Your Stress Free Wedding Planning Guide!
Getting married? Congratulations from Team E!! If you've started your wedding planning journey, you might have already come across a lot of year-long wedding timelines, and many articles that state you should be looking to set a date/ book a venue a year in advance... well we’re here to burst that bubble and tell you to start planning a lot earlier!
The key to stress-free wedding planning is to start nice and early. And sorry to say, many popular wedding dates at popular venues get booked up easily 18 months - 2 years in advance, (with dates like the August bank holiday getting snapped up as early as 3 years beforehand!) many of our favourite wedding suppliers are booking dates at least a year in advance too.
So, make it easy for yourself, and take things nice and slow, starting planning 2 years in advance will make your wedding planning journey a lot more enjoyable... So get comfy, and get stuck into our bumper 2 year wedding planning timeline.
18- 24 Months
Time to start planning! But where do you start?! The date, the inspiration and the venue are the first things to tick off your list...
But first, breathe.
Emma from Coco Wedding Venues has some soothing advice for everyone beginning their wedding venue hunt;
"As someone who spends all day, every day surrounded by venues I can say with confidence that you will find the right venue that gives you all the feels and connects with your big day plans, even if at the start it might seem like trying to find that elusive needle in a haystack. Whenever I tell a newly engaged bride-to-be to relax, breathe and enjoy the venue search journey I really mean it. It’s a wonderfully romantic part of the planning process and shouldn't be rushed"
Your wedding date
- Set a wedding date, it doesn’t have to be a specific one, but it’s good to know what time of year and day of the week you would like.
Have a few in mind to avoid disappointment.
-If you have your heart set on your favourite flowers in abundance on your wedding day, it’s well worth considering when these are in season and planning your wedding date accordingly. Jenny Fleur suggests; Specifically for flowers, it’s a good idea to look at what’s in season ahead of your date, look at what some of your favourite florists are posting on social media to see what seasonal flowers are available.
Do some research on the availability of your favourite flowers, for example, if you have your heart set on peonies then you’ll need to set a date in the late spring-early summer...
- Set your budget. That number will be one of the main deciding factors in determining your wedding venue.
- Jenny Fleur says; To set a realistic budget for flowers, think about the number of bridesmaids, groomsmen and tables you’ll have, your florist will be able to give you a guide price based on the designs and quantities of flowers you’d like, and be able to recommend where certain arrangements could be re-purposed from the ceremony room into the reception to make the most of your budget.
It's also worth bearing in mind peak flower buying times; for instance, having red flowers for a Christmas wedding, red roses around Valentines Day or pinks over Mother’s Day is going to need a higher budget as flower prices increase with demand.
Plan your Guestlist
- Decide on the number of guests you would like to have at your wedding and jot down a rough guest list. At Elmore we can hold a maximum of 200 guests for the day and evening reception.
- Start getting ideas of the style of wedding you’d like; look at blogs, real weddings, wedding magazines and start pinning your ideas on Pinterest. Most of our preferred suppliers agree the sooner you start pinning the better! This gives everyone you contact a good place to start in terms of your inspiration for the day.
What kind of Ceremony suits you?
- Decide whether you would like a religious ceremony, civil ceremony, church wedding, outdoor ceremony or handfasting (or anything else in between- there’s lots of options to research!)
Book your wedding venue!
- Look at wedding venues and secure your favourite ASAP to avoid disappointment.
Sort out your Ceremony
- Contact your local registry office, independent wedding celebrant, or church (if you’re planning to get married here at Elmore this is Gloucestershire registry office, Hamish the bard/celebrant or the gorgeous church just down the road, St John the Baptist in Elmore) to secure a date and time for your wedding.
Fall in love with the details
- Now it’s time to really hone your wedding style. Amber Persia advises; Once you’ve booked your venue, dive straight into thinking flowers, styling and general decor. Make initial enquiries and start gathering inspiration, (be that Pinterest board, creating a collection on Instagram, or good old fashioned cork pin board) get the ball rolling and ideas flowing.
Get really inspired and let your imagination run wild (and when you’re looking at pictures remember they don’t have to be wedding related, it could just be the mood in a photo, a paint chip, a fashion advert - it’s certainly the way we love to work to create something original, personal and true to you as a couple). Once you’ve got a collection together shuffle through and hone them down to what really captures your imagination. Be ruthless and cull away ending up with say 15 - 25 key images that truly inspire you.
I know that’s a challenge as we’re constantly surrounded by wedding prettiness in an Instagram and Pinterest world, but it will help you gain focus and direction, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the endless possibilities. And just remember you don’t have to do everything, or create 'the perfect’ wedding, what you’re aiming for is 'your perfect wedding’. Sometimes simplicity is the key!
Follow your heart and have the wedding you want - don’t get railroaded by other people's expectations.
one of the best bits of advice is if you don’t know where to start, it’s sometimes easier to articulate what you don’t like, and then work in reverse from there…
Tell your friends
- Send save the date cards.
Photography & Videography
- Think about the style of wedding photography you like (back to Pinterest again to make another board!)
Choose your style
- Decide what makeup style you'd like on the day, Harriet Cook from HC Brides suggests looking through makeup artists portfolios thoroughly and find a portfolio that clearly shows their style throughout.
- Contact and secure a wedding photographer and/or videographer.
Plan your party
- Decide on the style of entertainment and music you’d like that will really get the party started.
Wedding dress dreams
- If you haven’t already started collecting wedding dress inspiration now is the time, and it might seem early but starting trying on wedding dresses, shoes and accessories earlier rather than later is always a good thing just in case what you thought you would like you actually don’t (you might be surprised!) or you need lots of alterations or it has to be made from scratch.
- Organise wedding insurance
- Go to wedding fairs to get some real life wedspiration, it’s a great place to meet and chat to wedding suppliers too- it’s important to know you get on with them as much as you like their work… (The next Elmore Court wedding fair is in June!)
Get in early
- The early bird catches the worm! It’s well worth contacting your favourite suppliers a good 12- 18 months ahead to avoid disappointment- even if you’re not 100% sure what you want yet. Secure the date with your favourite suppliers with a deposit and then details can be discussed over the following months.
Sorori design says; any wedding supplier who knows their stuff should be able to give you at least a rough idea of costs even at 18 months in advance.
... You can find a whole bunch of great wedding suppliers in our preferred supplier's list
- Meet with your wedding coordinator to get the ball rolling with timings, food and drink on the day.
Dress your maids and merry men
- Choose your bridal party and attire for Bridesmaids and Groomsmen, including shoes and accessories.
- Create a Gift List or consider having a honeymoon fund.
- Plan Hen and stag do’s.
- Arrange a couple shoot with your photographer - You are welcome to use the beautiful grounds of Elmore for this!
Time to trial
- Book your hair and makeup trials - such a good idea to be ahead with this too so you don't have any last minute panics - and pampering sessions- don’t forget to give yourself a little time out of wedding planning and take some time to relax in the lead up to the big day, you’ll really thank yourself!
We are very excited to announce that Cotswold spa now offers pre-wedding night spa treatments in the coach house especially for you and your bridal party to relax and unwind on the night before the big day! Feel free to contact us for more info.
Have your cake and eat it
-Arrange your wedding cake tasting or ask your cake maker to send you a tasting box (like the lovely Cake Day Dreams does!) if you can’t meet face-to-face.
- Send out wedding invitations.
Put a ring on it
- Buy wedding rings.
- Confirm your table decorations, favours, name cards, any other decoration around the venue.
The great escape
- Book your honeymoon.
- Arrange wedding transport.
Eat, drink and be merry
- Finalise food and drink of the day as well as timings based around your ceremony time.
- Arrange the structure of your ceremony with either the church or registry office. Decide on things such as readings, songs and obtain your marriage licence.
- Have that all-important final meeting with your dedicated wedding co-ordinator to finalise all the small details of the day.
See the whole picture
- Final dress fitting with your veil, shoes and accessories.
- Have your hair trial. Chris from Fordham Hair Design says; take along images of styles, photos of your dress and bridesmaid’s dresses, and make sure you take along accessories such as your veil and headdress or dummy flowers if having fresh flowers on the day. This will give you a really good idea of the overall effect and ensure you are really happy with how your hair looks with all your accessories.
- If you're marrying at Elmore, arrange pre-night dinner through Elmore kitchens in the Coach House and if you haven’t already book in some last minute beauty treatments to totally unwind.
- Organise your seating plan and email to your wedding venue with any special dietary requirements.
- Confirm final numbers with wedding suppliers and settle final bills.
The famous last words
- Finalise speeches.
1-2 weeks before
- Ensure all items are packed and well labelled and organised for delivery.
Time to pamper and relax!
- Final beauty prep nails, hair etc!
- Chris from Fordham Hair Design says now is the time for your hair colour and trim appointment to make sure you don’t have root regrowth. Treat yourself to a luxurious salon conditioning treatment to tame any split ends so that your hair is in tip-top glossy condition for the big day!!
- It's 1 week before and time to kick back knowing everything is in hand and sample that all important bottle of bubbly that’s going to be served on the day!
- Take some time for yourself to really relax and give yourself a big pat on the back.
Huge congratulations to you if you've just got engaged!
If you're ready to start getting inspired by wedding styles have a browse of the real weddings and wedding inspo on our blog and Pinterest boards.
If you'd like to talk to us about dates or anything else, drop us a line anytime, or pick up the phone, one of Team E will be happy to help!