A close friend of mine recently got engaged and whilst I am used to discussing ‘what comes next’ with my clients it’s a little different when giving advice to someone who knows you not only as a Wedding Planner but also as the girl who sometimes drinks way too much and sings Queen ballads on the coffee table with you.

So when the question came up with her recently, “where should I start?” it got me thinking…..

How many of us take advice from other friends and family who have been married? How many of us take notes from magazines or websites that give us ‘step by step timelines’ on how to plan a wedding? Loads, I’m sure. And there’s nothing wrong with that, after all, most of you haven’t planned a big event before, let alone a wedding.

I thought I would give some CURRENT advice on where to start with planning your wedding day…

Gone are the days of cookie cutter weddings and tired old traditions (hurrah!). We now want to create a wedding day that truly reflects us as couples. We all want our guests to eat the yummiest food and drink the loveliest wine and dance to the best music.

So I advise the first thing you do is sit down with your Fiancé (you still love saying that, don’t you?) and decide what you DO and DON’T want at your wedding. Do you want a formal wedding? Are you more of a relaxed, cocktail vibe couple? Do you see yourself in the city or at a vineyard in the country? You may not know exactly what you want but it’s a nice place to start. Trust me, your DO and DON’T list will change as you get further along.

Next thing would be to draft a rough, overall budget. This helps determine everything, even your guest list. Which brings me to the next step…..

Draft a guest list. In your initial stages you may like to have a definitive list as well as a few people you may wish to invite should your venue and/or budget allow it.

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Then for the fun part, venue sourcing. All venues will require you to pre book a site visit. Try to schedule a few visits on the same day if your preferred locations are around the same area.
This is where the budget plays a big role. No point looking at a venue that you know will be out of your price range.
Try to consider all factors when visiting your locations as well. Suitable accommodation nearby for guests? Will you need to arrange transport? Are there extra costs that will be involved due the venues location and facilities? Will you need to compromise on your guest list to fit everyone?

Location

 

Once you book your venue (often the toughest part of planning your wedding) the rest should flow easily. Photographers (usually book out well in advance so don’t delay on this one), Stylists and Planners, Bands and DJ’s, Celebrant, Florist, Stationery and any other required vendors should be booked as soon as possible so you don’t get any disappointing “not available” emails.

Your individual vendors will require deposits so make sure your wedding fund is set and ready to go when making all of your initial bookings.

Decide on your Bridal Party and ask them to join you. You may wish to do this prior to your venue sourcing so you can enjoy it with them. Remember, you don’t have to have even numbers of Groomsmen and Bridesmaids. Do what works for you.

Next is the DRESS. Book your appointments with your preferred boutiques and/or designers as soon as you can. You need to allow at least 6 months, 7 – 10 months would be best especially if you are working with a designer.

 

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Try and keep yourself organised along the way. Whether all of your info is stored on your Tablet or in a folder, you’ll thank yourself later on when the paper work starts piling up (there are a lot of forms, contracts and invoices to come).

Lastly, you will get A LOT of advice from friends and family. Try to think of a witty comeback early on so that when the advice and questions start coming you’ll be prepared to shut them up politely and with a smile.

Good luck with your plans, guys! Try not to get too excited with your Pinterest boards 😉

And to my dear friend who is sporting some new finger bling, I got you, girl!

Rhianna xo