Your essential wedding planning checklist

Start by choosing your date

Traditionally, weddings are held on Saturdays, but midweek and Sunday weddings are now becoming more popular. Mid week weddings can be cheaper, as some venues charge different prices for mid week weddings, and this is something to consider when working out your wedding budget.

Think about your budget

I hear so many brides say they have been planning their wedding since childhood, while us guys don’t generally think about it until the engagement. When planning your wedding, be realistic and try to stick to a budget. It’s not an easy thing to do, especially with so many different wedding trends, themes, ideas and media influence, but it’s essential if you don’t want to start off your married life by being in debt.

What kind of wedding do both of you want?

Decide on the type of wedding you want and talk about it together. Us guys aren’t usually as organised as you ladies, so we tend to leave the planning to you for that reason. However, this is your day; for both of you. Together decide and don’t be influenced by friends, family or anyone else; it’s about both of you. If you want a certain theme, talk about it together. Themed weddings can be really memorable and fun, but only if both of you agree, and they are planned properly.

Celebrant, registrar or religious wedding?

When you are planning your wedding day, your ceremony should be given careful consideration. Do you want a church wedding, register office ceremony, civil wedding ceremony in a hotel or registered venue, or is a personal and unique wedding performed by a wedding celebrant your choice? This decision is the difference between a licenced venue, or any venue of your choice regardless of it holding a wedding licence. Church, register office and civil ceremonies are standard scripts used for every couple. Celebrant ceremonies are written just for the two of you and can involve family, friends or your pet dog.

Choose your wedding venue

Moxhull Hall, Sutton Coldfield
Moxhull Hall, Sutton Coldfield

While you may have always dreamt of a lavish princess style wedding in a castle, choose your venue based on your budget and the number of guests you want to invite. If your ideal venue is too expensive, why not consider a mid week wedding as most venues have different prices for mid week ceremonies as previously mentioned.  Consider also distance to travel, privacy if you choose an historic venue which could be open to the public, accessibility for disabled or elderly guests, size capacity for both ceremony and reception. If you want a civil or celebrant ceremony, as if it’s a civil ceremony you want, the venue must be licenced for weddings and a registrar will perform the ceremony. This has to be considered when choosing your wedding venue. You may visit several venues before you make your decision, and reading reviews from other couples can also be useful. Take your time and make sure everything fits your budget and your criteria. Discuss dietary requirements on venue visits, and see what packages they offer which can include a DJ, cake stand hire, chair covers, drinks for a toast and other reception extras.

Search for, and book your photographer

Without a doubt the most expensive items to pay for when costing a wedding are the venue and your photographer. As a qualified, experienced and professional wedding photographer, I can’t stress enough how important good photography is. Good photographers aren’t cheap, and cheap photographers aren’t usually good.  You want to look back on your wedding day with happy memories, not with regret at low rate photography. You only get one chance to do this, and my advice is to budget for your photographer rather than rely on friends with cameras to capture your important day. ‘My friend has a good camera and he’s into photography’ is a statement which all photographers hear. Well, my dad has a paintbrush and likes to paint but he isn’t an artist. When looking for a photographer, meet them in person and discuss your requirements. We all have different styles just as artists have different styles, so find one whose style appeals to you.

Book your venue and suppliers

Once you have a decided on your date, ceremony, theme and venue, it’s time to book your suppliers. This is the part which requires self control and where your budget can escalate. Try not to get too carried away here, and remember this is both of your day, so make your decisions together. It’s easy to get caught up in spending frenzy, so be aware and only buy things you really need. Try not to worry about wedding favours, table decorations and expensive extras. Do you really need them? Will they make your day anymore special? Will you remember them as being a part of your day in years to come? Spend your money wisely.

The dress, suit, wedding party clothing and rings

These are essential items and require a strict budget. Your dress is really important and obviously you want to look stunning on your special day (which you will), but stick to a budget. Grooms suits and wedding party clothing also need to be budgeted for, as do your wedding rings. Set a price for all of these items and stick to it. As for bridal shoes, ladies, we guys know how much you love shoes, but decide on one pair, not several as some do.

Flowers and other items

Make a list of required floral items including your bouquet, and other items you may want to buy such as gifts, and once again, stick to a budget.

Have a contingency budget, and don’t go over it.

It’s a good idea to have an contingency budget for any items you may of forgotten about, or for emergencies such as last minute dress or suit alterations. This should be for emergency or last minute purchases only, and shouldn’t be a fall back if either of you decide to buy something which you haven’t decided upon together.

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