5 key considerations when planning a wedding
Marriage is as popular as ever! Over a quarter of a million take place every year in the UK…that’s a lot of wedding cake and a lot of gifts! Where to start with the planning though?!
Whether you’re the bride or groom, maid of honour or best man, mother or father of the bride, you’ll undoubtedly be excited about getting involved in planning an unforgettable wedding day. We’ve put together a handy advice checklist to help get you started.
1. Setting the date
Setting the wedding date is one of the essential first steps in planning the big day. Everyone dreams of idyllic weather and basking in the sun in the company of family and friends, but there are some more practical considerations when deciding upon the date.
- Venue availability & capacity - your wedding date and venue availability go hand in hand. If you’ve got a particular place in mind for your nuptials, it can be worth approaching them first to determine what dates are available and whether they can accommodate your approximate guest numbers.
- Cost - it’s certainly worth considering particular days of the week and times of the year to get the best rates to stay within your budget. Perhaps you’re planning a small wedding with a few carefully-selected guests or a larger party with all of your nearest and dearest. Avoiding the weekend and traditional wedding peak period (April to September) can significantly reduce your costs - as will planning well ahead of time. Choosing a weekday might mean your guests need to take time off work (and children, if invited, may need to be excused from school), but it can offer you huge savings.
It’s worth starting with a few dates in mind so that if a particular venue, or close family members, can’t make your first choice, you have a backup plan.
If someone special has just announced their wedding date, why not send them a heartfelt gift? We’ve got a wide selection of fantastic Congratulations Gift Boxes to show them how delighted you are.
2. Creating the guest list
Before choosing a venue, it’s essential to begin drafting the wedding guest list. This is likely to have a bearing on almost every decision you make in the planning process. Perhaps the best advice is to be selective: whilst it’s tempting to invite every family member (and their children), old friends and new, plus all your work colleagues, your costs could spiral out of control.
Sometimes there is the temptation to make weddings totally inclusive, to ‘keep the peace’. But you need to decide who you want to spend it with by setting a limit. You needn’t feel guilty about not inviting distant extended family or friends you’ve lost touch with - even if you attended their wedding many moons ago. You may benefit from making your event smaller as it’s easier to catch up with everyone in person and gives your event a more exclusive feel.
Your budget may become the primary driver of actual guest numbers, so choose wisely. You may want to consider splitting your guest list between people who will attend for the whole day and those you’d only like to join in the evening - this can be particularly useful in reducing hospitality costs. Also, remember that not everyone you invite will be able to attend, which can sometimes be a help rather than a hindrance.
If you've recently received a wedding invitation, why not send a gift as your acceptance? We’ve got a huge selection of fantastic Thank You Gift Boxes to show the engaged couple your gratitude for being included in their special day. If you can’t attend the wedding, you could send a gift to thank the bride and groom and convey your congratulations.
3. Setting the budget
Now you’ve set the date and created your guest list, you’ll be able to start setting your wedding budget. As with any big life event, it’s essential to do this at the outset to be aware of all the different costs you may incur.
It doesn’t sound particularly romantic, but setting up a spreadsheet or using an online app where you can itemise out every cost is a great way to get the big picture. It’s also helpful if you have to trim the costs back or add in something extra that you’d forgotten.
Your largest proportion of cost is likely to be wining and dining your guests, so the sooner you can finalise your guest numbers and cost per head for hospitality, the sooner you’ll be fully aware of your total expenditure. You could even hold off sending out all your invitations until you know your cost per guest. Why not create an ‘A-list’ and a ‘B-list’ from your overall guest list. Send invitations to the A-list first and wait to see how many accept before mailing your B-list.
Finally, include a contingency budget of about 5%-10% to account for any unforeseen extras that may crop up. If you don’t spend it, great, but it’s better to have one than not.Don’t forget to put some budget aside for thank you gifts for your wedding party on the big day. With everything else going on, it can be one of those last-minute jobs that cause unnecessary stress and hassle. Why not look at our huge range of ready made gift boxes or our special collection of wedding gifts.
- Need inspiration? Simply contact me, and I can help you with ideas for everyone in your wedding party for whom you may need a gift.
- We can send your gift boxes direct to the wedding venue to save you the hassle.
- We know we love pink here at D’lux Gift Box, but we have plenty of products for your male wedding guests too!
4. Choosing the venue
Many people have planned their ideal wedding venue in their heads, even before they meet “the one”, but turning that dream into reality can sometimes mean a lengthy search for somewhere that ticks all the boxes:
- Can it accommodate the number of guests you’re planning to invite - both in terms of eating, drinking, party space and overnight stays?
- If there isn’t accommodation onsite, are there local places to stay?
- Are any other significant events taking place at the same time, which may mean accommodation capacity could be limited?
- Is the food and drink of the quality you desire? Can you sample it in advance?
- If you want to bring in your own caterers or supply your own wine, will the venue allow this (and charge you extra)?
- Does the location work for everyone, and is it relatively easy to travel to/from?
- Is it close to where the wedding ceremony is being held? Or can you have your ceremony at the venue itself?
- Does it come within the budget you’ve set?
- Does it offer flexible spaces so you can move your guests around during the event, or have a Plan B if the weather is poor?
Why not shortlist your five favourite venues, then score each of them against your complete list of requirements. Disregard any immediately that don’t meet your must-have criteria, then go and visit your top two or three.
Try to sample the hospitality and ambience ‘under the radar’ (e.g. as an ordinary paying guest) to check it meets your standards. Talking to venue staff and event planners can give you a good idea of which one to choose, as you’ll be relying upon these people to make your day as memorable as possible. Check that they share your values, passion and enthusiasm!
5. Appointing the Maid of Honour and Best Man
Many couples have taken to planning their own weddings to personalise every detail to their exact specification and avoid any added costs of wedding planners. However, there’s a lot to organising any wedding, with so many decisions to make along the way. Sharing that responsibility with close family and friends is essential to minimise stress and maximise your enjoyment. The critical appointments for the bride and bridegroom are the bridesmaids and best man (or men). This can be a difficult decision if you have many close friends or if your sibling is expecting to be appointed. It’s advisable to choose a maid of honour and best man who are organised, reliable, fun to be with and good at getting along with everyone.
If you simply can’t choose just one maid of honour or best man, it’s OK to appoint more than one to spread the love and spread the load - many hands make light work! Each can have different jobs which play to their strengths, and they can combine their efforts to make your big day the best of your life!
If you’re currently appointing your maid of honour and bridesmaids, why not consider our Will you be my Bridesmaid and Will you be my Maid of Honour Gift Boxes? It can be a fun way to surprise your besties and ask them that all-important question! If you’re the maid of honour, why not treat your bride to one of our Bride-to-be Gift Boxes?