The ultimate guide to planning the perfect wedding

From budgeting to finding a great wedding venue and beyond.

A Perfect Wedding is something that every couple dream of. One that you will look back on in years to come, remembering how you enjoyed the planning as much as the day itself; stress-free and exciting. You should want to do it ALL all over again!

This article has been designed to help you plan the ultimate wedding celebration, regardless of your style, theme, budget or time of year that you choose to tie the knot.

The Budget

Your wedding budget will determine how and where you choose to host your wedding. Depending on who is paying for your wedding will decide who gets involved and who makes most of the decisions, but discussing your budget openly and honestly should make the world of difference when it comes to the initial wedding planning stage.

The Venue

Once your budget has been set then it would be advisable to start looking for a great wedding venue. If you browse wedding venues a year in advance of your wedding then you’ll get to see the venue as it would be, a year on. Weather wise, sunshine is never guaranteed, but look at the colours of the grounds, the light and timings of your potential day when you do your viewings to envision what your day could be like in the future. If you plan on getting married sooner then be sure to hunt for the perfect venue soon! Most wedding venues will be able to turn a wedding celebration round in just a couple of weeks – but the more notice you give the venue, the church or the registrar, the better! Try and view as many different styles of wedding venues as possible, unless you find ‘the one’ at your very first viewing. Click here to view our forthcoming open day dates.

The Dress

One of the most exciting parts of planning a wedding, for the bride at least, is finding ‘the dress’. There are dozens of wedding dress shops in every county, but they will all vary depending on the designers they stock, and the price ranges that they house. Call around and see if you can book an appointment in advance. Take your bridesmaids, sister or mother along with you for the experience (and an honest opinion) and ensure you feel great when you finally decide on ‘the one’. If you’re planning a wedding in a short amount of time and need your dress soon, then consider buying a dress ‘off the rack’. This means that you’ll get to take the wedding dress home with you on the day as opposed to ordering a gown from a shop, who will then have to get it made especially to fit your body by the designer, which can take up to 6 months. Some wedding dress shops will have a sale rack, so be sure to enquire about last-minute dresses before your visit.

Another thing to bear in mind when it comes to shopping for your wedding dress is your budget. Have a figure in your head that you’d like to spend on a dress and try to avoid gowns that exceed that price tag. If, however, you feel that there is room for movement within your budget or that you can cut costs elsewhere then by all means, try on your dream gown and see if it works for you.

When it comes to groomswear and your bridal party, sit down in advance to make decisions on styles, colour schemes, budgets and who is paying for what. You’ll need to ensure that your bridal party are all comfortable in your choice of attire and if you plan on hiring any wedding wear that you’ve got plenty of time for fittings etc…

Wedding Fairs

At some point throughout your wedding planning it might be fun to visit a wedding fair or two. Wedding fairs are a great excuse for a day out with your best girls and you may find that you pick up lots of inspiration for your day, not to mention a load of leaflets and information from wedding suppliers.

Wedding Suppliers

Besides choosing a great wedding venue, you’ll no doubt require the use of a handful of wedding suppliers to help pull your wedding day together. A wedding photographer will help capture perfect moments throughout your day; A florist will add a touch of colour and create a fabulous bridal bouquet for you to carry down the aisle; A wedding cake designer can help you decide on a delicious flavour and exquisite design of wedding cake; A stationery designer will help suggest designs and create invitations, place cards, menus and more for your special day; A make-up artist or hair stylist can transform your bridal look; A venue stylist can transform your venue to suit your own personal style and theme; A transport company can produce a wow car to get you to the church (or venue) on time;  A toastmaster will alleviate your stress on the day; A videographer will be able to create a truly memorable film of the best day of your life…and more!

Wedding suppliers are essential when it comes to completing your wedding day style, so be sure to shop around and enquire early to guarantee availability on your chosen wedding date.

The Honeymoon

Once your big day is over it’s only right that you deserve a holiday to relax after all of that hard wedding planning – and of course to enjoy those first few weeks as a married couple, reminiscing about how wonderful your wedding celebration was.

If you’re flying abroad for your honeymoon then flights are generally released a year in advance. If you plan on going on a cruise then you’ve got a bit more flexibility in terms of dates and for couples honeymooning in Europe or planning a road trip within the UK then there is no real urgency. However, when you do book your honeymoon be sure to let your hotels and airlines know that you’re on your honeymoon as you may receive special treatment. We’re not saying that anything will be guaranteed, but it does help if they know in advance.

Things to Consider Before You Start Planning a Wedding:

The time of year that you’d like to tie the knot
The county, town or location that you’d like to get married
Whether you’d like a church wedding or a civil ceremony at a wedding venue
An approximate number when it comes to your guest list
Who will be paying for the wedding?