What you need to know about planning a Wedding

Weddings are momentous occasions, but planning them can feel like quite a mamoth task. There are so many elements to them, and deciding on each can take weeks.
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Last spring, I got engaged whilst on a trip in Switzerland. It was an exciting time, and we had lots of celebrations with friends and family initially afterwards.
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Our celebrations quickly progressed into full on planning.  Although we could have left it a few months to start thinking about it, we knew we wanted an early summer or late spring 2018 wedding, so thought we would put some feelers out.
Over the past 10 months, I have come to realise that planning and organising a wedding is one of the most difficult tasks I have been involved it, and I have relocated and planned world trips several times.
If you are thinking of getting married, here are some things I think you should know:
 Start with a budget and double it

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It will come as no surprise that weddings are seriously expensive. The average cost of a wedding has recently hit an all time high. A survey recently showed that the average cost is almost £28,000!
 That is enough for a modest house deposit!
Prior to getting engaged and, my outlook on money used to equate to how many flights could I buy. However, since returning to the UK, my money has gone into other things such as buying a car.
Weddings can be undertaken at a low cost, or can be as extravagant as you’d like them to be. In fact, you can get married at a registry office for under £100.
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Image Credit: The Knot
With that in mind however, I realised that I still wanted to be a princess for the day, and slowly bought more into the wedding industry, but have been reeled in from time to time by my husband to be.
Of course we NEED mason jars, flowers, and fairy lights everywhere! 
We did set out an initial, and fairly modest budget, which increased over time. So when setting out a budget plan, give yourself some wiggle room. I’d suggest adding 25% onto your inital budget.
One thing that really worked for us for considering the things that we didn’t want to compromise on, (or go cheap on) particularly photography and food.

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Once you figure out a rough budget, the next thing you’ll need to do is to set a date. However, in order to do this, you will need a venue, so it can be a bit of a chicken and egg situation.

Choosing the right venue

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Image from Blackstock Country Estate online

 

Last summer, we spent the majority of our weekends, and some evenings looking at venues. Finding the one venue that meets your needs will be difficult. What we suggest however, is that you draw up a list of pros and cons of each venue, and figure out if it works for you both.

It was difficult for us, as we are from different countries, so had to really consider whether to get married in England or Northern Ireland. In the end, we have chosen England, with a smal family get together in Northern Ireland afterwards.

In regards to our venue, I always thought that I wanted a castle or manor house type venue. However, after visiting a few, I was put off the idea. I soon switched to barn venues. Something relatively rural with lots of green space, and a place we could put our own touches to.

We had looked at a few DIY barn venues, which would have offered us a lot of creativity, but realised that it would have been a lot of work.

In the end, we got a really good balance; finding Blackstock Country Estate, which provided us with not one, but two barns, massive green space, animals, a play barn for kids and an amazing package for food and drink.

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Image from http://www.fitzgeraldphotographic.co.uk

It did mean that our wedding date was pushed forward, to very early spring, but we were happy with this, knowing that we could have a fantastic venue for a fraction of the price.

Tip: Getting married mid week, or in the off season will save you thousands. Peak summer Saturdays weddings are at a massive premium, and you can never guarantee the weather in the UK.

 

Choosing a Wedding dress

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As a girl, choosing a wedding dress is one of the most enjoyable aspects of planning a wedding. Who doesn’t enjoy prancing about in a beautiful dress for a few hours?

Of course it wasn’t all fun and games. I had a very specific sytle that I wanted, after falling in love with a dress from a store back in Northern Ireland. I also had specifics in regards to my posture and shape, and wanted to feel comfortable in it.

In the end, I picked up a similar style dress from a shop locally, which I have since tried on a few times and twirled around like a Princess.

Some things to note about buying a dress:

  • – Bring your mum/sisters/bridesmaids – the people that are most special to you (in the end, the dress I bought wasn’t with any of these people, which I regret a little, as I knew I could have made it very special).
  • – Check if the store has any dresses ‘off the peg’. Basically this means, if there is a dress you like and it is close to your size, you can sometimes buy it there and then. You can later alter it so it fits your shape perfectly. This option is usually a good few hundred pounds cheaper!
  • – Check if the price of the dress includes alterations – this can often be quite an expense to add on to an already pricy dress.
  • – Check out bridal factories, outlet stores or consider second hand if you want to save money. After all, many of them wll have been worn just once, but one person.

The Guest List

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The guest list for your big day will be the hardest to tackle. Small numbers usually means a cheaper day. However, what do you do when you have a large family and circle of friends?

There will be politics to deal with of course, such as whether it is a child-free wedding, and if plus ones are standard.

In the end, you should invite people you are close to, that support you and who you want there. Those who didn’t get an invite can always look at photos/video and share some leftover cake with you!

How to make a Wedding more affordable

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Get by with a little help from your friends

We have two friends who are hair stylists and will be doing my hair and bridesmaids hair. My Fiance is a a photogrpaher, and has a friend who is doing photos. Our wedding transport is being provided by another friend with a fancy car. Our cake is being made by a friend at the fraction of the price, and we have had help from others offering to help decorate, and collect up items at the end of the night.

Do it yourself

Completing some DIY projects will also make it cheaper. We are doing the majority of the wedding flowers (apart from bouquets and button holes) ourselves. We have organised centepieces, and have a number of personal touches we have made.

Word of warning though – don’t live on Pinterest. It is a great place for wedding inspo, but it will have you creating 99 craft projects at a time, and probably will increase you budget.

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We designed our save the dates, as well as wedding invites. They were incredibly personal to us, but took an awfully long time to create.

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Save money in the sales

A lot of our budget got reduced by being savvy in the sales. We got a lot of our bridal attire from Debenhams during the sales, with 3 bridesmaids dresses costing the price of what we expected to pay for 1.

We got suits on offer in a ‘back to school’ deal through Moss Bros. and saved on flowergirl attire by shopping high street.

Social Media groups

Sign up to some wedding groups online. You can often get reccomendations for suppliers, and pick up used items for decor. We did this, and it has saved us a lot of money.

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And then they lived happily ever after .. 

Planning a wedding does not mean it will go to plan. The important bit is that you are there to declare your vows to your partner in front of famiy and friends. This is something we have had to tell ourselves a lot, and have been reminded to take some time out to relax away from the crowd and enjoy it.

And after it is over, the next big adventure begins – THE HONEYMOON (and back to being a traveller

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