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{Wedding Advice} Complete Wedding Planning Guide

Every wedding is completely unique, but the one thing they all have in common is the need to plan. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything that may need thinking about throughout your wedding planning journey, so I’ve written a comprehensive list (and added some pictures for inspiration too), which will hopefully help. Not everything is applicable for everyone, so please feel free to ignore as you wish!

You'll notice that wedding planning naturally has busy spells as well as quiet periods where you wonder what you should be doing (usually nothing, don't panic). While I felt like it was one of the most exciting times, it can be stressful and so it's important to remember to try and enjoy it. The time will fly by so take it all in and don't rush into making any decisions (and if the stress overrides the enjoyment then seriously think about letting a wedding planner step in).

It’s also important to note that while this list is designed for those that have a year or more to plan, it is totally possible to arrange a spectacular wedding in a much shorter space of time – I’ve been part of weddings that were planned in as short as three weeks!

As Soon As Possible

Book Your Venue

Before looking at venues though, it's a good idea to have a think about your budget. This is usually one of your biggest costs so you need to make sure it's affordable. You should also have a rough idea of which guests you'd like to invite as not only will this dramatically affect the cost, you also need to know that your venue can accommodate them.

Book Your Wedding Officiant

You need to make sure someone is available that can legally marry you! Registrars typically can't be booked until a year in advance, but many will let you pencil a date in their diary.

Get Yourself Some Wedding Insurance

This is easier said than done in the current covid world, as many insurers still aren't available to new customers, but when you can, I seriously recommend wedding insurance. It won't cover you if you change your mind, but does cover a range of other unforeseen circumstances.

A Year To Go!

Choose a fabulous wedding photographer (hint, hint)

Get yourself the most gorgeous outfit(s)

Choose your dream team, The Bridal Party

Consider hiring a wedding planner

Book a videographer if you're thinking of having one

Choose your wedding theme/style/colours

Send out save the dates

Arrange bridal party outfits

Book Your Essential Suppliers

* Transport * Florist * Cake Maker * Honeymoon * Caterers * Wedding Rings * DJ *

* Wedding Night Accomodation * Venue decoration * Wedding Shoes & accessories *

* Stationery - invites, table plan, menus, place settings, order of service, table names *

* Plan your honeymoon * Check passports are in date (you can travel under your maiden name as long as bookings are made in that name) * Check if you'll need travel vaccinations *

Once you've booked all the essentials, then you can have a think about if you'd like to have any extras to add to the enjoyment of the day. Here are some of the amazing ideas I've seen during my 7 years as a wedding photographer:

Gin Station | Hot Chocolate Station | Sweet table/cart | Ice Cream Cart

Caricaturist | Bucking Sheep | Vodka Luge | Chocolate Fountain | Baileys Fountain

Band | String Quartet | Acoustic singer | Harpist | Bagpiper | Pianist | Saxophonist

Magician | Photobooth | Dove Release | Singing waiters | Garden Games | Sparklers

Additional Venue decorations (LOVE Letters etc) | Twmpath, Ceilidh or Barn Dance

Guest Book | Signing Board/Frame | Order of The Day Board

Nacho cart | Pizza mini van | Taco van | Cocktail Bar | Fish & Chip van

Mini Golf Hire | Children's Entertainer | Children's Soft Play | Children's Nanny service

Going to wedding fayres can be great to see what other ideas are about. They are also a really great way to meet suppliers and generally give you loads of wedding inspiration.

A Few Months To Go

Have your hair and make up trials and make sure you take along your

hair accessories including a veil

Have your engagement ring cleaned/redipped - try and use a local independent jeweller as they won't need to send it off (minimises the risk of it being lost)

Book an engagement session with your photographer and arrange a meeting with them to go through the images that you want from the day

Plan your wedding music - not just the evening dancing, but think about what you will walk down (and back up the aisle to), signing the register, welcome drinks as well as if you will have a wedding breakfast playlist

Book and plan your stag/hen do if you'd like one

Send out invites, collect RSVPs and confirm menu options with the caterer/venue

Confirm your booking and discuss your requirements with all your suppliers - make sure you double check they have the correct day and date to avoid any doubts

Create your table plan but leave it as late as possible to get it

printed in case of last minute drop outs

Pick a new perfume so that every time you wear it you will be reminded of your wedding

Purchase thank you gifts - most people buy for the parents and bridal party

Consider wedding favours, wedding signage and any little details you can add to further personalise your day - matching groomsmen socks, themed garter, cufflinks, ring box, personalised soles,

If you'd like the big confetti shot, buy confetti - not many guests bring their own these days

Try on your outfits with all the accessories to make sure they all go well together

Finalise your wedding day schedule and share this with your suppliers

Book ahead any spa treatments you'd like in the week before the wedding

Write your speeches and vows if relevant

The Week Up To Your Big Day

Have your hair trimmed and treat yourself to a blow dry (and colour if you usually would)

Check how your hairdresser wants you to wash/style your hair on the day/day before the wedding.

Make sure everyone knows their roles and responsibilities and that

at least one person is able to help with tying a tie/bow tie/cravat etc

If hiring your suits, collect them and check they are all correct

Get your dress out of the bag and steam it if needed (bridesmaid dresses too)

Drop anything off to the venue and feel free to provide them with

instructions/pictures for table placements etc

Have another read through your speeches/vows etc

Plan a super relaxed, chill day the day before the wedding - hopefully by now everything is done and you can just soak it all in ready to enjoy the best day of your life

After Your Wedding

Thank You Cards

You can have these personalised with your favourite wedding photo to send out to guests

Wedding album

You can start selecting your favourite images as soon as you receive your personalised online gallery. Sorting a wedding album is the perfect post-wedding project allowing you to relive your best day ever time and time again

As I've said before, it's your wedding YOUR way so please don't feel you have to do something just because you saw it on a list. The most important thing is that you both have the wedding you want.

South wales wedding photographer cwmbran wedding photography cardiff


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