How to Plan Your Wedding

A Guide to Wedding Planning

Planning your wedding is one of those tasks that can seem like an immense undertaking. The years (yes I said years), months, weeks, and days before your wedding day will most likely be filled with a lot of excitement and anxiety in equal measure. You will obviously be excited due to the fact that you are engaged and waiting to get married to the love of your life. You are also likely to be anxious because of the immense task of planning and executing a wedding successfully. I have captured many weddings that have been organised last minute. When I say last minute I mean in the last 4 to 6 months before the wedding date. These weddings have been very successful and are some of my favourites. One of the most important things to remember is that as long as you are able to get all your loved ones together to help you celebrate, nothing else matters.

Saying that, it is always best to give yourselves plenty of time to organise your wedding as it will be one of the biggest days of your life. The more time you can give to organising your day the less disappointment you will have. Popular venues and suppliers get booked up way in advance so it’s best to get in early. It is not unusual for a couple to start planning from 3, 2 years to 18 months in advance.

Below is a quick guide that highlights tips on: How To Plan Your Wedding.

bride and groom in countryside,

Setting Your Wedding Budget

Before you set your budget you really need an idea of what everything costs. I find that many couples are surprised at the cost of putting a wedding together. It is often worthwhile before you even start planning for your budget to visit a wedding fair or look online at local wedding venues, photographers etc to get an idea of cost. You will soon work out where your budget needs to be.

Once you have an idea of the sort of wedding you would like and before you undertake any other business in regards to wedding planning, it’s very important that you come up with a budget. Your budget will be influenced by various factors like the size of your wedding, location and style. When setting your budget, it’s paramount that you put these factors into keen consideration so that you don’t leave anything out. Make sure to include a special slush (emergency) fund for any unexpected expenses that may arise.

Planning Your Wedding in Devon

bride and groom on dartmoor in devon

Choosing Your Wedding Perfect Venue

Choosing the perfect venue is no easy task, you have many things to consider. Here in North Devon we are spoilt on the variety of wedding venues on offer. You need to work out if you would like to go for a wedding by the sea, countryside, in a barn, woodland or country manor. Once you have an idea on numbers you need to work out if they can accommodate all your guests.  No small task! I have compiled a guide to help you. The guide lists some of the most popular wedding venues here in North Devon and wider, along with seating and accommodation capacity. Please follow: North Devon Wedding Venues

North devon wedding photographer, countryways cottages wedding photography north devon, bride and father walking to ceremony at country ways cottages in north devon

Wedding Ceremony

The most important aspect of any wedding day is the actual wedding ceremony. This is the formal part of the day where you and your partner become husband and wife or you enter into a civil partnership. You may decide to go down the religious route and get married in your local parish church or chapel. It really depends on what is important to you. You can also get married at your chosen wedding venue providing they have a marriage licence. The ceremony is usually conducted by registrars from the local council. As wedding photographers we have a strange relationship with these people. They really do like to be controlling and like to create lots of restrictions. I have found a large majority of registrars joyless officials which really spoil it for the lovely ones. Please follow Devon Registrar Service for more information.

Another method, and one that couples are beginning to favour, is to get the official legal bit done at the local registrar office before the wedding and have a blessing from a Humanist celebrant on the wedding day.  A great idea as you can work with the celebrant to create an intimate and relevant ceremony which is unique and personal. Not only that but by opting to get married this way opens up the many possibilities on where you can hold your celebrations. As the legal bit has already been done you can pretty much hold your celebrations anywhere. This style of ceremony is by far one of my favourites to photograph. They are always good fun. To find out more please check out the article: Hiring a Wedding Humanist Celebrant

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Your Wedding Theme

Choosing a wedding theme is mostly informed by the couple’s interests and preferences. This means that there are no specific rules to follow when choosing a theme for your wedding. Your imagination and creativity can come into play. You and your partner should sit down and ask yourselves; what kind of wedding do you want to have? Do you want to have a traditional ceremony with a formal theme or do you want a modern or contemporary event with lots of glitz and glamour. Usually your venue choice would inform the direction your theme will take. For example if you are looking to go rustic you are more likely to go for a barn or country venue that suits your chosen theme. One thing to remember though is that your theme will determine the kind of decorations, attires and accessories that will be used on your wedding day.

The Ultimate Wedding Guide

anran in devon wedding photographer, devon wedding

Wedding Insurance

Indeed – there is such a thing as Wedding Insurance. Not many people are familiar or even aware of this type of insurance. Wedding insurance is simply a type of insurance that safeguards you from incurring huge losses in the event specific situations occur during your wedding day. Some unforeseen events may cause injury or damage at your wedding such as problems with vendors or organisers and theft of property.

Who could have foreseen what has happened around the world with Covid 19? It really was a blow to the hospitality sector amongst many others. In 2020 I have only captured one wedding as all the others postponed or cancelled their weddings due to the lockdown. Many had insurance to help with the costs and losses but others did not. So, when thinking about how to plan your wedding, it’s highly recommended that you consider buying a wedding insurance policy to protect you and your interests as we found out in 2020,  it may just happen!

sand cove wedding ceremony outside on cliffs, devon wedding photographer

Your Bridal Party

The best way to choose your bridal party is to go with people who are really close to you. This can be people in your immediate or extended family (siblings and cousins), or close friends who you have known for a significant duration of time. There are no specific rules that govern how you should choose your bridal party. However, it might be prudent of you to consider the size of your wedding, availability of specific individuals and your personal expectations as well.

Planning Your Wedding Guest List

Making a guest list will probably be the most challenging part of how to plan your wedding, especially if you are having a small intimate wedding. If you don’t believe this, just ask some newly-wed couples about their experience in this area of planning. The first challenge you will face is establishing the number of guests you want at your wedding. Once you agree on a figure, the next hurdle is striking a balance between the parties or families involved. It’s worth noting that this entire process can be tedious and time-consuming. If you need to keep numbers down, do you need to invite those distant relatives you haven’t seen since you were a kid? What can you do to make it easier? Well, take your time and be realistic. Collaborate with your partner and draw some lines if necessary. The next challenge is the table plan! Good Luck!

wedding breakfast

A Guide to Getting Married in North Devon

Choosing Your Wedding Suppliers

There are so many different wedding suppliers out there that can help to bring your wedding day together.  Again the style of wedding supplier is pretty much determined by the theme you have set. Is your wedding supplier able to work within your theme? Can they produce your vision and create a style that really creates a wow factor? There are so many great wedding suppliers down here in North Devon that you will be spoilt for choice.  I have worked with so many fantastic wedding cake makers, wedding florists, venue stylists, the list goes on. I have also created a guide on, ‘How to Choose a Wedding Photographer’, which I hope can help you in making your decision.

I am slowly putting together a list blogs of different wedding suppliers in Devon to help you with your planning. Please check out my guides by following the links below:

Devon Wedding Venues 

Hiring a Wedding Humanist Celebrant

Devon Wedding Cakemakers

Wedding Florists in Devon

Devon Wedding Caterers 

Devon Wedding Bands

If you would rather not have the stress of finding your own suppliers it is worth considering choosing a good wedding planner. A wedding planner can hook you up with many good reliable suppliers for your wedding. This means that you don’t have to look for individual suppliers yourself. You can easily hire a professional who has all the supplier connections you will need. It’s that easy!

wedding singer

Buying The Bridal Dresses and Grooms Wear

When it comes to bridal dresses and grooms wear, it’s best that you get started on this right away. Don’t wait, go and build the excitement. Start window shopping as soon as you get engaged. Browse the internet and get ideas from close friends and family members. Also, you can talk to a professional wedding stylist who can help you make smart and well-informed decisions on your wedding attires based on the theme you have chosen. Usually the dress and grooms suits are chosen well in advance to ensure no issues are met nearer the day. Just remember to go easy on the extra helpings.

Create a Schedule of the Day

The schedule for the day is determined by when you choose to get married, your wedding day breakfast and your first dance. Everything else works around those times. So you need to talk to all of your suppliers with those three important timings. On the morning of your wedding you need to make sure the hair and make up suppliers arrive on time, the flowers arrive, the photographer turns up, the cars are waiting and so on. All your suppliers will of course liaise with you and will have arranged for their arrival or drop off time. It always comes together beautifully. All your hard work at this stage has been done and you can now step back and leave it for the professionals to take over.  All you need to do is enjoy it as the day will go super quick.

I hope you have found this guide useful and informative. I will be updating as and when I can by introducing lots of our lovely suppliers to the mix. The cake makers and the florists are already here but I hope to create a resource of all the various wedding suppliers, such as humanists, venue stylists, musicians and much more that help make your day a success. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to send a message. I look forward to talking to you soon. Anthony x

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