How are you finding your wedding planning? Let’s be honest, it can be a bit overwhelming? You’ve signed up to a few search platforms, such as Hitched and Bridebook, and you’re busy searching Google, Facebook and Instagram for the right venue.

Of course, now you’re being bombarded by emails and wedding related content is following you all over the internet. So where do you start!?

Don’t worry, we have your back! Here are my FIVE top tips to starting your wedding planning journey based on helping many couples to get happily married at Godwick over the past decade and more:

  1. Guests Come First: Before diving into other aspects, create a complete guest list. This will give you an accurate count and help with budgeting. Having a solid guest count is crucial when searching for venues to ensure everyone fits comfortably. Also remember, the more guests, the more it will cost, it’s a simple fact!
  2. Venue next: But before you start looking, get your requirements as a couple agreed. Go through the weddings you have attended recently, and list what it was you liked about them? Was it the location, the vibe, the food, the party…or the accommodation. Was it being outside for the ceremony or was it the stunning inside ceremonyscape… was it the personal touch of a celebrant or the religious meaning of a church wedding. Compare your list and then you can work out my next tip!
  3. Non-negotiables: Do you have any, if so make a list of them? It could be things like having onsite accommodation; or accessibility of the venue or the accommodation for those less mobile; alcohol and corkage policy as you’d like to provide your own wine; or choosing your own catering as you’re a big foodie; or is the venue pet friendly as you won’t walk up the aisle unless you have your best friend with you. Whatever it is, make a list! You need to check these things out as you search for the right venue.
  4. Time of year… when do you want to get married? Is it this year, next year or maybe two years time… and is there a particular season, or even a date that is special to you? If you have a specific date in mind then you will need to book further ahead, because you have much less wiggle room to co-ordinate the availability of all your chosen suppliers. Remember summer is busiest, but if you have flexibility over whether it is on a weekend or not, then there are many more weekday dates available than weekends. Thursday is the new Saturday BTW…!
  5. Where do you feel comfortable? Consider what sort of environment you are most comfortable in. Are you at home in a stately home in your morning suit, or do feel more relaxed in a tweed suit in a barn in the country? Other venue types are available, of course! Try and get a sense of where suits you best as a couple. Formal, informal… something in the middle. If you have a sense of this, you will be in tune with what feels like the right venue for you and when you start visiting places, you will know when you walk in the doors that you’ve hit the JACKPOT…. Good Luck!

by  James Garner, owner of Godwick Hall and Great Barn