August 28, 2023

Planning Your Wedding: A Quick How-To

Planning a wedding can be a joyful yet challenging task. With so many details to consider, it's essential to stay organized and focused on creating a memorable day that reflects your unique love story. This quick but comprehensive guide will walk you through each step of the wedding planning process, ensuring that your big day goes off without a hitch.

Planning Your Wedding: A Quick How-To

Before the day

1. Set a Date:

Choosing the right wedding date is crucial. Consider the season, weather, and any significant events that might clash with your chosen date. This will help ensure the attendance of your loved ones.

  • Tip: Consider the availability of key guests, such as family and close friends, before finalizing the date.

2. Budget:

Determining a budget early on will help you make informed decisions throughout the planning process. Be realistic about your financial limits and allocate funds for each aspect of the wedding.

  • Tip: Create a detailed budget spreadsheet that includes all wedding expenses, from the venue and catering to the smallest decor items.
  • Tip: Allocate a portion of your budget for unexpected costs that may arise during the planning process.

3. Guest List:

Compile a list of guests you want to invite. Start with close family and friends, and then expand as needed. Keep in mind that the size of your guest list will influence your choice of venue and catering.

  • Tip: Start with a rough draft of your guest list and categorize guests into "must-invite" and "optional" groups to help with prioritization.
  • Tip: Keep track of RSVPs and meal (allergy) preferences using a digital spreadsheet or wedding planning app.

4. Venue:

Select a venue with capacity for the guests you'd like to invite. Alternatively, find the perfect venue and let that determine the size of your guest list.

  • Tip: Some venues are easier to decorate than others. Find a venue that serves as the canvas you need to set the theme of your big day.
Garden House Venue, Milton, Oxfordshire is a fantastic venue for hosting your wedding. A spacious venue set in stunning grounds which can be fully appreciated from every room.
Garden House is a fantastic canvas for weddings of any theme.

5. Vendors:

Book key vendors such as a photographer, caterer, florist, and officiant. Research and meet with potential vendors to ensure their services align with your style and budget.

  • Tip: Read reviews and ask for references when selecting vendors to ensure their professionalism and reliability.
  • Tip: Get written contracts from all vendors outlining the services, costs, and cancellation policies.
Garden House Venue has strong relationships with some fantastic vendors. Simplify the planning and get great service guaranteed. Read more about it here.

6. Theme and Style:

Decide on a theme and style that resonates with you as a couple. Whether it's rustic, elegant, vintage, or modern, your chosen theme will guide your decisions regarding decor, attire, and more.

  • Tip: Create a mood board with images that inspire your chosen theme to keep your vision consistent throughout the planning process.
  • Tip: Infuse personal touches into the decor, such as displaying photos that showcase your journey as a couple.
Garden House Venue has an on-site décor expert who can assist in planning and executing the perfect theme for your wedding. Get in touch!

7. Invitations:

Design and send out invitations that reflect your wedding's theme. Include essential details such as the date, time, venue, and RSVP information.

  • Tip: Send out save-the-date cards well in advance, especially if you're having a destination wedding.
  • Tip: Consider digital invitations or RSVP tracking to reduce paper waste and make it easier for guests to respond.

8. Dress and Suit:

Find the perfect attire for both the bride and groom. Schedule fittings and alterations to ensure a comfortable fit.

  • Tip: Start dress and suit shopping early to allow time for fittings and alterations.
  • Tip: Choose attire that aligns with your wedding's formality and complements your chosen theme.

9. Decorations:

Plan how you want to decorate the venue. From centerpieces to lighting, choose elements that enhance your chosen theme.

Garden House Venue has an on-site décor expert who can assist in planning and executing the perfect theme for your wedding. Get in touch!
Garden House's in-house décor specialist can match your theme and deliver a visual feast for you and your guests.

10. Food and Drinks:

Select a menu that caters to your guests' preferences. Coordinate with the caterer to ensure a smooth dining experience.

  • Tip: Offer a variety of menu options, including vegetarian and vegan choices, to accommodate different dietary preferences and allergies.
  • Tip: Consider incorporating local or seasonal ingredients for a fresh and flavorful menu.
Garden House Venue has strong relationships with some fantastic caterers. Simplify the planning and get great service guaranteed. Read more about it here.
Our recommended caterer has proven quality and over twenty years' experience serving to large hosts across the UK.

11. Cake:

Choose a wedding cake that not only looks stunning but also tastes delicious. Consider flavors and designs that align with your theme.

  • Tip: Attend cake tastings to ensure you're happy with both the appearance and taste of the cake.
  • Tip: Discuss any allergies or dietary restrictions with your baker to avoid any issues on the day.

12. Music:

Book entertainment for the reception, whether it's a live band, DJ, or both. Create a playlist that includes your favorite songs and must-play tracks.

  • Tip: Provide your chosen playlist to the DJ or band well in advance and include both must-play songs and a do-not-play list.
  • Tip: Plan specific songs for key moments, like the first dance and the cake cutting
Garden House Venue is fully equipped for live and background music, perfect for setting the tone.

13. Ceremony:

Plan the sequence of events for the ceremony, including the exchange of vows and rings. Customize the ceremony to reflect your love story and values.

  • Tip: Rehearse the ceremony with the officiant and wedding party to ensure everyone knows their roles.

14. Transportation:

Arrange transportation for the wedding party and guests if necessary. This ensures everyone arrives at the venue on time.

  • Tip: Arrange transportation not only for the wedding party but also for elderly or out-of-town guests if needed.
  • Tip: Have a backup transportation plan in case of unexpected delays.

15. Favors and Gifts:

Select thoughtful tokens of appreciation for your guests. Personalized favors or keepsakes can add a special touch to your wedding.

  • Tip: Choose favors that are meaningful or useful to your guests, such as personalized keychains or small succulents.
  • Tip: A personalised message to each attendees will help strengthen your bond with each guest and act as a great conversation point.

16. Hair and Makeup:

Schedule hair and makeup appointments for the wedding party. Consider a trial run to ensure everyone's satisfied with the look.

  • Tip: Schedule a hair and makeup trial before the wedding day to ensure you're comfortable with the chosen style.
  • Tip: Choose hair and makeup looks that complement your attire and overall wedding theme.

17. Rehearsal:

Practice the ceremony with the wedding party and officiant. This helps everyone feel more comfortable and confident on the actual day.

  • Tip: Provide the wedding party with a detailed schedule for the rehearsal to ensure everyone knows when and where to be.
  • Tip: Practice the processional and recessional multiple times to ensure smooth transitions.

18. Timeline:

Create a detailed schedule for the wedding day, outlining the timing of each event. Share this schedule with vendors and the wedding party.

  • Tip: Include buffer time in your schedule to account for any unexpected delays that might occur.
  • Tip: Share the timeline with vendors, the wedding party, and key family members to keep everyone on the same page.

19. Seating Arrangements:

Plan where guests will sit during the ceremony and reception. Arrange seating cards or a seating chart to guide guests to their tables.

  • Tip: Group guests together based on common interests or relationships to encourage lively conversations.
  • Tip: Consider creating a seating chart that shows each guest's name and table assignment for easy navigation.

20. RSVPs:

Keep track of guest responses and finalize the guest count with the venue and caterer.

  • Tip: Set an earlier RSVP deadline to allow time to follow up with guests who haven't responded.
  • Tip: Keep track of RSVPs digitally or in a dedicated wedding email account to avoid confusion.

21. Legalities:

Ensure you have the necessary permits and licenses for your chosen venue and any legal requirements for your marriage.

Garden House Venue is a licensed and experienced wedding venue. Read more here.

22. Backup Plan:

Prepare for unexpected changes due to weather or other factors. Have a backup plan for outdoor ceremonies or activities.

  • Tip: If you're having an outdoor wedding, secure a backup indoor location in case of inclement weather.
  • Tip: Keep a list of local vendors who can provide last-minute services in case of emergencies.

23. Final Payments:

Settle outstanding bills with vendors before the wedding day to avoid any last-minute stress.

  • Tip: Set up a payment schedule with vendors to ensure you're not overwhelmed with large payments all at once.
  • Tip: Keep receipts and communication with vendors in a dedicated folder for easy reference.

On the day

24. Enjoy:

On the wedding day, take a deep breath and savor each moment. Trust that you've done the groundwork, and now it's time to celebrate your love.

  • Tip: Designate a point person, like a wedding coordinator or trusted friend, to handle any issues that arise on the day so you can fully enjoy the festivities.
  • Tip: Take moments throughout the day to step aside with your partner and soak in the significance of the occasion.
Celebrate to the fullest extent at Garden House, our modern venue situated in the idyllic Oxfordshire woodland.

25. Capture Memories:

Hire a professional photographer to capture all the precious moments of your special day.

  • Tip: Provide a shot list to your photographer to ensure you don't miss any important photo opportunities.
  • Tip: Consider hiring a videographer to capture both the visual and auditory moments of your wedding day.
Garden House Venue offers recommended photographers and videographers who are experienced in capturing the perfect in the moment. Get in touch!

After the day

26. Thank You's:

Send thank-you notes to guests for celebrating with you, and express gratitude to vendors for their contributions.

  • Tip: Start writing thank-you notes as soon as you receive gifts to avoid feeling overwhelmed after the wedding.
  • Tip: Personalize each thank-you note by mentioning the specific gift and how you plan to use or enjoy it.

27. Name Change:

If you're changing your name, update legal documents such as your driver's license and passport.

  • Tip: Begin the process of updating your name on legal documents a few weeks after the wedding to avoid confusion.
  • Tip: Make a checklist of all the places where your name needs to be updated, such as your bank, employer, and social media accounts.

28. Preserve Keepsakes:

Save mementos from your wedding day, such as the bouquet, invitations, and other sentimental items.

  • Tip: Store your wedding dress and suit in a cool, dry place and consider professional preservation services to maintain their condition.
  • Tip: Create a wedding scrapbook or digital album to preserve memories, including invitations, photographs, and other mementos.

Remember, wedding planning is a journey that should be enjoyed. Lean on your partner, friends, and family for support, and don't forget to prioritize self-care throughout the process. Your wedding day will be a beautiful celebration of your love and commitment.