Planning a wedding is a large task, especially because for many couples it is the first time doing so. If the idea of such a mammoth task feels overwhelming and you’re unsure on where to start, make these 5 things a priority and everything else will fall into place.
- The budget
Before you decide on anything else, you must set a budget for your wedding. Your budget will determine a lot about the scale of your wedding day – the number of guests at both the reception and the ceremony, the venue, food and drink, entertainment, etc. all depends on how much you are planning to spend on the big day. Once you’ve set a budget, you can begin your research.
- The venue
Finding the right venue for your wedding day should take the top spot on your priority list. The venue is usually the biggest expense of the whole affair – expect to spend about 40-45% of your budget on the venue (bearing in mind that this usually includes entertainment and in-house catering). Common places to get married include churches, hotels, town halls, manor houses, schools, leisure centres and more.
A lot of wedding venues will be booked up months, even years, in advance, so you should secure your venue as soon as you have a rough date in mind. Ensure to take lots of visits to the venues you are interested in, and ask the venue manager lots of questions about in-house entertainment and AV systems, guest capacity, food and drink packages, and whether or not the venue itself has a wedding license. If it doesn’t you may choose to hold the wedding ceremony at one venue and the wedding reception at another. Splitting your wedding across two venues may impact guest capacity, and mean that the number of guests at your wedding ceremony is less than at your reception, which in turn may reduce the overall cost of your wedding.
- The wedding playlist
Music is arguably one of the most important components to any wedding. Get the music right, and you and your guests will have a day to remember.
You should aim to curate the perfect playlist for the wedding reception that will get your guests on their feet dancing all night long. It should include well-known upbeat songs so that people can sing along, as well as songs that are important to you and your husband or wife-to-be. The best playlists include musical peaks, where the music will gradually build in tempo over the course of an hour or two, to climax with a crowd pleasing anthem that will get everyone on their feet. After that song has finished, the mood should be dropped again to something more subdued to give guests time to refuel and chat with each other.
If you really want to ensure that your guests will get up and dancing, you should send out RSVPs that ask them to list a song that will get them on the dancefloor. Then, you will have a long list of songs that you know will go down a treat.
The decision many newlyweds-to-be grapple with is whether to opt for a DJ or a live band for their wedding day. There are pros to both: a live band will up the ante of the day and create a more intimate and lavish setting. A DJ, on the other hand, will have a vast catalogue of songs and genres and be able to create a party vibe with the help of audio visual systems. That being said, a top quality wedding music band is well equipped to switch between genres in the drop of a hat and recreate your favourite tunes. Ideally, if budget allows, you would have a live band to play during your wedding ceremony and throughout dinner, and a DJ to carry the party through the night.
- The menu
Food and drink is another important component to consider when planning your big day. Your guests will expect to be fed and watered throughout the day, so this could include canapes and horderves as well as a three-course lunch or dinner, followed by a selection of buffet food for guests to pick on as the evening grows long. Be sure to taste the food menu curated by the caterers before it is served on the big day, and ask your guests to provide their dietary requirements in advance.
Often, venues that host a lot of weddings will have in-house catering that will be included in the overall price you pay. Packages of this kind may even include some alcohol to be served with dinner, such as one type of red wine and one white wine. More likely, though, alcohol will be an added extra, so you should consider asking guests to buy their own drinks at the bar after dinner. This will save you a lot of hassle and a lot of money, as an open bar at a wedding can be dangerous on the purse strings.
- The attire
Another key building block that makes for a successful wedding is the right attire, aka The Dress. The all important wedding dress will be top of the list for many brides-to-be, and for good reason. Wearing a wedding dress is, for many, a once-in-a-lifetime affair, and so choosing the right one is not always an easy task.
It is also advised that brides find their perfect dress up to six months before the big day so that there is time for custom tailoring and readjustments. Leave it too late and you might miss out on your first choice.
Aside from The Dress, the other wedding attire you must think about includes the grooms’ suit and the outfits for the groomsmen and bridal party. This can get expensive, but you can cut corners by asking them to provide their own footwear and accessories.
Planning a wedding is an arduous task that involves lots of moving parts coming together. But if you can decide on your budget early on and quickly lock in your venue, entertainment, food and drink and wedding attire, everything else will fall into place. Good luck!