The Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide by Milsom Weddings
If you’ve just got engaged then a huge congratulations to you! If you said ‘yes’ a little while back but are just getting into wedding planning then welcome to one of the most exciting journeys you’ll ever go on, we can’t wait to share this experience with you here at Milsom Weddings!
With decades of wedding planning experience under our belts, the team here at Milsom Weddings are confident in saying we know a thing or two about delivering the perfect wedding day and we want to share our tips with you.
Knowing where to start or go with wedding planning can be overwhelming, so we’ve created the ultimate guide to organising your special day that walks through every step with you, giving top tips along the way, so let’s get started!
Step 1: Set a Budget and Find Inspiration
When it comes to planning a wedding, you can’t start doing anything until you have established two key things:
- Your budget
- What you want for your big day
You need to have pretty much decided on both of these things mutually in your couple before approaching venues, suppliers, etc as you can’t make any proper plans without having these two ideas in mind.
Both your budget and what you actually want your big day to look like will dictate the places you visit, the suppliers you contact and eventually, the final decisions you make, so you need these two things set in stone before heading any further forward.
We recommend making a mood board with colour schemes, venue ideas, dining styles, fashion choices, stationery ideas and so on and this can help keep you on track with creating what you really want. The Milsom Wedding team use Pinterest to save our favourite ideas!
Step 2: Pick Your Venue
The number one rule for how to plan a wedding is to book NOTHING else before you have your venue booked and the deposit paid and confirmed. You really can’t approach any other suppliers until you know when and where your wedding will be hosted, so sorting your venue has to come first.
If you know you want a church ceremony then you’ll need to book your church and venue for your reception/evening party too but if a civil ceremony is what you’d prefer, you’ll just need to book the one location, and all of our venues (Milsoms Kesgrave Hall, Maison Talbooth and Le Talbooth) are licensed for civil ceremonies, allowing you to have your ceremony and reception in the same place. This makes things very easy for guests who need not worry about transportation to the reception, and you can relax and celebrate!
By picking your venue, you will also have secured your date, narrowed down the number of guests you’ll be having and have a better idea of what other suppliers you need to contact as your venue may handle other elements of your day such as catering, décor, etc.
The Milsom Wedding team will always run through your budget with you, to ensure we build the right package for you. We also suggest visiting all your venues of interest, comparing our brochures and making lots of notes in our annotatable pricing guide.
Step 3: Fashion, Flowers and Food
Once you have a venue, you can start on organising the ‘three F’s’: fashion, flowers and food.
Food is one of the most important parts of your day, and when booking a Milsom Wedding, we will organise your catering for you, working together with you as a couple to reflect your taste and style into your menu. In addition to your wedding breakfast and evening food, you’ll also need to contact a cake maker to design your wedding cake as this often needs booking well in advance if you want to use the best bakers. We can recommend some of our favourites!
As for fashion, you won’t want to leave selecting dresses and suits too late. Sorting the wedding dress, groom and groomsmen suits and bridesmaid dresses can take longer than you may think, especially if you struggle to find something you like or you need alterations, so start looking early!
Florists also require notice as all your bouquets, buttonholes, centre-pieces, and venue décor will have to be handmade. Flowers will sometimes need importing in advance from other countries if they’re out of season in the UK.
Step 4: Entertainment and Photographer
Once you have sorted the essential elements of your day, you can move onto things like entertainment and a photographer.
These elements are of equal importance to your big day as the ‘three F’s’ but they are easier to organise once those other elements are in place as you’ll be starting to get a better idea of what your day is going to look like, so you can pick entertainment and a photographer to suit.
Photographers can’t be booked last minute, so to ensure you get the photographer you really want, you need to get in touch months beforehand ideally.
As for entertainers, you need to decide if you want a DJ, live performers or some other form of entertainment and get that booked in. You can also look at things like photo booths or LED letters at this point as they all play a part in the evening portion of the day.
Step 5: Invites and Wedding Stationery
We recommend organising your invites and other wedding stationery after most other elements of the day are planned, to ensure what is written on your invites, menus, orders of service etc is accurate and won’t turn out to be incorrect at a later date.
Once the majority of your day is booked and organised, you’ll have a real feel for the theme which should help you define the colours and you can use this to create stationery that matches the day.
You may wish to send save the dates as soon as you have booked your venue, but we definitely wouldn’t recommend creating invites, orders of service, menus, seating plans, etc until the majority of your day is set in stone.
Step 6: Stag Dos and Hen Parties
Although we suggest leaving the planning of your stag and hen parties until after the wedding is booked and sorted, many couples prioritise organising these holidays much earlier on but it really is a case of whatever works for your individual circumstances.
We have some great venues if you’re wanting to experience a country house getaway, such as at Maison Talbooth – the ultimate luxury hen house, complete with outdoor pool, spa and plenty of bubbles.
Step 7: Personal Touches and Favours
The finer details, such as gifts for the guests, disposable cameras, table decorations, confetti and a guest book can be organised closer to the event. Get the help of a professional or get creative – it’s entirely up to you!
Step 8: Final Confirmations
Most wedding suppliers will be regularly in touch throughout the lead up to your wedding but we would recommend calling or emailing all of your suppliers a month before your big day, two weeks before and the week before, just to ensure they can still attend and that everything is going to plan.
If you keep on top of contacting all the important people contributing to your big day in the run-up to it, you can be active in sorting last-minute replacements if for any reason they were required.
Step 9: Enjoy Your Big Day
The final step in our guide to planning a wedding is to tie the knot and enjoy your big day. The special date has arrived, everything has fallen into place and all you need to do now is enjoy and take in every moment.
It can be easy to get stressed on your wedding day, wanting to ensure everything is going to plan but try and relax and put your trust in the people working behind the scenes to bring your big day to life, we’re sure they’ll do an amazing job for you!
The Milsom Wedding team can’t wait to get started!