(Well… with less stress anyway!)
Planning a wedding can be an enjoyable yet stressful process. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce stress and ensure everything runs smoothly on the big day.
Start by setting priorities together as a couple. Doing this will help you stay focused and make the best decisions.
1. Set Your Budget
Setting a budget is an integral part of the wedding planning process. Doing so helps you avoid wasting money or starting married life in debt.
Start by creating a list of your top priorities. Doing this will help you stay focused on what matters most to each other.
2. Set Your Venue
Selecting your venue is one of the most exciting and daunting steps in planning your wedding. To ensure you make an informed decision, it’s essential to do some research before narrowing down your choices.
Begin by creating a mood board that conveys the aesthetic and atmosphere you wish to achieve. This can be done by cutting out inspiring images from wedding magazines, printing images from the internet and sticking them on a physical board, or it can be done online creating a virtual mood board using something like Pinterest.
Usually the images on your mood board will turn out to have a similar theme, colour scheme or mood, which you can then use to help you decide which kind of venue you would like to choose for your wedding day. Use this information to then search out venues that match that style and atmosphere that you have decided upon.
When having conversations with potential venues, be sure to give them an idea of how many guests you plan on inviting to your wedding. This will enable them to determine the space size that will comfortably accommodate your guests.
3. Create Your Guest List
One of the most challenging parts of planning your wedding is determining how many guests to invite. This task may seem overwhelming if you have many close friends and family to think about. However, this step is essential in making sure everyone feels included. Making your wedding guest list may seem like a simple enough task, but it can be one of the most stressful parts of planning. You don’t want to upset anyone, yet at the same time, you don’t want to overextend yourself financially or exceed venue capacity either.
Before you begin to reduce the number of guests, it’s essential to create a master guest list. Sit down with your partner and compile an extensive list of everyone you would invite if money and space were unlimited – starting with immediate family members and then working outward. This can be done either through an Excel spreadsheet or on paper. You can then start to whittle this list down to a level that you are comfortable with. It may take some time.
Save-the-dates are an excellent way to get guests excited about your upcoming wedding. They also allow you to express your style through colours, motifs or fonts which will also be used throughout your wedding stationery, on the say itself and even afterwards in thank you cards.
Send out the save-the-date cards (or emails, as many couples prefer to do now) as early as possible to give your guests ample notice and time to make travel plans or adjust their schedules. This allows them to take days off work or book hotel rooms for the weekend if desired.
5. Book Your Vendors
Prioritising your wedding venue and other vendors is one of the essential steps you can take as you begin planning. Vendors such as photographers, hair stylists, make up artists (MUAs), entertainers, florists and bakers often book up months or even years in advance; therefore it is essential to reserve them early on in the planning process. Doing this will save time and stress, ensuring all aspects of your big day are taken care of in advance.
Make sure that you select only the highest-quality professionals within your budget, for your special occasion. If you would like recommendations for particular vendors do get in touch and I’ll be happy to help.
Of course, if you have enough budget one way to really help reduce stress is to hire a wedding planner. A number of venues can provide one but you can also research the market and choose the best fit for you.
6. Book Your Ceremony & Reception
If your venue allows it, why not have both the ceremony and reception in one location? This will save guests from travelling between places and make the whole day more seamless. If you would like a religious ceremony there are a number of places that have their own chapel onsite or nearby, or a church within walking distance of the reception venue. It’s worth researching all options. You will need to remember to also book a vicar (if marrying in a church) or a celebrant for your wedding ceremony (this bit is quite important!).
7. Choose Your Dress & / Or Suits
As a bride, selecting your wedding dress or outfit can be one of the most significant decisions you’ll make during preparations. Once you’ve settled on a style, it’s time to think about who else will be joining you on this exciting day.
Traditionally, groomsmen wear matching suits, kilts or morning suits. But if you feel uncomfortable with that tradition, plenty of other options will still give a polished look.
8. Choose Your Theme
Selecting your wedding theme can be one of the most daunting parts of planning your big day. But you must choose something that reflects you as a couple and creates the atmosphere you wish for your perfect celebration.
If you’re searching for ideas or a more straightforward approach, selecting a theme can help guide the creation of everything from invitations and floral centrepieces to your guest list. Pinterest is a really useful tool at this point of the planning and can help gather inspiration for all areas of your wedding.
9. Have pre-wedding meetings with your vendors
Make sure you have your pre-wedding meetings / check-ins booked with your vendors a month or so ahead of the wedding. Especially with your photographer. This is just to make sure they are aware of final details, contact numbers, planned timings of your day and it also gives you another chance to chat and feel comfortable with each other before your special day.
10. Relax and Enjoy Your Day
After all this pre-wedding planning and research, your wedding day will arrive and it will be amazing. You will make many wonderful memories. If something doesn’t go perfectly, the best thing you can do is to just relax and enjoy your day with your family and friends (it’s unlikely anyone will notice!).
Rose Dedman is an award winning candid wedding and family photographer based between Bristol and Bath. Working across Bath, Bristol, Somerset, Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset, Devon, Dorset and beyond. She creates a beautiful, artistic record of real-life moments, love, genuine emotions and how it feels to be there, on one of the most important days of your life.