Friday, 25 April 2014

Wedding Planning Timeline

It's a year until our wedding! 365 days and I'll be a Mrs. It's also my grandparents golden wedding anniversary, so congratulations Granny and Grampy!

Yes we get married on their 51st wedding anniversary, which we didn't know until we booked the wedding but I think it's really nice that we'll share our wedding anniversaries.

This kind of got me thinking about the wedding planning timelines and date booking conundrum people face. We booked ours once we found a venue and let their availability decide the date, but we did have a little bit of disappointment that we couldn't have it this year. Now we have started planning I really appreciate that we have a bit more time as it would have been much more stressful to plan a wedding in 6 months rather then nearly 2 years, but I kind of wanted it this year rather than waiting a whole 12 months more!

So what do you need to think about when booking a wedding date?

Special dates
We had a few dates we didn't want the wedding on (birthdays, anniversaries of deaths, valentines day) but no special date we really wanted it on. It may have been nice to have it on the anniversary of our first date, but that's in September and Tom is in car sales so booking 3 weeks off over September is not going to happen. Are there any special dates you would like to get married on?

We both instantly agreed we wanted a spring or summer wedding, it's just our preference as we prefer warmer weather, so talk about what time of year you prefer. Bear in mind that a lot of venues charge more for the same wedding in July than in March, so look at the season you want to get married in but also how that choice will influence the cost of your wedding. We saved £1000 by booking a week earlier at the end of April rather than the start of May.
Like I said, we chose the venue then set the date depending on when they were available. So if you have a venue in mind which you love and have to have then go in with an open mind on dates. Also depending on the type of venue what season does it suit better? Are there other factors to think about like traffic on a weekend at peak tourist season in a scenic area?
Mundane things like work and time off
We got engaged in May last year, and Tom originally (like the day after we got engaged) said he wanted to get married in Spring this year. However once we started looking into it we realised this would put a bit of a strain on us both financially and time-wise. We were already into the financial year that we would be getting married in and I had already used up most of my leave so would struggle to get time off for the wedding and honeymoon, let alone time for planning it. With an almost 2 year engagement I can do most of it weekends and evenings and book the occasional day off when needed and not have to push myself to much. However say you have loads of annual leave left, or you have lots of free time then you might want to just go for it!

Everyone will tell you how expensive planning a wedding is, and even if you are planning a budget one there is still going to be some financial outlay. Be realistic about how long you need to pay for this. If you have savings in the bank, or lots of credit which you are willing to use (I'm a credit phobe so not advocating this!), or someone is paying for the wedding for you, then you might be in more of a position to book a wedding date soon. I could have maybe planned a wedding in 6 months, but we couldn't have paid for it in that time unless we had a really budget wedding, and even then it would be tight so we decided to leave it a year longer. We wanted to pay for our wedding as we went, and had offers of help from family as well, so we wanted to leave ourselves breathing room to save and pay for things as we book them. For example we booked and paid for the venue last year, and we have recently booked the caterer and paid their deposit this month. Next up is dress and music and we are saving for those now.

Other commitments
I'm not 100% sure how this happened but we appear to be climbing 2 mountains, raising a target of £4000 each for charity and getting married in the next 365 days. Safe to say this influenced our date booking. Had we gotten engaged 2 years ago we might have been able to plan it in a shorter time as we weren't so busy then, so the benefit of a longer engagement is that we have more time (although I have a rough timeline that I am trying to stick to of what I want booked by when). Although a shorter engagement means you are married sooner and don't have to plan the wedding at all after that...
Relationship style
Not sure what to call it but your relationship style or temperament will have a big effect on how you want to do this, are you a couple who got engaged after 6 months or have you been waiting for that proposal for years? Are you a couple who does things spontaneously or are you both planners? Tom and I are quite laid back, our relationship isn't a dramatic whirlwind romance. Don't get me wrong we are romantic (occasionally) but really we are a team and work together to build our little life in a way that sets us up for a good future. We therefore didn't want to start getting into debt for our wedding, we also aren't in any rush. We will have been together 7 years when we get married. Although saying that Tom wouldn't have proposed if he had no intention of actually getting married, so once we were engaged we were both keen to start planning the wedding but in our own laid back, considered, we'll do it when we're ready style. I sometimes daydream about eloping to an island to get married barefoot on the beach...but that just doesn't seem us somehow.
Really this is down to you, are you the kind of people who can plan a wedding in 3 months? Are you organised and efficient? Or would you prefer longer to let yourself book things at your leisure and to have lots of time to think things over? Really think about how long you want to take to plan your wedding. Don't feel pressured to do it all in 6 months if you think it will stress you out just so you can get married this year, why not wait until next year and really enjoy it? Or vice versa, if you're sure you will be able to plan a wedding in a few months, and you have the funds available, then go for it!
Not sure how to word this, but if you have old or sick family members you really want at your wedding then that might influence your decision on how soon to get married. Also if your family are difficult or maybe not so supportive of you getting married then you may not want to prolong the agony of dealing with it, or you might want to leave it a while so they have time to get used to the idea before the wedding...

The best quote I've heard is that a task expands to fill the time you have, so if you have 3 months it will take 3 months, if you have 3 years it will take 3 years...but as long as you are happy with the end result that's all that matters.

Don't forget to enter my easter giveaway over on the main blog, and have a lovely weekend :)