Step by step wedding planning


Planning a wedding is an exciting time of your life.


You may be experienced in organising a big event, but for most brides it can be a daunting experience. Use our Wedding Planner to help you organise your wedding ceremony, reception and guest list.





Wye Valley Weddings Wedding Planner


Planning a wedding is an exciting time of your life. You may be experienced in organising a big event but for most brides it can be a daunting experience.


If you've decided to plan your wedding ceremony, reception and guest list yourself then we have a useful check list to help you. Alternatively, if you don't have time on your side or you have a demanding job that makes planning such an important day more of a headache than a pleasure you could hire the services of an experienced professional wedding planner.


Here are some tips for starting a wedding plan for brides getting married in the Wye Valley counties of Herefordshire, Monmouthshire and Gloucestershire... and surrounding areas.



1. Your Wedding Date


Deciding when and where to hold your wedding or civil marriage ceremony can be something of a chicken and egg situation. If you've got your heart set on a particular venue for your special day then you may have to fit in with what they have available. The more prestigious and special wedding venues in the Wye Valley hold one wedding per day and they get booked up a year or so in advance. I you have an immovable date in mind then you may have to consider more than one wedding venue.



Special Wedding Venues in Herefordshire

2. Choose a Venue for your Wedding or Ceremony


The Wye Valley has some wonderful privately owned historic buildings, venues and churches which have been licensed for weddings. If you're planning a big wedding then one of the first questions to ask your chosen venue is how much seating availability do they have for the ceremony. For smaller weddings the choices open up considerably and although you may find that the quaint little church you often dreamed of for your wedding is too small there are many alternative choices of venue. If you're planning a non-religious civil wedding then by law you are legally required to become officially married at a recognised registration office. See Venues.


Once the legalities are complete you can then hold your wedding ceremony at any venue of your choice - even a private house or garden. You will require the services of a professional celebrant who will help you plan the wedding ceremonies. To make your ceremony more personal to you both you can write and say your own personal vows.




Wedding receptions in Herefordshire, Monmouthshire and Gloucestershire

3. The Wedding Reception


Most registered wedding venues will offer a complete wedding day service and they usually have their own in-house wedding coordinator to help you plan your wedding day. If you are planning a smaller, more intimate wedding then the reception can be held at a hotel, restaurant, village hall, a marquee, or your own garden.


Most couples choose a formal reception meal with drinks and photographs before hand. But why not consider hiring a caterer or go for something less formal like a hog roast in your garden or an informal meal in your favourite restaurant... the choice is yours.


If you are planning a wedding in the summer months then you might want to have a marquee in your own garden. You don't need to have a large flat garden to hire a marquee as most marquee companies can erect a marquee just about anywhere using special staging. For smaller weddings it is possible to hire smaller marquees, gazebos or covered walkways - complete with bar, seating, and tables. See marquees.


4. The Guest List


Be warned... there will be some heated moments if you're not careful. You may need to exercise a great deal of tact with your family if you have set your heart on just inviting close family and friends. All sorts of stray cousins and long lost maiden aunts will expect to be invited to your wedding and the bride and bridegroom's parents may want to have rather a say in who gets that special invitation. Take a deep breath. Sign up for yoga classes. But, whatever you do try not to fall out with your mother!


Hint: If you want to stand your ground and just invite close friends and relatives choose a smaller venue for your reception - that way the decision of who to include (and tactfully exclude) will be much easier!


Phew! Now that we've got that one out of the way we can get on to the fun part!


5. Wedding Invitations and Stationery


It is traditional for the bride's parents to send out the wedding invitations 3 to 4 months before the wedding day. The bride's mother will usually send the invitations and she will be the one to receive the replies. When the wedding is being hosted by the couple the wedding invitations should be sent from them.


Hand made wedding stationery, invitations and place cards will delight your guests and provide a lasting keepsake for you to remember your special wedding day. They can be decorated and trimmed with buttons, bows, fact just about anything!


Lily Oliver Bridal Boutique - Wedding dresses in Hereford

6. The Wedding Dress


Your wedding dress may be the most expensive dress you'll ever buy. Unless you're going for a non traditional wedding dress the likelihood is that you will wear it once. But if that gives you a sinking feeling take heart - the wedding photographs will ensure that your wedding dress can be seen every day for the rest of your choose a style that will look just as gorgeous in 2042 as it does in 2012!


If you're young enough not to have experienced a wedding in the 70s and 80s you may not be aware of how important it is to choose a dress that won't make you cringe with embarrassment and regret in years to come. We can remember attending weddings where the bride wore feathered hoods, meringue style dresses that had a Disney look about them, and whilst where on the subject of style... we suggest you avoid the plunging Nell Gwyn style neckline unless you don't mind looking like a buxom barmaid.


Think about your own personal style, your height and your figure. If you are planning to lose weight before your wedding day (you will anyway - if only a few pounds) then make sure you follow a diet and exercise programme that keeps you healthy and fit. Take advice about what would be a realistic weight loss and don't make yourself ill ...please! A fit and healthy bride will look more beautiful than an exhausted thin one.


Buy an armful of wedding and bride magazines and look through the wedding dress styles that you really like. cut them out and keep them in a file for reference. If you want to have a designer wedding dress, or have your wedding dress designed and made for you then consult a number of wedding dress designers and bridal dress experts.


Above all choose a wedding dress that makes you look and feel fantastic and one that is easy to walk in, move about in and doesn't make you feel self conscious for the wrong reasons!

Wedding dress photograph from Lily Oliver Bridal Boutique, Hereford


7. Bridesmaids


Choosing your bridesmaids is a lovely task and you may already know who you want to ask to be your maid of honour or bridesmaids. If you're having little ones to be be your bridesmaids or page boys then do make sure that your maid of honour is adept at handling small children. A five year old can easily steal the show and you will be too busy getting married to take them for that all important visit to the loo or hold their hand if they get nervous during the ceremony. A maid of honour has a lot of responsibility.


When you are choosing the bridesmaid dresses or page boy outfits be mindful to consider their own style, colouring and figures. A red head could look rather startling in a crimson satin dress. If your bridesmaids come in all shapes and sizes you might want to take advice from an expert dress designer or experienced owner of a bridal shop.


Wedding cakes and wedding cake makers in Hereford

8. The Wedding Cake


Don't leave it too late to think about your wedding cake. Unless you are making and icing the cake yourself most expert wedding cake makers will be booked up for the next few months. A good wedding cake maker will invite you for a tasting session, and whilst you are enjoying samples of their cake you can browse though their portfolio. Take advice on portion sizes, flavours and ingredients. If you need a gluten free cake or have any special dietary requirements please let them know in advance so they can bake samples for you to try.


For a less formal wedding cake you might want to choose a novelty cake in the style of something that is special to you both... a VW campervan or a character cake for example. Cup cakes for weddings are really popular and although they don't offer the same photographic opportunities for the traditional cake cutting shot they can be offered around (and posted to far away friends and family) very easily.

Wedding cake by Bella Torta, Hereford.


Wedding photographers in Hereford - copyright Caz Holbrook

9. Wedding Photographers


We've all been to weddings where the photographer has seemingly hi-jacked that all important time between ceremony and eating. You guests may well have been travelling all morning to attend your wedding and if they are expected to stay cheerful then don't keep them waiting for food for too long!


Choose a photographer whose work you really like and is experienced, helpful and above all organised. It is really the best man's job to have first consulted with both bride and groom and together they will have a list of who will be photographed and in what order. The photographer will need to be introduced to the best man before the wedding commences and go through the wedding photograph order list. Having said that it is important to give the photographer time to capture those special unique spontaneous photographs - so hire your photographer for the whole day rather than just a few hours. It's a great investment and one you will be glad you made.

Photograph Caz Holbrook

Wedding florists Monmouthshire and Herefordshire

10. Wedding Flowers


Choose florist who is an expert at wedding flowers and as local to your home and wedding venue as is feasibly possible. Creating the bridal bouquet, the bridesmaids posies, the button holes for the groom, groom's father, best man and ushers takes a considerable amount of time - even for an expert florist. Similarly the flowers for the ceremony venue and wedding reception will take many hours to prepare.


Before you decide which florist to choose for your wedding flowers arrange an appointment with as many florists as you can to talk through your ideas, colour schemes and preferences. Remember there will be some times during the year when flowers might be more expensive (Valentines Day, mothering Sunday and Christmas) and you will need to check price and availability at those times. If you don't like the idea of using imported flowers then choose a florist who specialises in garden flowers or British grown flowers.

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Wedding receptions and caterers in Hereford, Monmouth, Ledbury and Chepstow
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