Planning a wedding can be very overwhelming at times and quite often, some couples hire in a professional to take on the majority of the responsibilities - which is great! If that's not for you and you'd like to plan and arrange everything yourself, that's also absolutely fine!
At Villa Farm, we have been a part of thousands of weddings over the years, so here's some of our key points and tips to planning a wedding...
1. Set a budget and stick to it!
Easier said than done, we know, but if you have a budget it's important to try your best to stick to it as this will be the driving factor for so many of your wedding-related decisions, so this really does need to be one of the first things you tackle. If you have family members who have said they would like contribute, find some time to sit down with them and work out exactly how much they would like to contribute so that everyone is on the same page. Once you've done this, you'll know exactly how much you've got to play with!
2. Work out your priorities
Grab a glass of Champagne and sit down with your partner to discuss what the most important aspects of your wedding will be. Whether it's the venue, the honeymoon, a cool videographer or the food, knowing what is most important to you both will really help you when it comes to budgeting in the right place. It's important to prioritise the elements which you really REALLY want. Once you have arranged your priorities, the money you have left over can go towards everything else.
3. Be organised & create a checklist
Again, easier said than done but this is so important to help you keep track of everything, especially if you're doing all the planning yourself. Excel spreadsheets are great, so simple, easy to use and you have endless columns! By using Excel you can gather your thoughts, keep track of numbers and the budget. There's also some really great apps out there!
Another great tool is to utilise the 'reminders' feature on your smartphone. Whether it's to prompt you to book your photographer, florist, go for a dress fitting or to look at your Excel sheet - this tool is free, easy and super handy as it's on your phone.
4. Involve each other
There's two people in this marriage-to-be, so it's important to share ideas with your partner and involve them as much as possible. Generally, there's usually one half of a couple who is more organised than the other, so it's quite easy to just take over - but try your best not to as this could cause tension later on. Gather your partners opinion on everything (unless it's something secret!) and make the wedding planning process as fun as possible, together.
5. Don't rush into anything
When looking around wedding venues and meeting suppliers, it's so easy to fall in love with the first place or company you see, after all, you've chosen to meet them in the first place, so they're obviously ticking a few of your boxes already! But remember, there are SO many gorgeous venues and brilliant suppliers out there, so shop around, attend wedding fairs, check them out online, give them a follow on Instagram, ask what their payment terms are and be 10000% sure before making any decisions.
6. Think about Seasons
When you picture your wedding, what do you see? Whether it's a cosy winter vibe you're going for or a hot summers day, it's important to think about this before booking any dates with a venue or any suppliers. Having a few ideal, but flexible, dates in mind will really smooth the process when finding availability with all of your favourite suppliers under one roof on the same day. Knowing roughly when you'd like to get married will also help you when it comes to the styling of your big day.
Following on from point 6, if you have a month/season you would like to tie the knot in, many couples use this seasonal inspiration for their wedding day colours. From rustic autumnal tones to pastel spring vibes, having a concept in mind will make the design decisions so much easier and will (hopefully) result in everything looking more coordinated.
8. Guest list
Remember your budget and try not to let your guest list run away with itself by inviting every person in your phonebook! Your wedding day should be shared with those who are closest to you and your partner. Think about who you really want to be standing with you in your wedding photos and who you want to share this monumental occasion with, keeping in mind the expenses that come along with this responsibility.
9. Talk to other married couples
If you have friends or family members who are already married, hearing how their day went and what they planned may really help you when it comes to booking suppliers. Ask for advise and see if they have any tips and tricks that they learned along the way! Utilise their free advise.
10. Only book suppliers you're happy with
Seems like a pretty straight forward thing to do, however in the heat of the moment it's really easy to just go ahead and book a venue or a supplier there and then. Go home, do your research, ask as many questions you need to and don't feel under any pressure to book anyone. We're big believers in people buy people, so if you really click with a supplier and you think "actually, you'd be really great to have at our wedding" then you should trust your gut and go with them. At the end of the day, having suppliers you get on with can only make the wedding planning process even easier.
Planning a wedding comes with a lot of contracts and T&C's as there are so many elements you need to consider. Find the time to read contracts and T&C's thoroughly, if there's anything you don't understand don't be afraid to query anything. Likewise, if anything is incorrect, you're within your rights to make sure it's amended. Check the little things, such as date, location, timings, deposit and payment terms. Make sure you do all of this before signing anything.
12. Don't be afraid to ask for help
If you start to feel overwhelmed with the wedding plans, you'll be surprised how many friends and family members out there who would LOVE to help you! If you have a task in mind, don't be shy about delegating it out to them!
13. Make a wedding website
We did a blog post on this the other week, so we won't go over it all again! But having a website for your wedding day is a great way to track RSVP's and share live updates with everyone within your party, in one place, at the same time. You could also include the wedding day itinerary, venue address, car parking options, dress code, wedding breakfast menu - pretty much as much or as little as you like.
14. Take time out
Try not to get too absorbed in 'Wedding Planning Mode', have date nights, take some time off from the planning and make sure you spend plenty of time with your partner and loved ones. This is good for your sanity! You could even plan a weekend away and give yourselves time to reconnect. This will make the lead up to your wedding a little less stressful .
15. Add personal touches
Incorporate some heartfelt personal touches into your big day, whether it be a family tradition, something with cultural meaning, or things which are personal to you and your partners' relationship. We have seen so many beautiful touches over the years, from memory books and images of family members who are no longer around, to favourite drinks, such as the drink you had on your first date. You really could do anything.
16. Get social
Social Media is SO popular and (nearly) everyone is on it! So use this platform to follow photos and moments your guests capture at your wedding by using a unique hashtag. It's really easy to come up with!
17. Make it legal
At York Barn, we have a license to hold civil ceremonies onsite, however if you're getting married at a venue which doesn't, remember to research and gather all the necessary documents early on. Some couples choose to do the legal part in a registry office, and then celebrate the wedding on a different date with a celebrant. This is quite often the case when the registrar and your dream venue don't have availability on the same date.
We hope you found these little tips useful! If you would like any support, feel free to message us!
Happy wedding planning 💕
York Barn x