Wedding Planning ~ 10 Steps to Your Perfect Day

Want know how to start planning your perfect wedding ~ here's a little help in 10 simple steps...

Your roller coaster journey begins here and believe me I understand how daunting it can be when there are so many options to choose for every element of your wedding. This blog post will break it down into an easy guide and it will ~

  • take you through the planning step by step so that you can feel in control.
  • give you ideas and tips to help you make the decisions that are right for you
  • offer you useful links to those people, places and products which you may need for your perfect wedding.
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Congratulations! You've just got engaged to the one person you love more than anything in the world and now you get to plan the most incredibly fabulous day of your life...your wedding day! But where on earth do you start?

First, take a deep breath, relax and visualise your perfect day... now hold to that thought and keep holding on to it as you go through your 10 steps to planning your fabulous wedding x

Whether you are planning a year or more in advance or or just can't wait to tie the knot, these steps are the exactly the same, but if you plan on getting married this year you'll need to get condense them down into a shorter time frame!

1 ~ The Budget 

You may have an idea of how much you want to spend but it's a good idea to break it down to determine what your budget will cover, as it will influence how much you want to spend on each element of your wedding. Start by making a list of who you would like to invite so that you have a better idea of whether you are planning a large wedding or a small intimate affair. Don't forget to talk to parents or family members about any other guests they'd like to add.  Then you can make a list of your must have items and write them down in order of priority such as photographer or entertainer and you can see what you have to spend on those extra little indulgences. At this point you may also want to set something aside for a honeymoon which may be an escape to a desert island or a couple of romantic nights in a secret hideaway. You can even take the headache out of planning your dream trip by getting an expert such as Travel Councillors to book it for you and they can find the best deals. They can also help you organise your destination wedding.

2 ~ The Venue

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Next, and I think this is really intuitive, you need to find a venue which feels right for you as a couple. Having decided how many guests you'll be inviting look around as many options as possible and maybe even challenge your idea of the perfect may surprise yourself. You don't have to choose a country house hotel or converted barn, as stunning as they are, you could go for a tipi in a field, an art gallery, a wine cellar or a warehouse, think differently and find out what speaks to you.  What kind of backdrop do you want for your day and for your photographs. Many venues do book a year or more in advance and can be quite pricey but if you are flexible on days and dates there's always a discussion to be had and after all they want you to book them. The Ribble Valley Wedding Heaven website offers some great suggestions for venues in & around Lancashire as well as other suppliers' links.

3 ~ The Suppliers

The most popular suppliers do get booked up quickly but that's not to say there aren't other fantastic vendors who can deliver exactly what you want. Photographers, florists, bands, singersentertainers, wedding hosts, venue dressers and bespoke wedding cakes  - ask around, talk to friends who have been to weddings, go through social media, look on Pinterest or Instagram and go and meet potential suppliers and discuss what you want. More often than not it's people you are connecting with not just products or services you are buying. Find someone like you that speaks your language x  Have a look at my page with links to recommended suppliers.

4 ~ The Dress

Bespoke Bridalwear by  Rebecca Juliet Bridal

Bespoke Bridalwear by Rebecca Juliet Bridal

The most important decision of the whole wedding, it will probably drive you nuts looking for your perfect wedding dress but you'll have fun trying and when you find the 'one' you might just surprise yourself! The big reveal of the dress is one of my favourite moments and I love capturing it in all it's beauty and making sure I take some stunning bridal portraits of you looking fabulous! If you already know exactly what you want why not think about having a custom made wedding dress, it means you can choose every detail with the designers help and you'll end up with a dress that's made for you. Have a look at Rebecca Juliet Bridal. 

5 ~ Bridesmaid & Groomsmen

Historic Venue Kirskstall Abbey Wedding Leeds

First you have to choose your bridesmaids and groomsmen which may be one best friend or the whole gang. They'll be eager to know what you expect them to wear but go with your choice and keep to your theme. One colour for bridesmaids dresses (even in different styles to suit different shapes) tends to work best for photographs. For the groomsmen, clean cut, well fitted suits, single breasted or three piece for a vintage look, make for great shots and the men love dressing up as much as the ladies! It's all in the details! (which I also love to shoot x)

6 ~ The Save-the-Dates & Invitations

As soon as you have booked your wedding send out your save the date cards. I include an engagement shoot with my wedding bookings and often couples decide to use one of the images for the cards. An engagement shoot is a great way to get to know each other so that you feel completely relaxed on the day and trust me to get on with my job. Now is a good time to get this booked in. Invitations need to be sent out around six weeks before the wedding date but much sooner if it's a destination wedding.

7 ~ Wedding Bands

You'll need to order these at least a couple of months in advance. There are now so many options from modern metals, contrasting colours, matching bands, bespoke design. Research local jewellery designers and goldsmiths for something truly unique. Your wedding rings can be as individual as you and make a statement - why not be different? Apart from your amazing photographs, these are two of the few things you keep from your day.

8 ~ Trials & Tastings

Your wedding coordinator will guide you and arrange menu tastings - you'll want to choose something that suits most palettes but make sure you choose something you love too - as a foodie I'd have to enjoy the wedding breakfast as much my guests, remember this is a feast to celebrate your special day.

9 ~ Hen & Stag Parties

Time to let your friends take over and plan your hen & stag parties! Don't plan them to close to the big day or it might end up stressing you out.

10 ~ The Final Details

These are the things you need to take care of in the last few weeks. I like to meet my bride and groom to go through the timeline for the day, discuss the shot list and go over any final concerns. The same applies to your wedding coordinator and your other suppliers, so make sure you talk to everyone and tie up loose ends. Think about any gifts you may need to buy for bridesmaids & groomsmen. You'll need to go for your final fitting and pick up your dress!

After all this, all you have to do is look forward to your wedding day and when it arrives make sure you enjoy every moment - I promise you it will fly by! But when it is over you can still look forward to going through your beautiful photographs together and reliving your very fabulous wedding day all over again x

Love Live Life x

Sarah Valentine