Where to start...

Hi there, 

I got engaged (huge surprise) in June and have just about come to terms with it enough now to start planning. We (I) want a Summer 2018 wedding (he says 2019 to save up but it just feels like too far away) so I'm here to get some advice. 

Where the hell do i start?

We've looked at a few (local) venues, and i do know that i want the ceremony to be in a different venue than the reception. We've narrowed a couple down and have a couple of dates available for each one. So, once we've decided on that, we'll have a date (EEK) 

We have been together for over 8 years, but the conversation of getting married has never once came up, from either of us. I think it's always something i'd assumed i would do, but I'm not the type of girl to have obsessed over it since i was a child and know exactly what i want as soon as the ring went on my finger! 

So, do any of you brides, or soon to be brides (even that word makes me a bit queasy!) have any hints and tips on where is the best place to start? What to stress over, and what really isn't a big deal? I don't want a big princess wedding, but we do both have large families so we can't exactly keep it low key. 

Any advice hugely appreciated 


  • Jenni8Jenni8 Posts: 3,202


    I guess since you have already been looking at venues, you have done the first step and got a rough idea of numbers, which is always the first step. When you have booked your venue book you registrar straight away to get the time you want (this will provoke you to start thinking about timings for the day).

    Obviously try to work out a rough budget for the total wedding, then spend some time researching approx. prices for stuff, this website will massively come in useful for that. What I suggest is to, between you, pick 3 things that are most important to you and that is where you spend your money - not necessarily the area you'll spend the most ££ but the areas you will allow yourself to splurge (for us it was venue, food and photos..... but lots of people put band in here, some may put dress etc). Then pick 3 areas you don't care about cutting costs on.

    Then start booking. Go for suppliers where you need a person (i.e. band/tog/video/hair/mua) first, and then save ones where you don't need a person and the suppliers that can book more then 1 wedding on 1 day (i.e. cake, flowers, stationary, seamstress).

    Do dress about 12 months before no sooner. To allow a month to find one a 6-9 months for ordering, and 2 months for alterations.

    Don't get decorations or anything like that more then 9-12 months out as you may change your mind. Wait until your plans and vision really start to come together otherwise you may waste money on stuff you don't end up using.


    Good luck - hope to see you around on here lots.


  • lubeslubes Posts: 1,555


    Can I just say that I have a lot of appreciation for your username. Mega lols.

    You have certainly come to the right place for advice - prepared to be bombarded with helpfulness! As someone who is (still?) newlywed, my main pieces of advice would be:

    1. Write your guest list first. It is really useful to go to potential venues with numbers. That way you can determine if you can fit everyone in that you want to (have to) and if you can afford to have your wedding ceremony and/or reception there when comparing your guest list numbers to catering costs. 

    2. Be open minded, especially with venues. I wanted a traditional countryside estate type-affair and ended up with a converted cotton mill in a city centre! I would also advise to keep your ceremony and reception location relatively close to one another. People tend to lose their minds with weddings in every way, and you will spend far too much of your time than you'd like dealing with other people's grievances and problems. Keep everything as easy as possible for your guests to save your sanity. If you do choose separate venues, consider offering transport. 

    3. I really do believe all a wedding needs to be a success is food, fun and fizz and our wedding was a testament to that. We put money into food, drink and evening entertainment and weren't so bothered about the things like the cake (which just gets cut up and eaten) and the flowers (as they would just die anyway!). Even though a wedding day is technically about you and your partner, your guests play a huge part in making your wedding day special and in my opinion, it is worth looking after them so they look after you. 

    4. That said, talk to pretty much any bride and we will all agree that photography is the most important thing to spend your money on. Now my wedding has been and gone, you really do realise that the photos are the only thing left as a reminder of the day and they simply aren't worth scrimping on. I am also a MASSIVE advocate of videographers. They don't always fit into everyone's budget, or seen as a priority, but honestly, our wedding video is the best thing I spent money on. Hands down. I agree with Jenni that a photographer/videographer should be your first priority after confirming a date. Popular ones can easily get booked up two years in advance.

    5. Don't waste time or money on fancy invites with a million different bits of info on them. You will still get asked what time/where/what gifts you want regardless of how well you spell it out because people lose or simply forget to look at them. 

    6. Keep money aside in your budget for your final payments. When we confirmed final numbers with some suppliers close to our wedding day, our quotes changed in accordance with our actual plans rather than the rough plans we had given them when we first booked. For example, we initially based our floral table decorations on 10 people being sat on a table and then we decided to sit eight people to a table which meant we needed more tables and therefore more decorations. Some suppliers may also want deposits for hired vases and odd bits. This was seriously stressful when we had to find an extra £100 here, £50 there when there was literally nothing left!

    I'm sure the other ladies will have plenty to say, but that's my two cents. Most of all, ENJOY all of your planning. It really is over far too quickly! x

  • Wow, you lot don't scrimp on the advice! I think I'm going to like it here!

    Yes we've had a look at numbers, and we're planning on 80 day (will be more like 60-70 RSVP's, but better to budget for everyone right?) 120 night (big families) 

    I'd rather the day be fun and memorable. We have a couple of quirky ideas to put a twist on the traditional, but I welcome more of these also! 

    My mum has said she would like to buy my dress, which is great as they are all so expensive! I would rather spend £100 on a dress and £900 on shoes I'll get to wear again! 

    Luckily we have a family friend who is a florist. Flowers would be an area I would choose to go cheap on as I'm not really a flower person, I'm not overly girly so there'll be no diamanté everything and don't get me started on chair covers...

  • Tanya128Tanya128 Posts: 1,993

    Luckily we have a family friend who is a florist. Flowers would be an area I would choose to go cheap on as I'm not really a flower person, I'm not overly girly so there'll be no diamanté everything and don't get me started on chair covers...

    Lol at the chair cover bit! I felt the same adamant on no chair covers then I took my fiance to a wedding fair and hey presto pink bows on the chairs! His choice not mine!!! Hmm wonder if I should be concerned! Lol

    yes guest list first, then venues for both wedding and reception, then I'd hit Pinterest and start creating a bazillion boards for inspiration! I have one for decor, one for cakes, one for hair, one for makeup, one for dresses! From the sounds of it you'll need one for shoes!

    good luck and we'll look forward to hearing your plans as they come together

  • gill17gill17 Posts: 568 New bride

    Nothing to add but to echo to do a guest list first, do a prioritised budget and then do loads of research online. I made a list of my ideas and we went thru them together and he vetoed what he didnt want. We prioritised venue, photography and our rings. Same idea as above really, once day is over what are u left with? Pictures, memories and the rings! I would also echo not to buy stuff too early as your ideas may evolve. If you buy a couple of wedding mags they usually have planning calandars and checklists and stuff. There are also free apps to help with planning! I would also recommend over estimating all costs, inevitably things come in at more than you think!

  • MrsLMTMrsLMT Posts: 3,830

    Echo what everyone else has said! Your guest list is number one as it will help budget. 

    We looked at all venues within 30 minutes. 

    Your user name is fab. You will have a lot of those moments! 

  • Mimi8Mimi8 Posts: 314

    Hi I have tried to tell myself and my daughter that before we buy anything for her wedding , do we really need to spend big on this ? Will anyone notice or remember your wedding because of this item ? We wrote a list of things we wanted to be just right , like the dress , the food , etc. Seems to me you already doing this too, shoes are really important , flowers aren't x we have kept costs down by spending less in the less important things and by thinking about how to get best prices for everything we can. luckily we love shopping  and are open to preloved as well , we have saved pounds ! By shopping around and looking carefully we hopefully have chosen things that reflect the bride and groom and make the day more personal . Choose things to suit your style and preferences and enjoy the planning journey xxx

  • Lexi90Lexi90 Posts: 971

    I don't really have anything to add, Jenni & Lubes have given you some great advice.

    I wanted to say I also love your username!

    I am a May 2018 bride and so far I have learnt more about weddings and ideas from this forum than anywhere or anyone else - so welcome and I hope you enjoy joining in. There's plenty of variety and wedding reports for all kinds of weddings.

    I have booked the venue (which includes the food), photographer and ceremony. I am looking to sort the DJ next and have started to speak with florists. For the larger things, if you go for 2018 I would start booking now. If you go for 2019 maybe start towards the end of the year. Our photographer only has 1 weekend free for May 2018 already, so it does show that some suppliers get booked early. Also you can often get the prices for that year if you book then rather than closer to the wedding.

    I laughed at the chair covers comment - this was one of things that put me off venues haha! I felt like it was such a small thing, but it really bothered me!!


  • You're all so wise! You're like my free wedding planners! 

    So far all i've done is look on pinterest at dresses, and i cant picture me in a single one. I don't think I've worn white since my last full footie kit, and even that got covered in blackberries on the first day after a game of hido got out of hand. I'm not too bothered about dresses yet though, but at least ive got an idea of what i dont like... White.

    The venue thing is a stress. I'm 90% sure ive found my ceremony venue, which is located perfectly in the city centre. I really want to get married in the city but that immediately puts about £3k onto the price! I'm happy to pay more and scrimp somewhere else for the perfect venue, but ive not found it yet. At least i've not found it in the city yet. There is a perfect reception venue about 40 minutes away from the city, in the opposite direction from where anyone lives. Typical. 

    Ive read all your comments, and taken everything on board, and i thing for me the most important aspects of the day are venue, photographer and entertainment. I'll be happy to compromise on cake, flowers, decoration etc, as lets face it people wont notice that you've added some babys-breath and burlap to an old wicker suitcase. 

    I want my day to be full of laughs, and i like to do things differently, so if anyone has any ideas of how to put a quirky twist on a traditional wedding, please do share :) 

  • gill17gill17 Posts: 568 New bride

    I guess this depends on how far u want to stray from the norm. We didnt cut the cake, have any speeches, have an entrance to applause or a disco or matching linen or anything. We had a map and a dictionary as a guestbook, we had board games instead of a disco, we had pasties and cheese instead of an evening buffet, had mismatching table names and napkins and stuff and we both got into the sea for pictures at sunset. What elements of the traditional wedding are u willing to twist, and what do you want to remain intact?

  • Praise for the username from me also :)


    My advice would be consider your budget first of all and break it down I.e what you want to spend on flowers, venue etc.

    Also don't dress shop too early. I did and although I love my dress I'm having issues with the alterations.

    Make sure your budget includes all the fiddly things like registrar / church fees, dress alterations, favours (if you're having them). 

    maybe avoid china dresses.....

    erm and I would also recommend spending money on a decent photographer and videographer.

    Enjoy :) 




  • gill17gill17 Posts: 568 New bride

    My dress was a China dress and it was gorgeous and got loads of compliments. It was £106, £130 with delivery etc so we spent the money elsewhere. I dont think you can generalise them all under one umbrella, yes some are bad quality but some arent. I took the risk, was prepared to write off the £100 if necessary, but it worked out. I ended up getting 2 dresses (one from china and one preloved, 2 needed as one got wet in sea for pictures) for less than some wraps or shoes I saw in boutiques!

  • Hey ShitGotReal,

    Congrats on your engagement! Such an exciting time!

    I think the advice given so far is spot on: start with the big picture and then you'll work down towards the finer details. Agreeing your budget, what you want from your venue and guestlist numbers is the best place to start. 

    I'd also add to have a really good chat with your partner about what's important to both of you - say list 3 things each which are most important to you, e.g. "have a big party", "to be really intimate", "have all of our extended families there", "to have XYZ band", "to have an outdoor ceremony", etc. This will REALLY help you further down the line when you can become overwhelmed with everything you need to do - it helps to give you perspective for what's important, and to prioritise when it comes to the budget. 

    I'm running a free workshop on Thursday evening on the essential tools to plan your wedding which I think would be really useful to you, and I'd love if you could join! A replay will also be available for 24 hours afterwards. You can see more details here - weddingquickstart.com/workshop

    Best of luck with all your plans xx

  • LottiePLottieP Posts: 162

    ShitGotReal - love it.  We wanted to send out Save The Dates with that on but wasn't sure it was appropriate! 

    I really echo some of the things that you've said about not dreaming of my wedding so, like you, got engaged and didn't really know where to start.  I googled a planning timeline to get me started as I really had no clue about the order of things or getting it all to fit in, esp with registrars, venue timings, ceremony etc... If you're getting married at 12:00 or 16:00 - it can have a masive impact on the flow of your day. 

    You've had some great advice and definately get a draft budget going with a draft guestlist.  I spoke to my other half and we voted out of 10 on what was important to us to help gauge priorities. I also couldn't care less about chair covers and wanted to find a high street dress and spend more on shoes.  Turns out, we aren't having chair covers but I've spent a fortune on a lovely dress and STILL getting expensive shoes.  We're pretty much on budget but there's still 6 odd months to go and I reckon we may end up being 10% so I'd factor that in as Lubes advised.

    I did a spreadsheet (very geeky) but forgot a couple of things like insurance and flowergirl outfits so it's good to have contingency. 

    From someone who isn't a natural bride and keeps being told by her BM's that I'm missing my bride gene, it has been great fun so far.  It can be stressy and all-consuming but essentially, it's prob the only opportunity you'll have to get everyone you care about in one room which is also pretty awesome. Like you, we want it to be fun and try and be a little quirky where possible so it'd be good to hear your quirky ideas! 

    Good luck x

  • Alexa7Alexa7 Posts: 10

    good video about planning wedding

    This is a Wedding Planning checklist. Step-by-step Guide in YouTube


Sign In or Register to comment.