Where do I even start with planning a wedding?

You recently got engaged! you said yes! what where do you start with wedding planning??

"Help! ive never planned a wedding before"

Everyone has to start somewhere, but where do you even start and how much will it cost me. 

“The venue drives the date”

The venue is the biggest cost of a wedding and what drives the dates.

Wedding venues get booked up 18 months in advance so finding that perfect venue is step number 1 and hoping they have a date that works for you is the next mission.

Summer is obviously the busiest time and this is when venues get booked up the fastest. If you are not precious about having a Friday or Saturday go for a mid-week wedding it can save you some money.

Not only that it gives you a bit more room to barter with suppliers as these are dates they wouldn’t typically fill as fast as others too.

How much is a wedding venue? – How long is a piece of string? From country pubs to castles, the prices vary drastically.

An 80 person wedding at a country pub can set you back around £5,000 and a castle wedding can cost you up to £25-30,000.

Some things to consider 

Are the prices inclusive of vat? – Yes some venues bolt this on after.

Do they make you book all the rooms? Some venues request that you HAVE to pay for so many rooms and re-sell them to your guests.

Before you book

Make sure you are happy with the service you are getting from the venue, shoddy response times and poor service beforehand will only get worse down the road as you get closer to your date.

Secure yourself some wedding insurance – some venues won’t accept a booking without it but also some wedding insurance doesn’t cover you for things booked prior to you taking out the policy.

Check reviews -it’s probably a given but just look for reviews, speak to people who got married there and just give it a final sanity check.

How to choose a wedding venue?

Style, location, accommodation options, distance and cost will be deciding factors.

If you want to get ready on location then check the accommodation is available(or at least nearby) – You want to be close to the venue to reduce stress in the morning but also is there somewhere for your guests to stay? otherwise, they will be leaving early as they won’t of been drinking.

How much is accommodation near by? Especially when you are in the middle of nowhere local accommodation like to capitalise on the fact guests dont have many options and so can charge ridiculous prices to stay over.

Is the food any good? – Most venues do food-tasting nights open to couples who have booked and those who haven’t too. They give you the chance to taste the food and experience the venue for yourself. 

What time are they licensed too? some venues have to stop selling alcohol by a certain time.  

Are they new? – Yes some venues may be new to weddings and offer a discount but this can be a risky choice. They may fail after 6-12 months, they may be far too inexperienced at handling events. It’s risky but it can pay off.

The more honest and open the venue is with you the better.

Photo locations – Is there anywhere to have photos taken? You dont need a forest and woods but a bit of greenery goes a long way. 




But there is one important thing to do before booking, THE most important thing and that’s to check the registrar

Check the registrar is free

So you have found your perfect date! If you are happy with the venue it’s time to check if the registrar is available and if they are and check what time can they do it.

Particularly for summer registrars are in short supply and it’s best to secure this before signing the venue.

Find the registrar that looks after that area(The venue will help you) and check if they are free and what time they can do it. The last thing you want is a 4 pm wedding because you left it too late, worse still you may end up with no wedding.

Winter wedding

If you are getting married in winter just be mindful of a few things

1 – Daylight is limited, getting married at 2 pm in December will not leave much room for any photos.

2 – Weather – it’s a given but dont expect your photography to be able to magic miracles with your photos in rain and wind.

3 – Snow – this could hinder people from getting to the venue.

Benefits of a winter wedding – It’s cheaper, a lot cheaper!

BUT PLEASE! DONT GET MARRIED IN WINTER IF THE PHOTOS OUTSIDE ARE IMPORTANT TO YOU

When I photograph weddings in winter, 75% end up with us not being able to use any of the outside for photos and the inside shots dont have the same effect.

Bad weather is made up of Rain,Wind,Snow & the sheer coldness of British weather! If one of them strike you wont want to stand outside getting photos (even if you think you will now)

With the wind blowing your hair everywhere, the groom wanting to go back inside you wont last more than 5-10 minutes before you give in. Not all that the photographer has limits too before his camera starts getting drenched with rain drops all over his lens.

If the pictures are important to you – rule out winter (or at least aim for late February or early October). Better still make sure the venue has something inside to take at least a few shots against.

 

Budget planning

So the venue is sorted but budget plays a big part in a wedding.

Some people want a lavish wedding and others are not as bothered. No one can advise you what to do but there is a budget trap in weddings to watch out for.

A budget trap?? what’s that?

This is your subconscious mind telling you “what’s £1k for a cake we have already spent £20k” – Create a budget plan and work out what’s important to you and stick to it. 

The Google search trap

You are new to the wedding industry, and you can be forgiven for not knowing what things will cost & often a search on google will yield the most established at the top and those who can afford to run adverts because they are charging more. Don’t fall into the trap of starting to believe “that just must be how much something costs”. Hunt around. 

If you go to wedding fayres and attend the big fancy venues you are likely to get the big fancy suppliers who charge more as these often cost more for suppliers to attend – look around for more local and less established venues wedding fayres, these are cheaper to attend for suppliers so you can get more affordable suppliers from these. 

Recommended suppliers – Venues will often provide you with a list of recommended suppliers – and more often then not they will all be expensive and you will start to think “that must be the price” – again – hunt around.

What SHOULD stuff cost?

This is an open-ended question and there is just no way to give this an easy answer.

But here are some base costs to consider

Registrar – £500
Wedding rings – £200-£2000
Photographer – £500- £2500
Videography – £500-£2500
Dress – £200-£4000
DJ – £500-£1500
Bands – £1000-£2000
Cake – £300-£600
Magician – £500-£1000
Saxophone – £500-£1000
Photobooth – £200-£600
Singing waiters – £500-£2000

what do I book first?

So you have the venue sorted, you have the registrar booked and your wedding is 2 years away. Should I start doing anything now?

The photographer is the next thing to book, you may think I am biased as I am a photographer myself but hand on heart my 2024 calendar is almost 60% full already. Prime Saturdays in summer are like gold dust already and my 2025 calendar is picking up a pace too. The photographer has always fallen into a panic booking situation for weddings and it’s always been the first thing people book. 

But if photos are not a huge thing to you you can get away with leaving them as late as you want realistically – some photographers charge high prices and rely on the fact the couple won’t have a choice but to pay it as there wont be many options left.

If you are getting married mid-week – then I would say the 12-month mark is a good point to making sure you have certain elements secured. If you are getting married on a Friday/Saturday in summer then book well in advance. The sooner the better (if that particular thing is important to you that is) – 

Videography is always an afterthought and they tend to get booked 6-12 months in advance, but if you come across a good deal snap it up whilst you can. 

But my best advice is just to start shopping around when your date is secured and start to compare prices. Post in local community groups along with your date and budget and let the recommendations come in.

If you have a date already you can quickly check in with me here if you are looking for a photographer.

Where can i cut corners?

You want to save a few pounds here and there what can you do?

Cut canapes out – If the gap between your food & the ceremony is short(1h30) you could scrap these.

Ditch the toast drinks – As long as you have wine on the table no one will even notice.

The cake – More people are opting for a funny cake instead of a big fancy one to save some money.

Reduce the evening food – If your food is late (say 5 pm) and your evening buffet starts at 9 pm – there is a good chance most of your guests won’t eat it and so you can reduce the number of heads for the evening. Also when the venue asks how many people are coming to the evening this isn’t them asking how much food you want. This is a separate thing entirely.  You tell them how many plates of food you want for the evening. You could say 10 and 500 could be turning up they don’t actually care as they will only cater for the number you give them.

best time to get married

You will have a few options 

12pm
1pm
2pm
or even 3/4pm

If you are getting ready on site 12pm is possible – it gives you so much more time after the ceremony for photos and relaxes the whole day. But you will need something to keep your guests entertained if your food isn’t till 3/4 pm – Canapees will be a must as they will start to get cranky and hungry. You may need some entertainment though to fill the lull from ceremony to food.

1 pm is a good time if you are getting ready elsewhere and need some time to travel, but 1 pm could also work for onsite bridal prep too, after all, you can just walk downstairs. 

12-1 pm works best for any ceremony where the wedding/ceremony is off-site as it will take some time to transfer your guests.

2 pm – This is when timings start to get squeezed a little bit you will have less time for photos but less of a “lull” to fill with the entertainment. 

2 pm in winter is not advisable – with only 2 hours of daylight left – any bad weather at this point will ruin any chances of having some photos done. 

check my date is free for you to photograph it

Date Checker

never pay in full

Often couples ask me if they can pay their balance straight away and I strongly advise them not to do this.

Some people want things paid off and done with, but keep the money in your bank as long as possible.

If they go bust getting that money back will be a challenge, worse still they could decide to change career paths, turn off their website and disappear into deep space. 

Things may change – whilst you may be on cloud nine now but sadly things may not work out and you need to cancel your wedding and some suppliers will have already spent your money and won’t be able to return it.

A family illness could dictate the wedding to be changed to another date.

Getting money back off people is a challenge so just hold on to it till the payment is due. 

the intent to marry

booking a registrar is different from registering your intent to marry.

This is done by your local council (Not the council where you are getting wed in)

This is done with in 12 months of your big day! It’s nothing more than a quick interview.

This is not to be confused with booking a registrar its 2 different things and is required by law for the marriage to take place.

My registar cant do my date! what do I do!

You booked the venue and forgot to the registrar was available.

A celebrant is an option for you, you can get married prior to your wedding in a registry office and then fake the whole thing with a celebrant.(You don’t even need to tell your guests)

I know it’s not the same, but it gives you that full wedding feel and often they are more flexible to allow you to do exactly what you want. They can provide a more bespoke ceremony for you but they dont have the power to legally marry you. They just stage the whole thing and you can get married another day.

It sounds silly but it’s an option for you. 

 

I am worried I will forget something

The rings?
The registrar?
The venue?
The photographer?
The invites?
The flowers?

Wedding planning often is more underwhelming than you think. People expect it to be like planning a festival but in reality, it’s an enjoyable and fun experience that actually turns out to be less stressful than you expect. 

You take baby steps at each point and give yourself plenty of time to organise things and you will soon start to see how easy it is.


Right. What venue do I pick?

I have had the pleasure of attending many wedding venues myself, I get to see it all. The service, the organisation, I get to taste the food.

So over time, i have built up a good list of venues that I believe to the best value and deliver the best service.

For your free top wedding venues guide just enter your details below.

PRICING PLANS

WHAT'S INCLUDED

All packages come with these great features!

✯ Pre-planning meetings via zoom/phone – Making your vision come to life

✯ Professional Photographer (me!) – The best bit! you get me

✯ Your personal online gallery – To share your images easily with friends

✯ 2-4 week turnaround for your gallery
✯ Every image edited to my signature style

✯ 400/500+ Images – And this is just a minimum! you will likely get much more!

✯Wedding support prior to your big day – I’m not just a photographer but on hand to help you

✯ Inclusive travel within 1 Hour of Leeds – Small travel fee’s apply outside

✯ Coverage till after the first dance  – To capture some of the bits of the day your least likely to remember! 

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Half day coverage – Digitals

✯ All of the above

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✯ 400+ Images
✯ Pre wedding consultation chats

✯ Full private online gallery

✯ All images digitally delivered

On offer till end of June- save £150 

£1100 £1250

Gold

Bridal prep till late
All day coverage – Digitals


✯ All day coverage from bridal prep till evening celebrations
✯ 500+ Images (and likely more!)
✯ Pre-wedding consultation chats
✯ Full gallery delivered via private only gallery
✯ All images digitally delivered
✯ Covers Bridal prep/ceremony/family/couple shots/first dance/evening fun (Everything you need)

 

On offer till end of June- Save £300

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Platinum

Platinum package
All day coverage + Digitals & and album

✯ All day coverage from bridal prep till evening celebrations
✯ 500+ Images (and likely more!)
✯ Pre-wedding consultation chats
✯ Full gallery delivered via private only gallery
✯ Covers Bridal prep/ceremony/family/couple shots/first dance/evening fun (Everything you need)

✯ Includes 25x25cm 20 page Album designed and delivered

On offer till end of June- Save £300

£1650 £1950

Diamond

Diamond package
All day coverage + Digitals + Album + Extra Photographer

✯ All day coverage from bridal prep till evening celebrations
✯ 900+ Images (and likely more!)
✯ Pre-wedding consultation chats
✯ Full gallery delivered via private only gallery
✯ Covers Bridal prep/ceremony/family/couple shots/first dance/evening fun (Everything you need)

✯ Includes Upgraded 30x30cm 40 page Album designed and delivered
✯ Canvas print of your chosen photo
✯ 2 Photographers to capture more 

On offer till end of June – save £500

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Extras

Extra photographer

£350

  • Added coverage of your day
  • Perfect for larger wedding or at large venues
  • Recommenced with weddings of 90+ Guests
  • Add’s around 300 photos to your collection

    Do i need 2 photographers? Click here

Album Packages 

From £275

  • Selection of albums available in various sizes
  •  Choose from 25×25/30×30/20×30
  • Add additional pages from £15 per spread

    See more information here

Wedding Preshoot

 £250

Get some practice in before the wedding and enjoy a preshoot  + 50 images to  download

Video Packages

From £955

I have teamed up with a fellow videographer to deliver a discounted rate on video packages when combined with a photo package

Having 2 companies each specializing in their own field will deliver the best results for your special memories

 

On Key

Related Posts

Where do I even start with planning a wedding?

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Do i need a videographer for my wedding?

So you already have your wedding planned and everything is on target But you are still undecided about the video… Videographers are just as expensive as photographers and with good reason, they need even more equipment, tripods, microphones and assistance

How to pick your wedding photographer

How do I pick my photographer If it’s your first wedding and the first time doing this it may be worth reading on to help you identify how to pick your photographer at this stage. You may be hunting around

SPECIAL OFFER

Don't miss out on up to £500 off packages


all day coverage for £1350


Check your date now

Now here is a treat for you! £100 off your booking….But why?

 

I have hidden this amongst text for a reason.

Couples who go the effort of wanting to know as much about me as possible are the sort of couples i love the most!

The one’s who want to know as much as possible about there photographer for there big day as they know it’s a big decision for them!

So here is a special treat for you – Enjoy £100 off your booking just write “I read your stuff” when you inquire and i will apply the discount to your booking if you decide to go ahead.

It’s just a sweetener to say thanks! as you are the type of couples i love to work with! :)


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