Our guide to planning your wedding
If you have just got engaged and don’t know where to start when it comes to organising your special day, don’t worry – we’re here to help.
Check out our step-by-step guide to planning your wedding at Haughley Park Barn…
- Set a date! Choose a day which suits both you and your wedding party. Give yourself time to save if necessary and consider school holidays, bank holidays, work hours and other important events. Our online calendar is kept up to date so you can see what dates are still available.
- Check the chosen date is OK for the church or registrar. Bear in mind that there is a minimum notice period for both – check with your choice for details. Our enquiry pack includes the contact details for Suffolk Registrars if needed.
- Book the venue and registrar/vicar! We will send you the forms and details of the deposit required for Haughley Park Barn.
- Consider booking the onsite farmhouse accommodation for your wedding party. This can be booked at the same time as the venue (a small discount applied for this) or at a later date if you need time to plan.
- Organise wedding insurance. Hopefully you will never need it but things happen and it’s best to be prepared.
- Choose your wedding party – bridesmaids, best man, ushers, page boys etc. You will need to know these to plan suits/bridesmaid dresses and once chosen, you can delegate some tasks as part of their ‘wedding party duties’ – very helpful!
- Draft a guest list. This will give you an idea of the size of your wedding which will help with budgeting. Consider children, plus-ones and who will attending the ceremony or just the evening.
- Set your budget! A bit of online research will give you an idea of average supplier costs, then perhaps speak to family to see if they would like to help. Be sure to allocate funds to those aspects which are most important to you – dress, music or food etc – and always add on a reserve amount for unexpected costs!
- Choose a caterer. We have a list of approved caterers which you must choose from but there is a wide range of options to suit all tastes and all budgets. They will give you an idea of price per head and this will help with refining your guest list!
- Choose a theme and/or colour scheme. Once this is in place it will help you plan everything from the dress to the table centres. Perhaps you like fairy tales or have a passion for all things vintage – at Haughley Park Barn you can celebrate your wedding, your way.
- Finalise the guest list and send out Save the Date cards with an RSVP request. This allows your loved ones reserve the date and gives you a good idea of numbers.
- Book your other main suppliers: photographer, videographer, florist, band/disco, cake, transport, make up artist. You may also decide on a magician or live music for the drinks reception, or a maybe a casino for the evening. Wedding season can be busy so it’s good to get all of these booked in early. You can refine your choices – of flowers and cake etc – at a later date.
(Note: We have a tied bar service which is booked in alongside the venue so that’s one thing already taken care of.)
- Choose the dress and wedding party outfits. Wedding dresses can take up to 8 months to order so make sure you allow plenty of time for fittings and alterations. When shopping for a dress be sure to take heels if preferred and wear good underwear (probably a strapless bra). If you have small children in your wedding party, you may want to allow for growth.
From six months before the day…..
- Decide on readings and music for the ceremony and allocate any speeches for the wedding breakfast. Your registrar/church will want to know those earmarked for the ceremony approximately three months before the day.
- Send out invitations (a minimum of three months before). Make sure you add an ‘RSVP by…’ date. Other printed items can be ordered at the same time – eg. Order of Service, place cards.
- Enjoy a tasting session or two with your caterer and cake maker – yum! – and finalise choices. Consider any dietary requirements.
- Decide on any fresh flowers – for both the wedding party and venue decorations (table centres, flower arches, pew ends etc).
- When all guests have RSVP’d you can finalise the seating plan.
- Arrange a hair and make-up trial and any pre-wedding beauty treatments. Ask if they provide a touch-up kit with powder and lipstick for during the day.
- Visit Haughley Park Barn for a planning meeting. We can help with ideas and information on many aspects of decoration and layout. We can also offer a Photography Walk for you and your photographer so they know the best places for great shots on the day.
- Remind those giving speeches or readings to write/practice them!
- Discuss a playlist with your band or disco and be sure to let them know which song you would like for your first dance.
- Time to consider any finishing touches. Things like wedding favours for the tables, gifts for bridesmaids and parents, garden games for children, photo booths, table decorations, post boxes for cards etc.
- Plan your stag/hen parties. Maybe make them a few weeks before the big day to ensure the hangovers have gone and eyebrows have grown back!
- Nominate a responsible person to be a go-between on the day, which may include ushering guests in the for the ceremony or wedding breakfast. You should be concentrating on having fun so if suppliers have questions or we need to address an issue, let someone else field any problems or queries.
Finally…Enjoy your wedding at Haughley Park Barn!