Planning Your Perfect Wedding Day!

Congratulations on your engagement! You’ve popped the bubbly, told all your friends and family and soaked up all the love and best wishes from your favourite people. But now what? When all the excitement has calmed down and you realise that you now have to actually plan a wedding, where on earth do you start?!

Firstly, don’t panic! Here at Briar House Barns we are experts at planning weddings, so let us help you plan your perfect day!!

Wedding Budget

First things first, before you do anything else you need to decide what your wedding budget is.  Weddings have a reputation for being very expensive, and it’s true that they can be, but they certainly don’t need to be. You can absolutely plan the wedding of your dreams, but whilst also sticking to your budget. Have a think about how many guests that you would like to invite. Maybe you both have large families and know that it’s going to be a big event or perhaps you want to keep it small and intimate. Alternatively, you could have the best of both worlds with a small ceremony with your closest family and friends and then host a big party with all your extended friends and family to celebrate. Here at Briar House Barns we are able to host weddings of all sizes.


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One of the next things to decide on is your wedding venue as this will likely be one of the more expensive costs and also wedding venues can get booked up years in advance. You may have a specific date in mind, in which case your venue may be determined by which location is free on that date.

However, you may fall in love with a specific venue and be happy to marry on one of the dates that they have available. Each venue will offer slightly different options, so this may be a deciding factor in your decision. When looking for venues, we recommend you keep in mind:

  • How many guests you would like to invite,
  • What kind of ceremony you would like to have – is the venue just for your reception or would you like to marry there as well?
  • Does the venue have its own list of preferred suppliers or are you responsible for finding all your suppliers yourself,
  • Does the venue have an alcohol license and who is responsible for purchasing that alcohol? Maybe you can provide your own drink, but don’t forget to check how much corkage is! At Briar House Barns we don’t charge corkage!
  • What style of wedding are you and your partner looking for and does the venue you are interested in provide this style of wedding?
  • Does the venue allow live music, fireworks, fairy lights, that steel band that you’ve always dreamed of?  Whatever is a non-negotiable for you, make sure that you ask prior to booking.
  • If an outside wedding ceremony is planned, can the venue provide an indoor alternative if the weather is inclement?

Here at Briar House Barns, we are able to provide a wealth of options so you can choose the perfect fit for you.  Our brochure explains what we offer and our list of trusted suppliers makes the process as simple as possible for you.

Main Suppliers

Once your date has been secured and your venue booked, your save the date cards can be sent out and it’s time to start planning all the big suppliers for your wedding.  The venue for your wedding will need to be considered by your suppliers.  For example, you may have picked a summer date at a venue that allows you to marry outside and an archway may need to be decorated with flowers. Alternatively, you may have chosen a Christmas wedding at a venue with plenty of indoor space for photographs and decorated Christmas trees may be required.  These factors will have a bearing on which main suppliers that you will need to consider. Start by making a list of the main suppliers that you will need.  These may include:

  • Photographer,
  • Videographer,
  • Florist,
  • Caterer,
  • Cake Maker,
  • Live music or DJ,
  • Stationer,
  • Hair and Make Up Artist,
  • Wedding Planner or Coordinator (if not provided by your venue).

Here at Briar House Barns we have a dedicated wedding coordinator to help guide you through the process and will work with your preferred supplier or recommend one of our trusted suppliers.

Once you have contacted your preferred suppliers, compared prices and availability and made your choice, be sure to secure them as soon as possible as many of them get booked up several months if not years in advance.

Additional Suppliers

Once your main suppliers are confirmed, you can have some fun choosing any additional or unique suppliers which will really make the wedding day personal to you and set your day apart from all the rest. When deciding on any additional suppliers, first consider how much of your budget is left following the booking of your main suppliers and also what style or theme you and your partner are aiming for.  There are many additional services, decorations or entertainment to choose from, but to give you some ideas to think about here is a short list of suppliers that have been used previously at Briar House Barns:

  • Celebrant (if you are having your ceremony at your venue),
  • Photobooth hire,
  • Live entertainment, including magicians or children’s entertainment,
  • Fun wedding favours,
  • Mobile bar/ice cream stand/candy floss stall,
  • Tipi Hire,
  • Decor and styling,
  • Transport (if you are marrying in another location or to get your guests to their accommodation for the night),
  • Wedding Content Creator,
  • Outdoor games for guest entertainment,
  • Dog Chaperoning.
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Sometimes it is the smaller details that are most memorable, so spend some time thinking about which are most important for you and your partner and have some fun.

The Wedding Party

Now that your suppliers are all arranged and booked and you can start to see how the day is going to look, it’s time to choose your wedding party and those special people who are going to be closest to you on the day.  Traditionally, a wedding party consists of:

  • The Bride and Groom,
  • The Best Man,
  • The Maid Of Honour,
  • The Bridesmaids,
  • The Ushers,
  • The Flower Girls,
  • The Page Boys,
  • The Ring Bearer.

You certainly don’t need to have all of these in your wedding party and you do not need to be traditional when choosing your party, maybe you’d like a Best Woman instead of a Best Man and maybe your Labrador is going to be your ring bearer! However, when making the decisions on who are your most trusted friends and family, bear in mind that you will need to consider the cost of an extended Bridal Party, including their outfits, buttonholes, bouquets and thank you gifts, as these could have an impact on your overall wedding budget.

The Legal Bit!

As well as all the fun bits of planning your wedding, it’s really important to consider the legalities of getting married too! You need to ensure that you have a marriage licence in place so that you can actually get legally married. You have several different options when it comes to getting married in the UK, from religious, civil, humanist or celebrant-led ceremonies and all their requirements are different. Make sure that you take your time to research the type of wedding that you have chosen so that everything is stress-free and, most importantly, legal. 

At Briar House Barns, we are licenced for non-religious ceremonies that are conducted by a registrar in 3 different locations at the venue – The Stone Barn, The Bridge Lawns and The Flower Meadow. You and your partner will exchange vows, which include a specific “declaratory” wording, for the union to be legally binding. The rest of the civil ceremony can be personalised with your own readings, poems and music, but you will require two witnesses to sign the marriage register with you and your partner.

If this is the style of ceremony that you would like at Briar House Barns, our local Registrar can be found at (0345 608 0198).  If you would prefer a Humanist or Celebrant-led ceremony, which are generally non-religious and focus on the commitment you are making to each other and celebrating your love together, please find the details of some of the celebrants who we have worked with in the past here.

Further things to think about

With the venue, main suppliers, additional suppliers and legalities all booked, it’s time to decide upon all the additional things to consider when planning your wedding. These may include:

  • Purchasing your wedding dress, shoes and accessories,
  • Purchasing your groom’s attire,
  • Purchasing your bridal party outfits,
  • Arranging transportation and wedding accommodation,
  • Creating a wedding gift list,
  • Making a wedding website,
  • Sending out your wedding invitations and recording the RSVP’s,
  • Buying your wedding rings,
  • Creating a seating plan and deciding on On-The-Day stationery,
  • Creating a time-line for the day’s events – your venue wedding coordinator should help you with this,
  • Deciding on readings and music for your ceremony,
  • Writing your vows, if not having a traditional ceremony,
  • Deciding on speeches and toasts for your reception,
  • Arranging your Hen and Stag events (or delegating to someone to arrange on your behalf),
  • Booking your honeymoon,
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The Finer Details

With all the main areas of your wedding day now arranged, you finally need to think about any little details that are personal to you as a couple, such as your first dance song, thank you gifts, a guest book, music playlists (for before the ceremony, after the ceremony and during the wedding breakfast).  Its these finishing touches which will make your wedding day truly unique to you and the special day that you’ve been dreaming of.

The Big Day

Whatever stage of wedding planning you are at, don’t get too stressed about all the little details and don’t panic on the day, there will always be something that doesn’t quite go to plan – be it the weather, a camera-shy flower girl or a wayward ring-bearing dog!  The aim of the day is to celebrate your union with your family and friends and if at the end of the day you are married, then mission accomplished!!

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