How to start planning a wedding

How to start planning a wedding – a guide from the experts at Mercure Tunbridge Wells Hotel

Congratulations! You’re engaged! You’ve told your family & friends and now it’s time to start planning your wedding. Feeling overwhelmed? That’s completely normal.  That’s why the team of experts here at Mercure Tunbridge Wells have put together this easy to follow guide of the next steps you need to take to start planning your special day.


  1. Set your budget & choose when you’d like to get married

Before you start on anything, have an open and honest conversation with each other about your finances. How much can you realistically afford to save over the coming months? If you think members of your family may want to contribute to your wedding then it’s best to have these conversations early on so you know what you’re working with.
Pick a timeframe that works for you. Be realistic! Always allow yourself more time than what you think you will need. The average couple plan their wedding in 18 months.close up of a bottle pouring champagne into glasses with blurred background

  1. Choose your theme and style

You may already have an idea of what you’d like your wedding day to be like but if you’re struggling, Pinterest is a great place for inspiration! Also it’s time to think about the type of celebration you’d like – whether that’s an intimate ceremony followed by a meal with your close family, an evening reception or the full day with all of the extras! This will really help you later on when you choose your venue and your suppliers.

  1. Choose your bridal party & guest list

You probably already know who is going to be in your groomsmen or bridal party, but you also need to make a provisional guest list at this stage. If you’re having a full day celebration, then you need to consider both day & evening guest numbers. Don’t worry about being too accurate at this stage, this is just to give you an idea of the size of venue you need to search for.

  1. Find your perfect venue

Now, you’ve set your budget, decided on a theme, and approximate guest numbers, you can start your venue search. It’s really vital at this stage to talk about what is most important to you both about your wedding day and what type of venue will be able to fit those requirements.
For example, location, accommodation, a license for ceremonies; these are all things that you can really narrow down your venue search on. There are a lot of venues out there to choose from which can be very overwhelming, so pick your top 3 things that are most important to you and filter your venue searches by these.

Top tip:
Make a shortlist of the top 3 venues and arrange site visits. The venue will play the biggest part in your wedding day, so it’s really important that you meet with the team at the venue and trust them. A venue can look magnificent, but if you don’t feel like you can trust the team at hand, this will cause you a lot of unnecessary stress later on.

  1. Buy wedding insurance

We cannot stress the importance of this enough! Once you have booked your venue, purchase wedding insurance. There is a variety of insurance providers and you can choose a level of cover that suits you. In comparison to the cost of a wedding, insurance is really quite cheap and so worth it! Your wedding day is going to be one of the most important days of your life, so why wouldn’t you insure it?

  1. Make it legal

Again, this may not be a very exciting wedding planning step, but a very necessary one! Make sure the legal part of your ceremony is booked – whether that’s in a church or at the same venue as the reception. At Mercure Tunbridge Wells, we do this step for you! Once your wedding is confirmed, we contact the registrars to provisionally book in the date & time of your ceremony.The Park Avenue Room set up for a wedding ceremony, white aisle, white chairs, red ribbons and large red and green flower centrepiece on top table

And finally, number 7. Get support if you need it!

Planning a wedding is a big task and it can be especially overwhelming if you have not planned anything like it before. Call on your family and the key people from your bridesmaids and/or groomsmen to help.


Remember, your wedding day is about you and your fiancé saying your vows and celebrating with your loved ones.


Found this useful? These are just the first steps that you need to make in your wedding planning journey. We have a full guide on wedding planning and our wedding co-ordinator will be on hand to help you.

Click here for the full guide on how to plan a wedding.