12 months to go!
Planning a wedding can seem like a huge task. Once you’re over the initial excitement of being engaged you’re faced with an almost endless list of things to book, things to buy and lists to make - and that’s before you even start thinking about buying a wedding dress. At Covering All Occasions, we’re here to help you through your wedding planning. We’ve worked with so many couples, plus planned our own wedding, so we know a thing or two about how to plan a wedding. In this blog series, we’re going to take things step-by-step with planning tips that take you right till the day before you get hitched.
First things first, you have a year to go and a wedding that needs to start taking shape! Let’s go.
Set the date
Every wedding starts with a special date and it’s always better to decide on a date early, especially if you’re going for a popular summer date. Whether you choose a date that’s special for you as a couple, or you simply want to find a date in your favourite season, it’s best to get this sorted before you start looking at venues. For popular months, you may find that you need to compromise if dates are already filling up, for example - Saturday’s in June and July tend to be booked well in advance. If you’re flexible, look for possible midweek options or Sundays to ensure you can get your dream venue.
Set your budget
Whether you dream of an intimate registry office wedding, eloping to Vegas or having the full fairy tale day in a castle, there’s one thing they all have in common - cost! By setting your budget early you can start allocating funds and saving for specific elements of your wedding. It is so easy for wedding costs to spiral so having a set amount will ensure you stick to this. Set up a spreadsheet ASAP to keep track of all wedding costs, you may not think you have spent that much on random bits and pieces, but all of those bargains really do start to add up!
Decide on your ‘theme’
Some people like to go all out with a themed wedding, whether it’s a winter wonderland, a rustic barn or embracing all the wedding bling. Having a theme in your head will help guide your planning choices as you get closer to the day, this includes everything from the colours of your table cloths and chair covers to the overall aesthetic you want to bring to your big day. Pinterest is your best friend at this stage! Start creating inspiration boards of things you like and share with your partner to come up with something that you both love. This will come in really handy when you’re arranging photographers, florists and venue stylists.
Arrange wedding insurance
This might not be at the top of your list when you’re planning your day but we cannot stress enough how important wedding insurance is. It’s quick, easy and affordable to ensure you are covered in case of damage, theft or cancellations and will give you peace of mind on your big day. Wedding insurance covers you for individual things that happen leading up to the day and for things that go wrong on the day itself, including problems with suppliers, wedding clothing, photographers and transport. It’s a small task that could prove incredibly valuable later down the line! Take a look at this Money.co.uk guide for more information on why you need wedding insurance.
Create an initial guest list
Be prepared to have at least 5 different versions of your guest list before you send the final numbers to your venue! Your guest list should be a combined list of who you and your partner want to share your big day with. Once you have this list, go through and work out if you want to give people +1s or invite children. Usually, the number you have in your head is eclipsed by the actual amount of people you have on your list. If you have already set your budget and you’ve been investigating venue prices, this is a good time to start being realistic about your invites.
Book your venue
Now it’s getting exciting! Arrange appointments at a number of venues that you’re interested in. Even if you have your heart set on a dream venue, it’s always good to see other spaces - you never know, you could end up wanting something totally different. When you go to view a venue, write a list of questions in advance that you want to know the answer to. This could be anything from capacity and decorating limitations to the number of toilets and the option to have your own entertainment. It’s best to ask everything now before you send a deposit.
It might seem a little early to be thinking about the pictures you will get of your big day but trust us, the best photographers and videographers are often booked up over a year in advance. Take the time to browse the online portfolios of photographers who catch your eye and read online reviews and testimonials to make sure they’re the right fit for your day. A good photographer should be able to capture the day how you want it so it’s worth taking the time to decide on the right one!
Live bands, DJs, comedy acts, drag shows…..when it comes to weddings, there’s a whole host of entertainment options available, it just depends on your budget and venue limitations. Just like the photographer, popular wedding entertainment books up well in advance so if you find something you like, secure your date with a deposit ASAP.
You might not know what flowers you want at your wedding yet, but it doesn’t hurt to book a florist in advance. This is where your Pinterest board will come in very handy and a good florist should be able to look at your inspiration boards and come up with their own creative ways to make your wedding unique. A general guide to how many bouquets, corsages, buttonholes, centrepieces and aisle flowers you require should suffice at the moment, your florist will work with you closer to the time to advise on specific flowers and designs.
Appoint your wedding party
The amount of people in your wedding party is totally up to you. Some people like to have a large number of bridesmaids and groomsmen, others prefer to keep things more intimate. Once you have finalised your wedding party list, you can start estimating the costs of bridesmaid dresses, suit hire and more. If you want to make it extra special, why not create homemade cards to ask your bridesmaids, flower girls and groomsman to be a part of your special day?
Send save the dates
Not everyone chooses to send save the dates BUT it is a good way to ensure everyone is aware of the date of your wedding, especially before people start booking their summer holidays! If you’re not 100% on your guestlist yet, you can send save the date cards to family members and close friends who you know will be on the final list. Save the dates are a great way to collect those all-important addresses before the actual invites are sent out later down the line. Start an address book now to save stress later!
Start wedding dress shopping
Finally! Wedding dress shopping is one of the most exciting parts of wedding planning and a great way to get family involved in the process. Again, start by saving dresses you like to your Pinterest board and research bridal shops in the area to book appointments. If visiting dress shops isn’t your thing, there are plenty of fantastic bridal stores online that you can try. Our top tip for finding The ONE? Make sure you try a whole host of different styles, even if you have your dream dress in your head, you may be surprised when you see yourself in something totally different!
Don’t forget to check back next month when we’re going to be looking at everything you need to be organising with 6 months to go until your wedding. Know a bride who could do with some help on how to plan a wedding? Why not share this guide on Facebook.