This past weekend marks the 6 month count down until my *Big Day*. Some people have said that we are a bit ambitious to undertake planning a wedding in 6 months but I insist it can be done! For those of you out there in the process of planning your special day, and those of you you just might need to bookmark this page for the future, here is my list of what needs to be done 6 months before walking down that aisle...
For Farmboy and myself this was pretty easy...we are getting married on his Dairy Farm here in Natal. But if you don't happen to have a handy family farm, then I would suggest scouring your favourite wedding blogs for wedding venues (even better, look at local wedding blogs like The Pretty Blog for posts of their latest *real* weddings to get a feel for what sort of venue you are after.) Most big/fancy/popular venues require booking up to (and sometimes, over) a year in advance.
If you aren't quite engaged yet but are planning on getting there soon it wouldn't hurt to keep your ears open for openings at your favourite venue(s). If you do choose to go the slightly less traditional route like we are, you need to do lots of thinking about the practical side of things. For example, where will everyone stay? Is it close to the airport? Are there facilities for caterers? Is there a church nearby? Where will your cereony be held? If there is a chance the weather is going to be iffy, do you have a plan B?
All of the above WERE not properly thought out when we decided on the farm, but we are just going to make it work for us. Luckily, it all seems to be running to plan so far, we shall see if it continues to do so!
On that note, your venue might determine the time of the year that you have the wedding. Ideally you need to choose a rough month/season/day but this might all be determined by the availability of your venue. As the venue wasn't an issue for us, we had to worry about my studies and in particular, when I actually have holidays in order to have the wedding and then to go on honeymoon. Keep all of these factors in mind when choosing the time of the year and the venue.
Before you decide on a caterer, you need to have a rough idea in mind of the type of food you are wanting your guests to eat. This will also depend on the time of day you choose to have your ceremony. For us, having it on the farm means that a lot of people will be traveling very far (and with the limited options for accommodation) they will be coming for the day and the zooting off back to the airport. So, we needed to take this into consideration and are therefore having a day wedding. Our main meal is therefore lunch. As it will be Spring for us, and to cut down a little for the budget, we are choosing a buffet style meal with more of an informal mezze type feel with Canape starters. It helps if you have a few idea's in mind before meeting with different caterers as they will ask you loads of questions! Bear in mind you might need to phone ahead to make an appointment with caterers to ensure they give you their undivided attention when discussing your wedding.
Remember to always get more than 1 quote for the food. We have decided on a catering company based in Durban as I was offered the best service (so far!) but it is costing a little more as they have to travel all the way out to our venue. If you are having a location wedding, make sure you find out exactly how much they charge per kilometer, and whether they are able to travel before getting into the nitty gritty of the menu.
Some catering companies also offer decor hire (for things like your plates, knives & forks etc) but others you will have to source those items separately.
The reason I have put the Budget as the third item in this list is because I'm not sure how you set a budget without getting an idea of what things cost. If you are fortunate enough to have your Dad pay for the wedding, it is important to be able to show him 'proof' of what things cost as opposed to just guessing. Also, prices will definitely have changed from his time so make sure you give him a good idea of roughly what the costs are before setting a budget. If you and your fiancee are paying for the wedding, it is also important to get an idea for yourself of what these things cost so that you can work out where you can save money, and where you might not be able to cut costs.
We are wanting to do a lot of DIY elements in our wedding so that at the end of the day we can say that we are a part of each and every single element of the day. This is a great way to save on costs, and with the help of gorgeous wedding blogs like The Pretty Blog, GreenWeddingShoes & 100LayerCake you can add your own personal touch without looking tacky.
Draw up a spreadsheet on Excel to help you with putting your budget together, or download one from the internet. I found a great one from LoveCelebration (click here) which has helped me so far to get my budget in order. Once you have finalised your budget then you have to stick to it! This is the hardest part of planning your wedding but it really important. Decide what is the most important elements for you as a couple, and then go from there. For us, the photographer is high up on our list of priorities, and is even higher up than my wedding dress :) You just need to work together and decide what you really want, and then compromise, compromise compromise!
**This is a list I have complied from my experience thus far in planning my own wedding. I am by no means an expert and I'm sure I have probably left one or two things out. I would love to hear from you if you have any tips or idea's for planning your wedding, especially if you have been through it yourself! Feel free to leave a comment below, I'd love to hear from you**