Congratulations – you’re engaged!
What an exciting, yet daunting feeling it is! The hardest thing about wedding planning is figuring out where to start. When is an acceptable time to buy a dress and suit? When should you start announcing your wedding party? Most importantly – where are you going to have your wedding?
First things first, decide on a rough time of year you’re going to have your wedding. Will you want to get married in the summer, or the winter? Something to bear in mind is that a sunny day isn’t always a good thing. It’s preferable that on the day of your wedding you have some cloud in the sky; otherwise a majority of your wedding guests will be looking back at you with squinted eyes in your photographs!
The next steps involve:
- Working out a budget
- Writing your guest list
18 months to go
Host an engagement party (optional) – a fair amount of newly engaged couples host an engagement party to announce their news. It’s a great way of having a ‘pre-wedding get together’ to catch up with those you’ve not seen in a while and to break the ice between the families.
- Engagement parties can also help reduce the guest list prior to the wedding. If you’re planning on having a small wedding, having a larger engagement party is the best way to provide the opportunity for letting more people take part in the celebrations.
- It’s also a good excuse to practice planning for the big day!
Write out your guest list – this isn’t an easy task - quite often you will find that your significant other will have a different idea of how many guests to have, or even who they would like to invite! Learning to compromise is a big part of getting married - remember that you need to be fair without trying to please everyone. You will certainly learn who your true friends are in this process.
16 months to go
Look at venues and check availability.
Book registrar/priest and buy your wedding license (this works hand in hand with the booking of the venue – you will find there is a lot of going back and forth to see whether both venue and officiant are available on the day you’ve chosen)
- Buy wedding insurance
- Order save the date cards and invitations
14 months to go
Announce your wedding party– some people choose to give their wedding party gifts when they ask to have them as bridesmaid/usher.
12 months to go
Research suppliers – attend as many wedding fayres as you need. Quite often, the venue will hold open days where they host suppliers who are used most regularly with the venue.
List of suppliers to consider:
Florist, caterer, DJ/band, decoration and hire, master of ceremonies, photographer, videographer, cake maker, stationery, marquee hire.
- Choose your wedding colour/theme
11 months to go
- Send out ‘Save the Date’ cards
Book your photographer and videographer (if you’re having one)
- Select and book your caterer
Organise your wedding wine -Buying wine for your wedding can be a challenging task but also fun, especially when researching. Whether you are looking to purchase through the venue itself, organise a booze cruise to France, or even visit a local wine producer like Bolney Wine Estate, it is always important to research first to get a good understanding of prices and taste. It’s recommended that you organise a tasting at the relevant venue to decide before you buy. If you decide to bring in the wine, some venues may charge either corkage or handling fee; it’s worth clarifying that before you purchase anything. It is very important that you don’t run out, so getting the quantities correct is crucial.
Here at Bolney, we would normally recommend the following quantities:
Reception – 2 glasses of sparkling per person
Toast – 1 glass of sparkling per person
Wedding Breakfast and evening reception – Half a bottle per person
This will give you a good idea on what is needed once you have finalised your guest numbers.
Enquire about visiting the estate for a wedding wine tasting with our Retail Sales Manager, Chris Siegle: firstname.lastname@example.org
Try on wedding dresses – remember it’s never too early to start looking for your dress. Something that looks good on a website doesn’t necessarily look the same in person.
It is also recommended that you buy your dress in the size larger than what they measure you as – when you are trying on sample dresses, you need to bear in mind that many others have been in this dress before you, therefore the fabric will have stretched and it will not represent a true fit. By purchasing a larger dress, you’ll also need to consider a seamstress.
- Buy your veil, shoes and wedding jewellery
9 months to go
- Book florist and decide on flowers
- Look at honeymoon options
Book your evening entertainment – whether this is a DJ or a band.
Note: there are different timescales for DJ’s and bands -some popular bands are booked up to a year in advance of the wedding. If this is a priority for you, it’s recommended that you look for this as soon as you’ve booked your venue.
6 months to go
Pick bridesmaid and usher outfits – keep an open mind in this process as there will be a lot of opinions shared. The key thing to bear in mind is that it’s how you want your wedding party to look on your special day, not how they would like to look!
- Arrange your transport for the day
5 months to go
Pick and buy your wedding bands – this is an important stage, you need to remember that this is one of the main things you take away from your wedding day.
- Send out your wedding invitations
4 months to go
- Choose the bridal hair and makeup artists
- Buy or rent the grooms suit
8 weeks to go
- Write your vows and speeches
1 month to go
- Final dress fitting
- Create a table plan and table name cards
Order of service – your venue will have been in touch with you by this point to run through how the day will pan out. It’s an optional choice to have an order of service. In some ways, it’s better to leave the day as a surprise so that the guests won’t notice if anything does over-run!
2 weeks to go
- Create a song list for your DJ/band
- Send first dance choice
1 week to go
Final touches – this will involve (but won’t be limited to) dropping items off to the venue, having manicures and pedicures, spending time with family, collecting flowers, picking up rented suits, collecting the cake and ringing round for last minute checks with your suppliers.
- Although this week is the most stressful period of the whole planning process, remind yourself that the hectic running around will be worth the stress on your special day – it’s not every day you get married!
The night before
Spend the evening with your wedding party.
Don’t drink too much alcohol – although it’s an exciting and nerve-wracking experience, you will want to feel at your best on your big day.
- Try to relax!
The day of your wedding
- Enjoy and celebrate!
- Don’t take too much notice of the little things which might not be quite what you envisaged – ultimately, your guests aren’t there to see how perfectly your seat cover bows are tied, they’re there to see you on your big day.
Take it all in – everyone will say it to you in the lead up to your wedding day, but it’s true – the day goes by in a flash and all you will have to remember from it are the memories and the photographs. So make sure you stop and appreciate all of the hard work you’ve put in this past year and a half – and take 10 minutes to talk to your new husband/wife!