All the things you need to remember and think about when planning a wedding in one place.
I searched high and low for this list, and I came to realise it is a bit like a unicorn, I’m convinced it’s out there but I have yet to find it! So I had to create my own. There may be omissions from this list. I hope there aren’t as I won’t find out until the day itself! If I have missed anything else, please be kind and let me know! In case it is something vital that without, my own day will be disastrous!
A day of celebration
I am not having a traditional wedding. There is no church (though on the list below I include church to be mindful for any of you reading this planning a church wedding). The registry office is not part of my main day. There will be unicorns though, and I hope, R2D2.
The day is a celebration of everything Pete and I are. All our geekery, all our adventurism, our love of dressing up, having fun and embracing life. For that reason there may be things on this list that you won’t want or need. I hope I have included things on the list that I am not using as well, to cover as many bases as possible.
When I started planning this wedding there were things I had not planned for at all! Things like baskets for the bathrooms with handwash and sewing kits (!!), or signposts, or a guest book or children’s activity packs!
- Date – this is the one thing you need first, as until you have a date you can’t book anything else!
- Theme – you might have a simple colour based theme or a theme based on your passions in life, it might be a combination of themes. Whatever it is I can tell you now it will evolve and not everyone will understand it and most people will have a view on it! Stick to your guns. It’s your day – but try and decide on a theme as early as possible as it will impact on every part of the day in some way
- Venue – whether this be an all-day venue (like ours) or church/registry office followed by reception, this may be your largest expense. Make sure you know everything that is covered in any pricing you receive
- Church/registry office – depending on where you are getting legally wed, you will need to book and give notice. Make sure you understand everything your registry office or church needs and is charging. You can marry anywhere in the UK but must give notice to your local registry office/church in order to do so. This costs extra!
- Car/transport – the car to get the bride to the venue and if you have a separate ceremony/reception venue then transport between these. Some people also put on a coach or bus for guests as well
- Hotels – if you are not using a wedding website (which can do this bit for you) then research all the local hotels nearby your venue, some friends may want to stay nearby if they cannot stay at the reception venue
- Ring box/cushion
- Humanist/Pagan wedding – for this you will need a variety of accoutrements depending on what rituals you are having, we will need ribbons for our hand fasting and some cups for drinking the mead
- Guestlist – decide who is coming to the day and/or evening and be prepared for this to change and for people to expect to be invited when they aren’t. The golden rule I have applied is this – will I look back and think WTF are they doing there?
- Save the Dates (if you are planning your wedding more than a year in advance)
- Wedding Website – to make RSVPs easy and for all the information in one place, especially about hotels a wedding website is amazingly helpful
- Gift registry or paypal account if you just want cash
- Bride’s dress
- Bride’s shoes (I have four pairs – beware if you start looking too early you end up with more!)
- Veil/headdress/flower crown
- Hair and make-up artist
- Groom’s suit and shoes (we still haven’t found his trousers – I have visions of him walking down the aisle in just his underwear!)
- Bridesmaid and groomsmen outfits – we are not matching at our wedding and are simply asking our bridal party to wear what they want. I’m aware this is not traditional and most have set ideas on bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen outfits, so make sure these are on your list!
- Bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts – apparently as thanks for holding our hands throughout the process our bridal party people get gifts – bear this in mind when choosing how many you want!
- Flowers – you will need a bouquet, buttonholes for all the groomsmen and fathers of bride/groom and the groom, small bouquets or posies for bridesmaids, corsage for mothers of bride/groom, flowers for the church (unless the church is happy to do it for you), centrepieces for tables for the wedding breakfast, bouquets as gifts. I am making all of mine from felt….
- Food – decide what food you want when. If you are having a sit-down meal for the wedding breakfast be prepared for this to cost! A buffet can be a more affordable way of feeding your guests and allows for fun with theming (ours is an English/Spanish picnic). You may decide on nibbles for after the ceremony if you are in an all-day space, and fizz for the toasts. Then in the evening there will need to be more food.
- Cake – how many tiers, flavours, decorations? Gluten-free/vegan alternatives (we are having gluten free and vegan donuts as well as a four-tier cake)
- Cake toppers
- Cake knife
- Cake stand (and protective cover – I am having one of these to stop any wondering child’s tongues!!)
- Guest book – these come in all shapes and sizes and actually we are not having one, until we change our mind that is…
- Photographer/videographer – this is a big one as in this day and age many of us are so conscious of having our photographs taken it can feel a bit off-putting. Best advice is to find someone you feel comfortable with and like the style of, and make sure you have a pre-shoot day with them so they get used to you and you get used to posing. Lots of people recommend a videographer too – I can’t ever imagine a time when I would watch it back personally.
- Decision on unplugged ceremonies – this is a new thing in the age of the mobile phone camera, where couples’ request guests do not take photos during the ceremony to allow the photographer to get all the good shots without audience members holding up their phones. I’m too easy going to demand my guests refrain from taking photos, but each to their own
- Signs and sign posts – you will need a range of signs depending on the venue. Mine is outside so I need lots of signposts ranging from Bride parking space/Groom parking space to Welcome to our wedding and Help Yourself to Sweets!
- Entertainment – band, DJ, games, photo-booths etc.
- Music – pre-ceremony music, music for walking up the aisle, music to be sung during the ceremony, exit music, first dance and other music during the day/night… you need a big old playlist!
- Decorations – if you are decorating your venue yourself then you need to think about what you are having and where you are getting it from. If, like me, you are crazy and DIYing, then start EARLY. We have bunting made from books, Chinese latterns representing the planets, unicorn heads, felt flowers, imagery of our cats, a large poster, a map of the venue, all the centre pieces, letters in flowers and various things outside
- Schedule of the day, once you have all the main parts and suppliers booked you can schedule the day and print the schedule if you want them handed out
- Menu cards
- Booze – we are doing a booze cruise for the bubbly and wine and cash bar in the evening, if you are providing alcohol outside of your venue, plan it in
- Favours – decide if you want to give them and if you do, buy them or make them
- Child’s activity pack – printed colouring in images, pencils, pens, lego, games etc..
- Table plan – we are having a sit where you want approach to table planning, but if you prefer to torture yourself even more in this wedding planning hell, then go for it! 😉
- Bathroom baskets, we need these for our venue as we are DIYing everything, so in these we will have: plasters, hand wash, sewing kits, moisturiser, mouthwash, toothpaste, paracetamol, gaviscon/rennies, compeed, harigrips, hairspray, deodorant, tissues, safety pins, batteries, Imodium, deflatine, sanitary towels, lighter, chalk, wet wipes, eye lash glue, mints
- Honeymoon – remember to include it in the budget and book everything in advance, including any vaccinations and make sure your passports are up to date
Hopefully that is everything you need to think of for your wedding!
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