Yesterday we looked on the blog at what to do when you’ve just got engaged and you’re wondering where to start on planning your wedding. Yesterday’s post looked at setting a budget and discussing financial contributions with family.
Having set a draft budget, the next thing to think about is the date…
Have you got a specific date in mind? If a particular date is important to you for some reason, you need to make sure you give yourselves enough time to book your venue. We are almost fully booked for 2016 (we have one Saturday left), most of our enquiries are for 2017 and we have only one Saturday left for June 2017. We’re taking bookings for 2018 and we’ve got enquiries about 2019.
The point I’m making is venues get booked up in advance. WAY in advance. If you’re flexible with your date, you’ll probably find a suitable venue even at fairly short notice (by which I mean less than a year!) but if you want a specific date for 2017 you’ll need to get organised.
Have you considered a mid-week wedding? Most venues do a mid-week discount (our discount is 30%) for a mid-week wedding and mid-weeks are a great way to save money. If guests have enough notice of a mid-week wedding invite, most of them can arrange time off work. A mid-week wedding might even work better for guests who work at weekends.
Once you’ve nailed down which year you want to get married (yey!) and you don’t have a specific date in mind for that year, you’ll want to start thinking about the month or at least which part of the season you want for your wedding – early summer (May and June), mid-summer (July and August) or the end of summer (September).
Maybe you need a date in the summer holidays. Those dates are very popular and often the first to go so you might need to be quick for those dates if you’re looking at getting married in 2017. Some venues charge different prices for different parts of the season, higher charges for peak season. We like to keep things simple so our hire charge is the same from May to September but it might make a difference for you at other venues.
We’ve had couples book a particular month because of how they want the garden to look for their wedding. One of our brides in 2015 was passionate about roses – that sealed a June wedding date when the roses are at their best.
You might not be able to have absolutely everyone you want at your wedding, some people just won’t be able to make your date but you need to check with the important people (close family and your must-have friends) that they can make your preferred date. If they’re already a guest at another wedding, you might be able to change your date so they can be at your wedding too. Having said that, don’t ring everyone on your guest list to check the date before booking – that’s a big job! Stick with the VIP’s in your wedding party and check they can make it.
So you’ve narrowed it down to a preferred year, you’ve now got a preferred month or maybe even a couple of preferred specific dates. What next?
You need to have some idea of guest numbers before you approach a venue. There’s no point in looking at a venue for your 250 guest wedding if their maximum capacity is 100. Tomorrow we’ll look at guest numbers and the things to think about before you get too into the detail of who is on the list.