You're engaged! So many congratulations to you both, I am so, so happy for you. Enjoy every second of this magical moment, as you celebrate with your family and friends.
After the reality of who you are now, separately and together, sinks in and settles in your hearts and your minds comes the awareness that there is an awful lot of thinking and planning and decision making to do to get to your wedding day. Questions like what date are you going to have your wedding? Where do you want to have your wedding ceremony? Where do you want to hold your reception? Could they be the same place? Who are you going to invite? How do you go about reducing that list from several hundreds to a more reasonable and affordable number. Is it going to be in the morning? Or is it going to be an afternoon ceremony followed by an evening reception? And the list goes on. And on.
All of these are essential questions that need answering as you begin your planning journey, but they are not where I think you actually need to start. Let's think about this. If you are in your 20s and 30s, it is more than likely that some of your family and friends may already have had their weddings and you would have been a guest at those weddings. Or you may have been married before and this is a second marriage for one or both of you. Or you have been happily married for some years now and you wish to celebrate the love and happiness that you have enjoyed for the past years. Whichever of those groups you belong to, you will most likely have seen a wide variety of weddings. You will know where they were held, what time of year they were held, what time of day they were held, how many guests there were, how many bridesmaids, pageboys and flower girls there were, what colours did the bride choose, and of course, the dress. You see, you have been carrying out your research long before you knew that's what you were doing. Be honest, we've all thought not always happy thoughts about weddings we have been to, just as much as we have loved and raved about weddings we have been to. Sometimes both thoughts about the same wedding. Yes you did too.
So now, if you think about those weddings you have been to for a minute or two, you can start to filter some of the what's, where's and how's to help you work out what you want. It makes the first few steps of your journey a little bit easier to know what you don't want as much as what you do. But I still don't think that is where you need to be starting your planning journey. What I think the number one thing is that you need to do when you start planning your wedding is to decide the STYLE of your wedding. Everything else will follow on from that decision. What do I mean? Well, there are as many different styles of wedding as there are stars in the sky. For example do you want a traditional, rustic, druid, festival, Star Wars, Boho, Poldark, 1950's, Moroccan, day of the dead, Christmas, western, or goth style wedding? Or any combination? A Goth Christmas wedding anybody? Once you start thinking of possibilities, you will amaze yourself.
You'll find that once you know your style, you can think about where you might like to hold your wedding. Maybe a church wouldn't be the best place to hold a druid styled wedding for instance. But can you get married in a standing stone circle? Well yes and no. No if you want a legal marriage as this would need to be either a religious ceremony or a Registrar led civil ceremony if you are in England or Wales, (in Scotland and Norther Ireland you can also have a legal humanist ceremony,) and both of these require that you are indoors at either a place of worship or a register office or licensed premises. But yes if you opt to have a Celebrant led ceremony, as with the right permission from the landowner you can have your ceremony whereever you want.
If you prefer a traditional style ceremony but you are not a practising member of any religious denomination, then you may also feel that a church wedding is not going to feel right for you, and may even be considered slightly hypocritical. Similarly, if you do not want to get married in a register office, and the rooms that the licensed venues have to offer are not really what you like or want, then you need an alternative. A Celebrant led ceremony can provide the perfect alternative for you. It separates your legal marriage from your wedding ceremony, with the marriage being held, usually at the register office, with just you two and your witnesses, and the wedding
Your choice of style will also have an impact on the place you choose to have your reception, (and the ceremony if you choose to have a Celebrant led ceremony). What worked for your friend who had a traditional church ceremony followed by a reception at a 5 star hotel on the river would probably not be the route you would choose if you really wanted to have your ceremony and reception in the orchard at home, or on a beach or the end of the pier. Think about where would suit your style and how you would bring the ceremony and reception together. You can still have a traditional style wedding but put your own twist and quirkyness on it by having it somewhere different.
The style of your wedding dress also follows your choice of wedding style. An amazing dress with an eight feet long train, and a pair of killer heels is probably not really going to work so well in your orchard or on the beach. Whereas it would look absolutely fabulous in a church or 5 star hotel. The number of guests you could have at the beach or in an orchard is also probably more than at that ritzy hotel. Hay bales, a pig roast and a barn dance will be considerably more affordable than a sit down meal for all your family and friends. Of course, if budget is not a consideration then why not go for it. Why not have a push the boat out, all the bells and whistles wedding at that hotel, either with or without a Celebrant.
Those are just two examples of how your choice of style for your wedding will have a huge impact on everything else. And by now I think you can see why I believe that choosing the style of your wedding should be the very first, number one thing you think about when planning your wedding. It will help you decide on so many things as you go along the journey of planning your day.
If you would like to know more about a Celebrant led Ceremony and how I can work with you to create a truly unique ceremony for the heart of your wedding day then please go ahead and hit the Contact Sara button below. I will be delighted to have an informal, no obligation chat and go through everything with you, and hopefully be your Celebrant for your special day.