WINNER - Countryside Wedding Venue of the Year 2023

Your Essential Wedding Planning Checklist

July 11, 2022

Recently engaged? Here's a checklist of the essentials so you can plan your Wedding stress-free!

The anticipation and excitement for your wedding can often be overshadowed by the realities of planning. At The Willows, we aim to help your wedding worries fade and ensure your big day is everything you dreamed it to be. 

1. Start with setting a Wedding Budget

For many, their wedding will be the most expensive event of their life. Making sure that you and your fiance are happy with the amount set and have an agreed ‘wiggle room’ is important. Break the budget down into the venue, dresses and tailoring, catering, flowers, decor, entertainment, transportation, hair and makeup, photography and suppliers. Use a spreadsheet to keep track of spending along the way.

2. Decide on a Wedding Date

First, the season, month, and finally the day. The ideal wedding destination will differ depending on the time of year and availability but giving a venue a couple of possible dates is the safest way to bet you’ll get your chosen wedding venue. Some people may like to check their dates with friends and family, however most will already have a special time of year in mind for their nuptials.

3. Start planning your guestlist!

The idea of inviting everyone you know may not be realistic – nor what you really want come to think of it! Whittling the list down could be challenging, so consider your budget and possible venues. In some cases, a smaller ceremony and grander reception might be more suitable.

4. Choose a theme

Okay, we aren’t talking 70s throwback or British icons, but knowing how formal you would like the reception to be and the decor of your venue is vital. Whether you want a boho wedding like The Willows offers, an outdoor wedding abroad (away from the unpredictable weather in England), or a more intimate micro-wedding venue, the theme will influence the venue selection. Ensure the budget can accommodate the formality and that enough warning is given if your guests have a dress code to adhere to.

5. Search for your dream Wedding Venue

You may have had the location in mind since you visited as a child; or maybe you’re still searching! Either way, we recommend using directories such as Hitched and Bridebook to browse some of the best venue options in the country. The budget, date, guest list and theme should all reflect in your venue. Will the ceremony and reception take place at the same location? How will you be transported? Will the ceremony be religious? Unsure what questions to ask your prospective Wedding Venue? Check out our blog giving you a step-by-step guide to ensure you leave no stone unturned!

6. Check availability with registrars local to your venue

The legal aspect of the wedding will differ for each couple and venue. When officiating your marriage at  The Willows, you will need to book the registrars through Gateshead Council for the day of your wedding. The time of your ceremony will depend on when the registrar’s office has availability. Be sure to check availability with the local registrar’s office before booking your venue!

7. Now it’s time to think about Wedding Suppliers

Catering (where applicable – many venues offer catering as part of their package), wedding cake, photographer, videographer, florist, decor, stationary, entertainment; the list can be as extensive as you like. Depending on your preferences some may be of greater importance than others.  Don’t forget that these decisions are yours to make; menu choices, and cake all need to be what you would like so don’t be afraid to take control. Some venues will have lists of suppliers that they have worked with in the past; if you need recommendations, just ask. At The Willows, we give you the freedom to choose your own suppliers but our wedding team will be more than happy to point you in the right direction!

8. The dress of dreams or the tux of the moment?

Now for arguably the most important part of it all. Finding the right attire! This is never going to be easy, and sticking to the budget is even harder. Try to relate to the theme and venue when choosing options and take a loved one along for a second opinion. It can be overwhelming; the outfit of your dreams may turn out to be completely different from the one you’d envisaged. Go with what feels right to you now.

Wedding image at The Willows wedding venue

9. Save the dates & invites

It’s 2022 and the way of the world is changing, but receiving a tactile invite to a wedding will never grow old for guests. The budget for these should not be stretched. Let’s be honest, many guests will throw them away as soon as the day has finished so while you may want them to be pretty, don’t go overboard on cost! Incorporate a theme if you have one, but the most important parts are the date, time, location and dress code. RSVPs are helpful also to keep track of the number of attendees.

10. Bridesmaids & Groomsmen

They will be standing next to you and in most of your pictures after all! Making sure that their outfits fit the theme, complimenting the couple and making them feel confident is a way to ensure your day is enjoyable for everyone. If the theme can be carried through into their outfits, look at trying to do that. Consider also whether you would like them all to be matching or different?

Bride and Groom with children at Newcastle upon Tyne boho wedding venue

We want to make sure that celebrating is all you have to do when the day comes. Your wedding coordinator at The Willows will be sure to keep you on track while answering any of your questions.

Your next chapter

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