So you have just got engaged?

Firstly, congratulations from all of us here. Now you are probably wondering what the next steps are? Well check out our ten step guide to starting your wedding planning journey.

  • Enjoy it

You are marrying the love of your life, planning the perfect celebration of your love in front of your family and friends. Take your time, keeping a planner or notebook with a to-do list can make the whole process seem less daunting, don’t rush anything and ensure you enjoy the wedding planning process.

One of the very first tasks is to set your budget (and stick to it). Have an open and honest discussion with your significant other about your finances. What savings you both have, how much you can save over the next couple of months and years, as well as how much your families may contribute?

  • Guest list

Where to start with planning your guest list? We would have two lists of people. The first list is the absolute list, the list of family and friends you for certain want to attend your wedding ceremony, breakfast and night reception. The second list is the list of people you would like to attend your wedding but you would be happy to only invite them to the breakfast or night reception if your dream venue had a lower capacity. Don’t forget to consider plus-ones and kids in both these lists!

  • Ideas, themes, must haves & must NOT haves!

Discuss ideas with your partner, what themes you would both like, the venue type, colour schemes, catering, evening food and the all-important music. Many couples use Instagram & Pinterest to start to build ideas for their dream wedding day. Making supplier decisions will be much easier once you know what you’re after, and it will be much easier to ensure everything matches.

  • Choosing your venue

When you’ve settled on your budget, drafted your invites list and have an idea of the theme for your wedding, you can start hunting for that dream venue which fits in with it all. The Louisianna’s Weddings website is a great place to start your search for a venue.

I found Louisianna’s Weddings online and they seemed to have everything. We weren’t sure whether we wanted a barn, marquee or yurt wedding so came straight to you– Claudia Smithson, who will marry at Aldby Park in May 2022.

While searching for your perfect venue you may have to compromise in certain areas, we will go into a bit more detail on these below.

  • Choosing the date

Your dream venue maybe booked on your ideal date, so you may need to compromise on the date. If the date you marry is important to you, for example your parents married on that date, the date they proposed or the anniversary of your first date then you may need to compromise on what is more important to you.

Every venue will have a max capacity for the ceremony, the wedding breakfast and the night reception. This is why we advise drafting a guest list before you start viewing venues. If you have 100 people on your absolute, must come to the ceremony and wedding breakfast list, and your venue only has a capacity of 80 then you may have to compromise on the venue to be able to celebrate with all your nearest and dearest.

  • On site ceremony or blessing

If you wish to have your wedding ceremony at the same venue as the wedding breakfast and reception then you need to check that the venue has a civil marriage and civil partnership license. Some of our Louisianna’s Wedding venues do have a civil marriage and civil partnership license, including Sedgewell Barn and Westfield Farm. But all have places reserved for a wedding blessing to be conducted by a friend, family member or celebrant. We work with and highly recommend many fantastic celebrants including Louisa Star from Starr Gazing Ceremonies and Penelope Jayne. Celebrant led ceremonies have become more and more popular over the past few years with couples looking for a more personal wedding service.

  • The things important to you

If one of you is picturing a fairy-tale marquee and the other is dreaming of a rustic barn then you may need to compromise. This day has to be about both of you and both have to feel special.

  • Legal boring important stuff.
  • Wedding Insurance

While Weddings are a very romantic affair, the thought of them going wrong is less so. Buying wedding insurance right at the beginning of your wedding planning journey gives you a peace of mind should the unthinkable happen.

  • Marriage License.

Another not so particularly exciting part of your wedding planning journey but a very important one. Whether you intend to marry at a church, registry office or at your venue, if your venue has a civil marriage and civil partnership license, you must give notice to marry by signing a legal form at your local registry office. This must include details of the final venue in which you intend to marry. It carries a cost of £35 per person and you must give notice at least 29 days before your ceremony. But don’t be too quick you can only give notice within one year of ceremony date.

    • Choose your bridal party

Now back to the fun stuff! The traditional bridal party roles include the maid of honour, best man, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, and ring bearers but many couples are breaking the mould and doing things their own way. You may instantly know who you want in your bridal party, if you don’t, then don’t worry, take your time and think who will support you and your partner best over the coming months, building up to your big day. Budget maybe a big factor in how many people you have in your bridal party as they will all need dresses, suits, button holes and bouquets. If you’re on a low budget ask your bridal party if they would consider buying or subsidising towards their own dresses and suits.

  • Choose your suppliers

At Louisianna’s Weddings we work with many of Yorkshire’s best wedding suppliers from caterers to chauffeurs, photographers to florists, each making your wedding day special. Go back to our fourth step, look at which suppliers fit in with your theme for the day, all wedding suppliers want to make your day perfect for you and will ensure they can fulfil your requirements. Wedding breakfast tastings and engagement shoots are the most exciting part of this step.

If all this seems a bit much contact a wedding planner or the team at Louisianna’s Weddings who will be always happy to help.

Planning your wedding during COVID

For many 2020 couples, venues and suppliers the coronavirus pandemic caused unknown levels of stress with postponements and loss of incomes. But here are a few of our top tips to help with your planning.

  • Talk to your venue and suppliers

Many wedding suppliers are independent family businesses, it is what allows them to provide the high level of professional, yet personal customer service, that you want. Talk to them about your worries and ask what they’re doing in case of future lockdowns and the need to postpone. At Aldby Park, Whitby Brunswick, Yorkshire Heart Vineyard and The Salix Yurts we continually reviewing lockdown measures and working closely with couples, with the flexibility to allow postponements or comply with any restrictions on the day.

  • Work on your guest list

See if you can whittle down your invite list in case of future restrictions. Consider who you really want there and who you really want to celebrate your big day with.

  • Have a plan B

For many couples celebrating with all their friends and family is the only option and they will look at postponing but for some couples they are happy with just their nearest and dearest. But look at other options for the ones who may miss out. Many videographers and photographers have invested in equipment during the coronavirus pandemic to live stream the ceremony to those who had to miss out allowing them to still be there on your big day. Other options include inviting people in groups to different parts of your wedding day, allowing time in between for the venue to sanitise and reset. Talk to your venue and other suppliers to see how they can help facilitate this and other options. As we have seen over the past year the rules and regulations are constantly evolving to react to the pandemic, so you may need plan A, B and C onwards doing this from the very beginning of your wedding planning journey will reduce the disappointment that many 2020 couples faced should you have to fall back on a different plan

  • Be kind to yourself and remember the bigger picture

By now you should really see your vision for your wedding day coming together. So our final step is …

  • Enjoy it

Wedding planning can be a very stressful time but remember what is at the end of this journey. When you get a bit stressed lean on the love of your life or your bridal party for support. Treat yourself during this time and ensure you find time to still go on dates with your partner and nights out with friends. Take your time planning all this there is no rush, finding that dream dress will bring tears of joy to your eyes and finding the perfect first dance song will spark a really romantic moment between you both. And if it all gets too much just imagine the honeymoon, kicking your feet through the hot white sands in Goa or being transported down the canals of Venice in a gondola.