How to kick-start your wedding planning

historic country house, with turret looking facade and conservatory attached over gardens

Samantha Gilchrist, Co-Founder and CEO of the UK's largest wedding venue collection, The Gilchrist Collection, shares her top tips on how to kick-start your wedding plans, taking away any unnecessary stress and disappointment in preparation for that special day.

Set a Date - possibly the most important aspect of planning as getting this date in the diary will allow you to move forward with your plans. When choosing a date, it's worth carrying out a simple checklist to help you nail that day down such as:

  • Think if there is a time of year you both always wanted to get married in? A season you both love or a month that is special to you is a great starting point.
  • Is there a type of wedding you would love? If it's an outdoor wedding, I always think May and September are most reliable when it comes to British weather
  • Avoid major clashes such as large sporting events scheduled on that day - do a quick online search to put your mind at ease.
Gather your guestlist - An idea on numbers for your day will help with exploring venues and understand your budget. I like to split it into an 'A,B,C' approach:
A. Those who are essential to making your day special - they have to be there.
B. Potential guests for your day or evening
C. Evening only invites if numbers allow - those who will bring some party energy to dance the night away

Shortlist your venues - Whether you are a bride or groom that has had a dream venue your whole life, or someone who is unsure on the type of venue they are looking for, my advice is to do your research, check-out their social media accounts for real wedding inspiration and then schedule visits. Venues can be booked up to two-years in advance so it's worth getting in there quickly.

Book your photographer, florist, make-up artist & hair stylist - Many wedding suppliers open their books a year in advance to meet the demand, so as soon as you have your date it's worth pencilling it in with your chosen photographer, florist, make-up artist & hair stylist to avoid disappointment if they are already snapped up.

Enjoy your engagement - Once you've got your date, venue and some of your favourite suppliers locked in, it's time to get back to enjoying your love bubble. You've got the essentials covered.

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