You’ve just got engaged – whoop!! Congratulations!

You've just got engaged – whoop!! Congratulations! ~ Sussex celebrant Claire Bradford of Creating Ceremony
Photo by Jasmine Carter from Pexels

My first tip to you is to enjoy the glow of the moment for a good while before you start looking at all the magazines, articles, websites and blog posts on the subject of what you ‘need’ for your wedding. This stuff can be overwhelming, exhausting and suck the joy out of your upcoming nuptials faster than a brand new Dyson set to max. 

However, here you are, reading this, so I guess it’s too late for my first tip. So I’ll give you my second – take all those aforementioned magazines, books and websites (including this one) with a big pinch of salt. 

They’re supposed to inspire you, not overwhelm you; they’re supposed to give you a glimpse of what’s possible, not inform you as to what you ‘must’ do. Listen to your heart and to your beloved, not to a writer you’ve never met before (or your aunt Marge, who claims to know how all your family weddings ‘should’ be run…) 

My third tip is this: work out what’s most important to you about this wedding (it really helps here to know what’s important to you about getting married in the first place…) 

Are you all about getting your friends and family all together for one big, music-filled party? Or maybe you’re not so into big crowds of people and would prefer a smaller group of guests, with all of you enjoying an exquisite meal together, for instance? 

Have you been dreaming about your wedding outfit since you were a kid, or could you not care less about what you wear, so long as you get to snog the face off your beloved?

Make a note of all of this – get excited together about the things that you’re really looking forward to and bin-off anything that doesn’t matter to you (even if it’s ‘the done thing’).

Working out what’s really important to you will help in a number of situations:

  • You will have ammo for ‘argusations’ with well-meaning friends/relatives/wedding suppliers who are hell-bent on telling you what you ‘should’ have, even if you couldn’t care less about it.
  • It will make budgeting for your big day much easier. For example, if you’re not that into fancy food, consider getting your guests to bring some, pot luck style… then you can splash out on an awesome band or amazing bell tents for your guests to camp in.
  • It will help you not lose your head if you go round a wedding fair or flip through a wedding magazine full of things you’ve never heard of but now you’re worrying are essential.
  • You can remind yourself what you’re doing this for when things get a little crazy-making in the planning stages and you feel like jacking it all in…

Now I know you’re not far down the line, and I’m also aware that I told you not to read advice from the likes of me too early in the game… But…

My fourth and final tip will hopefully be useful to you when you set out on your wedding planning journey. Your first step will most likely be looking around for suitable venues, so it’s important that you know this before you start: you don’t have to have a licensed venue for your wedding.

Licensed venues can host a registrar-led wedding, but if you decide on a bespoke, personalised ceremony with a celebrant, you can do it anywhere (within reason, obvs…) 

So all of a sudden you have a lot more choice – borrow a field from a local farmer, use your garden, hire the village hall, rent out your favourite pub for the day… The choices are endless, and you can find somewhere that reflects who you are perfectly.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use a licensed venue with a celebrant! We can perform wedding ceremonies just about anywhere, licensed or unlicensed.

Some venues have cottoned on to us celebrants but others still haven’t yet, so your venue will possibly tell you to book a registrar as soon as possible to fix the date. This can instil a bit of panic in couples, but you need fret not, dear reader! If you are using a celebrant then you don’t need to book the registrar to come to the venue on the same day (unless you want to, but be aware it will be a lot more expensive and a bit of a faff). 

Anyway, you’ve got a million choices to make and I’ve just given you even more to think about. Follow my earlier tips and don’t get overwhelmed by all this. 

If you’re set on a church or registrar-led wedding, you can erase all this from your brain and get on with the rest of your day. If not, hopefully this nugget of information will inspire you to broaden your horizons when you’re looking at venues and thinking about your ceremony.

Good luck, and if you want to chat through your options, don’t hesitate to get in touch today.