Congratulations if you got engaged this Christmas! As a Manchester wedding photographer I have attended nearly 200 weddings so have a pretty good idea as to what works well and what doesn’t. To help you out I have put together 8 steps on what to do next if you got engaged this Christmas.
How to start planning a wedding
Christmas and New Year is an incredibly popular time for couples to get engaged – and very romantic! It’s easy to get carried away in the moment so I have put together some of my top tips for what to do next when it comes to planning your perfect wedding.
1) Pick a date
One of the first things you’ll need to do is set a date for your big day – but remember that many popular wedding venues get booked up more than a year in advance, so you may need to be flexible. Now is the time to think about whether you’d like a summer or winter wedding, if there are any big occasions that might clash or anything else that may impact on you or your guests.
2) Set the budget
I know it’s not romantic, but it’s really important to set a wedding budget early on so you know exactly how much you have to spend and don’t end up having to make sacrifices down the line when you have overspent on something. It’s useful to have an idea of how much you plan to allocate to each aspect of your big day too. This will help you narrow down venues and suppliers. You should allocate the largest percentage of the budget to the services which you will value the most. For example, the dress or your wedding photographer.
3) Set a timeline
There is an awful lot to do when it comes to planning a wedding, so putting together a timeline is a great way of helping you keep on top of everything and will save you from a mad panic as the big day draws nearer. It’s also great to be able to tick things off as you go along.
4) What sort of wedding do you want?
Before you start drawing up a list of potential venues, photographers and dresses, it’s important to have a think about what sort of wedding you want. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration and will help narrow your search. Wedding blogs are also a great place to start.
If you’re looking for something in particular then be sure to hire professionals that have experience with that type of wedding. For example, if you are a same sex couple then you will want to hire a professional same sex wedding photographer.
5) Who do you want to invite?
Putting together a guest list is one of the trickiest parts of planning a wedding. Your first draft is usually pretty long once you’ve considered the required family and friends, colleagues, the bar man from your local pub! It’s worth keeping in mind your budget here, that way you can decide if you really want to spend “X” on that particular person or not and whether it’s worth compromising on something else. You can always consider inviting some guests along for the evening.
6) Shortlist venues and suppliers
This is the fun part! There are so many amazing wedding venues across Manchester and the North West that you will be spoiled for choice. So start putting together your list of potential venues early. Make sure to go and take a look at as many as you can, that way you will be able to make an informed decision. The same goes for your suppliers. If you are after a particular photographer, they may already have many dates booked up over the next 12-18 months so it’s important to get in touch as soon as you can.
7) Consider hiring a wedding planner
Wedding planners can really take the stress out of planning your big day. Most venues will often have an in-house coordinator, but hiring a specialist wedding planner will give you a more luxury and tailored experience. Your wedding planner should be able to understand your vision and point you in the right direction of the best suppliers, photographers and caterers. A good wedding planner will also be there with you on the day to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
8) Send a Save the Date
Formal invitations don’t need to be sent until much closer to the wedding, but it’s a great idea to send your guests a ‘save the date’ so they can pop it into their diaries. This is particularly important if you have guests coming from overseas or have a lot of friends getting married around the same time.
Get in touch
If you’ve got engaged this festive season and are thinking about wedding photographers then we would love to hear from you. Shane is a Manchester based wedding photographer. He also photographs weddings across the North West, UK and even abroad so do send us an email if you’d like to find out more about our packages.