Kickstart your planning with this helpful wedding planning checklist
“So, you’ve said “yes”, you’re engaged, now what?”
At the risk of sounding a little unromantic, weddings are, essentially, a project. Okay, a beautiful, heart-warming project with the end result being the most wonderful union between you and your partner, and probably the most memorable day of your life- but a project nonetheless. They require the same time-management, organisational skills and communicative team-work as anything regular project, as well as relentless research and the occasional tyrant overlord (yes, we’re looking at you, bridezillas). And, unfortunately, there isn’t even a paycheque to compensate for all the work. Some might argue that marrying your beloved is reward enough, but…well, it’d be nice if you got paid by the hour too.
One of the biggest decisions in theAccording to Wedding Paper Divas, 68% of couples bat away the lingering, costly hands of the Wedding Co-ordinator, and decide to go it alone when it comes to wedding planning. Now, this is perfectly fine, but you should also be aware that 40% of the survey said they spent 10-15 hours per week on the planning process, and 3% of those that chose not to pay a professional wish they had done. So, if you wish to go down the DIY route, just be aware of what you are taking on- and remember, if it gets too much, or you guys find that you actually aren’t as creative as you thought, and simply have no idea how to arrange your reception, and really no longer care because you’ve been pouring over the room plan for three days straight and are perfectly ready to announce there will, in fact, be no chair decorations present- in fact, people can just sit cross-legged on the floor and be damn grateful you invited them in the first place- just remember that bringing in some extra help isn’t an all-or-nothing approach. You can hire people from day one, or just for the crucial last few weeks to wrap up everything you might have missed. You even hire day co-ordinators, just to give you the reassurance that when you’re knocking down the prosecco with your new husband, it is someone else’s problem to nothing else is getting knocked over.
Even if you do decide to get a planner, it is imperative that you go to the appointment’s with a relatively strong idea of what you want, so that you guys have a foundation with which to work from. Here is a wedding planning checklist of things that you and the future husband should discuss in the early planning stages.
Big, or Small?
This also ties in with whether you want an intimate family affair, or wish to take over your small hometown with the glory of your wedding. This decision can be made based on budget, venue choices, whether you like your extended family, and whether or not you have equal amounts of friends in compared to your significant other. Nothing is more awkward that a bride with thirty best friends on her side of the aisle, whilst across from them is Dave from HR who the husband spoke to once but needed to bulk up numbers.
Outdoor or Indoor?
Again, this ties into whether you have a specific time of the year you want to get married in (deep winter in Russia might be an indoor affair, whereas you might really enjoy an autumnal wedding underneath some significant tree, or another.) Bear in mind that this decision affects your choices regarding dress (too hot, too cold, stiletto heels in soft summer grass, etc.etc.) food and, again, venue.
This tends to be a bit of a “marmite” topic. People generally either have an express desire to unleash doves, or butterflies, or have your pet dog as ring-bearer- or they are fur-hating allergic's who will sneeze if you mention the words “trained flower goat” to them. Hopefully, you see eye-to-eye on this one, if not, try and find a compromise. If, for example, one of you wants to ride horses up to the wedding door, but the other is terrified watching the Grand National, go half-way with a nice horse drawn carriage.
This will basically affect everything, so establish this early. This can range from a simple “black-tie or casual?” discussion, to “will you still love me if I marry you dressed as the Doctor and we arrive in a TARDIS-shaped carriage?”
Same as above, really. If you’re soon-to-be wife’s favourite colour is pink, probably resign yourself to it. You might be luck and get away with a flower courage to make you compliment the colours. Or it could be worse, you never know. Maybe this is the time to ask.
Potentially dangerous topic, but unavoidable. Start talking about this early, and bear in mind that your eventual spending is probably going to be different, and plans will change over the course of the engagement. But, try to work out a spending plan, with a break down over different things (food, dress, venue, invitations, etc.) and try your best to work together and stick to it.
Any Vetos on Guests?
Things like hateful colleagues you endure on dinner dates, that one of you loves but the other detests to the depth of their soul; dubious friendships, or, the clincher really- exes. particularly exes one of you is friends with. If this starts to become a power battle (“if I can’t have Crazy Eyes Karen, you can’t have Mark with the Screechy Laugh”) then give one another a set number of veto privileges; keeps things diplomatic, and hopefully will make you carefully select the guests you hate the most for the ones you are insisting remain uninvited.
Food and Drink
Alcohol-free, vegetarian, a certain cuisine, a certain restaurant, how many courses, open bars, cocktail hour, specialty drinks, complimentary drinks, buffets, barbecues or a sit-down dinner, the cake- there’s quite a few questions to be answered here!
Location and Place
Everything from the venue, whether you need transport to and from for the guests, overnight arrangements, whether it’s a morning, afternoon or an evening wedding….
This involves the engagement party, hen and stag parties, wedding showers, dress fittings, wedding rehearsal dinners, family invitation visits, honeymoon, … basically anything that might happen, ever should probably be considered. Try using a timeline, if you have a relatively strong idea of how long you plan to be engaged for before the actual date. The most popular engagement length (says WeddingPaperDivas) is 7-12 months, with 19-24 months keeping a strong statistical second (27%-23% respectively).
These are really just your starting points. I’d recommend starting from these and brushing up on your mind-map drawing capabilities- grab a glass of wine, or several (bottles) and just go for it, unleash the creativity- whilst keeping Google open at all times, of course. Research is key here- become a Google demon and research everything and everything, and be prepared to find yourself, at some point in the process, furiously designing a cake topper at 4am. Start on A3 or larger paper, too, or a whiteboard for easy corrections. A whiteboard that is bigger than you will probably be sufficient. For the starting point, at least!
When you have finished deliberating over the main themes and ideas of your wedding, check out 10 Small Wedding Ideas for ideas on figuring out the smaller details.