A wedding planner can be wonderful! At the very least, she should ensure peace of mind for you. Let her take care of all the arrangements. She will look after you in the run-up to, and of course on, your big day.
Of course, not unreasonably, there’s a cost involved.
If, however, you prefer not to go down that route, here are a few tips to bear in mind.
If you want the full church service, then of course your priest will be able to give you all the advice you need. Note that the service will be prescribed, rather than personal.
A register office ceremony may well be brief, but will be standardised and not really personal either.
For a unique ceremony reflecting your personalities and which can be tailor-made, work with a professional civil celebrant.
Starting the Process
Whatever you do, in addition to reserving your venue, you will need to formally give notice (together and in person) of marriage/civil partnership and book the registrars.
An excellent plan, if you are having a civil ceremony, and wish to choose a venue that is not actually licensed for weddings, is to go down to the Register Office (make an appointment first!) with two witnesses the morning or day(s) before. You can wear your ordinary clothes. Ten or so minutes later, you become legally married.
You can enjoy exactly the ceremony you want afterwards (free of anxiety). Why not finish with a certificate-signing (not legally binding) for that photo-opportunity for your guests?
However, if you are marrying in licensed premises, registrars will still need to be present (and, therefore, pre-booked). (You can have your bespoke ceremony straight afterwards.)
It is up to you whether you choose a licensed venue or, for example, the great outdoors, as long as you bear the above paragraphs in mind. If you are planning to use private land, ensure you ask permission first!
It is beyond the scope of this article to go into each element in depth, but, depending on the scale of your ceremony, some of the things you will need to consider – in good time – are:
- Guest list
- Seating plan
- Order of service booklet
- Potential accommodation for you and/or guests
And, not least, the content of the wedding service itself.
The Wedding Ceremony
Do you want the traditional bits? Or just some of them? Do you prefer a modern service? Do you want hymns? What music do you want? Who will participate (eg as reader(s))? Who should walk down the aisle? What about including some less orthodox rituals (handfasting, Unity candles, etc.)?
A lot of questions! But these are all things that the civil celebrant should be able to advise you on. They will construct the ceremony with you and you will approve every bit of it along the way, so that you (and, your guests) will enjoy a unique, personalised, tailor-made ceremony.
Like the sound of that? Given time, you can organise all this yourself quite successfully, save money, and still have the memorable, delightful ceremony of your dreams.
Even without a wedding planner.
But I do suggest using a civil celebrant!