Wedding Planning

How to plan a wedding

A few helpful hints and tips on things to think about for getting married!

BIG TIP – work out a budget that you want to pay and stick to it! (The average cost of a UK wedding is in the region of £18,000)

You need to book three things quite early on:

  • Arrange the wedding venue
  • Arrange the venue for the reception or wedding breakfast if different from point 1
  • Arrange your photographer

Depending on where you go and whom you choose these can be quite costly to book as many will require large deposits up front with the rest payable 2-4 weeks before the wedding itself.

There, that is the hard part over with!

Actually, only kidding! The first three bits are the ones you need to get sorted and in the dairy first.

Venue – Do you want a church wedding or a civil service? If the answer is a church wedding then slightly different rules may apply depending on where it is you are getting married, and which faith you are getting married in.





For example, Church in Wales will only marry couples that live in the parish of the church. Church of England will marry people outside the parish. 9Or they did at the last time of asking). Also be aware that if you are marrying in a church then a blessing is must, don’t moan to the vicar or priest!



It is also best to check with the vicar where the photographers are allowed to be. Some do not mind them being at the front of the church whilst others will want the photographers at the back of the church. This will have an impact on the photographs you will receive.

I have had one vicar, Julian from Mathern who was superb and was more than happy for me to use flash, move about etc. As he put it “ After the day is over the only memories the couple will have will be the photographs.” On the other hand another vicar in Hereford refused me permission to come to the front of the church and didn’t allow flash at any time until the service was over. Apparently no rules or guidelines exist for vicars – it is all down to them! Wedding Breakfast – if this is a different venue than the ceremony itself then you should be asking yourself what kind of wedding breakfast do you want, how many guests will be coming, is there accommodation available, does the venue include things like a disco as part of the price. More on the details of this later, but it pays to get the best place that you can afford.



Wedding Photographer – Have a good look through the magazines and websites at the styles of photographers out there. Check out Google and search for photographers. Don’t limit yourself to local photographers either – the one you want may just be in the next county! Drop them an e-mail or give them a call and ask them to come and visti, especially the more local ones. They should be more than happy to come along with sample albums etc for you to look at

Photographers pricing comes in a wide variety of sizes, from cheap and cheerful £199 to over £5000. As a rough estimate you should be looking at spending approximately 10% of your budget on the photographer.

Remember – once the day is over you only have the photographs to look back on. It pays not to scrimp in this area so go with a professional.

Choosing a photographer to go with is difficult – best option is to visit the wedding fayres and speak to them in person. Check out their albums, personalities, any deals they have on offer and how willing they are to accommodate your wishes, will they hold the price if you book a year or more in advance? See the blog for more info on choosing a photographer.

Details details, its all in the details!!

Next up is the colour scheme. What are you going to choose? Your bridesmaids, groom, best man, ushers etc should all have some of that colour picked out to help them go together.

The colour scheme should also move into the flowers you want to have so think carefully about the date of your wedding as you may be paying for flowers that are out of season!

Will you choose a colour that can match the seats at the venue?

The Dress or should that be THE DRESS!!!

The dress is one of the most important parts of your outfit. Actually – it is the most important part of your outfit! Choose your dress carefully and think about the time of day and year you will be getting married. Think about how the dress will look from the back (especially important if your photographer isn’t allowed at the front for photographs!). Will you be wearing a short bolero jacket or similar?



Get out with your girl friends and get the mam’s involved (keeps them busy!) and try on as many dresses as possible to get the feel of what is out there and what you like. Take your camera phone with you and snap away so you can remember what they look like on. (Remember to take shots form the back as well!!)



So, we have the ceremony venue, the reception venue, the photographer and the dress.

The Men in your life…

Next up is the groom’s outfit. Most blokes (take this the right way guys!) are not that bothered by details such as this and leave it to the brides! Good job as the brides can then make sure that the details on the grooms, best man, ushers suits etc all match the colour scheme!

Gents normally wear one of two outfits. An evening suit or a morning coat. Both look great, though a morning coat is very formal! The cravat is wear the bride gets to add the colour scheme, and possibly with the waist coats as well. Grooms usually wear a different colour waistcoat to the best man or ushers, or possibly a different shade of cravat.



Dinner jackets are also popular, though these tend to be very USA style.




How else are you going to let people know your getting married!

Two ways of doing this. Do it yourself or pay for it to be done for you.

You need to work out the time it would take you to do it yourself and whether the time is worth paying some one else! I personally think making them yourself is great as you can call in the mums, friends etc to help and this make them feel part of your big day. (Also keeps them out of the way of the bigger things!!)



Get down to Hobby Craft for some fantastic ideas, look on Google and get typing then printing then cutting then folding the tying! This can be a really good way to get more people involved in the wedding and takes the pressure off you having to do every thing. (Also helps to keep the costs down!)



How about a great looking cake?

So do you like traditional or sponge? How about cupcakes as well or one big cup cake? Arrrgghhhh so many different things to think about.

The thing here is to get a cake that YOU like and then think about your guests. Most cakes have at least two tiers – so you can easily have a traditional and a sponge version

If you go for three tiers remember the old tradition of keep the top tier for the christening of the first baby…

The decorations on the cake are down to you and can be fancy, simple, coloured or whatever. I have seen some great cakes with little icing models of the bride and groom – really cute.

Once again, get the magazines out and start looking. Get out to the fayres and start talking. Do you know a friend who can make one for you?



The cake should be ready at least 2 days before the wedding – just to be sure.




Flowers are next on the list of things to arrange. By now you will have the colour scheme sorted out with your dress, the ladies, the groom and guys all done. All florists will be able to match the colour scheme to a suitable selection of flowers for you.

What you do need to think about is the following…

Your bouquet – do you want to hold it or go for something smaller and have it on your wrist? You are going to be holding this for what could be a long time so make sure it is not too heavy!

  • Groom
  • Bride’s mums, Grooms mum
  • Dads on both sides
  • Best man
  • Ushers
  • Bridesmaid’s corsages

Table decorations – you don’t want too much in the way of table decorations really, they tend to get in the way of conversation and eye contact! Keep them simple.



Church flowers – remember the church seasons and you may get lucky and get flowers in the church already… though they may not match your colour scheme!

Etiquette is important here. Ladies go on the right hand breast side flower down and gents go on the left hand breast side flower up.



Lets look at the venue in more detail…

If your venue provides accommodation – can you do a deal for cheaper rooms if you block book?

What does the bridal suite look like? Can you stay the night before if it is a civil service?

Does the venue have great grounds for photos or will you have to ask the photographer to recce a suitable location close by?

Are the tables going to be round or oblong? From my experience they are usually round, but you never know.

You will probably want to dress the chairs. The venue will do this for you, or you can get a company to do it for you. Be aware that some venues may charge you extra if you do not use them – ask when you book!!

You can get the chairs dressed to suit your colour scheme also.

Most venues will be able to provide drinks and canapés for after the service for your guests whilst the photographer is taking some outstanding simple intimate images of you and the new Mr in your life. Orange, white wine or champagne is usually the order of the day.

After that it’s down to the bar – and I’m not being stingy here but let the guest pay for extra drinks themselves!

White and Red wine on the table for the reception along with mineral and sparkling water also.

More to come in the next few days!

Comments and hints and tips from brides / grooms, suppliers etc are more than welcome!!



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