Me and my husband were married just 3 months after we started planning it! We planned the whole thing ourselves with a little (BIG) help from our parents!
We always knew that we didn’t want a big wedding, we only invited family, and those whom we class as family to our big day and it was the most beautiful day of my life. I am not going to lie i was absolutely bricking it on the day. A mixture of worry that I was going to cry during my vows (which i did…a lot- hey I was pregnant give me a break) and I was anxious about whether our quests would like our wedding venue and whether they would enjoy the day as much as I had hoped. I was also scared I was going to throw up, but luckily I had not sickness that day!
If someone were to tell me a few years ago that I would only spend 3 months planning my wedding I would have laughed at them. Who can plan a wedding that quickly? Maybe if I had a team of wedding planners running around me. But I didn’t. We had an idea and we went with it and I think it turned out better than expected.
Simple Steps To Planning A Wedding
1- Work out your budget- Discuss things with your parents. Are they able to contribute? We had a fairly modest budget and decided we could work with it.
2- Guest list- I have put this as second in importance of planning a wedding as there are things you would do differently depending on the number of people in attendance. For example; We were married and had our reception in a small venue and would not be able to accommodate people in the masses. Similarly, if you had a large venue and very few guests the space may swallow up the guests. When you have a final decision on who you would like at the wedding send the invitations. One thing I will say is, don’t feel pressured by anyone to invite people who you do not want to invite. If you are having a small, intimate wedding, you don’t need to invite someone you haven’t spoken to in years and years just because you’re related to them. Its entirely your choice.
3- Wedding ceremony- If you are planning a wedding in a matter of months then this should be done as soon as possible as places book up quickly. Remember if you are planning on having a church ceremony, you are required to attend church 3 consecutive weeks in order to have your banns* read so make time for that.
What other choices do I have?- Hotel-Registary Office- Abroad/On the beach etc.
We were married in a small church in Ireby, Cumbria, as this church was not in our parish we had to attend banns reading at our local Church of England in Newcastle and Also banns reading in the Church in Ireby. We also had to make a £50 donation for each church for them to read our Banns, on top of the fees for the actual service, so take that into consideration too!
*Banns- a notice read out on three successive Sundays in a parish church, announcing an intended marriage and giving the opportunity for objections.
4- Wedding Reception- This depends on the kind of wedding you want and how many people you are going to invite.We had our wedding reception in the village hall. When we went to view the venue it was just an empty room with wooden floors, we made it our own with our decorations and as long as you have a vision and are realistic on the costs I am sure you can make it happen! *If you are having a town hall make sure you think about how you are going to keep your food warm/where it would go.
5-Food- What can you afford? What is your venue like? Does your venue come with catering? If you’re anything like us, we had a town hall which happened to have a gorgeous little pub opposite. We kindly asked if they would be able to cater and worked out a way how they would bring the food from their kitchen to our tables. Mark from The Black Lion, Ireby was amazing! We had a good chat over what kind of wedding we were having and wanted our food to reflect that. As we had a rustic DIY wedding, gingham and all, it would be a little confusing if we had a slap up 7 course meal with lobster and caviar. So we decided on Fish and Chips!!! Mainly because its cheap and I had a he craving for mushy peas! https://www.facebook.com/emilysblacklion.ireby/
6- The Dress- That beautiful dress you have always dreamed about, is it a possibility? Is it within your budget? I went to a couple of wedding dress boutiques and I couldn’t find one that fit me and my budget. They were either too expensive or just not me! I looked online and found a beautiful dress that I couldn’t believe was so cheap, it was about £700 cheaper than ones I had seen in the boutique. I had budgeted £500 for my wedding dress. I couldn’t believe this dress was just £180 on sale at Debenhams. As I was pregnant I wanted a grecian style dress in case I had started to show by the time we were to be married, I thought, I might as well just order it and see how it fits me. I ordered a size above to make sure I had plenty of room and my grandma is pretty handy with a sewing machine so I figured she could take it in if needed. I didn’t need her help. It fit perfectly, it felt great, it was light weight and there was just enough room for my 22 week bump.
7- Colour scheme- Do you want to match your bridesmaids dresses with your chair covers? (I didn’t use chair covers but you see where I am going) Do you want your soon-to-be-hubby’s tie to be the same colour as your bridesmaids dresses? Heres what I did.
I decided since we were getting married in July I want bright colours, yellow and green. (By the way I know I am saying I decided this and I decided that but my hubby seriously didn’t care what colour my bridesmaids shoes were, or whether they matched mine)
So yellow and green- I had 6 weeks to find the dresses and there were no yellow or green dresses for adults that were nice or thin budget. Eventually I decided that my little cousin Amelia (3) would wear a beautiful green dress that matched the ties. My bridesmaid Tilly and Andrews best person Katherine would wear navy (it was a lovely dress, it fit them both well and suited them both- was it what I had originally envisioned? No. But that didn’t matter. Things change and you just have to roll with it.
-I had green table runners
-Yellow and green bunting
8-Suits- Do you want your father to be in the same suit as our hubby and your father in law? Are you bothered? I wasn’t. I just asked that they wore the same tie which we purchased for them. Its up to you whether you want them all in the same suits, but remember when you ask people to wear certain things you have to thing of whether you are going to buy them/ whether you want them to buy/rent them. Its your choice but I would recommend looking at your budget and if you can’t afford it, have a chat with everyone and see what will be best for you all. We bought Andrews suit and shoes from Slaters in town and had it tailored to meet his measurements. It was very affordable.
9- Bridesmaid dresses- Again this comes down to colour scheme and affordability. Have a chat with your lovely ladies and see what styles suit them, what length they would prefer. Just because we may want short dresses with no straps does not mean its going to suit them or make them feel comfortable.
10- Decorations- Think of your theme, and whats affordable to you! Use pinterest.com to find loads of fantastic ideas on how to decorate your room. Are yo doing it yourself? Can you get your wedding coordinator at your venue to help? As we had a town hall, it was a blank canvas as was our responsibility to make everything (we even set the room up the day before so it was exactly how we wanted it). My hubby made the centrepieces! I had all these photos from pinterest of what we wanted and took them to The Range and Hobbystore. It is so much cheaper to buy separate components and put them together yourself than buy them ready made.
11-Entertainment- What is your budget? Do you want a DJ? Do you want a live band? Do you want anything more than music on a sound system? We had a local band called Zoe & The Boy and they were so good! We sent them a list of the kind of songs we liked and what we wanted and they did it. They had everyone up dancing and they were even able to find a copy of our first dance music for us. (Valentine Moon- Sam Brown, if anyone is interested)
12-Flowers- I chose sunflowers with wild flowers in my bouquet but it fit my style of wedding. We went to a local florist in Keswick and had a look at a couple of there arrangements and had a discussion with them about what we wanted and our budget.
Bride bouquet – Hand tied bouquet of daisy, gypsophlia, dahlia,sunflowers and others
Bridesmaids – 2 Adults – Hand tied bouquet of gypsophlia, sunflowers & others
Buttonholes – 3 Small sunflowers & gyp
Corsages – 2 – ivory
TOTAL COST OF BRIDAL FLOWERS – £170.00
x2 Thank you bouquets to include sunflowers – at a price of our own choosing.
13- The cake- Make it as expensive or inexpensive as you want. If you’re like me, ask your fabulous sister-in-law to make you rustic style Victoria sponge and a ton of cupcakes. There are so many bakers that will be be prepared to work within your budget if you have time to look around. try looking at local bakers in your area, on Facebook. Make sure to read their reviews though!
14-Ceremony music- We absolutely loved Vitamin String Quartet. Listen to them on Spotify they make classical versions of popular songs! I walked down the isle to:
In My Place- Vitamin String Quartet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCY_0_RawW8 our second choice was;
Just the way you are- The Piano Guys – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIBRcQdzWQs
But it made me cry in my pregnant hormonal state so we decided against it. In the end it didn’t really matter what song we chose because I cried all the way down the isle anyway!
15-Order of ceremonies- I took a look at a bunch of other peoples order of ceremonies to see what style I wanted. In the end you need to talk this through with who ever is marrying you as they will give you the order of which the service will go in, they will be sure to check over everything for you to make sure!
16-Seating plans- I was originally going to mix the tables up and put half my side and half his side on each table, but in reality it didn’t work that way. it may work for you but you have to take everyone into consideration. Don’t put two couples together who will clash, put people on the same table with others who they will be able to talk to and feel comfortable with. You don’t necessarily want your Great Nana and Grandad on the same table as your loud drunken best friends.
Thats pretty much all you have to think about. Of course there are other bits you can add into your wedding, for instance we had a tractor and a pony (but we were in a village with the most generous people). When your day finally comes along, all the hard work will have paid off because I promise you no matter what you do, if you are marrying the person you love then you will have the most memorable and happy day! I know I did!
If you managed to get through this very long blog then well done you! Have a look at some snaps from my big day!