Everybody’s ideas for their wedding are likely to be different, but from a civil celebrant perspective, here are 5 hints for planning your wedding which you will probably need to consider, whatever your circumstances.
- The budget
You’ll be very fortunate, if this isn’t one of your prime concerns. You’ll need to work together with anyone who is helping you here (probably your family?), and decide rationally what you will spend. It’s no good getting carried away with enthusiasm – you need self-discipline.
Big as the occasion may be, you do not want to bankrupt yourselves. And remember that the amount spent does not guarantee the success of the marriage!
The real event is (or should be) the ceremony. Do you really want the reception to mean more than the vows?
Good taste and sincerity are surely what matter.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t have a few OTT touches (budget permitting), but that should be a bonus rather than what you are aiming at. There are probably certain elements that you will insist on, and it’s as well to discuss these at the outset, so that they aren’t overlooked later.
The budget will also dictate the ceremony, participants, reception and number of guests to invite, but that is something I cover elsewhere, notably in my book “Your Wedding Guide”.
- Date & location
Naturally, it will be more expensive to schedule your wedding at peak times (such as summer holidays, Christmas or around Valentine’s Day). You may want to avoid major events, such as World Cups and holiday season, when your potential guests may be otherwise engaged.
You’ll need to consider climate too, if you want an outdoor wedding.
The venue should, of course, be where you want it to be, but if it’s in an exotic location, your guests may have to go to a lot of expense and trouble to attend, so keep that in mind.
- Other Suppliers
As soon as you have settled on your budget, start discussing other suppliers that you may need. Like the venue, which may need a year or more advance warning, you should allow plenty of time, in order to secure the supplier of your choice.
Among others, you will need to consider florists, caterers, musicians and, not least, celebrant. Where possible, you should meet with these first, so you can feel confident you have made the right choices. All that takes time, so allow for that.
- Choosing theme and colours
It’s easy to get excited and let your imagination run away with your wallet. Keep your budget in mind, use wedding books and planning guides and whatever resources are available to you.
Do not over-decorate. Make full use of flowers and candles.
Be creative with the colours. These may reflect the bride’s personality. Vivid colours (tastefully combined) can be most effective.
- Vows and music
The vows are one of the most important elements of a marriage. They should be well-planned – and audible. They are a public declaration of your mutual feelings, and should not be under-estimated.
Equally, the music should be planned carefully and be clearly audible. Make sure you choose lyrics that you want your guests to hear.
Hopefully, the planning will be a team effort (maybe even the groom will be involved!). If approached in the right way, it can be challenging, yes, but also exciting, and the end result so worthwhile. Enjoy!