Among all the wedding planning questions newly engaged couples ask, there are some essential ones that will get you started on the right path from the word go. Be sure to discuss these together – and enjoy your planning!
1. Are we traditional or not?
Everyone knows weddings are steeped in traditions, but do you have to obey every one of them? Of course not! So ask yourselves: as a couple, do you believe it’s absolutely essential to have a veil, a first dance, the speeches, cutting the cake and a throw of the bouquet? Nowadays, you can pick and choose the things that are meaningful to you both, so feel free to eliminate the ones that don’t really matter or on the other hand do them all. The best way to have a truly unforgettable wedding is to do it exactly as you like it – even if it’s very relaxed and informal. We know plenty of grooms who were terrified at the mere thought of giving a speech – so they didn’t, and nobody minded one bit.
2. Do we want a huge crowd or an intimate celebration?
Where do you feel most comfortable – at small dinner parties spent in company of those you love, or at big family celebrations? If you’re a small-gathering kind of person, it may suit you better to keep your guest numbers low – after all, on the day itself, you’ll be the focus of everyone’s attention. Alternatively, if you’d like to invite the world to your wedding, go for a big guest list. Considering the size of your wedding will help you set the budget.
Image from Sara & Eoin’s real wedding by Couple Photography
3. Do we prefer grandeur or simplicity?
Among the hundreds of thousands of wedding ideas out there, there’s one that’s perfect for you… it’s the one that reflects your personality. Start with this simple question and you’ll know which direction you should take for the theme and décor. When you first start looking on Pinterest or Instagram, you may find you like almost everything. But if you keep your preferences in mind, you’ll be able to narrow down your inspiration options to those that truly reflect your style as a couple.
4. Where and when do we want to get married?
The wedding season runs from May to September, with prices reaching their peak mid-summer. With patience and some financial flexibility it’s possible to have that July wedding at your choice venue, as long as you book early, negotiate and maybe even get married midweek or on a Friday. But don’t discount an autumn or winter wedding either – they can be absolutely breathtaking, with fabulous seasonal food, candlelight and stunning photos. Many venues now have their packages conveniently available online where you can get a good idea of prices. Whichever venue you choose, make sure to ask about prices for every season.
Use our venue finder to find your dream location or browse wedding venues in the weddingsonline Directory!
Image from Ailish & Vinny’s real wedding by Insight Photography
5. How many people do we want in the wedding party?
For some, a maid of honour is quite enough, like a beloved sister or a best friend. For others, 15 attendants would seem a small number. If possible, don’t ask everyone to be your bridesmaid when you’re in the first flush of engagement happiness. You should consider the budget first – each person will need at least an outfit and flowers, with possible extras such as hair, make-up, shoes and gifts. Multiply this by any number, and you’ll see how the costs soon add up. This decision is a practical one, and one you should discuss before you ask anyone.
6. Do we want a sit-down meal or a buffet?
Some people believe it isn’t proper to expect wedding guests in their finest attire to queue for food. Others think it’s the perfect way to create a warm atmosphere where everyone has a chance to mingle over the hog roast and ice cream from the ice-cream van. The answer to this question will largely depend on the style of your wedding – if you’re getting wed in royal magnificence, a buffet may not fit the overall mood. Jump back to question 3, but do remember: in the end, it’s what you think that counts, first and foremost.
Image from Sharon & Donald’s real wedding by Couple Photography
7. How much can we afford to spend?
Trust us when we say – you can have your dream wedding, as long as you stay practical and keep your spending in check. Most couples who have already made the trip down the aisle will tell you that you should add between 10 to 20% of your projected budget as a safety net, to be ready with any unexpected expenses. You can do lots of smart things with your costs, for example have a long engagement so you can save more, pay suppliers in installments if possible (this is a great option for honeymoons too), sell all your excess stuff on eBay and put the money in the wedding piggy bank, and ask people for favours – uncle with a fancy car for your wedding transport, and your talented baking sister for your cake. And while most couples do end up with some debt to pay off after the Big Day, make sure this amount is as small as possible – you don’t want to be paying for your wedding in five years’ time.
These simple decisions will give you a good start to your planning – and don’t ever forget, a wedding is for the couple, not for everyone else. Make it personal and meaningful to you, and you’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable day. And if you have any questions, by all means, give us a shout below – we love to help.
Main image from Karen & Andy’s real wedding by Julie Cummins Photography
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If you think the bride should always have the last word, then Rachel is on your side! A devoted fan of everything quirky, unusual, colourful or crafty, she loves scouting WOL's real weddings for unique and fun touches. When not gazing at pictures, she's dispensing no-nonsense advice on everything from reception entrance songs to bridesmaid problems.