As it's nearing the end of January, lots of you will be waking up from that glorious, fizz-infused post-engagement fog and beginning to wonder where on earth to begin with your planning, well don't panic! Here I've popped together the 5 key questions you want to ask yourselves before you set off, and thrown in some top tips to think about along the way!
1. What's our budget?
This often begins as a bit of a loose figure, but the reality is, the budget is going to play a huge part in every decision you make - photographers, stationery, the meal, even the quality of loo you hire will need to be factored in, so don't skip out on this discussion at the start! Bear in mind your biggest single outgoings will be your venue hire and your catering (unless you've got your sights set on a £10000 outfit, in which case, money is probably no object) so make sure you ask yourselves question no. 2 at pretty much the exact same time...
2. How many people do we want to come?
Some might see it as controversial, but I always suggest the following mantra to my clients when deciding who gets a spot on the guest list: "who are we going to be in touch with 6 months AFTER the wedding?" - bums on seats means costs go up, so if you're on a limited budget it makes total sense to be a little more cut-throat; standard plus-ones are pretty outdated and instead why not opt for evening guest invitations for anyone you're on the fence about? Keep in mind, the number of people you want to come will also directly impact on the venues you have available to you... which brings me seamlessly on to question no. 3!
3. Where do we want it to happen?
Not necessarily the exact venue, but do you have an area in mind? A family garden? A spot that you've had your eyes on since day dot? When you're considering your venue options you'll need to factor in a few key elements: what's the capacity, what's the cost and what's the catch (if there are any!) I recently launched a new IGTV series called 'The Planning Pitstops' and Episode 1 focuses entirely on Country vs City weddings - so head over there for a watch if you need a hand making the big decision...
4. How much time have we got?
Now THIS is a very overlooked question, that often results in a bit of blind panic around 6 months before the big day, where a couple with all the best will in the world realise that working full-time jobs, attempting to have a social life and maybe spending a few minutes together each week leaves not a huge amount of time aside for planning a huge event. Planning from start to finish takes, on average around 250 hours (and that's when a professional planner is at it!) so there is no shame in getting some assistance, either full-time or ad-hoc, with your preparations. Sometimes even just having someone map out your planning schedule and recommending suppliers can save you bags of time scouring the internet for the right fit, plus it's ALWAYS worth factoring in someone to actually be with you on the day to let you enjoy all of your hard work.
5. What's our dream wedding-day vibe?
On the subject of supplier-scouting, deciding the kind of style of wedding you want early-on can save a lot of researching hours later down the line, often it's one of the parts that people find most daunting, but trust me, looking at snaps of flowers and backdrops and balloons and cake is the FUN bit! Sit down together and explore what you've got in your heads before you hop online, and then look for inspiration that builds on that (blank canvases can quickly become very cluttered and overwhelming!); do you want something elegant, minimalist and chic or colourful, clashing and eclectic? What kind of music do you imagine being played? What would you eat and drink? The list is huge, but spending the time right at the start to get a picture in your mind will serve you well when you're making those important decisions on vendors and decor!
Of course, there will be lots more questions buzzing around your heads at this stage, but by starting with these 5 you should be able to set your plans off on the right foot; If you feel you need a little more help, or want to get some answers to those bigger questions, why not drop me a line?
Good luck, enjoy and happy planning!
Love, Kate x