Wedding Planning: I’m Engaged, What Now?
The biggest congratulations to you both on your engagement. It’s fair to say the wedding plans can officially commence, but where on earth do you begin?
When I got engaged back in 2017, I couldn’t wait to jump into wedding planning. Being in the wedding industry myself, though, it was definitely a little easier to know what to do and when to do it. For the majority of brides and grooms to be, it can feel a little overwhelming! You’ve snapped your ring photo, plastered it on social media and announced your exciting news to your family and friends – here are 5 things to do next!
(P.S. At the end of this blog post there’s a FREE wedding planning checklist! I’ve put it together to help you plan your dream day, so I hope it’s useful!)
Set a budget
(Whilst also bearing in mind, the budget will likely go completely out of the window once you start to plan your day, haha!)
Setting a budget is a great way to start your wedding plans, because it will instantly help to narrow down venues and other suppliers you may be interested in for your day. At this stage, you don’t need to specifically decide how much you want to spend on each supplier, but knowing that your venue is going to take up a large portion of it is something to keep in mind. An overall figure is great to have before your research begins.
Top tip: set up an excel spreadsheet or use good old pen and paper to write down everything you need to book and how much you are hoping to spend! Excel is an amazing way of keeping track of everything from deposits and when your last payments are due with each supplier.
View some wedding venues
(or set your date, whichever comes first!)
Viewing wedding venues is probably the most exciting part of wedding planning. There are so many different kinds of venues, from manor houses to barns, industrial buildings to DIY fields. Don’t be afraid to arrange 10+ different venue tours, because making an informed decision that is perfect for you is so much more important than making a quick one!
For me personally, my husband and I got together, engaged and married all on the same date. It was a date that meant a lot to us, so we couldn’t have it any other way! For a lot of couples, however, you may be pretty open to any date throughout the year and don’t want to miss out on your dream venue because they aren’t available when you want them. It’s good to have a ballpark year and maybe a season or month too, but you can easily view some venues and then discuss with them what their availability is like – a date might then jump out to you.
I recently uploaded a blog post all about how to choose your wedding venue. There are so many factors to consider before making a decision and booking your venue, so click here to have a read. There may be some points you didn’t even consider for your special day!
Book your Registrar / Celebrant!
Once you’ve got your venue in sight, you need to make sure there is someone available to marry you! The most common choice is booking a registrar. This can be done on your local council’s website, so for Northamptonshire, it’s number 2 on this link. If you aren’t getting married within Northamptonshire, just search the area + book a registrar and you’ll be directed to the right place!
With a registrar, your ceremony will be someone you likely won’t meet prior to your day reading from a standard script. It’s a fully legal marriage with I do’s, the exchanging of rings and a big kiss at the end of it. You receive your marriage certificate on the spot and can go on and enjoy your day as husbands and wives! Out of all the weddings I’ve been a part of, I’d say 95% of them were a civil ceremony in this format, or alternatively a religious ceremony whereby you just need to reach out to your chosen church for their requirements.
I think It’s important to let you know about another option, too! After getting married myself, I came across the idea of a celebrant and I LOVE the concept. If you are wanting to write your own vows, have a totally unique ceremony that is very YOU and not something everyone else has had, it’s so worth looking in to! As far as I know, you are still required to head to the registry office to sign the legal papers to actually be ‘married’, but in terms of the ceremony experience for you and every wedding guest, it can be whatever you want it to be. I personally had a registrar, but I sometimes wish we had gone down this route instead, so do your research!
Choose your #TeamBride and #TeamGroom!
What is wedding planning without some wonderful people to share the crazy planning process with? If you have some people in mind for the roles, ask them! This way you can share the excitement together and have some help along the way. Wedding fairs are put on across the year which can be great to visit with your pals, or just a day of sole wedding planning to get things in motion. There are some BRILLIANT ways of asking your favourite people to be a part of your day too, so be sure to check out Pinterest and Etsy for ideas!
Find a photographer!!
Choosing a photographer is one of the most important things to decide leading up to your day. Yep, totally bias being a photographer myself, but even as an ex bride-to-be, I agree! Photos are one of the few things that are left following your day, so it’s worth spending a lot of time and energy into choosing who is right for you. Take it from me, the day goes by insanely fast and It makes me so sad thinking that it’s all over for me. Photos are something I can always look back on to remind me of the memories we made.
As wedding photographers, it’s also fair to say we get enquiries a fair way in advance, so no matter when your wedding day is it’s worth doing a little bit of research into who you may want to capture it. This weekend for example, I’ve got a session with an engaged couple who are planning their day for 2023! Although I don’t typically book weddings that early, anywhere up to 2 years in advance is normal. Having said this, pop a message to those you are thinking of so they have you in the backs of their minds as other enquiries come through! I recently posted a blog post on what to ask any potential wedding photographer before booking them, so before making your decision, be sure to have a read of it, here!
Don’t forget to book an engagement shoot
Some photographers may offer engagement sessions to have some photos to celebrate this new step in your life. For me, they are included in every full day package, so you really get your money and times worth! I love doing engagement shoots whether you’ve been engaged for weeks or years. They are the perfect opportunity to get comfortable in front of the camera and celebrate your special moment together. Plus, photos are great for social media announcements and save the dates!!
FREE Wedding Planning Checklist
As promised, here’s the free wedding planning checklist! Just fill out the below form and a download link will appear. It’s full of everything engaged couples typically book for their wedding day, in one place! I hope it helps you through the planning process!
Congratulations once again on getting engaged! It is such an exciting time, so just enjoy every minute! If you are looking to get in touch with some photographers, I’d LOVE to hear about your day and plans. I am always available to talk about your weddings, so just pop me a message. This post features a few images from a recent engagement session with Rosie and Sam. I’ll be sharing the highlights in a blog post very soon!