First steps to wedding planning

So how are you feeling so far? Good/scared/not sure where to start?

At this stage I was mega excited, but also a little overwhelmed. I really have never been one of those girls to have imagined their wedding since they were 5. Maybe if I was one of those girls, I would have at least had a clue about where to start. We literally had no idea. HA!

Mr DTE is from Northern Ireland too, so we didn’t even know which country to start in, and neither of us felt strongly either way. Not hugely helpful. At least we knew it would be either England or Northern Ireland, though at many times we thought about Vegas.

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Here is a short list of things that we did to rebel against the machine, and feel amazingly empowered about our wedding:  

  • Finding your own system: We wrote lists, but refused to do spreadsheets for a loooong time. I use spreadsheets every day for my job, about a zillion of them, and I didn’t want our wedding to start feeling like work. In the end we did have to begrudgingly succumb, but it felt really good for a big long while to rebel against the machine and embark on our own system that felt more fun.
  • Restaurants/bars vs wedding venues: Some of the wedding venues out there are great, don’t get me wrong. But with some of them you feel like you’re on a conveyor belt with a set wedding format. Barf. We decided to go to restaurants and bars instead, as the food is often much better, and you can take over the whole place and pretty much do what you like at many of them. Much more freedom to create your own day, rather than choosing from the GOLD, SILVER and BRONZE package. Nish nish.
  • Costs: It’s really hard when you find a venue that you love, but we didn’t even bother going to see any venues where we felt they were taking the biscuit, and I just told them honestly that it was because of the inflated costs. Trust me, there are lots of places out there that don’t take the pee, and treat weddings like other celebrations without racking up the prices. We’ll get to that soon, with my venue recommendations. Be strong, newly-engagedlings!
  • Bubbles: When we got engaged, people wanted to see us lots for a drink to say congrats. YES PLEASE. My advice is: don’t have an engagement party, as the celebration will be too short-lived. Stretch it oooout people…we spent about two months celebrating with our different groups of pals. Muuuch better. If venue-hunting gets a bit much then take a night off and just bubble it up.


I’m quite anti these countdown lists, as you’ve probably gathered, but here are some of my tips on the first things we sorted out:

  • Celebrate. LOTS. (As above)
  • Figure out the time of year you want to get married: And see if any of your VIPs have any blackout dates you need to avoid (I mean immediate family only, not like every guest)
  • Narrow down your locations: For example if you want to get married abroad, nearby etc
  • Numbers: Figuring out roughly how many people you want to invite is really helpful. We thought we would have a small wedding, and that we didn’t know that many people. Turns out we were maxed out at 150 guests and we were the biggest wedding our venue has ever had. Gulp.
  • Budgets: This is a weird one, as we found it hard to do our budget before we at least went to see some venues and get an idea of how much they cost. So I’d recommend setting a rough one, then revisiting it after a couple of week and see if you need to make adjustments.
  • Ask around for recommendations on venues: This was super helpful for us to see where our friends had enjoyed the best times as wedding guests. I thought I’d been to a lot of London weddings, but we found out about tons of venues I’d never heard of.
  • Split some things up between the two of you: So that you can both be involved in things. I guess one of you might naturally take the lead, as it often happens, but we found it much easier splitting things up and spreading the load.

This is not an extensive list, and is not in priority order. Only you can figure out what is the most important thing for you, as we’re all different. Thankfully! What I can promise you is that you’ll feel so much better once the venue has been decided. This gives you all the direction you need for the rest of the planning and feels like one gigantic tick off the list. PHEW!

>> Next up: venue recommendations

If you have any questions, or fancy some tips, just get in touch. I’d love to hear from you!