You’re engaged, now what? With a little creativity and these tips on how to plan a wedding, you can pull off a beautiful reception that will be the talking point for months, even years to come:
Set your date and agree how much you wish to spend
The first and most important action item, when you plan a wedding, is to set a date and time, set a budget and STICK TO IT. There’s no need to spend a ton of money to have a beautiful wedding; you just have to spend the money you have wisely! Setting a budget for a wedding can save you a lot of disagreement and heartache and it needs to be done early so that you can get on with the rest of your planning. Without a budget, you can’t really start booking your venue or shopping for your dress; if you have a smaller budget, you may want to do more DIY elements that you need to allocate time for. When setting the budget, make sure you also talk to anyone else who might want to help pay for the wedding, for example, your parents.
Select your venue
Although some venues will appear on paper to perfectly accommodate the number of guests in your wedding party, it is space for other elements of your celebration that need to be factored in. Your catering plans vastly alter how much room is needed for your guests and a live band or DJ will require additional setting up space. Do make appointments with a few venues and check them out and “ask questions”!
Remember that your wedding is all about the two of you
When people ask me how to plan a wedding, I always remind them to make sure their wedding day is exactly what they and their fiancé are all about. Your personalities should be present in every little detail on the special day. Don’t try and do something you are not otherwise you are not really going to enjoy it. Map out a timetable of everything you would like and don’t let anyone steer you away from that dream.
I love breaking a wedding up into stages – so the ceremony is Act 1, the drinks reception is Act 2, and so on. For each act, think about what décor, flowers, entertainment, and food and so on you need. I organise my mood boards by act too.
Decide on a style that matches the venue and location
No matter whether you know exactly what you want, have a vague idea, or no idea at all, always keep the venue in mind regarding the look, style, mood and emotions you want to create. Look at the latest trends, bridal magazines and the internet and get inspired daily by other brides.
Create a point of difference
I call it THEATRE – something that defines your wedding as unique. This could be dramatic entrance, unique transport, photo booth, fireworks, lanterns, unique food experience or venue setting.
Expect the Unexpected
Always keep your guests guessing to keep them eagerly anticipating what they will experience next! Have something different happen every 30 minutes. Introduce a new food or drink, change the lighting or the music, have a new type of entertainment, move locations, or choose to have unique wedding timeline to change up things for your guests so it’s not just another cookie-cutter wedding! Your guests will have unforgettable memories.
Check out your service providers
Choose your service providers wisely. Use venues and caterers that specialise in weddings where possible rather than venues and restaurants that rarely do wedding receptions. Significant expertise in process and management of wedding receptions is invaluable to ensure your wedding runs smoothly.
Don’t forget about hidden costs i.e. overtime fees
Your service providers will very probably charge you a fee should they work more hours than initially agreed to. Ask your reception venue what the rules are if you go over your allocated time and make sure any overtime costs are clearly spelled out in all of your service provider contracts i.e. DJ, waitrons etc.
Your wedding planning experience should be enjoyable, not stressful.
Whether your engagement is long or short, you should enjoy every moment of that special time with your fiancée. Most importantly, you do not want to turn into a neurotic Bridezilla who can’t sleep, can’t eat, can’t work and is constantly stressing about how much work there is to be done
Re-confirm everything to ensure there will be no hiccups on your special day. Send out final information to your service providers at least 10 days prior to the wedding as well as a detailed program of the day.