Planning – the BIG decisions :-)

There are a few BIG decisions that will have a profound effect on your whole wedding – it is important to make your minds up about these before you book things or start spreading the good news.

One of the biggest ones is a combination of your overall wedding ‘vision’, as well as the time of year (and thus length of engagement), feel of wedding (formal/non-traditional/relaxed?) and so much more. For example, when you picture your wedding what do you see: a cool, refreshing summer’s day with strawberries and cream, bunting and the palest of pink peonies? Or do your dreams centre more along the lines of roaring log fires, deep red roses and sparkly icicles? Clearly setting the date is one of the first BIG decisions that you need to make. The season you choose to get married in will not only have an effect on the style of your wedding say but also on the budget and what is available. Summer (the months of June, July and August) are the most popular times of year to get married and as such many venues are able to have higher summer prices, some venues even get booked up years in advance for these popular dates! You may find that you have to be willing to be flexible to get your dream venue on your realistic budget.

The venue will have just as much of an effect on the overall feel of your wedding (and more of an effect on your wedding budget) as the season. When it comes to finding a venue don’t taunt yourself by visiting places that you know are going to be over your budget, instead focus on exploring all the possibilities within your budget – you may be surprised at what you find. If you have a low budget look into local halls (many churches and villages have lovely halls), restaurants and interesting buildings (such as a victorian school building or warehouse space) – some of these can look fantastic with very little effort on your behalf.

The venue may also have an effect on what type of ceremony you have. For example you may want a religious ceremony in a church, chapel or synagogue or prefer a civil wedding ceremony or a ceremony outside. If your venue does not have one of these options on site then you have to consider the fact that guests will need transportation between the two venues. Also if the venue you choose is far away from where many of your friends and family live then think about the fact that you and your guests will need to pay for overnight accomodation which can be very pricey.

Another BIG decision is your guest list and this will ultimately effect every aspect of your wedding. When in this intermediate stage you don’t need to have a finalised guest list but by working out a rough number of family and friends you want to invite you can work out the implications on your other choices. For example you may want to have a sit down meal at your local hotel but if their function room only fits 80 people you aren’t going to be able to have those 200 people on your guest list. Or you may have decided on a gorgeous venue where the price per head for the meal is £35.00 – this is fine if you have a budget of £3,500 and 100 guests but what if your catering budget is half of that?  Mr.I and I decided that we would rather have less guests and a better wedding than try to accomodate hundreds of guests and have to serve substandard food or scrimp on our other priorities. Some people have weddings with less than 30 people, others decided that it is important to them to have 300, whatever you decide you need to be realistic and stick to it!

Once you have made the big decisions you can get down to the fun part – to be honest its these big decisions that can prove extra stressful, particularly when you have family members ‘helpfully’ giving their opinions and subtle reminders that you ‘really should invite great uncle gregg’s cousin twice removed’ – just remember that it is YOUR wedding and you should have the wedding of your dreams whether or not it is what other people want!



Planning – Prioritise

There are so many individual aspects that go into creating a wedding. From big vendors and suppliers such as the Venue, Caterers or Photographers to those all-important little details such as table settings and save-the-date cards. Once you have worked out your budget you need to prioritise what you want from your big day. Unless you have a large budget you may find that you need to cut back in some areas in order to have what you want in others and that is where your basic priorities come into play. When Mr.I and I sat down and discussed our individual wedding day wishes we were lucky that our priorities matched, this is what we had, in order of importance (for us):

1. Venue

2. Catering

3. Photography

4. Stationary and the little details

5. The bridal party

Below these fell items such as entertainment, numbers of guests, flowers, and the lowest on our list: alcohol! This list made it easy for us to choose which things we would spend the larger chunks of our (small) budget on. However every couple will have their individual priorities and this is where communication is key – don’t worry if you have to spend hours talking over the fact that one of you thinks the whole bridal party should be in designer outfits or if the other thinks a top DJ is more important – this is your wedding and the planning is just one way to learn that compromise is a key to a successful marriage!

When you look at wedding magasines they tend to dictate to you what aspects of your wedding should be more important – for example they usually have a ‘budget planner’ and it will list all expenses that traditional weddings generate, and of course they then pressurize you into thinking that if you aren’t spending £600 on your cake then something is wrong with your wedding planning – there’s nothing wrong with it do don’t worry – so what if you don’t like cake? Maybe you’d prefer a tower of Krispy Kremes instead? Don’t worry about what is the ‘norm’ when it comes to the priorities for your wedding – choose what makes you and your future spouse happy!


Planning – Budget

Hiya! What a week I have been having – feel like I havn’t stopped to take a breather but it’s been great fun. Mr.PS has had the week off of work so we’ve been having a great time making the most of his limited time off – lots of trips to the park for Lily-Rose (to make the most of her new found walking skill!), lots of cuddly slumbery afternoons and reading side by side whilst Lily naps 🙂 Anyway todays post is all about Getting Started with your wedding planning.

The first step is always BUDGET! Unfortunately this is the biggest, most fundamental building block of your wedding planning. Its just no good to taunt yourself with images of a luxurious gold plated affair when your wages just about cover the rent.

The best way to organise your budget is to sit down and work out your income and outgoings per month – and this doesn’t just mean the bare bones of rent/mortgage and bills this is EVERYTHING – from your monthly gym membership right down to your penchant for bringing home new shoes on payday. For some people, including us, doing this gave us quite a wake-up call as to how we were spending our money and where we needed to make changes. So even if you’re not planning a wedding doing this is a really good idea (although it isn’t very fun!)

When we had done this we worked out that we could realistically save just £100 a month – not a great deal of money, but this amount is without cutting back too drastically on our lifestyle. We didn’t want to sacrifice our regular cinema dates, stop buying clothes or treating our daughter to days out at the Zoo. There is so much more to life than a wedding and if you put too much pressure on yourselves for the sake of the budget you won’t be enjoying the planning process at all!

Some people are lucky enough to have parental contributions to their wedding. If that is the case then you need to sit down now with your parents or future in-laws and work out exactly how much they will be contributing as this will factor in to your final budget. It always helps to keep communication very clear with regards to money to avoid people getting upset or falling out. My dad has set up a direct debit into our account every month – he told us what he could afford to give us each month and told us to ‘do what we want with it’ which is great as unfortunately some people who contribute to a wedding feel that as they are making a monetary contribution they have the right to make decisions regarding your wedding. My dad isn’t interested in that which make accepting his generous gift a happy experience rather than a stressful one.

Spreadsheets like those on Microsoft Excel are always useful to keep a track of your money and budget – but remember they will only work if you are honest with yourself and add each expenditure made – big and small!

Some people decide to take on second jobs so that they can add more money to their wedding budget – this is great if you have the time, but PLEASE please please don’t pressurize yourself – if you’re struggling to find time together as you’re both so busy working hard then you have your priorities wrong. At the end of the day a wedding is about the two of you as a couple and if you aren’t spending any quality time together then you aren’t going to be much of a couple at the end of the planning process!

I am a stay at home mummy and scott works full time with horrible shifts so we didn’t want to put any pressure on our time by me taking on a job – instead i’m doing my bit towards the wedding by cutting back on the spending. For example for the past two years since we got engaged I have spent around £20-25 a month on wedding magasines (i know its crazy!) and so my way of cutting down on spending is to stop buying them! Its not like I even need them when there are so many amazing wedding blogs for free out there! So that is £240-£300 saved a year  that is big bucks!

We have decided to keep the wedding budget realistic – we don’t want to wait a hundred years to get married but neither do we want to get into debt for the sake of one day. So we have set our budget at £4000 which, hopefully we will manage to save by August 2013.

So take a couple of hours out of your busy day to site down and work out a budget with all those involved in your wedding – once you have your budget start doing your research, and most of all, enjoy planning 🙂


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