Planning a wedding can get pretty stressful and it can be easy to get overwhelmed with so many different areas to focus on. Here are a few major ones you might want to consider to get your planning process off to a good start!
The venue is likely to be one of the biggest purchases that you make for your big day and can have a huge impact on the entire wedding. Various factors will fall into what makes the best venue for you and you’ll probably have to mull over your venue for a little while before settling on one over another.
At Home or Overseas?
Location should be the first thing you decide on when settling on a venue. You can have your wedding pretty much anywhere – close to home, a little further away, or overseas in a completely different country. Some of us have our hearts set on a beach wedding. But bear in mind that when a wedding is far, some of your guests may not be able to attend due to factors like price, getting childcare or time off work for a longer period of time, or even issues such as travel sickness or a fear of flying. If your wedding is close to home, it may not have as impressive views, but more people are more likely to be able to attend something closer by.
Once you have a location in mind you can start browsing different venues. But you’re going to have to make sure you choose one that has availability. Different venues can prove to be extremely high demand and if you’ve already chosen a wedding date, you may not be able to secure particular venues on it, as someone else may have already hired it out. Many venues will have waiting lists, so take a moment to check how long it is before there’s availability and see whether you’re willing to wait it out. If you’re not, you may have to browse and look for somewhere else. It’s generally best to take a number of venues into consideration, rather than setting your heart on one very specific place.
This may sound like a given, but it is an absolute essential that you actually view a venue before you put any sort of deposit down on it. So many people fall into the trap of putting a deposit down on high demand venues before seeing them, just to secure the date. But you could find that when you get there, it isn’t quite how the pictures portray it, or it doesn’t have the atmosphere you’re looking for. Impulse bookings should be avoided at all costs. Always turn up and have a look around to guarantee you actually like the space and it’ll suit all your wants and preferences.
Putting Your Deposit Down
Some people have the opposite problem to impulse booking. They’ll drastically overthink their venue and will always be reluctant to book and put a deposit down in case somewhere better pops up down the line. But if you take this attitude, you could find that you just never get around to booking your venue and the one you liked the most may end up booked on your date, meaning you miss out all round! If you’ve looked around and feel you have a favourite that has stood out to you, is available on the right date and is offering you everything you want and need, just book it.
One of the first things you might want to organise once you’ve secured your venue and wedding date is your guestlist. This is a day that you will either want to make private and small scale or large to include everyone you know. Either way, it has to be organised early on in order to ensure people can receive an invite in time and book time off work, organise childcare, organise travel and do whatever else they may need to do in order to be able to attend.
Inviting the Right Amount of People
Your venue may largely determine how many people you can invite to your big day. If it’s a big venue, you can invite plenty of people. If it’s a small venue, you might have to keep things a little more intimate and personal. Create a list to ensure you don’t exceed capacity.
Inviting your guests can be carried out in a number of ways, but the majority of people stick with tradition and send out paper invites. When having your invites made up, use professionals. They will have plenty of experience in this field and are more likely to produce something that meets your expectations. They will generally have access to popular and wedding-suitable fonts, paper cutting equipment, and high quality cards with high quality finishes.
Dealing with Responses
Request that your guests RSVP to their invitation as soon as possible. This will ensure that you know how many people are definitely attending and can perhaps invite other guests if some people are unable to attend the event. Knowing exactly how many people will be attending can also allow you to book sufficient food, ensure there are enough wedding favours, and that there will be enough seats on the day.
Every wedding day needs some sort of schedule. This can be complex, but drawing one up will ensure that you don’t miss out any steps and everyone knows where they’re meant to be and when. You can create a wedding ceremony program and feel confident that there’s some sort of structure to the day. You’ll know where you’ll be in the morning, what time you’ll start getting ready, when your guests will arrive at the venue, when you’ll be being picked up for the wedding, when you’ll arrive, what time you’ll take your vows – pretty much anything that will happen throughout the day should run to time making sure you don’t miss anything important out!
Your guests are going to have to eat at some point during the day and, chances are, there are going to be a few mouths to feed. This is why catering is essential. You can have the perfect ceremony and reception, but if your guests are hungry, spirits will be low and you may notice people slipping away to get some food. Organising catering can ensure everyone’s content and it can add a special personal touch to your day too!
Almost every wedding has canapes at some point or another. These small bites to eat are often carried around on trays bt staff and offered to guests at regular intervals throughout the day. They’re a novelty, but they can keep hunger at bay between proper meals. Make sure your canapes cater to all of your guests’ dietary needs and preferences. Consider vegan options, gluten free options and more to make sure nobody’s left out.
Sit Down Meals
When it comes to main meals, you have a few different options that you might want to consider. The first, which tends to be favoured by weddings with a smaller number of guests, is a sit down meal. This will be a full meal served to people at their tables and can add a touch of sophistication to the day. Giving people a chance to sit down also encourages conversation and can create bonds between guests who might not have considered talking to one another otherwise. Generally, if you have a sit down meal, you’ll use an on-site catering company. They will be able to prepare meals in the venue and then bring them to the table while they’re still hot.
Sit down meals are great for a few guests. But if you have a larger wedding party, it can get extremely expensive to feed a large number of people full meals. At larger events, people tend to opt for a more casual and more low cost option – buffets. Buffets are less intense for your guests, as they don’t have to have a sit down meal and can pick and choose what they want, how much they want, and whether they want to go back up for more. They also provide guests with a much wider selection of different foods.
Street food has become increasingly popular over the past few years and this might be a trend that you want to work into your big day. We’re not talking about greasy burger vans here. Instead, we’re referring to the huge number of delicious street food vans that are out there. You may have seen them at food festivals, food events and even music festivals. Different vans have different specialities, with some offering warming and homely comfort food like mac and cheese, others serving up healthy options like Buddha bowl, and some offering things as simple as toast and tea later in the evenings.
Most weddings will have some sort of novelty food machines like a candy floss machine, chocolate fondue fountain, or popcorn machine. These are generally well received by adults and kids alike, so should go down as a triumph at any wedding! Rather than buying one outright, you’ll generally be better off hiring one for the day – you probably won’t get much use out of the machine after your wedding, as they’re high maintenance and can prove difficult to clean.
It’s easy to get caught up with food, but you need to remember that guests will get thirsty throughout the day too! Most weddings will have some sort of bar open throughout the day, serving alcoholic drinks and soft drinks alike. You’ll have to come to some sort of arrangement regarding the bar tab. You may have an open bar where you cover the costs. You may request that guests pay for their own drinks throughout the day. You might meet in the middle where there’s a tab that will allow guests free drinks until it reaches its limit – after which, they will have to pay for themselves. Which you opt for will largely fall down to your budget.
Sure, there’s a lot to consider. But tackle things one step at a time and you’ll soon be ready to go!