Wahoo! It’s official, you’re engaged! But once you have popped the fizz, got your pics on social media /the ‘gram and the world knows about your engagement, now it’s time to actually plan your wedding.
You might be wondering where to start with wedding planning, there are so many things to consider for the big day, so expert team has put together a check list for your big day.
1. Set Your Budget
The first item on your ‘how to plan a wedding checklist’ is your budget. You need to decide realistically how much you can afford to spend on your big day. If you don’t set a budget when planning your wedding, it could lead to a lot of stress later on. Plus, when it comes to adding on the cost of mini-moon or full blown honeymoon, you could consider setting up a honeymoon ‘gift list’ to help pay for it.
Costs can be anywhere up to £20,000, but we think you can have the perfect package, tailored to your needs for a lot less! But no matter what you have to spend, you can still have an absolutely lovely wedding day.
We currently offer three price points, which include venue hire, room hire, menu and bridal rooms the night of the wedding:
Classic Package: £3750
Stratton Package: £4750
Cotswold Package: £5500
2. Find the Ideal Wedding Venue
We are slightly biased of course, but we think that the Cotswolds is the perfect location for a wedding- at any time of year.
As well as the stunning location, at the Stratton House Hotel and Spa, we offer the quintessential Cotswold wedding experience. We have a venue that offers character and elegance, mixing rustic charm and modern luxury, the staff who can cater for all your needs and create a relaxed atmosphere to help you to stay present and enjoy your day.
If this sounds like what you are after, read our guide to planning a Cotswolds wedding
3. Pick Your Bridal Party
This may be easier than deciding on the wider guest list. Your bridal party, best man or ushers may have been decided a long time ago. Traditionally we see a mix of maids of honour, bridesmaids, a best man and ushers. Depending on the size of the party or your family make up you might also want flower girls and page boys and don’t forget to ask someone responsible to be your witnesses or to give a reading at your ceremony.
4. Plan Your Guest List
Once you have selected your bridal party, your budget and your choice of wedding venue will probably dictate numbers on your guest list.
At Stratton House, we can host intimate weddings for up to 50 people or cater for larger ones with up to 150 guests. When you’re working out how to plan your wedding, it’s important to sit down with your partner and decide who you want to invite. Try and split the allocation of guests as fairly as you can, and also decide whether you want to have evening guests too.
Remember to include yourselves in your numbers and have a serious chat about whether you want children at your wedding too.
5. Sort Your Wedding Suppliers
You have a venue, a date and an idea of who is coming but it’s worth giving yourself plenty of time to find the right wedding suppliers for your wedding.
Once you’ve got your guest list numbers sorted, you can think about your wedding stationery and start working on your wedding breakfast table plan.
You will also want flowers, a car maybe some table treats and some entertainment for your guests. You can browse our list on our website
6. Get Wedding Insurance
Your wedding is one of the most expensive things you’ll ever pay for, so it makes sense to insure it.
Buying wedding insurance will give you peace of mind – in case anything goes wrong. It may seem like an unnecessary expense as the costs add up, but compared to what it is protecting, it’s a relatively small price to pay.
7. Say YES to the Dress
Shopping for THE dress is an exciting part of planning your wedding. Make sure you do your research to find out what style of wedding dress you like, and then start booking appointments at bridal boutiques. If you can, give yourself up to a year to find your dream wedding dress – some take around six months to arrive once ordered, so allow yourself plenty of time.
But if you don’t have that long, or don’t have the big budget there are a number of second-hand options that could be altered slightly to fit. The dress may be pre-loved but it will still be new to you!
Obviously the groom also needs something to wear and you may decide to buy or hire outfits for the best man, bridesmaids and ushers.
8. Create a Wedding Gift List
Planning your wedding gift list is a really exciting part of your wedding planning. You need to decide on your wedding gift list before you send out your invitations, so you can include the information in your invites.
You might find it weird at first, as couples tend to be older, there are fewer setting up home for the first time so they don’t need a new crockery set from M&S, but it means your guests know exactly what to buy you and it can be a great time to refresh your furniture or contribute to a once-in-a-lifetime holiday!
9. Send Out the Save the date and your Invitations
People are busy. It might be your special day but they have lots going on too! You need to make sure your guests get the date in their calendar early so send out a save the date notice in plenty of time. You can then send out your wedding invitations with all the details they need for your big day.
At Stratton House Hotel and Spa, we have 43 well-appointed rooms, including the Bridal suite which is included in all of our wedding packages and parking on site. It’s a good idea for those travelling to the wedding to have some ideas about accommodation and where to park!
10. Plan Your Honeymoon
The only thing that might be more exciting than your wedding day is your honeymoon. If you have the budget, it’s the perfect excuse to book your dream trip. But if you are counting on guest contributions, it might make sense to wait until after your wedding to book the trip.
We can offer extended stays at the Stratton House Hotel for those that want to extend their celebrations by a day or two!
11. Stag and Hen Nights
Finally, when all the serious planning is done, it’s time to kick back and plan your hen or stag do! The hen and stag dos are typically planned by the bridesmaids and the best man, but some people choose to plan their own.
If you wanted something elegant and relaxing in the lead up to a hectic few days, we offer a range of spa days and treatments that will let you de-stress in the build-up.