Wedding Planning: Our Top Tips for Organising Your Wedding
Planning a wedding is no easy task. In fact, some couples will sink hundreds of hours (and a lot more money!) into organising the event, only to find that they’ve no energy left to fully enjoy it!
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to streamline your wedding planning experience and ensure that you can make the most of your big day. We’re going to share our top tips for organising your wedding, whether you’re opting for a no-frills ceremony or a fairytale extravaganza.
Is planning a wedding really that hard?
Many people underestimate the amount of time and effort that goes into planning a traditional wedding.
The fact is that there are just so many things to consider and organise – from vendors to colour schemes to actually obtaining a marriage license – and it’s easy for all of those tasks to pile up very quickly. There’s a reason why many couples choose to hire a wedding planner to help out!
The good news is that most of the stress can be avoided simply by being prepared and giving yourself plenty of extra time to organise everything. We’re going to show you just how much easier your experience can be by following some of our wedding planning tips and tricks!
Our Top Tips For Planning Your Wedding
1. Start preparations early
How soon is too soon to start planning your wedding? In our opinion, you can’t start early enough. It’s so easy to forget minor details and find yourself rushing to make arrangements at the last minute.
Ideally you will start planning your wedding at least a year in advance. That means you can secure your dream venue and vendors (without having to compromise on dates), and you can just take your time and enjoy the experience.
Note: while we recommend you start planning early, you should also allow time to enjoy your engagement! Don’t start planning the day after the proposal; give yourself a month or so to celebrate with your new fiancé(é).
2. Establish your budget first
Before you do anything, it’s vital that you determine a budget.
It’s so easy to get carried away with notions of your dream wedding, but it’s important to be realistic. Knowing your budget will set your expectations and stop you from going overboard. You don’t want to organise half the day then realise you’ve got no money left over for anything else!
Talk with your partner and work out how much you’re both comfortable with spending. If any family members have offered to contribute, make sure you chat with them to clarify what they’re comfortable with as well.
In short: don’t spend a penny before you’ve established a budget!
When it comes to planning your wedding day, some things will feel more important than others. For example, getting the dream dress is highly important for many women, and securing the perfect venue is also a must. But what about everything else?
It’s vital to consider what’s most important to you and your partner. Ask yourself, what aspects of the wedding are you most excited about? What are your personal priorities? Where are you willing to compromise?
Try to make a rough list, and you’ll have an idea of where you can cut back on cost later on in the wedding planning process (if you need to!).
4. Make your guest list early on…
Creating a guest list should be high on your wedding to-do list, as it can impact your decisions further down the line.
When looking at venues, you’ll need to check if it will fit the number of guests you have in mind. And when choosing a date, you need to make sure it’s realistic for your most important friends and family.
At the end of the day, one of the best parts of your wedding day is getting to celebrate with the people you love. It’s important to establish who you definitely want to be there and work around that (rather than compromising your guest list to suit a certain date or venue).
5. …and prepare yourself for rejections
It’s inevitable: there will always be a few guests who can’t attend, for whatever reason.
It’s important to prepare yourself for this and don’t take it personally; while your wedding might be the most important day of your life, other people might have prior commitments.
Note: Rejections are more common in the case of destination weddings, as many people can’t afford the journey or the time off work. If you’re planning a destination wedding, make sure to discuss your plans with the highest-priority guests and give all attendees plenty of notice.
6. Choose your date carefully
As mentioned earlier, you’ll first want to consider your most important guests when deciding on a date to make sure that they can attend.
But as a tip, you’ll also want to look out for any wedding “blackout dates” – that is, dates that you want to avoid. These can include public holidays (which will drive up costs), local events (which could create traffic disruptions and reduce hotel room availability) and major sporting events (you want the attention to be on you, not the world cup final!).
Hitched.co.uk have put together a fab guide on UK wedding dates to avoid for the next 3 years – saving you a bit of research time!
Once you’ve settled on a date, ask yourself if there’s room for flexibility. You might find that your dream venue is already booked on your chosen day, but free a week later.
7. Get inspired
Before launching into your wedding planning, it can be helpful to form an idea of what you want your special day to look like. You might already have a clear picture in your mind, but many people have no clue where to start!
The good news is that there are plenty of resources to get you going: you’ll find endless bridal inspiration and wedding planning tips on Pinterest, from invites to colour schemes to floral arrangements. You can even create your own Pinterest board to save your favourite ideas, allowing you to envision your dream day.
Alternatively, you can go old school with magazine cut-outs and create a wedding scrapbook!
Bridal blogs are also a great source of inspiration for wedding planning; you’ll find plenty of info on trends and traditions here at our Joshua James Wedding Hub!
8. Decide what you don’t want
It’s equally important to figure out what you don’t want (or need) at your wedding. While searching for inspiration, you’ll likely come across a wide variety of themes and ideas, and some of them simply won’t be to your taste. Crossing these off your list will make it much easier to visualise your dream wedding.
You should also consider the key wedding traditions – are these highly important to you, or do you find some of them outdated and unnecessary?
Remember that this day is all about you and your partner, and you shouldn’t include things just for tradition sake. Tailor your day to reflect your preferences, whether that means sticking to tradition or totally foregoing convention!
9. Make a checklist
Creating a wedding planning checklist might not seem like the most exciting thing in the world, but you’ll definitely thank yourself for doing it!
Having a list of all the things you have to do will help to keep you organised and on track, and you can sort your tasks month-by-month to make things more manageable.
10. Spreadsheets are your friend
Don’t worry, you don’t need to be an Excel expert for this one!
Having a master document where you can keep all of your important wedding planning info will be a huge help, rather than scribbling down random names and phone numbers in your diary and trying to make sense of them later on.
Simply create a spreadsheet with all of your supplier names and corresponding contact details, and make sure you keep it updated with any progress from either side. For example, make a note if you’ve already paid a deposit or in full, or if you’re still waiting on them for a quote. Easy!
11. Chat to married friends
Make time to have a coffee with your married pals and seek out their wedding planning tips and tricks. They’ll be able to offer some valuable advice if there’s anything you’re unsure about, and they might also be able to recommend suppliers in the area.
12. Buy your wedding dress at least six months before the big day
For lots of women, the big question is How long before the wedding should I buy my dress?
Our top wedding planning tip: find your dream dress at six to nine months before the wedding day.. While that might seem quite early, you want to allow plenty of time for the dress to arrive (if it’s bespoke) and for any alterations to be made.
This is also a big task to check off your to do list, so once it’s done you’ll have plenty of time to focus on other aspects of the wedding planning.
Note: It’s a good idea to organise the attire for the entire wedding party in advance, as bridesmaids’ dresses and suits can also require alterations. These likely won’t require as much time, but you might find it easier to do it all at once!
13. Don’t forget the rings!
The wedding dress might seem like the most important aspect of your wedding planning, but you should also allocate plenty of time to finding the perfect rings. It’s a task that can be easy to overlook, but remember that your wedding band is a piece of jewellery that you’ll wear for the rest of your life – not just for one day!
This is something that you and your partner can do together, and it’s important to take your time. We’ve put together a complete guide to wedding rings, including our advice on when you should buy your rings.
We also have the option for you to create your own bespoke wedding rings right here on our website – why not take a look and see if you can find your dream set today?
14. Don’t rush when it comes to making decisions
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’ve got a long list of tasks to get through, but it’s important to always take your time.
When you’re visiting venues or speaking with suppliers, take notes and make sure to ask as many questions as you might have. Some vendors might be pushier than others, and if you feel pressured into making a decision then you probably shouldn’t go through with it. Likewise, if they’re reluctant to address any concerns that you have, you shouldn’t just brush past it and hope for the best.
You must also read every contract carefully: this will avoid any unpleasant surprises further down the line! Look out especially for cancellation policies and “scope of service” terms (which basically outline how rates will be revised if any changes are made further down the line).
15. Remember to make it legal
It’s easy to get swept away in the romance of wedding planning, but there are still a few more mundane arrangements to make before you can (legally) get married.
In the UK, you need to “give notice” before having your wedding. This basically involves supplying a few documents and signing a legal statement at your local registry office, and the important detail here is that you must have your wedding ceremony within twelve months of doing it.
16. Always have a Plan B
You definitely don’t want to think about things going wrong on your wedding day, but it’s much better to be prepared in case things don’t go to plan!
To be prepared for all major eventualities, it’s essential to invest in wedding insurance (and make sure to check exactly what’s covered under your policy).
You should also think back to your priority list – what aspects of your wedding are most important to you, and how would you cope if something was to go wrong? For example, if you’re dreaming of an outdoor wedding, do you have a Plan B if it rains on the day?
It’s one of the less pleasant aspects of wedding planning, but having back-up plans in place will put your mind at rest (and potentially save a lot of stress on the day).
17. Make a wedding day schedule
There are a lot of things to fit in on the day of your wedding, and much of it is sure to pass by in a blur.
It’s likely you’ll already have an itinerary for the wedding itself – that is, the ceremony and reception – but remember to allow plenty of time beforehand for getting ready and dealing with any last-minute issues that might crop up.
Make sure you’re aware of any important timings – such as the time you need to arrive and leave the venue – and allot plenty of time to taking photos!
18. Don’t have hen and stag do’s the night before the wedding!
Just…don’t. You’ll thank us later.
19. Work as a team
Remember that organising a wedding is something that you and your partner get to do together! If you’re ever feeling overwhelmed, you have someone to lean on and share the burden. Even if you’re someone who likes to take charge, you’ll find the experience much smoother if you allow your partner to help out and occasionally take over.
If you have greatly differing tastes, you’ll also need to spend some time striking the perfect balance between what you both want. Be upfront about what’s important to you, and be open to making compromises if necessary.
20. Ask for help when you need it
On that note, it’s important to remember that your partner isn’t the only other person who can get involved in the wedding planning. You’ll likely both have friends and family members who are keen to offer a helping hand, and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for it if things get stressful.
On the day of the wedding, your bridesmaids and groomsmen will also be on hand to help out – whether it’s practical or emotional support that you might be looking for.
21. Allow time to relax the day before
You don’t want to be rushing to finalise last-minute details right up until the morning of your wedding; give yourself at least a day to relax and push all of your wedding planning duties to one side. Treat yourself to a trip to the spa or the nail salon and try to get an early night!
22. Remember to enjoy it!
Above all, try to make the most of your wedding planning experience! This day is all about you and your partner, so allow yourself to be a little self-indulgent and try not to get bogged down in the more mundane tasks.
If you allow yourself plenty of time to get everything done, planning your wedding should turn out to be a memorable and enjoyable life experience for both you and your fiancé(e).
Planning your wedding during COVID-19
Of course, there are even more things to consider nowadays with the ongoing crisis. How many people are allowed at your wedding? Will insurance cover any circumstances related to coronavirus? Do you need to start planning sooner, or is it best to wait?
Our advice is to sit down with your partner and put some serious thought into what you both want to do. If you find that wedding planning is just too stressful with all of the unknowns, then it might be best to postpone; if you’re happy to go ahead with a small and intimate ceremony, just make sure you’re up-to-date with the latest government guidance.
We hope that our wedding planning tips and tricks will help you to organise the day of your dreams! Make sure to check out all of our wedding and engagement guides for plenty more bridal inspo, and feel free to comment below with any questions you might have.