ADVICE - A Guide to First Steps in Post-Engagement Wedding Planning by GREEN UNION Partner, South Farm

23rd March 2019

GREEN UNION partner, South Farm, will be sharing their wedding planning advice in a series of four monthly posts, each covering a different period of the planning timeline. Today, they will start with setting the initial, post-engagement priorities... 

Post Engagement Wedding Planning Advice from Green Union Partner, South Farm. Image by Binky NixonBinky Nixon

Congratulations on your engagement! Planning your wedding can be a busy and sometimes stressful time.  At South Farm we have a team of dedicated wedding planners on hand to help with any questions and give guidance along the way.  There is no question we can’t answer, so we thought it would be helpful to all couples planning their wedding to put together a suggested timeline to help you in the lead up to planning your special day whether you have a short or a long engagement!

We fully appreciate how different each couple and each wedding is and so we have put together our suggested timelines around a fairly typical 18 month engagement and planning timeframe; but rest assured we have lots of couples getting married here who have a much shorter planning timeline and with good organisation and experienced help from your wedding venue we assure you it can be done. We’ve even hosted a wedding for a couple who booked with a three week lead time, so anything is possible!

Post Engagement Wedding Planning Advice from Green Union Partner, South Farm. Image by Liz Greenhalgh
Liz Greenhalgh

Once the initial excitement is over and you have shared your wonderful news with your family and friends you will want to start looking ahead to the business of planning your wedding day! This is a great time to sit down with your partner and discuss your wedding budget and start planning your guest list. Think about the time of year you would like to get married and check important guest’s holiday dates to make sure there are no potential clashes.

The internet is a great tool to research potential wedding venues and if you have a rough idea of your guest numbers you will be able to see quite easily online whether a wedding venue can accommodate your numbers. At South Farm we are quite unique in the industry in that we publish all our availability details and prices so you can even see from our website how much a wedding on your desired date would cost you!

Make a shortlist of venues you would like to visit and make appointments to have a look around – we recommend you visit as many venues as possible to make sure you find your dream wedding venue and have a good comparison of what is on offer at different venues.

Post Engagement Wedding Planning Advice from Green Union Partner, South Farm. Image by Nicki SheaNicki Shea

This is a good time to think about whether you want to hold both your ceremony and reception at your chosen venue or whether you want to get married at a church or registry office and then move onto your venue for your reception.

At South Farm we have five different options licensed for ceremony so we can accommodate your ceremony either inside or outside depending on the weather on the day and the time of year. Outdoor weddings are of course very popular during the summer months. Check with your shortlisted venues which options they offer for ceremony.  

If you are choosing to get married at the venue you will need to speak to the Registrars who cover the district you are getting married in; your wedding venue will be able to give you this information. If you are planning a religious ceremony you will need to organise this directly with your chosen place of worship, remembering to make sure your chosen reception venue is no more than one hour’s driving distance away.

We appreciate that not all couples would like or require a Civil Ceremony or indeed a marriage ceremony, but still would very much like to have some form of ceremony or blessing of their marriage. If this is the case we are able to recommend celebrants who can personalise the ceremony and are not restricted by the legalities of a Civil Ceremony. Jewish Ceremonies, Humanist Ceremonies, other faith ceremonies and blessings may be held at South Farm subject to regulations and the Rabbi’s or Celebrant’s approval.

Post Engagement Wedding Planning Advice from Green Union Partner, South Farm. Image by Photography by BeaPhotography by Bea

If you are looking to hold your big day during peak wedding season which tends to be the summer months you will need to look at venues as early as possible, especially if you are hoping to book a weekend date. At least 18 months’ notice should give you a good choice of available dates at your chosen venue. However if you are flexible about the time of year you want to get married or the day of the week then you will have more options at the 12 month stage.  You will find that any flexibility you have around the day of the week or time of the year you would like to get married will also help with your budget.

Weddings in the peak Summer season tend to be more expensive than in mid or low season, as do weekend weddings compared with mid-week wedding dates. At South Farm we always say to people don’t be nervous about booking a less traditional day of the week to get married, this will help hugely with your budget and you should never under-estimate how much people will want to come to your wedding. In this day and age most people are very happy to take a day off work to come to your wedding – they will not want to miss seeing you get married!


Post Engagement Wedding Planning Advice from Green Union Partner, South Farm. Image by Nikki's Moments
Nikki's Moments

Last but not least, this is also a good time to think about the other special people in your life. Who will you ask to be your bridesmaids/bridesmen, best man/best men/best ladies...then there's ushers, flowergirls, page boys...

Once you have decided on the type of ceremony you would like and set your heart on your venue you should go ahead and book both to make sure you have the best choice of dates. Booking 18 months in advance will give you plenty of time to plan ahead but if you have less time don’t panic – whatever your lead time we are sure you will find a date and venue to suit. The you can relax for a while before turning your attention to the more detailed planning...more to come on this next month, when the 12 to 9 month countdown continues!

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