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The Essential Wedding Planning Guide

So, you have recently gotten engaged, you have told your nearest and dearest, but what do you do now? Festive Lights ran a survey that has been featured in Bride magazine of 1009 people in the UK. It showed that most people got engaged over the festive period, meaning it’s twice as popular as Valentines day! (click here to see the article).

All of you lovely couples who got engaged over the festive period, now is the perfect time to start getting serious about planning your big day. But where do you start? That’s where I come in, this guide is your next step to wedding planning!

Image – Festive lights

Make a guest list

I always think that it is important to set your guest list before you decide on a venue as some venues have minimum or maximum numbers, so you don’t want to fall in love with a venue then have to start cutting your guest list because they can’t fit in everyone you want to invite.

Do you want a small, intimate wedding with just close friends and family or do you want a larger wedding? Are you inviting children? Are you including friends’ partners that you have not met? Sit down with your partner and make a first draft then tally up how many people are on it. You can work from there to add or remove people.

Choose a venue/ Set a date

Have a think about the type of venue you would like and then set up a wedding tour at a few venues that fall into this category. Do you love the idea of getting married in a castle, or is a casual rustic barn more your style? Would you prefer a hotel so that your guests can stay in the venue or would you like a manor house?

Image – Festive lights

Is there a date that is special to you and your partner? Perhaps the anniversary of when you first met, or your first kiss, or even a parents’ anniversary or month or season that you both love. Would you love a winter wedding with beautiful pictures in the snow, or do you fancy a warm summer wedding? Sometimes your dream wedding venue may not have your date available so there has to be a little give and take on this.

Decide on colours/ theme

Your colour theme helps you to plan a lot of aspects of your wedding day. Choosing a set colour scheme or theme can tie in your bridesmaids’ dresses, kilts/ suits, flowers, table decorations and lighting etc. Do you love a dusky pink or blues or greens? What colour would suit your venue and your personality. Do you want elegant and classy or a rustic DIY theme, or even a fun theme like 1920s, Alice in Wonderland or Game of Thrones?

Image – Festive lights


The lighting at your wedding can completely transform your venue from normal to amazing. It really helps to set the atmosphere for the day and will look so beautiful in photographs. Lighting can highlight features of your wedding day, and it can be used to showcase some of the beautiful details of your venue, I.e. your table decorations etc.

Whether you are DIY-ing it with fairy lights in jars around your tables, strung up around your rustic barn or going the whole hog with light up letters to spell out you and your partner’s name, or festoon lighting and curtain lights on the walls, the lighting will make your wedding venue look even more spectacular.

Image – Festive lights

Why not click here and check out Festive Lights wedding lighting, they have every kind of lighting you could imagine for your big day.

Book suppliers

Once you have your date and venue booked it is time to start booking your wedding suppliers. If you don’t know where to start with wedding suppliers then why not visit a wedding exhibition (read my 6 tips on visiting a wedding exhibition here).

It is always best to book your preferred wedding suppliers as soon as possible so that another couple doesn’t come along and book them for your date. Most suppliers will expect a deposit/retainer fee to secure your wedding date with them. Just ensure you are happy with their terms and conditions, both sign and contract, and get a receipt.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog and that it has helped you get a start on your wedding planning. Planning your big day is so much fun so remember to enjoy yourself. I would love to know which of these aspects of wedding planning you have sorted out and what you are still working on. Leave me a comment and let me know.



*Collaborative with information from a press release from Festive Lights*


20 thoughts on “The Essential Wedding Planning Guide

  1. This is just what I have been looking for. We got engaged on Christmas morning and we are just about to start planning. I am looking for a barn, I’m so in love with all of the lights strung up on the barn here.

  2. I went for a venue that was going to be much bigger than needed (just incase). I remember when we went in for a meeting they told me that they would section a bit of the room up so it didn’t look empty which was pretty cool. Stayed a bit more intimate that way I think.

  3. Ahh! This is so great! We are constantly hunting for blog posts to help us! We are going super DIY so this is a great guide. Even though it’s 16m away I feel I need to seriously start thinking about the details!

    I was recommended your blog by a friend and honest I have been looking through all your old blogs! It’s just great! Thanks so much! I am on tenderhooks waiting for the next one!

  4. Love reading this blog always full of great ideas. Such good ideas about the lights and very helpful to anyone planning a wedding. Now away to look at the festive lights website 😍

    1. Hello heather so glad that you are enjoying our blog, I’m always so happy to hear when our posts are useful! Enjoy looking at their website, so many gorgeous lights to choose from.

  5. Hi, I’m not planning a wedding (had mine 5 years ago, wish I could do it again!) but I came across your blog via a friend and can definitely agree that lighting can make a massive difference to your big day. As a wedding photographer, light is so important and I’ve seen many venues transformed thanks to fairy lights, uplighting or even some dramatic spotlights! Great article

    1. Hello Kirsty! Thank you so much for your input, we totally agree! Lighting is key for weddings! So glad you are enjoying bride to beauty blog!

  6. Great tips for the planning of a wedding. We all want it to be the best day ever and that takes planning even if the wedding is a small one. I remember I had to get married within 3 months (I am from Switzerland) in order not to get deported .. and it was summer. Talking about planning.

  7. Great basics! Gotta have a good foundation from which to build upon. When I planned my wedding many many years ago, we had the reception in the back yard at my father-in-law’s house, and lighting was crucial! It was also fun to come up with the ideas of where to put the lights and decorations.

    1. Hi Michele

      So glad you enjoyed this post, so true lighting is so important, its so much fun as well designing where it will all go!

  8. I love your blog so much. I read every blog and there’s so many good tips. I recommend to all my friends and people I know also planning weddings. I had a look on festivelights websites and it’s everything I’ve been looking for! Feeling inspired and at such great prices I’m excited to start planning lighting and dyi decorations on a budget. Thanks again for great advice and tips.

    1. Hello Julie! Ohh you have made my day! I am so glad you love our blog! Do feel free to let us know if there are any topics you would like to see some posts about! Really glad you have enjoyed looking around the festive lights website, they have so much amazing lighting on offer! Perfect for a DIY bride.

  9. I wish I’d had this earlier, but it’s still really helpful as we work through the details like lighting and flowers. Visiting the sites really helps!

    1. Hello Jen 🙂 So glad you are enjoying the blog. Feel free to check out some of our other posts on wedding planning!

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