Hello, lovebirds! Are you ready to embark on the exciting journey of planning your dream wedding in Northern Ireland? In my job, I get to see many couples go through the process, and as a husband who has been there and done it, I am here to share some fun and useful tips for brides AND grooms-to-be, to make your wedding planning journey as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
This list is by no means exhaustive and may not be in the perfect order for you, but should give you a great starting point to help plan an incredible wedding! Grab a cuppa and read through our Top Tips for Planning a Wedding in 2023.
First things first, set a realistic budget. This will help you to determine what kind of wedding you can afford and what aspects of the day are most important to you. Setting a budget can even give you an indication of things like how many guests you can invite based on the budget you set which is a great help when first starting to plan your wedding. Remember, a wedding doesn't have to break the bank to be memorable and special. Northern Ireland offers plenty of beautiful and affordable wedding venues and vendors that can help you stay within your budget.
It's essential to have an idea of what you can afford before you start fully planning. Knowing how much you can afford to spend will help you and your partner make informed decisions on all aspects of planning your wedding. You don't want to end up spending more than you can afford and starting your married life with financial stress. Be honest with yourselves and allocate your funds accordingly.
QUICK TIP: Don't forget to include some wiggle room for unexpected expenses.
PICK A DATE & VENUE
Next, choose a date and venue. Once you have your budget in mind, it’s time to start looking for a wedding venue. Northern Ireland has some truly stunning venues, from castles to coastal hotels, country estates to contemporary spaces. Consider the size of your wedding party and your theme, your preferred time of year and other personal preferences when choosing your venue. And don’t forget to ask about the availability of dates!
Once you have decided on the date and venue, you can move on to the really fun stuff.
QUICK TIP: Keep in mind that popular venues tend to get booked up quickly, so it's important to make a decision early on. Finding it hard to pick a venue? Find out about our favourite wedding venues in Northern Ireland for 2023 here.
WHAT TO WEAR
One of the most exciting parts of wedding planning is choosing what you’re going to wear on your wedding day. It really is a lot of fun getting to pick your sparkling dress or your suave suit. Take your time and try on as many dresses and suits as you need to find the perfect one. Don't forget to consider your wedding theme and style. And girls, get in touch with a seamstress as soon as possible. They book up real fast!
QUICK TIPS FOR BRIDES:
#1 Okay, so this one may be a bit controversial but, hear me out. Unless you plan on wearing your dress more than once or framing it in your living room (I’m struggling to decide whether this would be weird or not), after your wedding, it’s likely that your dress will get dry cleaned and put into storage somewhere. Unless there’s a specific dress you have your heart set on, spending thousands on a dress that you’ll wear once can take a huge chunk of the wedding budget that could be used towards other things that are important to you and your partner on your wedding day. There are plenty of dress shops which have affordable options that will help you find the dress of your dreams and keep the costs down.
#2 Also, if your dress has a really huge train that might be difficult to manoeuvre on the dance floor later in the evening then consider a second more manageable dress. These generally aren’t that expensive, can be purchased from lots of shops online and in the high street and will help you enjoy dancing the night away without hoofing a huge dress around the dancefloor in a big, sweaty mess!
QUICK TIP FOR GROOMS: I’ve had quite a number of grooms that pick suits and shoes that they can wear again to other formal occasions and not just their own wedding. It’s a great way to save on buying a new suit or pair of shoes for another occasion. Just something to think about when you’re choosing.
HAVE A CHECKLIST
To keep everything organized, create a wedding planning checklist or use a wedding planning app. This will help you keep track of your to-do list and ensure you don't forget any important details. Websites like Bridebook, Hitched and Rock My Wedding offer free wedding planning tools to help you stay organized.
QUICK TIP: This tip ties back in with budgeting but make a list of all the vendors you want to have at your wedding then place those vendors in a list in order of priority to you. That way, you can allocate your budget to the things that really matter to you and your partner.
THE DAUNTING, BUT FUN PART
Now, it's time to hire your vendors. If you used the advice in the tip above then this should be a little easier for you. Some possible vendors include; a florist, ceremony musicians, evening entertainment, and of course, a professional wedding photographer and videographer. Research your options and choose vendors that fit your vision and budget. Your wedding vendors play an important role in making your wedding day a success.
QUICK TIP: Don’t be afraid to reach out to vendors to arrange a call to get to know them better and to ensure they are a great fit for your wedding. If you’re not sure where to start, reach out to the vendors you’ve already booked and ask for their recommendations. Wedding vendors will have a lot of great connections in the industry that you can tap into.
- Don't forget the little details that can make a big impact on your wedding day. Consider adding personal touches such as a unique guest book, personalised wedding favours, unique centerpieces, or a signature cocktail that reflects your personality as a couple.
- Have a backup plan. Unfortunately, the weather can be unpredictable in Northern Ireland. Have a backup plan in case of rain, and communicate this with your vendors and guests ahead of time. Your vendors can also help with this, so again, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask.
- Finally, remember to have fun! Your wedding day is a celebration of your love and commitment to each other. Don't stress too much about the small stuff and enjoy the planning process. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you'll always cherish. Take time to enjoy each other's company and make memories along the way. Enjoy the journey!
I hope these tips have been helpful in your wedding planning journey. Remember, this list is by no means exhaustive but should give you a great starting point to help plan an incredible wedding!
If you're looking for a fun and experienced wedding photographer and videographer to capture all the special moments of your big day or to ask for advice, I'm here for you. Let's make your wedding day one to remember!