything else for the wedding.
2. Have a Budget in Mind
A budget is a great way to make sure you don’t go too crazy with the wedding planning. Whether this is a budget you have to stick to or not.
3. Provisionally Book a Venue & Date
Choosing the wedding venue and a date is an extremely important part of the planning and has to be done as soon as possible.
4. Check if Registrar or Church Are Free
Once you have a date sorted you need to make sure that there is actually a registrar or church available for you to get married on that date.
5. Confirm Wedding Venue & Date
If the church or registrar is free you can then go back to your venue and confirm your wedding and the date you want it on.
6. Choose & Ask Groomsmen & Bridesmaids
Decide who you want to be your best man, maid of honour, groomsmen and bridesmaids. Then figure out a way you can ask them the question.
7. Think About Wedding Insurance
In the worst-case scenario you want to make sure that you have got wedding insurance, especially if you are planning to spend a lot of money on the big day.
16 Months Before
1. Choose Wedding Theme
Pick your colour scheme and the type of theme you want running through your wedding day. A popular theme is rustic with plenty of green and white flowers!
2. Find a Photographer and/or Videographer
You want to capture your special day so that you have things to look back on, so now is the time to find your photographer and videographer if you are wanting both.
3. Choose Your Entertainment
Whether it’s a live band, DJ or a magician you want to find the entertainment for your wedding and book them in for your chosen wedding day.
4. Think About What Food You Want
From planning a sit down 3 course meal to booking caterers with food trucks and stations. Have a look around and see what is most suited for your wedding.
5. Find a Florist
If you have chosen your theme you will now have an idea of what type of flowers you want for your big day. Find your florist and book in the day you need the flowers to be ready for.
6. Think About Your Wedding Dress
Start thinking and have some ideas ready for the type of wedding dress you want for your special day.
12 Months Before
1. Register to Marry
Attend a meeting with your registrar so that you can register to marry and pay for your marriage certificate.
2. Send Out Save the Dates
Now that the main things of the wedding have been booked you can send out save the dates to all your guests.
3. Go Shopping for Wedding & Bridesmaid Dresses
It’s time for the most exciting part, wedding and bridesmaid dress shopping! With a year to go this means you have plenty of time to be fussy finding the perfect dress.
10 Months Before
1. Book Your Bridal Suite
If the bridal suite wasn’t included in your wedding, you will need to book your bridal suite in the venue or the nearby hotel.
2. Find Your Cake Maker
The main planning is done which means it’s time to find your cake maker, make sure you have photos and ideas ready to present to them.
3. Finalise Order with Florist
Now that the wedding is quickly approaching its time to finalise your order with the florist so that everything will be ready for the day and you haven’t forgotten anything.
4. Choose Your Ceremony Details
Organise what song you want to walk down the aisle to, what readings, do you want any other music, are you writing your own vows or using traditional ones?
8 Months Before
1. Order Wedding Stationary, Invitations & Décor
You should start deciding if you need to order anything that will go towards the décor of the wedding, as well as the invitations for you to send out.
2. Put Together a Gift List
A gift list is a great idea if you don’t want guests stressing out over what to buy you. Instead you can put together a list of ideas to send out with the invitations.
3. Put Together a List of Recommended Hotels
If there isn’t enough or any accommodation for your guests to use at the wedding venue put together a list of hotels they could use.
4. Book Any Transport
If the ceremony isn’t held in the same place as the reception, then you may need to book transport for getting your guests over to the venue.
5. Book Your Honeymoon
The exciting part to take you away from the wedding stresses. Booking your honeymoon with your partner now would be a great way to look forward to something else less stressful.
6 Months Before
1. Send Out Wedding Invitations
Sending out your wedding invitations now is a good way to make sure everyone has enough time to plan things. Make sure your invitations have the venue and the right timings.
2. Book Hair & Make Up for Bride & Bridesmaids
There are plenty of places you can get your hair and makeup done but they can get booked up pretty quick so now will be a great time to get it booked in.
3. Buy Wedding Rings
Now would be a great time to choose your wedding rings, you have plenty of time to look around. And make sure the wedding ring compliments your engagement ring.
4. Buy Bridal Accessories
You’ve got your wedding dress under control so now all you need is the accessories. Things like shoes, hair accessories, lingerie, garter etc.
4 Months Before
1. Create Any DIY Items
Are you making any of your wedding favours or décor yourself? With 4 months to go this would be a great time to start getting creative.
2. Buy Suits for Groom & Groomsmen
Get the lads together and head out to pick your suits for the special day. And whilst you’re there you should get your shoes, tie, shirts and anything else you might need.
3. Order Your Cake
You’ve had some time to think about your cake now you’ve chosen your cake maker so when you’re finalised on your ideas you will need to order your cake.
4. Sort the Timings of Your Day
Put together the timings of your day so you have a rough guide of what you will be working with on the special day.
2 Months Before
1. Check with Guests Who Haven’t RSVP’d
Check in to see what the reason is behind guests who haven’t RSVP’d, this way you will have an idea on exact numbers for the wedding.
2. Attend Your Dress Fitting
After you’ve chosen your wedding dress and around 2 months before the wedding you will have your first dress fitting. This is where you can check for last minute alterations.
3. Buy Wedding Gifts for Bridesmaids & Groomsmen
To thank your bridesmaids and groomsmen people usually buy gifts that they hand out during the wedding.
4. Host Your Hen & Stag Parties
Have a break from all the wedding planning and have some fun with your hen and stag parties. It’s a great way to get everyone excited for the big day.
5. Sort Any Finer Details
There may be some finer details that you have left to sort, things like wedding signs, guest books, cake toppers, you get the idea.
1 Month Before
1. Pay Suppliers & Confirm Orders for the Day
Now that there is only a month to go you will want to confirm orders with your florist, cake maker, entertainment etc. and get up to date with any payments that need to be made.
2. Break in Wedding Shoes
Nobody wants sore feet during the wedding especially when you’ll be up dancing so start wearing your wedding shoes around the house to break them in.
3. Attend Any Other Pre-Wedding Grooming Appointments
Now is the time to get all your final appointments sorted like your nails, eyebrows, hair, spray tan etc.
4. Put Together Your Seating Plan
You will definitely have a final list of everyone who is going to your wedding now, so it’s the perfect time to put together your seating plan for the day.
5. Meet with Your Photographer and/or Videographer
Meet with your photographer and videographer and you can talk about exactly what you want from them during the wedding day so that you don’t have to spend the actual day doing so.
6. Final Dress Fitting
2-3 weeks before the wedding you will want to have your final dress fitting, this is because your body is unlikely to change in that space of time but there’s still enough time for small alterations.
1 Week Before
1. Any Last Minute Tasks
Now this is for extremely small tasks that may need to be completed. Things like perfume shopping, an emergency kit for any wardrobe malfunctions and time for you to relax and look forward to your special day.
If you have landed on this page you must be getting ready to tie the knot! Congratulations! Make sure every part of this special experience is something to remember and plan a hen party like no other. We have 100s of amazing hen party activities in over 65 different hen party locations for you to enjoy with your favourite ladies.
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