Recently engaged? 6 steps to start planning your dream wedding

So you’re engaged! Let me extend my heartfelt congratulations. This is just wonderful news and what an exciting time for you both. This really is such a special chapter in both of your lives and one that should be celebrated and cherished as much as possible.

I know what you’re thinking though – but what now?! The wedding world can be an overwhelming place to be with thousands or venues and suppliers to choose from. I mean, where the heck do you start?

Recently engaged? Here’s 6 steps to start planning your dream wedding:

Enjoy the moment

You’re still pinching yourself following on from your dreamy engagement and constantly staring at the new bling that sits on your left hand. It’s just so sparkly! It’s important to enjoy this time, it’s a huge life event! Give yourself both time to digest the occasion. Go on some date nights, celebrate with friends and family, organise an engagement party or engagement shoot if you’d like to. If your ring is a little on the large/small size, do arrange to have it altered as soon as possible.

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Photograph by Cristina Ilao

Money, Money, Money

Granted not the most riveting of subjects when you’re day dreaming of that Suzanne Neville gown but a very important consideration nonetheless – the budget.

Without finances to support a wedding, there is no wedding. End of story. So one of the first things you need to do is have some honest conversations together and with anyone else who is keen to contribute to your nuptials. Perhaps family members would like to pay for certain aspects such as a band or catering, or they may wish to gift you a sum to put towards the final costs.

Knowing what you have to work with is going to be incredibly useful when sourcing and selecting your suppliers (or wedding A-team as I like to call them!).

Set a date

…or roughly earmark a date! Start thinking about when you are likely to tie the knot. Will it be this year, next or even in two years time? Considerations such as budget, family events and supplier availability will play a part here. Don’t forget to consider bank holidays, sporting fixtures and large family celebrations. Even if you’re super flexible, narrowing down to a season and day of the week will help venues and suppliers search for availability. Venues and suppliers will generally need to know a date (or indication of when to check availability)

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Photograph Cristina Ilao Stationery Caboodle Weddings

Define your ideal wedding

Do you dream of a relaxed English countryside wedding with a sprawling stately home as a backdrop? Or perhaps you’ve always envisaged a garden party in a big marquee in your parents garden. Do you want certain levels of formality and tradition or do you want a relaxed event focusing on the guest experience and connection?

Whatever it is you have in mind, there is no right or wrong answer. Your wedding, your way!

This will definitely help you narrow down the types of suppliers and venues to look into. Immerse yourself in wedding magazines, blogs and Pinterest to start figuring out the sort of wedding you’re after. Think about colours, style, dresses, who you will choose as your bridal party, locations etc.  Keep any inspiration you’ve found, useful contact numbers, blog posts, articles in one place. Write down any thoughts in a journal which you can keep and use throughout the process.

Write out a draft guest list

Perhaps one of the more challenging tasks (which can be honed and discussed at a later date). Start by writing a list of all your nearest and dearest friends and family. Literally everyone who you’d like to have with you on your special day. This will give you a maximum number to work from which can be tweaked based on budget and venues accordingly. This can be given to suppliers in order to check capacities and request quotations.

Hire a wedding planner

Ok shameless plug here but hear me out… Planning a wedding on average takes approximately 250+ hours – ask yourself – do you have that time? Or even the inclination? Perhaps planning a wedding is completely overwhelming you and you’d rather hand over to the pros? Or like Elizabeth and Joe, live abroad and needed “on the ground” assistance.

That’s ok and actually a sensible and smart investment. Wedding planners are professionals who are there to advise and guide, support and listen. We have such fantastic contacts and will know immediately who to contact for all elements of your day from the venue, florists, photographers, caterers and all that’s in between. Wedding planning can get overwhelming very quickly and pretty stressful too if you’re trying to juggle every day life as well. The amount of people I meet who say “I wish we’d hired a planner for our wedding” is astonishing. Hindsight is a wonderful thing! If you’re looking for kind, honest and organised support for your English countryside wedding, then please do get in touch today to set up a wedding planning discovery call.

If you don’t know where to begin and thinking about planning sends you into complete overwhelm, you might want to check out my 8 step online course The Online Wedding Planner.

All the best with planning your special day, I’d love to hear from you and ALL about your love story should you be looking for a planner to guide you through this special time.

Olivia x