You’ve just got engaged and want to shout it from the rooftops! But the big question on everyone’s lips is “When’s the wedding?” It doesn’t matter whether you’re planning to get married as soon as possible or you’d rather enjoy a longer engagement – at some point, it’s time to start planning your wedding.
And if you want the perfect wedding, you’ll need to make sure the planning goes without a hitch. Which is where we come in! Having seen plenty of weddings in our time, we’ve put together this A to Z guide to help you ensure your big day runs as smoothly as possible. So without further ado…
A is for… ACCESSORIES
You’ve got the perfect dress – now you need to find the right accessories to match. First you’ll need to decide on your headpiece – there’s no rule that says you have to have a veil (although this is usually the most popular choice). You may want a tiara or a floral crown in addition to a veil. Just remember to match your wedding theme here. A boho outdoors wedding would be the perfect occasion for that floral crown you’ve been lusting after! Don’t forget jewellery and shoes! Do you want to wear heels or maybe you’d rather go for the comfortable option and buy a pair of customised flats? After all, you’ll be on your feet all day. As for the jewellery – this could form part of the tradition of ‘Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue’ – it’s completely up to you!
B is for… BUDGET
Before you do anything, sit down together and work out just how much money you have to spend on the big day. Weddings can get expensive quickly so remember that there is always a way to get the day of your dreams without bankrupting yourself in the process. If you keep your budget in mind you can’t go far wrong. You may find it useful to keep a spreadsheet with a list of all of the outgoings for the wedding (include everything!) that you can update as you go along to make sure you’re still on track.
C is for… CAKE
When it comes to cake, many brides would love to have the most elaborate of designs – a real showstopper that dominates the reception room in all its splendour. However, before you spend a large chunk of your budget with a professional, consider the alternatives. If you’ve got a smaller budget, you may prefer to ask someone in the family who’s a seasoned baker to make your wedding cake. Or perhaps you’re happy to buy a large ready-made cake from the supermarket and decorate it yourself to match your theme? Wedding cake is often used as a dessert, which can help to stretch your budget a little further. For those who are not huge fans of cake, you could opt for the modern equivalent – a ‘cake’ made entirely of cheese. And serve it with crackers and fruit.
D is for… DRESS
For many brides, finding the perfect wedding dress is not an option, it’s a must! So our best recommendation here is to go and try on as many different styles, lengths and colours of dress as possible. You may find that although you’ve always dreamed of a fishtail dress, you prefer the big princess style ballgown –or vice versa. It can be helpful to take along a couple of trusted family members or your Maid of Honour but try not to overwhelm yourself with too many viewpoints. Next, think about your wedding venue. If you’re getting married abroad, you’ll need to be able to transport your dress easily – without the groom seeing it. Plus, the hot weather may require a simpler, more lightweight dress. Getting married in a church? You may love the traditional ballgown style dress, complete with floor-length veil. Or perhaps you don’t feel comfortable in a dress? There are skirt and jacket combinations or even a smart pair of trousers and tailored jacket. Remember that it’s your wedding day and if you don’t feel good, you won’t enjoy it.
E is for… ENGAGEMENT PARTY
A really special way to announce your engagement is by throwing a huge party for your family and friends. While you may consider this an added cost to the wedding, it could prove really helpful as it’ll show you who is really happy for you. It might help you to decide on a guest list further down the line. Plus, it’s a special occasion – why wouldn’t you want to celebrate?!
F is for… FLOWERS
Although not your first priority when planning your wedding, it is still important to take flowers into consideration. Think about the time of year you’re getting married – it’s often a little cheaper to opt for flowers that are in full bloom (and easier to get hold of) during that season. Summer weddings and those close to other occasions such as Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day may nudge the price of your blooms up a little too so that’s something else to consider.
G is for… GUEST LIST
It can be so tempting to invite everyone you’ve ever spoken to but have a sit down and really think about who you want to be there on the day you get married. For some couples, budget may dictate the size of your guest list. Others may love nothing more than a huge celebration, while some prefer a more intimate gathering. The choice is yours – we can’t stress enough that it is your day. Making a guest list can unfortunately put a lot of strain on engaged couples – often family politics can get in the way, with immediate family members insisting you invite your second aunt’s cousin twice removed… you get the picture. Be polite but firm. A good rule of thumb to follow is how often you keep in touch. Not spoken to them in the last 12 months? They don’t make the guest list.
H is for… HAIRSTYLE
As professional bridal hair stylists, of course we consider your wedding hairstyle important. However, it can really enhance your overall bridal look so it’s vital you choose well. Think about how you usually style your hair – you may not feel comfortable having it in an updo. Or you may prefer to have it curled rather than your usual straight style as you feel more ‘done up’. It’s a good idea to book a trial and experiment with different looks. Your chosen headpiece can also have an effect on the style so bring it with you to your trial.
I is for… INVITATIONS
Sending out your invitations is an exciting yet often stressful time for engaged couples. Waiting for (or chasing) those all-important R.S.V.Ps can put you in nothing short of wedding planning hell. So a good way to overcome this is to ensure the R.S.V.P date is a little earlier than you need it to be. That way you’ll still have time to incorporate the stragglers without stressing yourself out in the process. Struggling with the wording? There are lots of templates online that you can follow – ensuring you don’t forget any important information!
J is for… JOBS
While it is really fun to plan your own wedding, don’t be afraid to delegate some of the role. And that’s where jobs come in. You’ve chosen your wedding party for a reason – so let them help. Be it with the planning or on the day itself! Assign each wedding party member a job – they’ll love helping be a part of your big day!
K is for… KIDS
For many couples, having kids at their wedding is an amazing thing. For others, an adult-only wedding is preferable. Either way, make sure your wishes are communicated to your guests ahead of time. It’s a good idea to name every single guest on the invitations to avoid any confusion here. So if you’re happy for Sarah and Mark to bring along Thea and Daisy, let them know!
L is for… LISTS
You may be wondering where on earth to start when it comes to wedding planning. Making a list is a really useful way to show you what lies ahead. Whether it’s a list of people to talk to, guests to invite, or companies to pay – you’ll find yourself making plenty of lists along the way.
M is for… MAKEUP
As professional bridal makeup artists, trust us when we say that you will not regret having your wedding day makeup applied by an expert. We have the very best brands that show up brilliantly on all of your photos, ensuring you look the very best version of yourself. We will work with you to come up with a look that complements the season, your wedding theme, and of course your preferences. Not used to wearing makeup? That’s not a problem. We have created many different looks for our beautiful brides, from natural through to vintage glam. Check out our gallery to help give you some bridal makeup inspiration ahead of your trial.
N is for… NAMES
Another consideration for the bride is your surname. When you get married will you be taking your husband’s surname or keeping your maiden name? If you decide to change your surname you’ll have to let your bank, doctor, employer, mortgage company know! You’ll also have to change your passport in the future if you decide to go abroad. Honeymooning straight after the wedding? You can still travel in your maiden name as long as it matches the surname on your holiday booking.
O is for… ORDER OF SERVICE
While not compulsory, it can be useful for your guests to receive an order of service sheet as they are seated for your ceremony. This lets them know if there will be any hymns, who will be doing a reading, and if they have to join in with any words. It’s also a lovely keepsake of the day.
P is for… PHOTOGRAPHER
Your wedding photos will be with you for life – and probably displayed around your home for everyone to see. So it’s really important you find the right photographer. Before you pay any money, ask to see a gallery of images so you can see if the photographer’s style matches how you want your photos to look. It’s also a good idea to draw up a list of must-have photos and hand it to the photographer before your wedding day to ensure you get every shot you want.
Q is for… QUOTE
Remember we talked about budgets earlier? It’s a good idea to get a few quotes from different suppliers to see what you can get for your budget. Make sure these quotes are written down in an email so you can refer back to them at a later date.
R is for… REGISTER
If you’re having a civil ceremony, you will need to register your intent to marry at your local register office at least 28 days before you intend to marry. This is a legal requirement and you won’t be able to marry without it. Religious wedding ceremonies require the readings of the banns three Sundays prior to your wedding date. This can be arranged through the Church where you’re getting married.
S is for… SPEECHES
Traditionally, wedding speeches come after the wedding breakfast. However, it’s becoming the norm for them to happen before everyone eats – mainly to settle any speaker’s nerves so they can enjoy the breakfast afterwards. The Father of the Bride usually goes first and takes the opportunity to welcome the Groom into the family, and toast the newlyweds. Next goes the Groom whose job it is to thank his new family as well as all the guests – sometimes giving the bridal party gifts for helping. It’s custom to say a few words about his beautiful new bride too! Finally, the Best Man rounds off the speechmaking with a few hilarious anecdotes about the Groom. Many brides like to make a speech these days too – after all they have people of their own that they want to thank. Don’t get too hung up on the speeches – just remember that your guests are waiting to eat so try to keep them less than 5 minutes per speech.
T is for… TIMINGS
Your wedding day will go by so quickly, but it’s useful to work out rough timings for the day to ensure there are no big pauses – and to give your day guests time to finish their meal before the evening guests arrive. Work out the timings with your reception venue and give them a copy so they know what they’re working to on the day.
U is for… US
We’ve said it before but we’ll say it again – the wedding day is about you and your partner. You may come up against a few awkward conversations leading up to the big day and it can be helpful to remember ‘it’s our day, it’s about us!’
V is for… VOWS
Perhaps the most important part of your wedding day will be the vows you make to each other – the promises you agree for the rest of your married lives. Many couples opt for the traditional vows if marrying in a church. Civil ceremonies have their own version of these vows without any of the religious promises – and there’s a long and short version. Of course, you may also choose to write your own vows. If you go down this route be prepared. Pack some tissues if you think you may get emotional – and take it slowly. Give yourself enough time to breathe and stay calm so all of your guests can hear your beautiful words.
W is for… WITNESSES
You’ll need to choose two witnesses to sign the register once you’re married. This can be a lovely way to include some family members who have not had a role in the bridal party – or maybe some close friends. One from the Bride’s side and one from the Groom’s side is a fair way of doing it.
X is for… XXX
Kisses of course! Okay, we cheated a little with this letter but one thing you’ll be doing a lot of on your wedding day is kissing your new spouse. You may want to work out the just-married kiss in advance so you don’t go in for a peck and leave him confused! Either way, have fun with this one!
Y is for… You
You are in charge of the wedding day – it’s your day so don’t let anyone else take that away from you. That said, it’s important to ensure the pressure is not all on you to pull off the whole day without a hitch. That’s why it’s so useful to choose your bridal party wisely. Pick family members and close friends who you can rely on to help.
Z is for… ZZZ
After all the fun of the day, you’ll need plenty of sleep! Sorry, Z is such a hard letter!
What are you most excited to plan for your wedding day? Book us for your bridal hair and makeup and get crossing those to-dos off your list!