In this article for LV= life insurance
, we look at some of the wedmin methods that could help keep stress out of the process of wedding planning.
1. Wedding budgeting
‘Be really focused on budgets. Know what you want and what it means to you and budget accordingly,’ says professional wedding planner Natasha Corbin-Stewart
. ‘Do not get yourself into debt for your wedding; it sets your marriage off to a bad start.’
If you don’t have a large enough budget for a wedding planner, Natasha says, you can hire a coordinator to help on the day – but do this a month before.
‘It’s perfectly possible to DIY the whole wedding, with the help of friends and family. Keep all your receipts and a folder of all correspondence – particularly useful if you need to contact late-running suppliers on the day.’
She adds that friends and family should know they are not necessarily on the top table but could still help out when it comes to the big day.
Set up a specific wedding-only bank account and credit card to keep track of spending, and use wedding budgeting apps, such as the hitched.co.uk
budget planner. Some prefer old-fashioned spreadsheets, but these can make you feel like you’re doing a tax return.
2. Organise your venue
As the lion’s share of your budget, it’s helpful to find your venue first, then set the date. This can then help dictate the style of your wedding and, often, guest numbers.
‘Typically, 25-50% of your budget goes on the venue and catering, but that can vary dramatically depending on the number of guests attending, with the average number of daytime guests being 84,’ explains Alison Hargreaves, director of Guides for Brides
‘Wedding planning websites have guide prices showing what you can expect to pay for different elements.’
The Guides for Brides research on wedding trends
shows £4,450 goes on the venue alone.
If your dream venue is too costly, consider booking a mid-week wedding or out-of-season for a good deal – peak is late spring to autumn.
3. Catering and drinks
Some venues use their own caterers and suppliers, so check whether yours charges corkage and that it’s adequately insured. If corkage isn’t charged, then there’s a myriad of options, such as Prosecco vans or Aldi champagne.
There are also apps that help with guest list planning, including food and dietary requirements, such as Appy Couple
4. Happy times ahead
There’s an app for every conceivable part of a wedding planning from seating plans to guest list organisers. Appycouple.com
even sends you reminders along your planning timeline, like when to request addresses or chase RSVPs. For unique stationary, try Etsy
5. No stress about a dress or flowers
For something ‘new’, Find Your Dream Dress
helps you locate a stockist near you, while for something ‘older’ try budget-friendly Sell My Wedding
Jess Lewin (@graceandthorn
) says floral planning should form part of your administrative tasks to avoid ‘time wasting’.
Choosing a florist should be based on their existing aesthetic, she explains, so it’s important to look at their portfolio before requesting something for them.
‘It’s the same with clothes – after all, you wouldn’t go to a bridal shop looking for a jumpsuit. Flowers work in the same way,’ she adds. ‘Having a Pinterest board of your favourite flowers never hurts either.’
6. Coordinate timings and people
Whether it’s a trusted friend liaising with the wedding coordinator at the venue, or a hired professional, you need to plan timings.
You guessed it: there are plenty of online tools and articles for this. Store a list of suppliers, the mobile numbers of key contacts, ceremony and drinks reception timings, speeches both online and in a folder.
Professional civil celebrant Diana Saxby (@GraceTheDay
) says established celebrants get booked up to a year or two in advance.
‘As soon as you book your venue, book your celebrant,’ she recommends. ‘I’ve had couples who, after ten months, want to renew their vows because the celebrant was so disappointing the first time around.’
To find the right celebrant, check testimonials, professional indemnity and liability insurances.
7. Entertainment tips
James McAulay, runs musicians’ booking service Encore
. He says many musicians offer discounts if booked a year in advance. If you book locally, you can save on travel expenses too.
‘Most would like a string quartet, but few realise you can actually achieve the same effect with a three-piece band, or save 50% with a violin and cello duo,’ he adds.
8. Washed-out weddings?
Don’t let the weather make your wedding into a damp squib.
‘Don't choose a venue because you fell in love with the garden but hate the indoor space; love everything about it. Have buckets of brollies to hand and embrace the showers with your photographer,’ Emma Tuckley of Country & Coast Weddings
And, finally, make sure you’re covered so consider wedding insurance.
Booking early and planning ahead can really help you get your wedding off to a good start, and even save you money. However, don’t worry if you plan on a shorter engagement – 5% of the people Hitched surveyed managed to plan a wedding in less than three months!