A Guide To Planning Your Wedding

Bride surrounded by candles | Essex Wedding Planner

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Let’s cut straight to the chase, as romantic and fun as wedding planning sounds, the harsh reality is it can be stressful and overwhelming at times.  You have been riding high in engagement heaven, to then come back down to reality with an almighty bang, and now find yourself in unfamiliar wedding planning territory.

Fuelled by excitement and enthusiasm as you begin planning your wedding day, to then be left feeling deflated once the realisation of how many decisions need to be made, and how many options need to be considered before these decisions can be made.

In order that the planning process runs smoothly, I will always carry out a little groundwork when I begin working with a couple to establish three important factors, budget, guests and vision.

Once these three elements have been discussed and agreed, I will then work with a couple to create their list of priorities for their wedding day.

For some, this will be treating their guests to copious amounts of delicious food and free flowing beverages. Whilst, for others aesthetics are everything and list show stopping floral installations and flawless linens and tableware as absolute must haves for their big day. Whatever their priorities maybe, it is vital that these are established early on, as this will not only assist me with budget allocation, but will also allow me to decide the order in which I will research, suggest and book each element of their wedding.

Now, I know that not every couple will be working with a wedding planner. So, throughout this blog post I will be sharing with you why I believe agreeing your budget, vision, guest list and priorities is an essential first step when embarking on your wedding planning journey, as well as a guide as to which order you may wish to consider booking your key wedding day suppliers.


All to often a couples vision for their wedding day is just not achievable with the budget they have available to plan their wedding. This is mainly down to a couple carrying out little or no research on the true cost of weddings, as well as being unaware as to how many elements will make up their wedding day. Another huge factor is Pinterest and Instagram.  Whilst these social media platforms offer the most wonderful array of styling inspiration to engaged couples, it is important to remember that they should be used as inspiration rather than falling head over heels for a particular style of wedding which can not be achieved without an unlimited wedding budget.

Establishing a clear budget at the very beginning of your wedding planning journey will help you to identify the wedding that you can achieve with the funds you have available.

First of all, work out how much you are able to save each month towards your wedding, and how many months you have to save before your wedding day.

Secondly, if you have savings, discuss and agree a figure you are willing to allocate from your savings to your wedding day fund.

Finally, have that awkward conversation with your nearest and dearest, and find out if any of your family members intend to contribute to your special day. If family members are happy to help with the cost of your wedding, you may also want to establish if they would like to pay for a particular element, such as the brides dress, wedding cake, florals, or if they will be gifting an amount to spend on your wedding as you please.


Just as important as agreeing a budget, putting together a draft guest list is a vital task which should be carried out at the beginning of your wedding planning journey. This list will no doubt alter slightly, especially for couples who are planning their wedding 18 months – 2 years in advance.  However, having a clear idea of your guest numbers early on will ensure that you only shortlist venues that can accommodate the number of guests who will be attending your wedding, as well as ensuring you only consider venues whose minimum guest numbers are not higher than your guest list.


In a ideal world you both envisage the same style of wedding, leaving you free to brainstorm, get creative, and lose yourself in wedding planning glory. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Discuss with your partner key elements of your wedding day such as the style of venue you will be choosing.  Maybe you are considering an established venue such as a country estate or a converted barn.  Or,  you could be  hoping to host your wedding reception within an elegant marquee or a festival themed tipi, following a ceremony at your local church. Agreeing the style of wedding you will be hosting early on will then allow you to make further decisions, such as the season to choose, the colour palette you select, the style of dress you wear and so on.

Let the planning begin

Now the foundations have been laid, you can begin the exciting task of planning your wedding.

I would alway recommend securing your venue as soon as you are able, with many venues accepting bookings two years in advance. Remember, if you have chosen a civil ceremony you will need to ensure there is a registrar available to conduct your ceremony at the preferred time.

Catering is another key element for your wedding day. So, if this is not provided in-house you will need to begin researching caterers pretty much as soon as the booking has been confirmed with your venue.  Many venues will ask you to select a caterer from their recommended list, so be sure to discuss this with your venue before a caterer is confirmed.

Also top of the to do list once your venue has been confirmed is securing remaining key suppliers such as photographers, videographers, florists, entertainment, stationery and not forgetting the brides dress.  I usually suggest securing each of these suppliers in order of your priority.  So, if you are wanting to book a florist who will create breathtaking installations on your wedding day, you need to confirm your florist before another bride does. Similarly, if you have a particular band or DJ in mind it’s important to remember that they can only commit to one event a night, so the sooner they are booked the better.

Once your key suppliers have been booked you can then move onto the remaining factors such as transportation, grooms suit, wedding party attire, brides accessories, cake, hair stylist and make up artist, favours and any additional styling items you are considering.

I’m hoping that my guide to planning your wedding has helped to set you on the right track and you are now ready to embrace the wonderful world of wedding planning.

If however you require further assistance and are planning your wedding within Essex, Suffolk, Kent, Hertfordshire or Cambridgeshire, please take a look at my website where you will find information on my wedding planning services.

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A guide To Planning Your wedding | Essex Wedding Planner


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Essex wedding planner Hayley Jayne Weddings & Events in garden

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Hayley Jayne Weddings & Events
Brentwood, Essex

01277 226785
07889 171453

About Hayley

With a keen eye for detail, organisational skills that are second to none and the love of a “to do” list it was inevitable that Hayley would become an events planner. She started her career within the legal profession and was a Personal Assistant for 14 years before training with the UKAWP to become a professional wedding and events planner and then going on to launch “Hayley Jayne Weddings & Events”.

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Hayley Jayne Weddings & Events trained with the UKAWP