One of the most stressful things during wedding planning is working out what venue you want. It took us ages to decide how we wanted to do things and then find the right place to host it.
Wedding Wire got in touch about their fun quiz designed to help you decide. Now I don’t know about you but I love an online quiz and this one is quite fun. You can do it alone or with your partner (even if you’re not planning a wedding at the moment.
According to the quiz I should be having a vineyard Wedding, sadly North London is lacking in those so I’ll be sticking with the venue I’ve picked.
If you are planning a wedding or are already married, how did you pick your venue? Let me know in the comments.
This post is sponsored by Wedding Wire but all opinions are my own.
This is my incredibly scatter brained approach to wedding planning. My wedding is about 18 months away now, but I started planning a while after C proposed. I wasn’t one of those girls who planned their dream wedding as a kid so I’ve had to learn a lot fast.
💍Get engaged. Or decide to get married. If photoshoots are your thing or a party, do that. We got a new fridge. So rock ‘n’ roll.
👰Are you going to have a long engagement? Or do you want to get married relatively soon? If it’s the second- pick a date. C and I very romantically picked a date a month and a day after C’s birthday so he wouldn’t forget our anniversary.
🎁Set a budget. Are you paying for it or is there some money set aside? I had no idea my Dad had been saving since I was a baby, and that has really helped with paying deposits.
👱Guestlist time! Who do you want to share your day with? Do you want bridesmaids/groomsmen or even bridesmen or groomswomen?
💒 Start looking at venues. Popular ones can be booked up very quickly. Depending on what kind of wedding you want, this can affect your venue choices. We are having a traditional church wedding and then a big knees up, very relaxed and informal to follow.
🌹Once you have sorted the venue – start looking at vendors like florists, photographers etc. I actually found my photographer before I picked our reception venue. Again, try not to leave this too late as popular vendors get heavily booked, especially at peak times of the year.
🎪What fun features do you want? A photobooth maybe, a band, lawn games? I suggest visiting wedding and event fairs to try these out or look online. Again, once you know what you want – book it.
🎉Pinterest is your friend. Build inspiration boards for just about anything. I also use Etsy to look for ideas.
💌Time to send out Save the Dates – most people seem to send these 18 months to a year before the wedding. I plan to send my invitations out about 6 months before so StDs are vital in making sure the people we want there the most can start making plans.
🎂 Cake tastings are a great way to decide what you want- look online for ideas – most wedding cake makers are really happy to work with you on designs and flavours.
❤Are you writing your own vows? What about readings? Research some ideas and work with your intended and celebrant to put your service together.
There’s lots more to do, from picking out outfits, deciding on hair and make up and designing menus. But I haven’t quite got that far yet and as my planning is a bit topsy-turvy I can’t really say what I’m going to do next.
Any tips from married folks or engaged types are always welcome in the comments.
The images are all from Pinterest – search ‘weddings’ for similar inspiration.
There were many freebies on offer, including a goody bag for every ticket holder. Now I love a freebie but some of these were a little problematic – more on that later.
According to the brochure there were more than 250 vendors present, offering everything from wedding dresses to confetti, cakes made of cheese to flowers.
It was a bit overwhelming, weddings are big, big business, and the centre was heaving with brides to be, their mothers, bridesmaids and the occasional bewildered groom to be.
There was a Groom Room full of suits and very fancy cars, which C would have loved except he refused to come with me (but did take a Best Man to look at suits).
I took my Mum – and she was having a ball. I now know I get my love of a freebie from, she’s been married for 37 years, but oh she was lapping up everything we were offered.
I tried on a flower crown (definitely having one of those), looked at dresses, flowers, table settings, entered every competition going (please can I have a free holiday), tried cakes, looked at fascinators for Mum, discussed my engagement, our wedding plans and the colour scheme about a million times, are more cake, and looked at about a thousand dresses.
I totally failed to take any photos, there was just too much.
Now I want to talk about something that has already annoyed me beyond belief and my Mum decided to bring up several times too.
The wedding industry is fixated on a very particular type of bride – slim, conventionally pretty, and white. There was very little diversity on show.
Where were the dresses for fuller figured brides? Where was the ethnic mix of London being represented? What about the lesbian and genderqueer brides?
Every picture of a bride could have been of the exact same girl. The only suits were tailored for men. There was no suggestion of same sex weddings. I saw no pictures of black or Asian brides, no temples, synagogues, churches or mosques.
Now, I’m sure a lot of the vendors present would happily work with a wide range of wedding couples, after all, business is business. But I can’t imagine how alienating this vision of skinny, perfect whiteness must be.
My Mum pointed out that the wedding dresses were stuck in the past – women on the whole are bigger than before – the average dress size is a 16, but so many of the dresses were designed to fit slim, small-breasted, narrow hipped women. Where is my wide hipped, rugby player shouldered self going to get a dress? (I have ideas, but there was nothing for me there – I didn’t see anything on display above a 12).
The other issues we had revolved around this idea of being perfect- teeth whitening services, professional makeovers, all conforming to a standard not everyone can achieve.
My mum was also horrified by all the weight loss products on offer. In the goody bag offered to everyone were weight loss shakes, tea, biscuit bars and offers for discounts on these and other products.
At a time when even 8 year olds are suffering body image issues, when eating disorders are on the rise, when the standards of beauty are ridiculous, the pressure on the engaged women (and men) is insane.
A wedding is pretty stressful anyway, dealing with vendors, venues, family politics, negotiating everything you want, wrestling with a budget – you name it, it needs to be done. Yes, there are loads of tools, apps, websites etc to help you, but it’s still a lot to take on.
And then on top of that the pressure to lose weight, to be made perfect, because obviously your fiancé doesn’t want to marry you as you are – but some ridiculous impossible image of some other you.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look your best – to have your hair and make up done, to wear an outfit you feel (and look) fab in, but there is something wrong with feeling pressured to change everything about you to fit into a box.
When my parents got married (37 years and still both alive), there wasn’t nearly as much of this extreme pressure on young women before their weddings. And it really casts a pall over the excitement of it all.
The other day I read a really preachy article (which I don’t have a link to) about why the writer, as a feminist, wouldn’t wear an engagement ring.
Now I strongly believe that everyone has a right to their own opinion but the tone of the piece and the fact that she was using feminism as her reason really annoyed me.
I’m a feminist. I believe in equality, equity of the sexes, and a woman’s right to choose what she does with her life and her body. My mum instilled these beliefs in me growing up.
However, I don’t feel like those beliefs preclude me from wearing my engagement ring.
I am aware of the original symbolism of wedding rings and the whole patriarchal problematic wedding traditions. But I don’t see the engagement ring on my left hand as a symbol of ownership.
Nobody, least of all C, owns me. I am my own person, regardless of marital status.
I see it instead as a symbol of commitment, of a promise to be a team, to stick together, to be a family. I see it as C’s love and mine for him. We’re going to get married, be together for good, legally bound and all that jazz. Not because society says so, but because we want to.
And that doesn’t contradict my feminism. This is my choice. Isn’t that what women have been fighting for all these years – the ability to make their own choices?
I’m having a traditional church wedding and then a massive knees up after with kareoke and a photo booth.
The church is one I went to as a kid, my mum’s still a member of the congregation. Which is how I get to marry there – you have to have a connection to the church and parish. There’s a rather scary looking legal form to sign to this effect.
We’re not overly religious but both come from church going families and I like the idea of the traditional ceremony and legal bit all tied together.
It helps that the church in question is over 150 years old and beautiful. Perfect for photos and full of history.
We went to a friends’ wedding a few months ago and they had had a civil ceremony the day before at the registry office and then a more public do the next day. It was really lovely and personal, full of touches that were very them. The groom’s late mother collected hourglasses and as part of their wedding the couple poured sand into an hourglass, uniting their lives symbolically.
I’ve been to weddings on boats, in barns, hotels and temples. I don’t think there is a right way or wrong way to do it as long as it means something to both of you.
But I won’t be saying the traditional vows – definitely taking the promise to obey out of there.
I also don’t really want speeches or a first dance. The speech thing really bothers me- the bride’s father, groom and best man all talk and the bride just sits there.
It harks back to when marriage was a business contract and a woman was property and it makes me squirm.
As for dancing, we’re not the most coordinated of people and having wiggled into am expensive fancy dress I really don’t need the Mr running it over with his grubby wheelchair wheels (apparently suggesting he go through the car wash is mean).
I don’t actually like being the centre of attention or having my picture taken so that in itself is a bit anxiety ridden.
I’m still looking for the perfect party venue for after the church. We know what we want it’s just finding it. No sit down meal of lukewarm food that nobody really enjoys, no trying to guess what our guests will enjoy.
We want a buffet of nice tasty treats, maybe a chocolate fountain, definitely a pick ‘n’ mix station and a fruit salad bar. Drinks for those that drink and tea and coffee on tap (we’re both from families of tea fiends).
There should be a dance floor for the jukebox/kareoke machine we’re hiring filled with our favourite party tunes, we’re having a photo booth so our friends can take silly snaps, and if there’s some outdoor space a few lawn games, like giant jenga and boules; perfect for our more competitive guests.
Casual, relaxed and informal, perfectly balanced against the traditional ceremony before hand.
Even more exciting are my planned vendors – but you’ll have to wait and see next time.
I went to a wedding fair with the Mr and my Best Woman at the weekend. It wasn’t the big fancy kind but a small one at a local hotel/venue.
I mostly took pictures of cakes, because cake.
I also collected about a million business cards and fliers.
We met a Toast Master- which is a thing. I don’t quite get it.
Ate a load of free canapés, cake samples, sweets, and played how much of this chocolate fountain can I get on a little piece of pineapple before I end up covered in it.
We went looking for ideas and inspiration for our wedding. We found plenty and also a potential reception venue as the hotel itself was gorgeous and ticks a fair few boxes.
The Mr was very keen on hiring some slightly mad things like a giant connect4 and a bouncy castle – I think he was joking. But you can never be sure.
There was a fashion show in one of the rooms but we were due to have Sunday lunch with my aunt and uncle so we didn’t stay for it. Which considering my aversion to wedding dresses is probably a good thing. I have no idea what I’m going to wear. Pyjamas are totally acceptable right??
It was really useful to see what options are available and meet some local businesses who we might be able to use. I now have 3 potential reception venues to view including this one, which is great as I was feeling a little bit lost after my dream venue turned out not to be.
I suggest going to wedding fairs, this one was free and 10 minutes from us, or open days as you can get a sense of the place and also what’s on offer where you are. Even if you don’t go with the vendors there, you might get some great ideas.
Wedding planning is slowly taking shape and I’ve been collecting ideas and inspiration from all sorts of places.
Pinterest – this is the biggy, there are hundreds of ideas and images shared here, so I’ve been looking at decorations, venues, dresses, flowers, cakes, everything basically.
Etsy – there are lots of fabulous things to buy here, from decorations to dresses, cake toppers to thank you cards. I’ve built a shopping list of my favourites to buy once I’ve got the budget sorted.
Bloglovin/blogs – lots of other bloggers have written about their weddings and happily share their thoughts, photos and vendors, which is a great way of finding inspiration.
Being a wedding guest – lots of my friends have been getting married recently and I’ve been inspired by their ideas, one of my recently married pals is even giving me some candle holders to use.
Wedding magazines – to be honest these are a bit of a ripoff as they’re mostly adverts but if you find one in a hairdresser’s or dentist’s have a flick through.
Wedding fairs – there are the big expensive ones in convention centres that cost a lot to go to, and then there are smaller ones hosted by venues, that are often free, and are a great way of seeing what’s available where you are. I’m off to one on Sunday just to get some more ideas.
Specialist websites/apps – I came across Guides for Brides, which is basically a directory of wedding venues and vendors. They also have a free app you can download to help keep track of your vendors and budget. There are loads of other wedding planner apps too.
Have you got any suggestions from your own wedding planning or just things you’ve come across? Something you really liked at a wedding you went to? Share in the comments below.