Where to start?
So you’re engaged, which is super exciting – you genuinely (as cheesy as it sounds) have the best day ever to look forward to!
It’s likely the first thing you’ll do is celebrate, maybe once, twice, or even make it a month long affair, why not? Visit all your friends’ houses and tell anyone that’ll listen your engagement story, but what’s next? Well, I imagine this is different for lots of people – and whether you like a fuss, you’re introverted, extroverted, just want to do the deed, no bells and whistles, but ultimately there will always need to be a “where.”
And whether you want something big, small, simple or over the top, there really is something for everyone and it doesn’t ever have to cost the earth, or be the obvious, but research is super important.
First up, what’s important to you? Outdoors or Indoors? Religious or not? Rustic or Glamorous? Intimate or Party central? Near home or an elopement? Is there somewhere that means something to you both? Is the weather important to you?
Anyone that knows me well will know that I don’t favour a hashtag for likes, well it sure helps grow a blog in some ways I guess, which is why I use it there, but through using the location tag and hashtags, I have found some of my favourite restaurants, and wedding venues too. Hand on heart, because it’s visual and I’m creative, I truly believe Instagram is the best search engine out there and it is how I found a majority of wedding venues that we looked at. We emailed 45, yes 45. I can be relentless – it’s the perfectionist in me coming out but I hate the FOMO (fear of missing out) too much and that includes the fear of missing out on a venue that might just be too good to miss. That was because we were going to view those that made it into our “potential list” and it was involving a trip abroad so we wanted to make the trip worthwhile. I work with venues a lot and we hoped to have a handful in budget and this taught me one valuable lesson: assume nothing!
Why? I hear you ask, well our wedding venue was one we nearly crossed off because we thought it may cost too much, yet we contacted a really rustic small place near the beach in Puglia that we thought would be in budget and it happened to be the exact reverse. Then we narrowed it down – we visited seven and I’m so glad we did. One of our absolute favourites had musty bedrooms (can’t cope, won’t cope) and another, whilst incredible in almost every other way, has such a long walk up that I had to ask how they get the elderly there? Well, the contact said “we put them in a side car to a Vespa,” and I had to stifle a giggle as I think of my nan in all her glamorous attire, she may have just clouted me with her clutch if I’d put her in a side car!
Anyway, if you decide to get married in the UK (this has so many positives, including having your own hairdresser (yes this is a big deal) then your next stop: Coco Wedding Venues. I am seriously in love with this site, and nearly every venue on it. It’s super chic and let’s you search by party size location etc. – it’s definitely worth checking out.
For the UK and beyond – get searching on those hashtags! #weddingphotographer is a good one, especially if you precede it with the destination: #italianweddingphotographer. You’ll get lots of ideas and because they want to show off their talent in all its glory, they’ll be tagging venues and you can start to build up that list. Along the way, you’ll see lots of ideas for place settings, flower design, wedding dresses, photography styles, bridesmaid dresses and so on and then you can start to build what might be one of my favourite things to do…
A MOODBOARD – this really helps share your vision with just about everyone you come in contact with so have fun with it!
We fell in love with Castello di Vincigliata: a rustic take on glamorous, outside with a country vibe but with a city (Florence) in sight too. This combined with amazing Italian food and wine, in a super personal and relaxed ceremony is the perfect mix of all the things we both love in a country that is important to us both – Italy. My dad is Italian, and Matt was born in the North of Italy and lived there until his twenties so it was really special for us both.
Now the not so fun bit (for me anyway) – make sure you have that spreadsheet open so you can start to break things down, and here’s a rough split of recommended cost allocation that will help when you first set out.
Venue and catering: 45%
Photography and videography: 12%
Wedding attire and beauty: 9%
Favours and gifts: 5%
Remember this is a guide too – I’d also read 15% for flowers somewhere and ours was actually much closer to that (I think you’ll always find that in a city anyway), but we saved on other areas so it just really depends on what’s important to you too. And if we were getting married closer to the home, and the venue allowed it, I’d definitely consider filling a table with candles (because I love them equally) to save on floristry!
That’s it for now, but I’m so happy to be sharing this journey with you, I get to re-live every minute, from picking my dress to choosing the photographer, and my top tips whilst hopefully helping along the way. We really can’t wait to get the professional photos back now too and I’ll definitely share more photos with you.
And if you are a bride-to-be, then you really do have one of the best days ever to look forward to and I couldn’t be more excited for you!!
Most importantly, make sure you enjoy every minute, it goes way too quickly.
Much love, La Sposa – Lucy xoxo
P.s. my dress is by Badgley Mischka and I will do a whole post about finding it too! It came all the way from beautiful Los Angeles and I fell in love with the beading, which I hope you’ll see more of in the professional photographs!