Shoulda Woulda Coulda

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Planning your wedding should be a fun and exciting time for you both.  There are so many things to remember and it can sometimes get a little overwhelming.  However, there are various tips you can follow to ensure that not only does your planning run smoothly but most importantly your wedding day.

 Firstly, and most importantly, you must set yourselves a realistic budget for your wedding. You don’t want to be paying it off for the first five years of your married life.  Think about what you can comfortably afford to spend without denying yourself the basics like toilet paper and food!


Evening Wedding Invitations

 Set yourself up with a spreadsheet and put the maximum budget at the top. Then list all the things that you need for your wedding, in a shoulda woulda coulda kind of way!

 What should you have at your wedding, what are the essentials that you actually need to have a wedding rather than just eloping to get married in Gretna Green.

 What could you have if your budget allows for it, not essentials but they are often found at most weddings.

 What would you have if you had a bottomless budget or would be prepared to tweak money from other areas to have them.


  • Church or ceremony venue
  • Registrar / Church / Banns
  • Reception Venue
  • Dress
  • Suits
  • Catering
  • Photographer
  • Flowers
  • Cake
  • Stationery / Invitations


  • Table Decorations
  • Reception Drinks
  • Canapes
  • Wedding Cars
  • Transport for Guests
  • Hotel


  • Photo booth
  • Childcare facilities
  • Sweet Cart
  • Fireworks
  • Favours

Wedding Breakfast Menu

  Start researching suitable venues.  Based on your budget, think about what day of the week might bring the cost of the venue down.  It’s becoming just as popular to get married on a Tuesday as it is on a Saturday. 

 Once you have the ceremony venue (be it church or civil service venue) and the reception venue date booked in and a deposit paid, then you can start looking for your suppliers.  Lots of venues now have preferred suppliers that they recommend.  This can sometimes take the pressure off who to book.  Preferred suppliers will know the venue well and they can advise you on what will and won’t work.  It would be worth attending the venues’ wedding open day or open evening so that you can meet their suppliers for yourself, and get an idea of what the venue might look like when it’s all set up.

 Don’t be afraid to ask for a quote, all suppliers will be able to do this for you, but don’t expect an accurate quote instantly, they will need to go away and price up things such as ingredients, cost of flowers, editing time, material costs, before they can accurately quote for you. 

 Once you have all the quotes in front of you, you can realistically assess which ones fit with your budget. 

Whilst booking your suppliers add their costs to your spreadsheet so you can keep a running total of your spend and make sure you’re on budget.

Wedding Place Cards

 Be realistic about what you can afford, do you really need the custom-made underwear when your dress doesn’t allow for a bra. Do you really need ten bridesmaids?  What are they all going to do for you?  Do you need to have champagne for the toast? Sparkling wine is a nice alternative for what most people just sip for the toast and then leave.

 When I got married my husband was firmly in charge of the budget and we did not go over it at all.  We accounted for every receipt, no matter how small, it all became part of the budget.  It seemed a bit rigid to me at the time, but when I looked at the bigger picture it made sense. We went on our honeymoon safe in the knowledge that we didn’t owe any one anything, there were no outstanding payments to suppliers or the venue, it was a good feeling and meant we could relax.

Will You Be Cards

 I’ll be honest with you, I love the wedding industry, I love all things weddings.  But when I think back to weddings I’ve attended as a guest, I’ve been hard pushed to remember their colour theme, or overall theme, what they had as their centre pieces, what we ate, what added extras they threw in. 

 A vicar at a wedding I attended once, opened a bottle of stout and poured it out, he described the frothy head of the drink as the wedding day, fun and light, but it soon fades away, whereas the actual dark malty liquid represents marriage, strong, full, steady, sometimes cloudy but always constant.

 So It doesn’t matter how many guests you have, how fancy your venue is, how many tiers your cake has, how huge your bouquet is or how many bridesmaids you have, all that matters is the vows you exchange at the altar. 

Coulda Woulda Shoulda

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