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Planning your wedding at home: the virtual search

With the usual venue hunting, dress-shopping and cake-tasting off the menu, we asked wedding planner Lauren Goodman of Bluebird Creative for an at-home planning guide to get you started

So you’ve done the first four steps and got a clear idea of your budget. Next up is venue searching and getting into the little details that will make it your own.

Choose your venue type

Start off by working out what types of venues you are drawn to. This may link in with the style of wedding you’ve no doubt be pinning on Pinterest. (If you haven’t  been pinning, now is a good time to start!)

Does it work with your budget?

Once you’ve sussed your style, you need to look at it along with your venue budget and guest numbers. You’ll soon see if your guest numbers and budget don’t match up. For example, perhaps you have a lot of guests, but your budget doesn’t quite stretch to a venue big enough. This is where you may need to either tweak your budget or your split.

Even though you can’t visit them, contact the venues you’re interested in and ask questions.  Expect a slightly delayed response whilst venues are working with minimal teams and have a lot of postponements to deal with.

Make a shortlist of, say. five venues that tick most of your boxes. Venue searching is like buying a house: there will be compromises, so please don’t expect every single box to be ticked. Now it’s time to discuss viewings.

Have a virtual viewing

What I am currently doing with my couples is to request virtual viewings. Some venues have recorded videos of the tour of the venue, so you can get an idea of the flow and the space. Others are doing live virtual tours, which in my experience have been so beneficial! They usually have one member of staff on site, who books in several virtual tours whilst they are there.

If you find you’re in a position where you really like a venue, you’ll need to secure the date. Now this may be a little hard to accept, given you haven’t been in the space. There is a lot to be said about that ‘feeling’ whether it is right or not. 

Work with your venue on this. Some are offering low deposits, until an in-person viewing can be had. Others are requesting the usual deposits, but are allowing a 12 month movement if necessary. So speak to your venue and see how they’re playing it and whether that works for you. 

The Details

The good thing about having the venue booked is you now have a wedding date, which makes some of the next steps a little easier. You can start pulling together  design ideas based on your venue, and researching suppliers that fit your style and budget. 

Take the same approach as venue searching. Make a shortlist, contact the supplier and perhaps arrange Most suppliers would currently love to speak to new clients and book calls in to discuss your ideas and your day. 

Suppliers you can absolutely start the conversation with right now are:

  • photographers
  • caterers,
  • videographers
  • florists
  • musicians. 

I would say bridal boutiques and clothing would be hard for the moment as you will need to go in store to try on these dresses. However if having a designer dress is not for you, then most online shops are still open.

Keeping The Excitement 

Now in these uncertain times, we all need a little something to bring the happy right now! I have researched what some suppliers are doing to bring a little activity and fun to lockdown life for couples and found some wonderful ideas. 

Calligraphy workshops

Calligraphy workshops are a great way to learn a new skill and one that you can actually use for your wedding. Why not write your own place names for the day? I have personally bought this online workshop from one of my suppliers and found it amazing. https://www.calligraphywithlou.co.uk/learn-calligraphy-online

Floral Workshops

Why not learn how to make a bouquet or a button hole for your wedding day? You may not want the stress of doing your own wedding flowers (from my own personal experience I would say don’t do it), but choosing to create a small floral element can make it more personal. Or going with the dried flower trend and creating a dried flower hoop like the course run by Kate Avery Flowers (which I have also tried). This will last until the wedding day and can be used to decorate and add detail.

www.instagram.com/kateaveryflowers

Wine Tasting / Personalised Cocktails

This is a fantastic lockdown bit of wedding planning research. Some suppliers are doing doorstep deliveries so you can trial some wines ready for your wedding. Others are doing cocktail making kits and online classes. Why not create your own cocktail for your wedding day and have a cocktail hour. You can even name it…

Something For You

All of this can get you a little overwhelmed at the moment and so I’ve  put together a box for brides to give them a little hug on the inside and outside. www/brideacademy.com/shop

There are so many fun things from suppliers right now to keep your excited with your wedding planning and keep you pushing through your to do list!

I wish you all the best with your wedding planning journey. Congratulations again on your engagement. This is a super exciting time ahead and the beginning of your next chapter. Try and enjoy the process (but make sure you do your budget work!)