Match your wedding flowers to your season. The month you marry can make a real impact on your choice of wedding flowers in terms of what's in season and which…
Written by Kate Thompson Last updated: February 16, 2016
Congratulations on your engagement! If you just got engaged on Valentine’s Day, all the fun of your wedding planning starts right here, and you won’t go wrong with our expert help. Here are 20 top tips on where to begin.
It all starts when you name the date. Then you can start telling everyone – in style! If your wedding date is a year or more ahead then send Save the Date cards to all your nearest and dearest as soon as possible.
Go to see a couple of venues and ask as many relevant questions as you can – such as whether they will provide the catering or if you can bring in external caterers if you prefer, or if they have disabled access if needed. Check that the venue of your choice is free to accommodate you on the date you want and secure your booking with a deposit as soon as you can.
Draw up an A list and a B list – A list will be close friends and family you invite to the whole day, B list for anyone invited only to the evening reception. Send your invitations early, with RSVP cards, so you can move anyone from the B list onto the A list when A listers decline. It can help to consider who you would like to seat at each table, which you’ll need to decide when you draw up your table planner once the RSVPs come back.
You don’t have to go for an outlandish wedding theme, unless you want to; a classic ivory wedding style, your favourite colours with Valentines hearts, love birds or something unique to you will simply make your wedding look and feel extra special.
Distribute your gift list along with your invitations, whether it’s with a department store, online gift list company or you make your own.
You should send your wedding invitations at least 3 months before the wedding. It’s stylish to match all your wedding stationery so your orders of service could match your invitations and thank you cards.
Be inspired by wedding dress images online and in the glossy bridal magazines then have some fun trying on a few until ‘the one’. You should allow a minimum of six months for a couture gown to be made, a minimum of four months for a designer gown to be ordered in and, if you’re buying off the peg, allow at least six weeks for alterations. Look for wedding shoes, veil, tiara and any other accessories once you have got the dress.
Arrange to meet a couple of wedding photographers to see who you feel most comfortable with and ask to see full albums of their work. Discuss styles and ask if they do an engagement shoot as part of the wedding photography package.
Now you’ve booked the venue and your photographer it’s time to think about the catering. If your venue does not do catering, contact two or three local or recommended caterers for sample menus and ask for a tasting session. For a cheaper option, consider ordering party platters from your local supermarket or M&S. Consider also whether you will be having a free bar, a pay bar or hiring a mobile bar.
Think about what style of wedding cake you would like and allow at least three to four months for it to be made. You may prefer cupcakes to a traditional multi-tiered iced fruit cake or go wild with sponge tiers of different flavours! To cut costs buy a plain iced cake and add your own cute cake topper or make it unique with a hand-made personalised cake topper featuring your pets!
Check your passport is in date and go wild booking the holiday of a lifetime – your honeymoon, or ask your guests to contribute to your honeymoon as an alternative gift list.
When it comes to wedding transport you don’t have to book a vintage car. You could arrive in a horse-drawn carriage or on a motorbike (depending on your dress!) If your ceremony and reception are in different towns, consider hiring a double decker bus for all your guests to hop on so they can travel together in style.
Visit two or three local or recommended florists to discuss your wedding flowers, bouquet and buttonholes. Silk flowers are worth considering as they can be made in all sorts of amazing rainbow colours and will last long after the wedding day.
Your venue should be able to recommend a local DJ or live band, and you can request songs you particularly want to hear. Don’t forget to let them know which song you would like played for your first dance then book your entertainment with a holding deposit.
You won’t believe how incredible you can look with the help of a professional make up artist and hair stylist. Book a trial session and you could be amazed with the results. If you’re thinking of doing your own make up, ask for a free makeover at a department store cosmetics counter to pick up some expert tips and free samples.
Decide on your chosen readings for the ceremony and/or write your vows and speeches. Enlist the help of a professional speech writer and have the day announced by a professional toastmaster.
Plan your stag and hen (or ‘sten’) parties with the help of your best man and chief bridesmaid.
The finishing touches to your big day are the decorations that will adorn your venue(s) and decorate the tables at your wedding breakfast. Make your table planner too so everyone knows where you would like them to sit.
Buy your wedding rings and have them ordered to fit if necessary. You could have matching rings especially designed or engraved with your wedding date – so he can never forget your anniversary!
Order personalised thank you gifts for the bridal party with enough time to have them engraved before your wedding day then present them to your best man, ushers, bridesmaids and mothers of the bride and groom to thank them all for helping you on your special day.