The expert’s guide to planning your wedding
The most exciting moment of your life has just happened: the love of your life just proposed and you get to marry them! Yes!!! You are about to embark on great adventure together complete with lots of love and laughter. However, before you get there, you’ve got plan the wedding which can be a little bit harder than you think. We thought we’d put a check list together to help you both navigate the next few months:
Set the date: One of the big things and once you’ve got this bit sorted, everything else will flow from it and fall into place.
Decide on your budget: Make it realistic. It should be a fantastic day but you don’t want to be paying it off for years! And don’t forget to build in something for contingencies. One way of saving on the venue cost is to book a little bit out of the traditional wedding season and look at holding it on another day of the week rather than Saturday.
Draw up your guest list: Remember that this is your day so don’t feel obliged to have people there who you don’t know, especially if you are footing the bill and try to keep the number of guests from both sides equal. It’s becoming more and more popular for brides and grooms to have their guests mingle together rather than the traditional “bride’s guests on the left and groom’s on the right”. Invite colleagues and family friends to evening reception.
Appoint bridesmaids, best man and ushers: Choose your closest, most trustworthy family and friends and wherever possible, ensure they live close by.
Send out save the date cards: This will allow your guests to plan their weekends around your big day and avoid clashing with holidays or other commitments.
Ceremony in a church or at the venue? Once you’ve decided on this, this will allow you to book the church or registrar.
Confirm the perfect venue: Pavilions of Harrogate of course. Especially as we have 4 licensed rooms including the amazing White Pavilion for that special outdoor wedding.
Think about a theme: Speak to the venue to see what they can include or have available.
Book your photographer/videographer: Meet with a few photographers until you find the one with the style you like best. It’s a very personal choice and the one who did your best friend’s cousins wedding might not be the right match for you two. Make sure they have a drone flying license for some truly unique images. When you’ve made your choice, arrange for them to come and visit Pavilions of Harrogate and we’ll show them some truly amazing locations.
Book your DJ/entertainers: Unless you know exactly who you’d like, ask the venue for their recommendations
Book your cars/helicopter arrival/horse and carriage: Yes, helicopter arrival! With so much space available at Pavilions of Harrogate, you can really get creative with your arrival. If you want to go down a more traditional route, we can recommend a horse and carriage supplier.
Book your florist: Flowers will really set the theme for the day and sometimes less is definitely more! If budget is tight, think about everlasting silk flowers or a mix of the two, your florist will be able to advise. Think about budgeting to have your bouquet dried and framed as well. There are some great, creative companies out there who can do this for you
Book the honeymoon: The automatic thought is to leave on your honeymoon as “Mr and Mrs” but to cut down on the stress, book this in your maiden name so you don’t have to worry about changing passports etc until you are back and have more time.
Start the search for the perfect dress: Visit a few boutiques and let the assistants help you; if they hand you a dress which initially you hate, try it on anyway. They are experts and just might surprise you. Leave yourself plenty of time to find your dress and remember that if you are having it made specially, it will take longer than a ready-made one.
Buy your shoes and accessories and don’t forget to practice in them: Make sure you have everything for the final dress fitting including jewellery so you get to see exactly what you’ll look like. Also, don’t forget to wear your shoes around the house (never outside) so that they don’t hurt on the day!
Order the wedding cake: From cupcakes to traditional three tier cakes to yummy cheese towers; there’s a whole choice to choose from.
Finalise your invitations: And there’s not just invites – don’t forget the order of service, name cards, menus, tables plans and thank you cards.
Book your makeup artist and hairdresser: Again, this is a very personal thing and don’t forget to book a trial.
Finalise and buy your wedding parties outfits
3 months +
Have your wedding dress altered: And try not to lose any more weight
Buy your wedding rings: Make sure that they fit you both perfectly and that it compliments your engagement ring if you are going to wear them together. Most jewellers have matching engagement and wedding rings as well as both of yours.
Send your wedding invitations: Traditionally, these go out 6-12 weeks before the big day however if you are ready and want them to go out sooner, send away. Don’t forget to send all the information that will make things easy for your guests such as directions, overnight accommodation etc. Ask your guests to let you know of any dietary requirements and include an RSVP card.
Decide on a gift list: You can go down the traditional route for this or maybe something a little different and ask guests to buy miles contributing to your honeymoon or even ask them to make donations to your favourite charity.
Choose wedding music and readings: Again something very personal. Remember that you can’t have any religious readings of hymns at a civil ceremony and your vicar or priest will help with what works in a church.
Buy gifts for the best man, ushers and bridesmaids: There’s lots to choose from these days but something personalised is always nice and don’t forget flowers for the mums!
Start to plan your hen and stag parties: Have fun and don’t do them too close to the big day
1 month before
Arrange for a final fitting of your wedding dress: And bring along your mum, sister or best friend too!
Reconfirm the wedding arrangements with all your suppliers: Share all the details with your venue as well as speaking to them personally and make sure you have confirmation of dates, places and times in writing from them.
Finalise the seating plan: Share with the venue along with any other details such as dietary requirements.
Contact any guests who have not replied to your invitation: The venue will need to know final numbers at least 2 weeks before.
Arrange a date to pick up any hired suits: This is definitely a job for the best man. The important thing is to remember when they have to be returned!
Write the wedding speeches: Check out the internet, there are some great templates to get you started then write from the heart, and practice, practice, practice. Traditionally speeches are after the dinner however, if people are nervous or don’t like the idea of public speaking, bring them forward and have them before the breakfast.
1 week before
Visit the hairdresser: This should just be for a trim and maybe a touch up on the colour… it’s not the time to go for a total makeover and change everything!
Pack for your honeymoon: You’re going on the holiday of a lifetime!
Create a wedding emergency kit: it’s always better to have an not need than need and not have. This is for your chief bridesmaid and should include make up, a compact mirror and, blister plasters, tissues etc – anything you think you might need on the day including safety pins! Y=
Have your beauty treatments: Relax and enjoy.. Avoid fake tans though at this close stage.
Find your ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’: Grandma’s or aunts are always a great place to go for “something old, something new”
The day before
Have the day off to relax: Book the day off work and don’t do anything too exhausting. See if you can pop into the venue and check everything is how you want it so there’s nothing to worry about on the day.
Have your nails manicured: Book it for late in the day and see if they’ll come to you.
Try to get an early night: the sooner you get to sleep, the sooner tomorrow will come, limit any alcohol to 1 glass and drink plenty of water so you’ll look hydrated and refreshed in the morning.
And finally, relax and enjoy this special day. Your nearest and dearest are there to celebrate with you. Don’t get hung up on timings and don’t worry if things don’t happen exactly when you planned them to. The wedding day is only the start and your marriage is what really matters and that way regardless of sunshine or showers, it will be the day you remember for the rest of your lives.