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Where to start with wedding planning?

Firstly, congratulations on your engagement! And welcome to my little corner of the internet, you are going to quickly discover why I love weddings so much. For this blog post, I will be offering my 8 top tips on how to start your wedding planning journey.

1. Share your happy news

You are only engaged once, so enjoy it and make some memories announcing your engagement with loved ones! It is natural for it to take some time to sink in, especially if it was a complete surprise, so don’t feel like you need to jump straight into planning the big day – this moment is just as big. It is an amazing thing to find someone you want to spend the rest of your life with, so that in itself needs to be celebrated!

2. Collate your wedding ideas

And so it begins! Treat yourself to a lovely new notebook and fancy pens – you are going to need somewhere to store all your plans. Remember, your wedding is about the two of you, so set aside some time to start discussing ideas with your partner, sharing what you both would like to include. Some areas to start with could be:

· Wedding venue location

· Time of year to get married

· Approx number of wedding guests

· Ideal wedding theme/style and colour palette

Make a list of your priorities and nice-to-haves. It is important to be on the same page from the beginning about what you like as well as what you definitely don’t like! This will ensure you are both involved from the start and gives you a clear vision going forward.

3. Set a wedding budget

You will need to discuss your budget early on as it will make things a lot easier in the long run. Know how much you have available, how much you can (realistically) save in a certain amount of time and if there will be any contributions from family. Once you have the overall total, I recommend breaking this down into different elements, such as:

· Wedding venue (and accommodation)

· Catering and Beverage

· Entertainment

· Flowers

· Stationery

· Transport

· Dresses and suits

· Venue styling and furniture

This is super important to do before you book anything; you wouldn't want to use up your whole budget on an amazing venue and have nothing left for anything else!

4. Look for wedding inspiration

If you haven't already started gathering inspiration for the look and feel of your wedding day, a great way to begin is with a moodboard. You can do this in multiple ways – cutting out bits in magazines and sticking them together, pinning ideas on Pinterest (you could start with my own page) or get saving on Instagram. Areas to research could include:

· Wedding flowers

· Bridesmaid dresses

· Colour themes

· Wedding decor ideas

· Wedding venues

My top tip when finding wedding inspiration is to not go OTT. At this stage, it is only a starting point and you can go into detail a bit further down the line; with so much on the internet it is easy to get overwhelmed. Remember, these ideas are for inspiration purposes only, you don't know the budget of the weddings you are looking at, so be careful not to get carried away. Also, try not to carbon copy others, this is your day, so make it your own.

5. Research and talk to suppliers

Once you have a good idea of what you want, it is time to reach out to suppliers. If you are unsure how to do this, here are some starting points:

· Ask suppliers for a pricing guide

· Ask suppliers and venues what’s included in their packages

· Do your own online research for guide costs

Top tip - don’t go through lots of suppliers' for prices and only speak to suppliers you love and who fit your style. Once you have guideline costs, you can go back to your budget from Step 3, and start breaking it down by adding estimated costs.

6. Wedding venue ideas

Now for the fun part - looking for your perfect wedding venue! I recommend having a tick list of your must-haves and compare it against each venue. Some considerations to include:

· Your preferred location

· Approx number of guests

· Your wedding style

· Available dates

Speak to the venue coordinator and book in a visit. The practicalities of your venue are important, so take a look at my blog post ‘8 Questions to ask your venue’, for things to consider.

One important tip for when you do visit, is to keep an open mind. Some venues can be a blank canvas so you will need to use your imagination to picture your big day. If you are viewing an outdoor space in a different season to the one you want to get married in, ask the venue coordinator to show you photos to get a better idea of how it will look. Finally, listen to your gut. You will definitely get that feeling when you know, much like when you are dress shopping. If your gut is telling you it's right, then it's right!

7. Write a wedding planning list

Once the venue is confirmed, you can then look at the other ‘big ticket’ items. This will vary depending on your budget and needs but tend to include:

· Catering

· Wedding flowers

· Unique wedding furniture

· Entertainment and music

Once the big pieces are set, the rest will follow nicely, create a handy checklist to keep track. Also, once the venue is confirmed you can get those save the dates out! So your nearest and dearest can get it in their diaries.

8. Consider a wedding planner

Remember, this is a wonderful time and you should enjoy every second of it. Yes, there is a lot of admin but by being prepared and knowing what you’re doing, the fun bits will cancel out the stressful bits for you. If you are still unsure, struggling with time or just want to skip ahead to having a fab wedding day, then it might be worth thinking about getting a wedding planner (hi!).

Planning a wedding can take approx 200 hours, that is a lot of time doing something you are not enjoying, especially if you feel stressed or overwhelmed by it! As your wedding planner, I can take your ideas and do the research for you. I will source the best suppliers, get the right costs and ultimately bring your dream wedding day to life.

If you want to know more, I would love to hear from you.

Mel x


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