Once you’ve shared the fabulous news with family and friends, after the congratulations and requests to see your stunning sparkler comes the inevitable, “When’s the wedding?” The best initial response is to say you’re aiming for early 20… or late 20.., pretty vague but enough for them, especially family to feel like they’re in the loop, whilst giving you some breathing space, to begin your planning.
So! It’s time to get planning! Remember to enjoy the moment. This is a really exciting time in your life! A new adventure with the person you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with. The beginning of a new journey…. not a time to feel stressed and panicked and with that in mind, here are a few early planning steps I have put together to get your mind focused.

When is the perfect day for you to say ‘I do’?

This decision is different for each couple but it should be a day which is both practical and personal. Practically, you might be led by the seasons. Although in Ireland, as we know, rainfall and temperatures can fluctuate all year round (so an investment in a few umbrellas and even perhaps a pair of wellies or two, for those all-important outdoor photo shoots, might be an idea)!

So a seasonal led decision might be led more by the colours, trends and influences of the particular season. A desire for fun, vibrant colours and sun-dappled settings might inspire you to opt for a summer wedding. The vision of an opulent, snow filled event, with twinkling lights and winter sparkle, may entice you more towards perhaps a winter wedding. If warm, rich autumnal colours, falling leaves, and nostalgia appeal to you, maybe an autumn wedding. You may, however, be swayed more towards a romantic spring wedding inspired by colourful pastels, freshness, trees and flowers in bloom, with the promise of new beginnings.

Personally, there may be a date which holds great symbolism for you; the date you first met; your engagement anniversary or your parent’s wedding anniversary. How romantic!
However, once you have a year and month in mind, to avoid disappointment, choose a date or two, as you may have a venue or marriage ceremony setting in mind, but they may be booked on your date.

Budget

Not the most romantic of considerations but definitely a necessary one! It would be easy to get swept up in the moment and lose perspective. It is only one day and you can only fit in so much. It most definitely is not a day to try to keep up with the Joneses. It’s a day to celebrate your love for each other and your decision to spend the rest of your lives together, in the company of family and friends. We are living in a world where the temptation is to buy now, pay later. Avoid the temptation. Ask yourself, do you want to be paying for the wedding years afterwards or start house hunting as soon as possible? Whether you have a large budget or a small budget, your day can still be magical, In fact, having less and needing to do a bit of DIY might just make the day more personalised and fun! Decide on a figure you are comfortable with and work from there.

Ceremony & Venue

The Northwest is both diverse and multicultural in its make-up, embracing a number of religious traditions. Therefore, couples can celebrate in a style befitting both their religious and spiritual beliefs. From religious church ceremonies to civil ceremonies and spiritual, humanist blessings, all are catered for.

 

Finding an officiant and a place to celebrate your marriage may be an easy or more difficult task depending on your desired choice. Do not make the assumption that just because you grew up in an area you have an automatic right to get married there. Similarly, some places may be limited in whether or not they can hold wedding ceremonies. A registrar wedding with a civil ceremony to mark the event in your chosen venue is always an option!

 

You may visit several venues before settling on ‘the one’! You are truly spoilt for choice in the Northwest, with its splendid array of fairytale destinations, set in picturesque locations. Finding the ideal location to begin a life journey filled with memories is not something which should be rushed. Take your time exploring all the spectacular options available to you, from small intimate venues to large elegant hotels. Consider their grounds, and what they have to offer in terms of photographic backdrops. There are also lots of alternative, quirky options, such as rustic barn settings, thatched cottages, breweries, quaint pubs and bars. Great options for those who want to put their own stamp on their day!

 

Bear in mind, your chosen venue may dictate your guest list, as it may only accommodate a certain number. Is it more important for you to invite a certain number of guests or have a particular venue? Once you have confirmed your venue (your deposit paid and contract signed), your date is secured and you are well and truly on your way to saying ‘I do!’

Guest List

Be warned, this may potentially be the most stressful part of planning your big day. Keeping as the central focus that this day is about celebrating your love for each other, your wishes, whilst considering those of others, must be the overriding ones. This might be the time you have to rein your parents or loved ones in. They can invite friends but not the entire golf club!

 

Remember the day is about you two as a couple. Invite who you want. But remember not to get too over excited, as trimming the list will be a little bit more difficult than initially creating it! The extended family you never see, or the co-workers you never talk to, do not necessitate an invite, unless you’ve a huge venue and ballroom you need to fill and a limitless budget!

 

Suppliers

Once you’ve decided on the date, chosen the dream destination and considered who you would like to attend, it’s time to start considering the rest of your suppliers, who will help to bring your magical day together.
It’s so important, from the outset, to discuss with your partner, what their vision is for the day, in terms of both theme and mood. What’s most important to them? For you, it may be the photographer and for them, possibly, the entertainment. If the lines of communication are kept open, from the beginning, it will be a lot easier to decide on suitable vendors along the way.

One of the biggest decisions will be, who to hire. Who can you trust? The best way to determine is by checking out reviews and testimonials from previous brides and grooms. The Northwest boasts an abundance of great wedding suppliers with a vested interest in ensuring every aspect of your day is memorable. Renowned for their charm, openness, friendliness, and professionalism, you can be guaranteed a top class service. This personalised attention will remove a lot of stress out of your planning process. Again trust your instincts, opt for those who feel like the right fit for you.

Aside from this, there are a few additional considerations, like creating a wedding website and possibly a Pinterest board. The website will provide you with a forum to, not only give a little insight into you as a couple and tell the story of how you met, but will also allow you to share more practical updates, arrange for RSVP’s, provide directions to and details of venue and accommodation. This is a smart move and relatively easy, even for those less tech savvy. There are lots of wedding website templates out there!

More importantly is how you want to feel on your wedding day? Where do you want to get ready? Do you want music, a place to meditate in silence, go for a last minute run to clear your head, or be surrounded by your nearest and dearest? Make sure your environment and chosen bridal party are conducive to that! Choosing your bridesmaids, groomsmen, and ring bearer (if it’s your favourite four legged friend, it’s advisable to start training immediately) will definitely be a decision you have to make early on. Choose to surround yourself with those people who will lift your mood, be helpful and supportive. On too many occasions, I have brides coming to me, just before their big day, stressed out because their bridal parties are causing them undue stress! It is inevitable that from the outset there will be social expectations from both family and friends, but you must drown out the noise and listen to your own instincts. Enjoy the process and if you don’t feel good about it, don’t do it!

And remember to accept help from those family and friends you know will be an asset on the lead up to your day, whether helping with DIY or collecting and ferrying things around. If you give clear instructions, all should go well! No-one expects you to be Wonder Woman or Superman nor do they want to see a Bridezilla or Groomzilla, so say ‘yes’ to help!

Now that we hopefully have a little bit of direction, let’s take a more in-depth look at what’s available on our doorstep!

Happy initial planning!

Have we left something out? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section!

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