So, you engaged recently and wonder where to start on your wedding planning journey. Or maybe you’ve got a big birthday or anniversary you want to celebrate this year, but maybe you’re wondering if it’s even possible to start planning a wedding or event in a pandemic. We might not have been able to have Christmas and New Year together as we’d hoped but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue celebrating. I’m here to tell you that now is the perfect time to start planning that big event. Let’s keep the excitement going.

First things first

The first thing might seem self-serving. But, if you go trawling around the help groups on the internet looking for the answer, you’ll get a million different replies and not necessarily accurate information. The absolute most important thing you need right now is clarity and you won’t get that from asking a million strangers. One specific problem needs one specific response and a level-headed one at that.

A wedding planner can help you with more than just wedding planning. We’re keeping our eyes and ears open for our customers so we’re on the front foot of any new information that comes out. We’ll also do the research for you on what’s allowed in your area, before offering advice!

So, where do you start?

Can you even start planning anything?

Short answer yes you can start planning, even now. There are actually lots of things you can start thinking about even if firm plans or confirmations cannot be made right at this moment. The thing is if you wait until the announcement that things are getting ‘back to normal’ before making any party plans you might find that the dates or venue or suppliers you want to use aren’t available, or that you’ve really got no time at all to make those plans.

Venue First

For most events, I suggest starting with the venue. Get an idea of the kinds of places you like, and the prices involved. You’ll find a lot of the information you need is available online, but some venues tend to make prices a little harder to find unless you specifically love that venue, I say move on to one that won’t add you to a mailing list just for making a one-off inquiry.  It may be fairly obvious, but the posher the venue, the higher the price is likely to be, so a scout around websites will give you some idea of the kind of budget you’ll need.

Alternatively, you can ask someone like me to offer some advice on the kinds of venues that might suit your budget if you already have an idea of how much you’d like to spend. I also offer advice on the kinds of extras that you might not be aware you need to think about with some types of venues. For instance, a community hall is likely to be a lot cheaper to hire than a hotel function room, however, you’ll need to figure out catering separately and that means thinking about plates, cutlery, glassware, drinks, etc. It can work out very cost-effective but may take a bit more planning and time than you think.

Wedding Venue

Photo Credit Andrew Wilkinson

What can you do next?

Your choice of venue is very much going to dictate a lot of your other decisions, but decoration will likely be required wherever you want to hold your party, wedding, or event. The great news is that most suppliers are standing by eager for new inquiries and ready to have a good chat with you. So long as you know the approximate location you’re planning to hold your event, they should be able to give you a pretty good idea of the prices involved in what you need.

You can also start looking at things like menus because it always takes longer than you think to decide what food to serve, especially if you’re using a venue that doesn’t have its own catering provision.

Wedding flowers

Who do you invite?

Guest lists are another thing to start looking at early in the process. Having the number of guests in mind will help you when looking for a venue and building your budget. Write out that guest list, leave it for a day or two then go back to it and you might realise you’ve forgotten someone obviously (it happens more often than you realise). You might also decide that you’d rather make your reception an adults-only zone, in which case you need to start making that clear as you edge toward sending out invites.

Vikki Richman and bride

Want to know more?

This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what you can start doing right now for your next big bash. And, even if you think things might be put back a bit, we’re on the home straight now for parties to return, so now is the time to get into the planning. And if you need a hand, I’m here ready and raring to go X

Vikki Richman – Your Wedding Friend – member of the Athena Network Luton