Just got engaged?
Congratulations! The Xmas break is an amazing time for couples, it’s normally a time for family to get together and celebrate. So, not surprisingly, it’s also a very popular time for people to get engaged. I should know, this is when my fab wife Helen and I got engaged!
However, it’s all too easy in all the Xmas hustle and bustle for someone who has just got engaged to get their priorities slightly wrong.
Expert help and advice
After all, this is the first time you will start planning something as big as a wedding. So, to help, I have a few suggestions based on my experience of about 50 weddings each year.
Despite an awful 2020 in our industry, love is not cancelled, and there is light at the end of the tunnel for the Covid crisis, so as restrictions are relaxed next year, this advice should stand.
Here are 5 most important things to do once you have just got engaged:
1: Tell everyone!
Chances are you told all your close family and friends over Christmas. This is the time to let everyone else you know that you are engaged to be married. Do make sure you tell your nearest and dearest first though, you wouldn’t want them to find out via social media!
You may even want to plan an engagement party. This is a great time of the year to do so as most venues and suppliers are not heavily booked at this time, and fees are much less, although with the covid crisis, the only way to do this may be with an online party.
2: Set a date for the wedding.
Do you want a long engagement, or a short engagement? Think about what time of the year you would both love to get married. A spring wedding allows you to celebrate when life returns to our beautiful countryside. Flowers are everywhere, it’s the start of the seasons really. It’s not too hot, and not too cold.
A summer wedding gives you more chances of guaranteeing glorious weather. But it could be a little too hot as seen on a few days last summer! If you get hay fever, it’s best to think about a different time of the year. An autumn wedding is full of warm cosiness.
Autumnal smells, the crunch of leaves underfoot… There are so many fabulous ideas to be used for theming. A winter wedding is festive and spectacular – just imagine your wedding photos if it snows! It’s a magical family time for many people.
A little bit of a heads up for 2021; as the coronavirus crisis has reaped havoc on the wedding industry, many 2020 couples have moved their weddings to 2021, 2022, and 2023, so you may find dates are difficult to accommodate with venues and vendors.
3: Book the registrars and the venue.
Think about which kind of venue you want for your wedding, and set a budget. Maybe you want a luxury hotel, a Royal Historic Palace, a rustic barn, or a country house? Or perhaps a marquee in a relative’s garden, a village hall, a golf club, a woodland or beach venue, or even a pub? You may wish to have a religious service in a church, a civil ceremony, either at a venue, or in a Register Office. Or, why not use a great celebrant to exchange vows in a woodland, a beach or a field for a very personal ceremony?
Sometimes, less is more. If your budget will not allow a big wedding in a fancy venue, how about hiring a village hall and getting a specialist to decorate it? This makes for a fabulous celebration whilst saving a fortune. You can then prioritise and have, for example, a better photographer or catering company, or more guests. Make a shortlist, and find out what the experience is like with each. What are the facilities and costs, what is included? Read through the terms and conditions, read reviews from past clients etc… Once you have shortlisted and researched your venues, book your favourite. At this time of the year, lots of people make their final choices, so it’s important to make this decision in a timely manner.
4: Book the high priority vendors.
The very best vendors offer a bespoke service are usually booked well over a year in advance even on weekdays. As I said earlier, this year could be a bit tricky with the continuing covid crisis. It’s really so important for you to think about your priorities.
For example, is amazing food your absolute priority? Go to tastings with the catering company and narrow your choices down, then book your favourite. Have you seen a photographer whose work you love? Book them now! Or maybe a band or an expert DJ who you have seen which are way better than anyone else? You know what to do!
Once vendors like these are booked, they are booked, so they will not be available for another wedding on the same day.
5: Look for that dress!
Now is the time for you to go and look for the dress as the really time sensitive stuff has been taken care of. I don’t need to give you any advice on this as it is so much down to personal taste and style. And to be totally honest, I really don’t know anything about wedding dresses!!!
I do however know a fab wedding dress shop that you should absolutely visit: Proposals Wedding Boutique, Chichester – great service from a great wedding dress specialist in Chichester . Ashley and the team are just amazing; please make an appointment to visit them.
6: BONUS TIP!
January, February and March traditionally have a lot of venue open days and wedding fairs running. Again, this year will be a little different, but as they reopen after the lockdowns, the advice should still be useful. You may even find some virtual open days are offered.
As the venue open days usually feature high quality suppliers trusted by venues to do an amazing job, and provide exceptional service, it’s essential to visit these.
Wedding fairs are a somewhat less useful as they are mainly just a collection of exhibitors who pay for a stand, so they often don’t have the best suppliers exhibiting, and therefore quality is not common or guaranteed. You can find me at these amazing venue open days.
How I can help you?
Find the best vendors for your big day
On this website, there is a lot of useful information for my clients and anyone planning the most important day of their lives. For example, as I am an award winning full time professional Wedding DJ and Master of Ceremonies in this industry, I know a lot of other trusted wedding professionals.
These include caterers, florists, photographers, videographers. They also work to a very high standard, and give their clients excellent service. Look out specially for the supplier spotlight series I ran in 2020 to highlight the best of the best.
Everything he did on the day and on the lead-up to it with the planning meetings really helped put our minds at ease and talking through the day with him (with how much time to allow for each aspect) really helped our organisation. Nothing was too much trouble and he pulled out all the stops in finding our music choices, however obscure. The table quiz and the Mr and Mrs game was great fun and a real highlight. Once the disco started the dance floor was never empty – the sign of a great DJ
Ben & Jen Woolger
I have worked in many venues all over the South East and beyond. So I do know many wedding venues, how they work, and what my clients love about them. Please do get in touch for a chat about these, it will be a real pleasure to help and chat about your ideas. I have listed my favourites for each county below, and have written useful reviews and wedding venue guides about these. Check out the photos I have taken whilst working there:
If you are specifically looking for a rustic, traditional or rural barn venue, I have a list of them for you to explore here.
I am also recommended by a selection of venues based on the quality of my work. You can find these here: venues which recommend Brian Mole.
- Judge, 2021, The Wedding Industry Awards
- National Highly Commended Wedding DJ of the year 2019, The Wedding Industry Awards
- Winner, Wedding DJ of the year 2019, South East region, The Wedding Industry Awards
- Winner, Wedding DJ of the year 2018, South East region, The Wedding Industry Awards.
Despite 2020 being such an awful year on so many fronts, I wish you all the best for 2021, and look forward to meeting you for a virtual chat.