When you first start planning your wedding, you’re likely to have quite a few things in mind that you do and don’t want to include, and it can be easy to get a bit carried away and then watch all the costs pile up.
It’s best to focus on pinning down your venue first and getting an understanding of what they offer, whether there are any package options, whether it’s dry hire, catering options - this will be one of your largest expenses and will help you work out what essentials still need to be arranged before you move on to spreading out your budget (e.g. finding a caterer or supplying drinks if necessary). Wedding venue packages may include catering for your wedding breakfast, perhaps canapes and champagne for a toast, as well as your linen, cake stand and cutting knife.
Once you know if there are any additional requirements after you’ve booked your venue, you’ll have a much better idea of how far your budget needs to stretch.
If you later find that your venue, catering, or anything else has taken up more of your budget than you anticipated, it is OK to make cuts to elements that you don’t feel excited about as a couple: do we need to provide favours? Are there more cost-effective options for our cake? There are lots of travel links near our venue, do we need to provide guest transport?
All of our wedding packages at the HAC include a three-course wedding breakfast, a welcome drink and table wine.
Don’t Forget the Boring Details
Once you’ve found your dream venue, there may be very little that could put you off it. You’ll be keen to start planning and getting different parts of the day in place but it’s really important that you know every tiny thing there is to know about your venue and caterer. Are there any constraints or restrictions on décor? If you’ve always dreamed of a room full of candles, you will need to know that your venue will allow open flames or let you have battery powered ones if not. There may be restrictions on timings, music or licensing, and you will need to know all of this to avoid stress or disappointment later.
Wet Weather Planning
Whilst you might not want to think about rain on your wedding day, unfortunately, it’s one of those things you just can’t control! But what you can do, is manage it.
When you visit or book your venue, find out what they have in place for weather contingency and if there are places that you and your guests can go and how quickly and easily this can be implemented on the day if need be.
Whilst our five-acre Artillery Garden is simply stunning, we’re still in Britain and must plan for any type of weather. Where outdoor dining or celebrations aren’t possible, marquees are available.
Give Notice in Plenty of Time
In the UK, anyone having their wedding ceremony outside of a religious establishment must give notice of marriage to their local council. Once you’ve given notice you must be married within one year and cannot be married within 29 days of giving notice. You will need to take proof of identify with you and there may be a fee to pay.
You will also need to check availability for a registrar to conduct your ceremony. You can do this by contacting the Superintendent Registrar for your venue’s local council.
You Don’t Have to do Anything - Whether it’s Traditional or Not
As long as you complete the legal part of your ceremony, everything else is optional. There can be a lot of pressure to do, wear or include certain things on your wedding day and it can be overwhelming. Stick to what it is that you want. Many couples end up choosing different elements of their day because it’s what their families or loved ones want and, whilst it may save you a few disagreements in the lead up to your wedding, it’s always important to stick with the things you really care about. It’s a good idea to list your priorities before you even begin the planning process so that you have something to refer back to and can ensure that everything aligns with what you truly want. One of the biggest mistakes couples make is not putting their own wishes first.
Don’t Forget to Feed Your Suppliers
When you’re wrapped up in the planning process it’s too easy to forget vendor meals. When you book your DJ/band, videographer and photographer (don’t forget your wedding planner if you have one) put them straight onto your guest list so that they’re included in the numbers for your caterer - and don’t forget to find out if they have any dietary requirements. Low energy DJ? Not here.
Many couples tend to be surprised by how relaxed their vendors are - this is the biggest day of your life, right? To them, it’s their day job. Of course, your wedding is and will be so special, but don’t underestimate your vendors’ expertise and experience. There will be certain details that you will need but take their advice - they know what they’re doing.
It’s Not an Open-Mic Night
Toasts and speeches can be one of the most special and highly anticipated parts of a wedding, but remember that speeches really only should be a few minutes. Have a clear idea of who is making a speech and communicate it with people to prevent people standing up and knocking a fork on their glass at the last minute.
Try to Keep Perspective
For many couples, the wedding planning process can be stressful (and for a lengthy period of time). It’s not uncommon for family disagreements to arise and, as a major life event, emotions are high for many. During the planning whirlwind, try to keep perspective to remember why you’re doing all this in the first place.
The HAC is a historic London wedding venue set on a six-acre estate. Each of our packages includes a dedicated wedding planner to help you create your perfect day: find out more or get in touch with our experienced team on 020 7382 1533.