As a Northern Ireland Wedding Photographer that goes to a LOT of Weddings, I understand how stressful it can be to plan the perfect day. From selecting the right dress to picking out a venue, there are a lot of details that need to be attended to. To help make sure nothing is overlooked, I’ve created a comprehensive wedding checklist for brides. This checklist will ensure that you’ve thought of everything and that you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your big day without worrying about forgotten details. You'll be able to download and print off a checklist at the bottom of this blog for you to tick off. Below, I've written some tips on the essential items you’ll need to check off your wedding checklist in order to have the perfect wedding day. Enjoy!
Work out a Budget & Think about dates: Organising a wedding (hopefully) isn't something that people do many times in their lives. The cost of everything can be overwhelming at first. Sit down with your partner and work out roughly how many people will be attending & what sort of wedding you want. Some folks like to have everything paid off before the wedding or others don't mind putting it on the credit card. Either way, hatch a plan! Also, think about when you want your wedding - there's lots of pluses to having a wedding in the off-season (November-March) but I always strongly advise couples to have an early ceremony, as it'll get dark sooner and we won't have as much light for photographs!
Venue: Booking the venue is always near the top of the list. Northern Ireland has some of the most stunning wedding venues in the world. With its lush green landscapes, rugged coastlines and breathtaking castles, you’ll be spoilt for choice. If your ceremony is taking place at an off-site location such as a church, check with the parish secretary for their availability first. Check that the price is locked in or subject to change, and ask if you can have rooms reserved over for guests.
Photographer: Book an experienced Northern Ireland wedding photographer to capture all the special moments. Don't go off the price alone, check out a few photographers and go with the one you feel you can connect with most. You're going to be looking at these photos for the rest of your life so make sure you've found one whose style you really love. Most photographers enjoy having a chat with potential clients - so ask if you can meet up for a coffee. They might also bring along samples of their wedding albums, if you're planning on getting one. If your dream photographer isn't available on your date, ask them for a few recommendations.
Videographer: If you’d like a video footage of the day, your photographer may be in a great position to recommend someone that they work alongside with regularly. Videographers offer a wide variety of packages (highlights, full-ceremony, speeches, reels). Make sure you know what you're getting before confirming.
Florist: When choosing a wedding florist, it is important to consider the style, quality and cost of the arrangements. Research florists in your area and look for ones that specialise in wedding arrangements. Ask for referrals from friends, family or wedding planners to get a good idea of the quality of their work. Once you have a few potential florists in mind, arrange a consultation to discuss your vision, budget and any other details. Make sure to bring in photos of your dress, the bridesmaids dresses and even the venue to get a better idea of the overall look you are going for. Ask to see photographs of previous events and make sure that the florist understands your vision. Finally, get a detailed quote outlining the costs of each flower, the delivery charges and any other fees.
Wedding Dress: Choosing your wedding dress is an exciting part of wedding planning. To ensure you are selecting the perfect dress for your special day, here are a few tips to consider. Start by creating a budget and researching different styles, silhouettes, and fabrics to understand what you like. When shopping for your wedding dress, try on different styles, even if you think you won’t like them. Don’t forget to bring the right shoes and undergarments to help you get an accurate sense of how the dress will look and feel on the big day. Most importantly, select a dress that makes you feel beautiful, comfortable, and confident. Remember to walk around the showroom a little as I've seen brides almost tripping whilst walking down the aisle because it's too long.
Wedding Dress Seamstress: When choosing a wedding dress seamstress, it is important to look for someone who is experienced and has a good reputation. Ask friends and family for recommendations, or look online for reviews of seamstresses in your area. Make sure to communicate your vision for the dress clearly to the seamstress, and be sure to ask them questions about their experience and portfolio. When possible, bring a friend or family member to the meetings to provide a second opinion. A good wedding dress seamstress in Northern Ireland will get booked well in advance so it's a good idea to secure yours around the same time as choosing your dress, if not before!
Choose Your Bridal Party: When choosing your wedding bridal party, it is important to pick people who you trust and can rely on to be supportive during the wedding planning process. Consider your closest friends and family members, who have been by your side throughout your life and will continue to be there for you on your special day. Think about who you can trust to help you plan, give honest advice, and have fun with. Also, consider the size of your wedding and the budget you have to work with. You may need to make sure the bridal party is the ideal size for your wedding, and that the members can afford the associated costs. Finally, remember that this is your day and pick people you feel comfortable with and who make you feel special.
Hair Stylist & Makeup Artist: When it comes to selecting a wedding hairstylist and makeup artist, it is important to determine what style of makeup and hairstyle you desire and what kind of budget you have in mind. Researching multiple options and getting advice from friends, family, or other brides-to-be can help narrow down your choices. Before hiring, take the time to review their portfolio, references, and pricing. Make sure to book an appointment for a trial run to ensure that the hairstyle and makeup look is what you desire and to make sure you are comfortable with the person. Once you’ve chosen the perfect hairstylist and makeup artist for your wedding day, make sure to book them well in advance to avoid scheduling conflicts.
Evening Band/DJ: When it comes to selecting your wedding band for the evening entertainment, it's important to take the time to find the right band for you. Start by considering the style of music you'd like and the size of the band you need. Do some research to find a few bands that might be suitable for your event, and then plan to meet with them to discuss details such as their song selection and approach to the event. Make sure you discuss your budget and the band's availability, and when you find the right one, book them as soon as possible to ensure they will be available for your wedding. Finally, make sure to ask for references and listen to sample songs before making your final decision. Many Northern Ireland wedding bands will run a DJ set after the live music, so you may want to consider that too when look around.
Celebrant: When choosing a wedding celebrant, the most important thing is to make sure that you feel comfortable and confident with them. Do your research to find a celebrant who has experience in conducting ceremonies, and make sure to read reviews from past clients. Schedule a face-to-face meeting to go over all the details of the ceremony and make sure that the celebrant understands your vision. Additionally, you should inquire about the celebrant’s fees and make sure to ask any questions you may have. Lastly, be sure to check that the celebrant is legally authorised to officiate marriages in Northern Ireland.
Wedding Decor: When choosing your wedding venue decorator, it is important to take into consideration your overall wedding theme and style as well as the size of your wedding guest list. It is important to find a decorator who will be able to help you create a cohesive look that will bring your vision to life. Additionally, finding a decorator who is experienced and knowledgeable on wedding decor styles and trends can be a huge help in making your wedding day a success. Ask for references and look at portfolios to get an idea of what the decorator can provide. When visiting venues, make sure to look at the lighting, floor plan, background and overall feel of the space to ensure it will be a perfect fit for your special day.
Transport: When choosing your wedding transport, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, consider the logistics of the wedding day. Consider the distance between the wedding and reception venues, as well as the number of people who need to be transported. This will help you decide which type of transport is most suitable. Secondly, think about the style of transport you would like. Perhaps a classic car, a horse and carriage, or a stretch limo are more suited to your wedding style. Thirdly, consider your budget. Some forms of transport can be expensive, so it's important to stay within your budget. Lastly, consider the safety and comfort of the guests. Make sure the vehicles you choose are well maintained and provide enough space for all to travel comfortably.
Wedding Invites: Wedding invitations should generally be sent out about 10-12 weeks prior to the wedding, depending on the type of event. If the wedding is an intimate gathering or far away from the recipient's area, you may want to start sending out invitations further in advance to give them plenty of time to plan. It is also important to consider when the RSVP date should be and to include that on the invitation. RSVPs should typically be requested two to three weeks after sending the invite in order to give the couple enough time to plan the catering and seating arrangements.
Wedding Rings: Choosing a wedding ring is an important decision and one that can be daunting. To get the perfect wedding rings for you and your partner, you should consider the style, metal and size of the rings. Decide on the style of the ring, such as classic and timeless, modern, or vintage-inspired. Consider the metal and the colour of the metal, such as white gold, yellow gold or rose gold. Finally once you have chosen the style and the metal of the ring, get your finger size measured and select the size of the ring. There are many options to choose from, but with a little bit of research and understanding the right choice will be easy.
Wedding Favours: When it comes to choosing wedding favours, there are many factors to consider. First, think about your guest list and the types of gifts they would appreciate. If your guests are mostly family and close friends, you may want to choose something more personal and meaningful. If your guest list is wider, then something like natural scented candles, small boxes of chocolates, or a bottle of wine with a personalised label would be ideal. Additionally, you should think about the size and cost of your favours, as well as the colour and design. Consider your overall wedding colour palette or theme and try to match it when selecting a favour. Finally, think about ordering in bulk to save money and time. With the right planning and thoughtful selection, you can create beautiful wedding favours that will be a hit with your guests.
Wedding Cake: When choosing a wedding cake supplier in Northern Ireland, it is important to first consider the design of the cake and the flavour. It is essential to research different bakers and look at their portfolio to determine the calibre of their work. It is also important to consider the cost of the cake and any additional services they offer - such as delivery or set up on the day. Read reviews from other couples and check for any awards or recognition that the supplier may have received. Finally, arrange a tasting with the bakers to ensure the cake meets your standards and expectations.
I hope this blog helps with your planning and if you'd like to chat to me about being YOUR wedding photographer just complete my contact form and we'll get the ball rolling!
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