Wedding Preparation – First Steps
BEFORE YOU BOOK A THING!!
Whether your wedding preparation budget is tight or whether your budget isn’t an issue, everyone likes to receive value for money and get the most for what they are spending. So although it’s hard to do, think with your head not your heart, you will not get value for money if you can’t do this!
The suppliers for your wedding/partnership are businesses and therefore primarily want to make money! Do your research; find out what you get for your money; ensure your comparisons are like for like. Then set your budget at a level you’re happy with.
If you want to spend more in one area at a later date, and then cut back in another if you need to pull your budget back.
FORMULATE A GUEST LIST.
You cannot really formulate a budget until you have a guest list, as feeding your guests will take the largest chunk of your budget.
Many planning tools recommend this be done later, I feel that this is something that should be done right away as it will help you set your budget and make important initial decisions. Many couples decide on a number of guests and then later reduce or increase those numbers.
If you do this and make wedding preparation venue decisions based on your initial guest numbers, you may turn down a venue you really liked because it wasn’t big enough only to find that later you have reduced your guest numbers sufficiently to have chosen it.
Similarly, you may choose a venue that only just accommodates your guest numbers and later want to increase those numbers and can’t because you are restricted for space. In our experience guest numbers often fluctuate from your original decision.
If budget is an issue to you, the guest list must be succinct. Invite close friends and family, don’t get carried away and don’t be coerced into inviting people you don’t want to (unless the coercer wants to, or is paying!).
This is perhaps the only opportunity you will get to make the world revolve around you and get away with it, inflict your will, don’t be pushed! If people really love and care about you, on your day they will understand your wishes, it is a sensitive issue and should be talked through and handled well.
Formulate your guest list by writing down the names of everyone that you think you would like to invite, don’t inhibit yourself at all. Once this is done use a list like the following to categorize the people on your list.
1. People who must be invited, Mums and Dads, siblings, best friends, people who are present and important in your life.
2.Friends that you still see or keep contact with, work colleagues (if you’ve worked there a while), sports teams.
3.People you have recently met, who whilst are present in your life haven’t been around very long, new work colleagues.
4.Friends you haven’t seen in a long time and don’t keep contact with, also family members that you don’t have a relationship with and make no effort to see (cousins, aunts).
This should help you prioritize who is really important! The people who fell into 1 and 2 should get an invitation to the whole event; those in 3 should be invited to the evening event.
Those in 4 should not receive an invitation, there are reasons you don’t keep in touch, be true to your self. Consider if you want to continue a relationship with these people or will your relationship continue to diminish? If you’re feeling generous some 4’s may be invited to the evening event.
This is the category over which you are likely to be pushed, or feel guilt, remember whose big day it is, and who s paying!
Don’t feel obliged to invite people to your wedding/ partnership just because you went to their s 10 years ago. People change, life moves on and if you haven’t had contact with those people in as many year s, it s as much their fault as it is yours!
Remember, there will be people who came to your wedding/partner ship who won’t invite you to their s, for a number of different reasons. Ask yourself this, if you weren’t getting married would have even thought about this person?
Keep this list and update as you go, as it will also help you to organize your table plan later.
FORMULATE YOUR BUDGET
Usually, over one third of the wedding budget is spent on providing food and drink for guests. With sensible venue choice, planning and good negotiation the amount for the meal package published tariff can be as much as HALVED!
It is likely that other costs will fluctuate, but are unlikely to impact your budget as much as your catering or venue choice, so don’t fret about not being very accurate about the other costs at this stage.
If you are concerned that your budget is tight and want to get this right, a consultation with a wedding planner can assist you with this. A wedding planner can negate the cost of hiring one, by ensuring the best value for money and removing stress whilst giving you back you time.
Now that you have a guest list and a budget you are ready to start creating your day. First you really need to secure your venues.
Regardless of whether ceremony is religious or civil you will need to ensure availability dates AND times of the marriage venue; hotel; restaurant; banqueting suite; and that all venues can be tied in together. When this should be done depends on how flexible you are prepared to be with regard to your date and type of venue;
I have known venues to be fully booked for the whole of summer two years ahead, so if you want a specific venue and/ or a wedding planner don’t leave it to the last minute. It’s better to start a little too soon than leave it too late!
Ensure that you have asked about opening and closing times, licensing and suitability for your use. Many venues close at 11pm and some need further licensing, some don’t allow children. Have a clear idea of how you want your day to be in order to ask the right questions.
This doesn’t mean all the finer detail (that will come along the way), this means:
Do you want a formal or more casual event?
Do you want children there, or is it strictly adult?
Do you want to party to the early morning or do your want to leave early to go on honeymoon?
Do you want to gamble?
Do you want fireworks?
Do you want photographs in a beautiful setting?
Do you want exclusive venue hire?
Do you want your ceremony and celebration in one place?
Does the venue cover your required capacity, for both day and evening guest numbers?
And so on…
*If you are having a religious ceremony ensure that the clergyman is prepared to marry you whilst laws are hard and fast religious beliefs to some degree are open to interpretation meaning that different clergy will have their own ways of doing things. Do not assume that you can get married where and when you want.