It’s a question every couple should ask – of each other. Creating a shared vision for your special day starts with a conversation about your individual priorities.
“Absolutely no way: we’re not inviting him – and it doens’t matter if he’s your Dad’s oldest friend!”
Ah, we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty here…
In my previous blog, I encouraged you to enjoy your engagement, before launching into the wedding planning process. Because for some couples, that next step can cause, well, tension.
One partner might envisage a small, foodie gathering alla Senese; the other’s fine with a live band and marquee on the family estate.
So, here’s another question: have you discussed what you each want for – and from – your wedding day? Chances are ‘perfect’ will look slightly different to you both.
Now is the time to align and agree.
Communicate for clarity
Getting married is a major milestone – personally, financially, logistically. How do you make the experience memorable and magical? That’s for the two of you to decide.
Be honest about your ‘must-haves’ and equally, your ‘no-gos’. Where are your commonalities and the happy middle-ground?
Understanding your priorities as individuals helps you create a shared vision as a couple. That’s important, because there’ll be no shortage of others offering opinions and advice…
Set a realistic budget
Congratulations: you’re engaged! Resist the urge to find a venue, and set your budget first.
No, it’s not sexy or romantic – but knowing how much you want to pay, or have available to spend, sets up your celebration for success from the outset.
Consider this: what elements of your wedding are most important – which would you regret losing?
Draw up a spreadsheet and do the maths.
You’re going to deal with lots of suppliers, as your wedding plans progress. Their costs can quickly add up. Having the numbers to-hand makes it much easier to track your payments.
Don’t forget a contingency fund for any unplanned or last-minute changes…
Pick a date
When do you want to get married?
Peak-season is May to October, which will be reflected in busy bookings across wedding venues and suppliers.
But it’s not only a question of date: weather becomes part of your wedding theme. Think antipasti al fresco versus toasts by the fire.
Pick your ideal month be flexible with exact days.
COVID-19 disruptions continue, as the wedding industry catches up with a boom in demand. Planning for most couples currently takes between 12 and 16 months.
Sporting events and public holidays can all impact your arrangements too.
Choose a location
This is the exciting bit: deciding where to tie the knot. It’s a place in time you’ll carry in your hearts forever.
Will you stay close to home or travel further afield? Do you want a town or country wedding? Can you see yourselves in a hotel or marquee? What about travel and accommodation for guests who’ll attend?
Once you’ve agreed on a location, you can contact wedding venues for a quote – based on your preferred date(s). For the sake of simplicity, narrow down your list to three. Most venues hold regular open-days and will happily offer personal show-rounds.
Dream the theme
Refining the look, feel and experience of your wedding is unique to you. Its theme will influence everything from stationery and attire to decor and tableware to menu and entertainment – not to mention your flowers and, ahem, luxury wedding cake.
So, it’s worth thinking things through.
Colour will be central, but so might your personal interests, passions or backstory. Pinterest is great for inspiration. Create mood boards to share your vision with your partner and potential suppliers.
Launch a wedding website
If that sounds daunting, it shouldn’t be: there are plenty of tools out there to help you build a wedding website. Many are free and as convenient for you as they are for your guests.
Manage RSVPs; host your wedding registry; capture meal preferences, and broadcast news or itineraries with a single click. All event information is organised and accessible in one place.
Top tips for creating your wedding website include password-protecting your site; making it mobile-friendly, and posting photos after the event.
While you’re at it, why not set up a wedding email account? It’ll filter all the correspondence you’ll receive.
Go DIY or enlist a wedding planner?
Staging your dream wedding takes time and effort. There’s a lot to arrange around your busy work-life.
Some couples prefer that involvement with every aspect of their celebration. For others, the specialist support of a wedding planner provides an invaluable buffer.
Sweating the details is their job, not yours.
A good wedding planner won’t just have contacts at wedding venues and trusted suppliers; they’ll have the experience to turn your plans into reality.
Finalise your wedding party
Things often get complicated here. Who do you include in your wedding party? Will those you don’t feel left out? What about traditional roles and responsibilities?
Remember, this is your wedding and your rules rule.
There’s no right or wrong, but there is wisdom in limiting your wedding party to best friends and close family. This group of intimates will stand by you as undergo a significant life change. Keep it simple and true.
Consolidate your guest list
You don’t have to invite everyone to your wedding; even if you think you should. Discernment is key. Your budget and venue will likely dictate numbers; but so will the feel and atmosphere you hope to foster.
Many couples have close family and friends join them in their marriage ceremony and wedding reception. They’ll then open up their event to a wider circle of friends and colleagues with an evening party or separate celebration. Again, do what makes you both comfortable.
Planning your wedding needn’t be a battleground: much like marriage itself, the journey requires that you and your partner remain jointly invested.
Communicate early and upfront. Be clear in your dreams and desires. Invite each other into the process. Make room for compromise. And get creative with your budget and ideas. Easy, right?
In our next installment, we’ll talk timelines to help you map out what needs doing when. More structure means less stress – always a good thing.