Step 1 Budgeting
Consider how much you can save ( eating beans on toast for an entire year) how much you already have and that you can spare ( no more Chinese Takeaway's) and weather any families will be financial contributing to your perfect wedding.
Brainstorm your ideas of what you both think will make your wedding perfect what it is you both might like: such as venues, style of wedding; may need; and will definitely need; and then produce a budget set on that, be responsible do you really need a diamond encrusted horse drawn carriage? ( of course you do who wouldn't) but does your wedding, marriage need that to make it perfect?
Oh don't forget the Honeymoon you can even ask your wedding guests to contribute to your dream honeymoon instead of buying you another kettle that you just don't need, but again what is important to the two of you?
Step 2 Venue
When you have set your wedding budget this will help in determining the size of your wedding and the venue that is going to suit your style of wedding and your budget.
There are some beautiful venues across Bristol and South West such as RookeryManor in Weston Super Mare, avongorgehotel in Bristol racksbristol in Clifton, chiseldonhouse in Marlborough. To name a few obviously there are loads more to suit any budget. A good place to start looking is Confetti, WhiteWed and Hitched for venues and suppliers.
You need to consider how big is your wedding, how many people are attending the ceremony and the evening reception for example, does the venue supply accommodation is this essential or can you get in touch with local hotels around your venue to get some great deals? Does your venue ask for a membership? or limited spend behind the bar? Do they supply catering? What is the catering is it sit down meal or a is it a Hog Roast? Can you decorate the venue yourself or can they do it for you?, can you legally get married at the same venue as your reception or do you need to look for two venues? these are all things to consider when selecting your dream wedding venue.
Once you are happy with your venue and have been to visit and both fallen in love with it then its time to plan your wedding guest list a sensitive matter in most cases, in my experience anyway "who to invite and not to invite that is the question "
Step 3 Guest List
The size of your venue, and your budget should help you determine how many people you can invite to your wedding does your venue specify the amount of people allowed during the day compared to the evening?
You need to sit down together and list down everyone you would like to be part of your celebration and include yourselves as numbers too in your calculations.
Are you allowing children to attend your entire day? or just the ceremony or the reception? or not at all? these are all questions you need to ask yourselves I am not getting involved.
Now you need to decide who is coming to the ceremony/reception split fairly across both sets of family's this is where you need to ween out the wafts and strays do you need to invite great Aunt Joan twice removed that you haven't seen for 2 years because your mum thinks you should? It is your wedding there is always politics involved and you cannot please everyone.
Once the guest list is decided you can then pick your wedding stationary and send out your save the date cards, a or and set up a wedding website and get people to RSVP through the site once you know your numbers, now comes the fun of producing a table seating plan or opt for the buffet and you don't have to worry about who sits next to who then.
Step 4- Pick your Bridesmaid and Maid of Honour
Traditionally you need a maid of honour and this traditionally is the already married Bridesmaid, Bridesmaids, your choice of how many just bare in mind you might have to pay for their dresses, shoes, hair and makeup , Thank you gifts and flowers too.
Choose people who are going to be helpful, proactive and that are not going to steal your limelight or stress you out more than you already are.
Your Groom will need to select his Groomsmen and Best Man too remember you will have to buy them or rent suits, shoes and purchase button holes too.
Step 5 Wedding Suppliers
Now you get to choose all the parts that will make your dream wedding a reality.
Pick your Makeup and Hair Artist Get an instant quote today from Heather Card Makeup Artistry, Bandss, DJ's, Musicians, Doves, Butterflies, Photobooths, Mirrors, Candy carts, Ice cream vans, Catering, Decor, Florists, and probably the most important by faris a Good photographer as they will capture those priceless moments which are used to decorate your home, homes of family and friends and become the family air looms, see my blog on Why you need a makeup artists and a great photographer for your perfect wedding.
A good place to look for suppliers is Confetti, Hitched, WhiteWed and you can also bid for suppliers on Bidvine or Bark.
Make sure you compare prices, read reviews and get in touch with the suppliers before booking with them, cheaper is not always better.
Keep hold of all your wedding supplier contracts!
Step 6 Wedding Insurance
Make sure you ensure your wedding as this is one of the most expensive thing you are going to pay for besides buying a house so make sure it's insured this will give you piece of mind in case the worst should happen in you having to cancel or rearrange your wedding dates etc.
Make sure you have insurance for your Honeymoon too.
Step 7 Say Yes to the Dress
Shopping for your dream dress is the most exciting part of planning your wedding, make sure you do not get bombarded by lots of different designs, textures, shapes, lengths and even colours as it can all become too much, do some research, create a Pinterest board of wedding dress designs you like and take these with you to your bridal boutique and wedding dress shops. Decide who you are going to take to the bridal shop as too many opinions can be quite stressful ( too many chefs in the kitchen).
Give yourself a year to find your dream dress as some dresses take up to 6 months to arrive once they have been ordered so allow yourself plenty of time ( Most fabric for wedding dresses come from China,in China their factories close down over Christmas and Chinese New year so there is a backlog of orders to be fulfilled from February on wards which can cause delay but don't worry your Wedding Dress Boutique will tell you when is good time to place orders etc.
What is your budget for your dream dress ?
Phase Eight and other high street stores sell beautiful wedding dresses straight off the peg so you can try on, purchase and take home the same day. My dream wedding dress was from Phase Eight and was absolutely stunning and beautiful and my guests loved it.
What about your bridesmaids dresses, flower girls? are you going to hire suits for the Groom and his Groomsmen? what is your colour theme, style does it all go together?
Don't forget about your bridal shoes do you want something quirky, sophisticated or glamorous why not check out dymondshoes do beautiful bespoke designs in a variety of heel heights and widths to suit all feet sizes even pumps and trainers.
Step 8 Wedding Gift List
You need to decide on your wedding gift list before you can send out your invites, so you can include this information as part of your wedding invitations. Some people don't like to ask for anything, some people just ask for a contribution for their Honeymoon pot may I suggest not asking people to contribute to your honeymoon pot who you have not invited to the wedding it does not go down well trust me.
Some people like to put in little poems in their invites stating what it is they would like from their wedding guests weather its their presence or a particular gift.
If you do want to do a wedding gift list you can set these up with some high street stores like John Lewis.
Step 9 Send Out Your Invites
You have already sent out save your date, this can be done up to a year before your big day and then send out the invites at least 3 months before your wedding to ensure people can still attend, if you are not sending out save the dates then send out your invites at least 6 months before the big day so people can put your date in their diaries and calendars and book their hotel etc in good time.
It's good practice to include local accommodation to your venue, or the discount code associated with your venue if it has its own accommodation, gift list if your having one, RSVP contact or website address for your wedding website. A stamped addressed postcard for R.S.V.P'S can be a nice touch and your likely to get quicker responses this way.
Step 10 Plan Your Honeymoon
The only thing more exciting than your wedding day is of course your Honeymoon where you get to escape and relax just the two of you away from kids maybe?
Traditionally the Groom is supposed to plan and book the Honeymoon but this is not necessarily the case now a days.
If you can afford it book your dream destination, if your relying on family and guest contributions to help pay for the Honey moon then you might want to wait until after the wedding and then book something based on that budget.
Time to start packing if your anything like me, you will start collecting essential holiday items together months before your holiday start planning those outfits and activities the two of you want to do on your honeymoon.
Me and my husband had our honeymoon in Hawaii and it was amazingly beautiful we visited mountains, seas, volcanoes, swam with fish, rode horses across the beaches, helicopter tours, and generally lazed on the hot sandy beaches in Maui and Honolulu.
I hope you have found my 10 steps to planing your perfect wedding useful and will allow for you to plan your dream wedding relatively stress free. I wish you the best of luck and a life time of happiness.