Congratulations! You and your partner agree that staying together for the long haul is mutually agreeable, and I’m really happy for you! You wanna throw a kick-ass party to celebrate?! YES, PLEASE!
Here are some actionable steps for planning a wedding (/ kick-ass party), no fluff.
Important items you will need for your quest:
Where to start? Read on adventurer…
Planning without a wedding date is a little catch 22 – suppliers and venues often book up a year or two in advance so this is the first thing you’ll want to consider.
It can be good to plan around the sun (stay with me here). In Winter (depending on where you’re located) the sunset can be as early as 3pm! So to make use of the available light you’ll want to have the ceremony as early as possible, or take all the photos before the ceremony. Conversely, in Summer we can be blessed with sunshine until 10pm. So if your heart is set on fireworks then Summer just ain’t gonna work!
Have a think about what’s important to you, is it the available light, or having it on a meaningful date? Even just a rough idea will be helpful for venue hunting. A lot of places have different prices depending on when you want to be married. A Saturday in July is going to cost a lot more than a Tuesday in November. (It’s just supply and demand and not the dreaded mythical beast named ‘Wedding Tax’.)
Save The Dates
Now that people are planning holidays well in advance, I say send these out once you’ve got your date and venue (and guest list) settled.
Regardless of how much you are willing to spend on your wedding, agreeing on the top amount you’d like to spend is important. However, stop there. Don’t assign how much you’re willing to spend on any particular suppliers before you’ve had a chance to enquire with a range of suppliers at different prices. Doing this beforehand will set your expectations and pigeonhole you into potentially investing too little in areas where cutting corners could end in disappointment. Once you have all the pricing information, you’ll be able to deem what you believe to be necessary to your day and can more easily direct your budget.
Get together a list of venues you’d love to visit and can picture hosting your wedding. Some things you might want to take into consideration when searching for a venue is:
- Occupancy – How many people can the venue accommodate? You’ll need to know roughly how many guests you want to invite
- Style – Rustic barn, boutique hotel, your grandparent’s backyard garden? With hundreds of different styles of venue, narrowing down your ideal overall feel will help with your search. Click here for a list of Unique Toronto Venues.
- Distance – How far out are you willing to travel, or have your guests travel? Internationally to a destination wedding? A couple of miles down the road? Will the venue offer accommodation for you and your guests, or will you need to find hotels/airbnbs for you and your guests?
- What’s included – Will there be someone who helps with the running of the day? If that’s something you want, or will you need to bring in a planner? Do they provide catering, staff, a bar, setting up and taking down?
- Exclusive vs Non-Exclusive – will you have full use of the venue, or will outside guests be able to come and go (bigger hotels, perhaps), or will there be another wedding happening at the same time as yours – leading to certain parts of the grounds being off-limits to you and your guests, such as The Doctors House in Toronto, or Cameron House in Scotland
Once you have a venue and a date sorted, start enquiring with suppliers that you would love to have part of your wedding. If you’re overwhelmed by the amount of photographer and videographer styles, check out this blog where I break down different photography styles.
Not sure what suppliers you’ll need to actually get married?
- Officiant – Arguably the only person you actually need to make it legal and official. They’ll help you to register and get your paperwork sorted.
- Photographer – But I’m biased. (But really, pro photographers are worth their weight in gold!)
- Videographer – We’re visual creatures, moving images and accompanying sound is impactful when recalling your memories, and I highly recommend getting a wedding video, even if it’s just highlights from the day.
- Florist/Décor – Florals and greenery and general décor will absolutely set the mood and theme you’re after.
- Catering – If your venue doesn’t already offer in-house, finding a supplier that shares your same vision on dining is always a good plan. Lazy Sunday and Val’s catering are two of my Scottish faves.
- Cake/Desserts – There are so many cake alternatives if you don’t have a sweet tooth, or if you prefer pies instead. Of course, it’s not a ‘need to have’, however it is a fun (& tasty!) tradition.
- Music – Band, DJ, both? There are so many great options out there to choose from.
- Other things to consider – Attire, shoes + accessories, any gifts you may want to give each other or your wedding party, pets (if you have any) and how they may fit into your day, or if you’ll need a sitter, kids and if you plan to have a kid-free wedding or not/ways to keep the little ones entertained.
I suggest reaching out to suppliers you’re interested in while letting them know that you’re just starting out in your search and would love to know their pricing. Being upfront about where you’re at in your search will lead to helpful and productive conversations. Not sure how to get the conversation going? Try this:
My partner and I have recently gotten engaged and, not having planned a wedding before, are interested in your pricing and any other information on your approach to a wedding!
Thanks so much in advance,
Opening up a conversation is the best way to get to know a supplier and see how they operate and if you’re on the same page. If you’re chill and laid back and a supplier is non-stop asking you questions then maybe you’re not a great fit. Find your kinda people and they will do their utmost to make your wedding the best kick-ass party it can be!
That all said, take a break before diving into planning fever. Enjoy the engagement feels, and remember that this is supposed to be fun and exciting. A time to gather your nearest and dearest and have a party to celebrate you both, life, love, whatever!