It’s such an exciting and daunting time, planning the biggest party of your life for all your friends and loved ones. It’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of dress fittings, menu tastings and venue tours and lose sight of what it’s all about. If you’re just starting out on your journey, take a quick look at our checklist of essentials.
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The big one. There’s a lot more to this than first meets the eye. What time of year do you want to get married? If you’re going for a popular venue, this may well be decided for you. Likewise, if you have a specific date in mind, it may limit your venue choices. Have a think about what’s most important to you and know what your prioritising. If you don’t have long to plan your big day, go for a venue that includes catering as well. If you opt for a more unique or isolated location, bare in mind that you may need to source outside caterers, hire chairs, tables, glassware and cutlery separately. Consider all these options and factor them in when you are negotiating a price.
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What kind of marriage service will you be having? If it’s likely to be held at a separate venue to the reception, you will need to talk to both and check they are available for the same day and at complementary times.
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When you are booking transport, you need to think about every aspect of the day, not just the car you are going to make your entrance in. If the wedding party is getting there in the wedding cars, how will they get home after the reception? If your wedding venue and reception are at different locations, you need to consider realistically about how guests are going to get from one to the other. Can you print them maps and hand out directions or will you hire a bus? This is a more involved job than you think and well worth delegating to a well-organised bridesmaid.
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These photos are going to be on your mantle for the rest of your life. They will be passed down to grandchildren and great grandchildren, this is not the place to be cutting corners. Interview a collection of photographers from a variety of backgrounds, don’t be afraid to ask them to travel. You want the best. Whether you’re employing a city slicker or a rural wedding photographer in Oxford, their style needs to compliment your wedding. Interview a variety and ask to see examples of their previous work. If you can, trial them at a family gathering or the engagement party first so you can see first hand how they work and the kinds if shots they produce.
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This is not something you are likely to forget about! Still, make sure you try on a variety of dresses and styles, not just the one you’ve always pictured. You’d be surprised how many brides swear they don’t want a poofy dress or an ivory dress and then fall for exactly that.
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Hair and Make Up
Ask your current hairdresser for their opinion on styles that would suit you. If they don’t do wedding styling can they suggest someone that will? Decided who is getting what done and don’t waver. Including mums, aunts and cousins in the hair and makeup preparations only makes it that much more expensive on the big day. And make sure they know they’ll be responsible for sorting themselves out way in advance of the actual day.
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Cake and Catering
This will depend on the venue you book and whether they can do both. Do you have a relative that’s particularly good at baking? Giving out little jobs to friends and family is a great way to include them in your special day. It also stops you getting swamped by the millions of little things you have to do between now and then.