bride and groom hold hands and walk through cornfield at merriscourt wedding

My 6 Top Wedding Planning Tips

Wedding Planning

You have just got engaged and you are super excited, and rightly so. You’re about to marry the love of your life! You have been out and bought a gazillion wedding magazines, changed your status on Facebook, put a gorgeous photo on Instagram of you with a shiny new ring to announce to the world, and trawled google for all things wedding! Now the fun really begins and you can start wedding planning for the day of your dreams, but where to start. It can be easy to get overwhelmed during the wedding planning process as there are so many elements to consider but you want to enjoy it. It is going to be one of the best days of your lives! Here is my guide with my top wedding planning tips to help make your planning go as smoothly as possible

1. Start Wedding Planning Early

It’s exactly as it says in the title and one of my top wedding planning tips. Plan ahead as much as you can for your big day. Once you have a date in mind it is really important to get cracking with your planning. Wedding venues take bookings years in advance and they can get booked up quite quickly, in summer months especially. If you know what kind of venue you want to get married in or you have your dream venue in mind, then you are off to a good start. If not then do the rounds and visit lot’s of different types of venues to see what takes your fancy. You may have thought you wanted a rustic barn wedding but when you visit a grand stately home you may fall in love with it and not be able to imagine your special day anywhere else. There is so much choice around so go exploring

Wedding fairs and wedding showcases are also great for inspiration. Venues will quite often dress themselves up to show potential couples how it could look on your wedding day day. Plus there will be a whole host of other wedding suppliers there who you can chat to and hopefully you will come away brimming with ideas

Once your venue is booked, book the registrar, if you are having a civil ceremony. Spots can go quickly and you will have a more varied choice on times if you book them early. If you are having a church ceremony then make contact as early as possible also. They may only take on one service that day so you want to get in there quick. You may decide you want a wedding planner to help ease some of the stress of the planning process. A wedding planner is the font of all knowledge when it comes to weddings and can be a valuable asset. Just remember, it is never too early to start planning.

bride and groom hold hands and walk smiling away from front of notley abbey
bride and groom walk holding hands smiling through grounds of waddesdon dairy
bride and groom outside thame church embrace and smile. bride in white lace wedding dress
bride and groom embrace and touch noses in gardens of fanhams hall. bride in white wedding dress
bride and groom walk away from front of de vere latimer estate holding hands and laughing

2. Collate Your Ideas

Your head is brimming with all things wedding, in fact you are eating, sleeping and breathing wedding ideas right now. You loved this dress in Brides magazine, you loved that colour scheme you saw on Instagram. Now what to do with all of this information

For styling ideas and wedding inspiration, I love Pinterest. You can create a wedding board, or even a few, where you can pin all of your favourite wedding style ideas. It is a really visual way of planning your day and you will find everything on there from table decor to wedding favour ideas, wedding dresses to flowers, and so much more. You can even share your boards with your wedding suppliers. Your photographer will be more than happy for you to share images you love with them. Your florist will welcome the inspiration. If you are more of a tangible person then a good old fashioned scrapbook or wedding book is also a great idea and also a lovely keepsake. Have an afternoon cutting up wedding magazines and creating beautiful collages, you may find it very therapeutic

Now this one may sound really dull but a spreadsheet is a great way of keeping track of your wedding budget. I am no Excel guru so I can’t pass on any expertise in this area I am afraid. You may start off with a budget or you may just take things as they come. Either way a budget spreadsheet is a great idea to record all of your payments so you can keep track of how much everything is costing you. This way things won’t spiral out of control because you can see it all in front of you, it will also help you to see if you have that little bit extra to spend at the end on something super special

pink and white flowers and eucalyptus leaves on the back of a wooden chair during wedding ceremony
close up of two hand made table menus for the bride and groom next to a bouquet of roses
white roses and green leaves in bridal bouquet resting on a cream chair
close up of a mother of the bride seat reserved sign hanging off the chair at fanhams hall
close up of platinum and diamond wedding rings on a wall next to two lavender sprigs

3. Book Your Photographer

I’m not just saying this because I am a wedding photographer but once you have booked and secured your venue, your photographer really should be next on your list. I take wedding bookings up to two years in advance and summer months can be pretty busy. There are lots of photographers to choose from and there are many different styles of photography. It is therefore paramount to know what you like and want from your images

I’m presuming as you have landed on my site that your favoured style is natural and hopelessly romantic. I do hope so anyway! I adore what I do and I simply can’t get enough of weddings. By blending into your day in a relaxed and informal way, I will capture everything from the big moments to the little details, and everything else in between. Not hugely comfortable in front of the camera? do not fret, it is my job to make you feel relaxed and more like you are in the company of a friend. Whoever you choose to capture your big day, meet with them or have a chat on the phone to make sure they are the right fit for you on your special day

bride holds bouquet, embraces groom in grounds of de vere latimer estate
bride in white satin wedding dress sits with groom in grey suit on steps at domaine de la gravette
bride in white lace wedding dress holding bouquet of white roses walks with groom in autumn trees
bride in white wedding dress walks with groom along wall outside kings college cambridge
bride in lace wedding dress holds bouquet of pink and white roses in grounds of waddesdon dairy

4. Start Working on Your Guest List

This can be one of the most challenging tasks you may face when planning your wedding but it is a really important one and you should try and nail it early on. Sit down together when you have a decent amount of time and draw up a preliminary list. Start with the must-haves and then add to it if you can, or remove if necessary. This will really help you with your budget management as you will then know how much you have to spend on other areas. A lot of couples will have a set number of day guests and then invite more wedding guests to the evening do. This is a great way of ensuring you get everybody you want to share your special day with you. Once you have your guest list you can start thinking about your seating chart. Most couples tend to seat people with others they may know but some like to mix things up a little

two male guests pretending to kiss each other during drinks reception at waddesdon dairy
group of guests talking with the groom during drinks reception at domaine de la gravette
female and two males talking and smiling during drinks reception at notley abbey
male guest talking to two female bridesmaids during drinks reception at domaine de la gravette
four males and girl looking at a phone and laughing during reception at waddesdon dairy

5. Meet With Your Suppliers

Most of your wedding vendors will offer to have a meeting with you prior to booking or at some point before the big day. If a meeting is not feasible then a phone call or a Skype/Zoom chat is the next best option. I always offer my couples the option to meet and have a chat over a cuppa, if they are local. If not then we will have a chat over the phone or via Skype. I adore weddings and I want to hear all of your exciting plans and ideas. Getting to know my couples before the big day is really important to me. Meet with your cake supplier if you can, mainly so that you can eat lots of yummy cake at a tasting session!

If you’re having hair and make up done on the big day then I highly recommend having a trial beforehand. Most people don’t have such luxurious treatments on a daily basis and this is a really important one to get right. Your hairstylist will be able to advise you on what style to go for depending on your hair type and your style of dress. Remember they have done this many times before. Go along armed with ideas so that they can get a feel for the type of style you like and then take it from there. The same goes for makeup. Your makeup artist will be able to advise on styles and colours that work best for your look and your skin tone.

It’s also important to note that you can afford to go more dramatic with your makeup on your wedding day. It won’t look as dramatic as you think in your photos. I don’t wear a lot of makeup and on my wedding day I had a real smokey eyed look. It was great because I felt very different to how everybody normally sees me and it wasn’t over the top in my photos

bride having her hair done by hairstylist in a hair salon during bridal prep
bride having her make up done and smiling by make up artist
two bridesmaids in pink bridesmaid dresses pull pieces of icing off wedding cake at waddesdon dairy
bride in ivory lace wedding dress applying lip liner in the mirror at waddesdon dairy buttery
bride holds wedding bouquet of pink and white roses and eucalyptus leaves

6. Most Important One…..Enjoy It

It is very easy to get overwhelmed when planning a wedding and not take time to actually enjoy it. Remember why you are getting married in the first place. You are marrying your best friend and your soulmate and this day is going to be a celebration of this. This will be one of the best days of your lives, surrounded by all your nearest and dearest. Take time to enjoy the planning stage as it should be a fun experience for you both to enjoy together. Sit down and make a plan and decide on a budget and then get on with the fun stuff. The venue visits with a glass of bubbly, the tastings, the trials, the outfit shopping and gift list etc

Enjoy it all as much as you can. You will only be doing this once and you want to be able to look back on these stages fondly. On the day itself you may naturally feel a little nervous in the morning. Have a great squad around you to help you relax. You will probably be surprised at how relaxed you feel during the day itself. Most couples really settle into it with ease. Trust in your suppliers as they will all have done this many times before. Venues are really good at ensuring everything runs to plan and they will go out of their way to make sure you have the best day. Above all just have fun. Laugh till your jaw hurts, love each other deeply and dance your socks off!!

male holding up champagne glass to the camera while woman laughs at de vere latimer estate
boy on dance floor dancing with his arms up on the dance floor at domaine de la gravette
couple dancing and twirling on the dance floor during notley abbey reception
bridesmaid in grey bridesmaid dress dancing and smiling during reception at waddesdon dairy
bride and groom first dance with their arms out wide to the side smiling during evening reception

I really hope you enjoyed reading all of my top wedding planning tips and are now ready to go and start planning your wedding. If you would like to see more wedding planning tips and real weddings then please check out my blog below. If you would like to have a chat about your wedding day then I would love to hear from you. You can contact me here or below

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