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  • Jess Hawkins

First steps in wedding planning

Updated: Jan 31

So you've just got engaged?


First things first, you need to celebrate your engagement! Do whatever works best for you. Maybe you want to throw a massive party with all your family and friends, or maybe you just want an intimate dinner with the two of you. However you'd like to celebrate, make sure you take a moment to just revel in this feeling. It's a big deal, so enjoy it!

Letter-shaped colourful balloons that spell out 'party time'

Ok, so now the initial hype of your engagement has started to wear off, and you're beginning to think about your wedding.

But what should you do?!

How do you actually plan a wedding?? Where on earth do you start when there's SO MUCH to consider?

Here are the first four things I would recommend doing when starting your wedding planning journey:


First of all, you’ve got to sit down with your partner and discuss your hopes, dreams and visions for your big day. What do you want your wedding to look like? Where do you want to have it? Are you thinking traditional or something unconventional? Do you want a long engagement or are you super keen to get married and want to have it within the next 6 months? Are you thinking of a destination wedding or would you rather have it somewhere closer to home? Do you want a massive party or would you rather something small and intimate? Are you wanting to spend a small fortune or would you rather go budget and save your money for the honeymoon/future plans? Do you want to outsource everything or are you keen to do lots of DIY and ask your friends and family to help? The answers to these question are the foundations of your wedding planning and will inform the rest of your research. See where you align with your partner and where your views differ, then try to meet somewhere in the middle (if you can!)

Two different people's hands are resting on a table. One is holding a mug of coffee, the other is holding her own hands.


Now this part is really important. There's no point oogling over that £2000 wedding dress if you just can't realistically afford it. You need to be honest with yourselves when it comes to your budget. What is the maximum you are willing to spend on your wedding? How much do you have now, and how much can you realistically save before the big day? Is there a chance of being gifted money by your parents or other family members? It's a really sensitive topic, but they might be willing to help. Your budget will help inform the rest of your wedding planning. Remember, the biggest costs of a wedding are the venue and the catering.

A pink piggy bank rests on a pile of gold coins

Now comes the tricky part. Do you decide on your desired guest list, and then find a venue that can fit all your guests, or do you choose your dream venue first, and let that dictate your guest list?

There's no right or wrong answer here, but I personally would go...


What’s a wedding without your guests? And what would be the point in having your dream wedding venue if you couldn't actually invite all the people you wanted? I would argue that narrowing down your guest list needs to come before choosing your wedding venue. This part is HARD… but you don’t need to have your final guest list chosen before you look for wedding venues, just a vague idea. Knowing you’ve got roughly 60 guests versus 120 will make a huge difference in the venues you visit.

A laptop, a pen, and a clipboard holding a piece of paper which reads 'guest list'

It sounds harsh, but to help you narrow down your guest list, you could do an A and a B list (even down to a C). The A’s are the people who you are inviting without question: they simply HAVE to be there. The B’s are those that you would LOVE to be there if you have the space, and if the budget allows. The C’ are those who you would LIKE to be there, but you aren’t necessarily as close to them, or perhaps they would be more of an obligatory invite.


Ok, so you know what sort of venue you’re after, how much you can spend, and roughly how many guests you’d like to invite. Now you can visit the venues! Enjoy this part, it’s super exciting. As you walk around the different venues, try your best to visualise your wedding there: you, your partner, your guests, the dancing, the laughing... See if you vibe with it. Once you’ve decided on your venue, book it! Venues get booked up SO FAR in advance, so make sure you don’t miss out!

A bunch of glitter balls together

Of course, there are so many more decisions that need to be made, but this is a great place to start!

Once you have completed the first four steps, you want to now start thinking about suppliers that get booked up far in advance, like bands, photographers, videographers, florists... and of course... Celebrants!!

Good luck taking your first steps in wedding planning.

Love, Jess.

The Musical Celebrant xxx

The Musical Celebrant logo


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