Friday, 16 March 2012

Planning Your Wedding - Part 1

Planning Your Wedding - Part 1
Setting the Date & Finding your Venue

This part of your planning can be the most time intensive and probably one of the most stressful in planning your whole wedding.  There are various things that you have to take into consideration before doing anything.  Breaking your planning down into workable parts is the most effective way of making sure that your plans are as organised as possible.

Okay here are things that you need to consider.
  • What type of ceremony do you want?  Religious, Civil, Humanist, Pagan (indoors/outdoors?)
  • What time of year do you want to get married? What season?
  • Approximately how many guests do you want to come to the wedding - this is a ball park figure at this stage, I will explain later why this is important.
  • What type of venue do you want?  A hotel, country house, marquee, pub, back garden etc
  • Very important What is your budget for the wedding?   you must be realistic as costs can spiral out of control very quickly.
Now lets look at things a little more in depth.

Religious Ceremony

Having a religious ceremony is the first choice for many couples who want to have a traditional wedding or whose beliefs require it.  This means that you have to take into account other factors.
  • Is there a wedding venue (of your choosing) reasonably close to where the service will be?
  • Can it accommodate all your guests?
  • Will you have to provide transport for your guests to get there? (coach - do they have availability on that day?)
  • Are both venues available on the same date?
You may need to go back and forth between the venues and transport providers to make sure that they all have the same date that they can accommodate you with.

Civil Ceremony

There are 4900 licensed wedding venues in the UK which can be found here   This option means that you can  get married and have your reception all in the one location, and for a lot of couples this is the ideal option, as it  cuts down on  costs (unless your are getting married in the Registry Office of course).

Humanist Ceremony

Marriage by a Humanist Celebrant is becoming more and more popular by couples.  What is  Humanist Wedding?  A Humanist Wedding isn’t religious, but it is saying important things about you  and what you believe, your values and your ethics. It’s about publicly making serious vows and promises which mean something to you, and which are legally recognised and legally binding. All this doesn’t mean that the Ceremony has to be dull and boring – far from it. It should be full of joy and laughter, and have the music and readings, which mean something special to you as a couple. You’re free to ask friends and family to take part, not just as bridesmaids and best man, but to take an active part in the ceremony by reading or speaking if you’d like them to.  Your wedding can be almost anywhere (as long as it’s safe and dignified) and can be on any day and at any time you wish. Source   

At this point in time Humanist Ceremonies are only legal in Scotland (except Civil Partnerships) and must be supplemented by a Register Office wedding in England and Wales.

Pagan Weddings (Hand fasting)

This is a traditional wedding that goes back to ancient times and was traditionally called hand fasting.  This is due to the tradition that the wedding ceremony would start by "bonding" a man and a woman who wanted to get married by tying their hands together with a red cord and after one year they would then be recognised as husband and wife.   These days this isn't a requirement and the Pagan wedding can be a lovely ceremony.  As with Humanist ceremonies, this isn't legally binding and must be supplemented by a Register Office wedding.

When to get married.

Think about this carefully.  The "peak" wedding season is normally May to September and December of each year.  Expect to pay more for your venue during these times.  It can really help your budget to get married outwith these months.  Even consider the day of the week to get married.  You will ultimately pay more for a Saturday wedding.  Many venues will do deals during the quieter months and you will get much more for your money just by having your wedding a month either side of the "peak" season or even midweek.  Unless you have your heart set on somewhere, shop around, you will be surprised what deals can be done.  Other money saving tips are :  you might be offered a "package" from the venue, can this be broken down into elements that you can do yourself cheaper.   For example; table centrepieces - can you provide your own?   How much do they charge for linen? Can they incorporate your own colours? Will they charge extra?  Its likely you can do those elements yourself for less. (in most circumstances) 

How many guests

At this point its not necessary to have exact numbers, a guestimate will do.  This will allow you to find out if your desired venue is able to accommodate the amount of guests you want to celebrate your special day with you.  If it can't,  you may have to rethink your options and consider other venues.  It will give you an indication of the total cost of hiring your venue, your wedding breakfast, drinks package and evening buffet.  Many hotels will give you the honeymoon suite (if there is one)free of charge or a room to change/store wedding gift.  They will often give special rates to any guests who might be staying at the hotel/venue on the night of the wedding.  Bear in mind the greater the number of guests the greater the cost.

Type of Venue

This is purely a personal choice, you might have your heart set on a country house, a city centre hotel, local community centre or even a marquee in the grounds of the local pub.  

Remember, you will have to leave deposits which are usually non refundable so choose carefully.  Take time, do your sums and make sure your can afford it, this will save a lot of headaches later.  Make sure you give yourself enough TIME, whether you want your wedding in 3 months or 3 years time, you need to make sure that you are able to pay for it  by the time the wedding comes around. Remember suppliers won't wait for payment until after the wedding they will want it settled in full either a few weeks before or on the day.  Avoid disappointment by budgeting carefully.

Next Week - Planning your Wedding Part 2 -  The Bridal Party!  

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