So, you’re getting married? Congratulations! If you’re anything like I was when I was a bride-to-be, you’ll be experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions, but you can relieve some of the pressure by planning some of the main details of the celebration well in advance.
Considerations like the date, the venue and the guest list can all be arranged ahead of time – read my guide to where to start when it’s time to plan your wedding.
Choosing a date for your wedding may be easy – perhaps you’d like to get married at the same time of year you met your partner, or have your heart set on a summer wedding when you have the best chance of good weather. However, there are other factors to consider when coming up with a wedding date.
The weather can be an issue, and the time of year may dictate whether you can have the ceremony or reception outdoors or not. This can also apply if you’re planning to head abroad for your wedding, so do some research into seasonal changes if you’re thinking of getting wed overseas.
Another thing to consider is whether the wedding will be far off enough for people to be able to get time off work, and whether the date will fall during the school holidays – are you happy to have children at your service?
If you need to save up for your wedding, you’ll need to work out a timeframe for saving the amount you’ll need. Reports indicate that the average cost of a wedding is around £20,000, so think about how long it will take you to set aside a budget that suits what you want for your big day.
Arguably one of the most important considerations of many weddings is the location and the venue. Ceremonies are very personal and you might decide you’d like to say your vows in a secluded but beautiful location with just your closest friends and loved ones to witness it. You could choose a small chapel in the countryside for this type of intimate wedding, or you might decide to book a room in a stately property to add an air of grandeur to proceedings.
For an informal wedding, consider holding your ceremony in a converted barn, and opt for a buffet instead of a sit-down meal. At my wedding, I chose a buffet so guests could mingle and wouldn’t have a long wait between courses.
Heading out of town to a rural spot can provide you with a picturesque setting for your wedding photos and you’ll often find countryside mansions also offer reception packages, so you can remain in the same area for the entire day. Alternatively, take a look at small venues like boutique hotels if you want to stay in the city for your wedding.
The guest list
When drawing up your guest list, it’s a good idea to make a note of friends and family members you’d like to invite, and get your partner to do the same. It doesn’t matter if the list is very long to begin with, as you can whittle names down. Both the bride and groom should be able to invite an equal number of guests, although there may be scope for one of you to fill up remaining places.
You may receive suggestions of guests from other people but, as it’s your wedding, it’s entirely up to you whom you invite. A good idea is to just tell close family and friends about the wedding to avoid awkward questions until you know the exact size of the party and how many people you’ll be able to invite.
You might decide to just have a few friends and family members for an intimate ceremony, and invite lots of people for a big party afterwards, or you might be happy to have a smaller celebration following the service. You can avoid extra guests by having your invitation maker print the names of those invited on response cards, followed by a blank line where the recipient(s) can mark whether they’ll be coming or not.