How to Plan a Wedding


Social Pantry’s Wedding Planning Guide

Newly engaged? You’ve come to the right place.

Congratulations! The question has been popped and the ring is on the finger, now for the fun part! Wedding planning can be daunting and there will be all sorts of ideas to be discussed and decisions to be made, but try not to feel overwhelmed. Here at Social Pantry, we have been working with happy couples to bring their dream dinners to life for more than nine years and have picked up quite a few wedding tips on the way! From wedding budgets and checklists to invites and dresses, we’ve rounded up some of our expert knowledge to help ease the stress out of wedding planning.


Have a Wedding Planning Checklist

A wedding checklist is about to become your best friend. You might be the obsessive list maker anyway or more of a go with the flow planner but to ensure that every detail is covered and every eventuality catered for a wedding planning checklist is the must have for all organised brides and grooms. It should be a working document which is constantly changing and adapting as your plans come to life, but the important thing is you use it! Put all of your thoughts down no matter how insignificant they may seem, if an idea comes to mind add it to the list, it will stop your thoughts from spiralling and ensure you don’t become overwhelmed with wedding planning. As your plans become clearer the list will allow you to manage your time and prioritise your preparations, and what is more satisfying than ticking tasks off!


Decide a Wedding Budget

First on your list should be to establish a clear budget to work to. From flowers and favours to drinks and decorations, there’s a lot to consider and budgets can be blown if there aren’t clear wedding plans from the outset. Think about out what is important to you, would you be happy with a high street wedding dress or will only designer do? Would you rather save on the venue dressing so you can splurge on the wedding band. Establish what is important to you, it will make it easier to prioritise how your budget is allocated.


Consider a DIY Wedding

How confident would you be with a DIY wedding? This is the time to consider who you have around you that could lend a hand. A friend that is a dab hand with decorating, an aunty who can bake a beautiful cake or a brother who drives what could be a wonderful wedding car. There are many ways friends and family are able to help out to considerably cut the budget but remember that paying for professional services also gives you peace of mind. An important wedding tip to remember is that you ensure you have full confidence in anyone you do involve in your wedding plans. Wedding planning can be stressful enough without the doubt people may not be as dependable as you need.


Pick a Wedding Season

Have you always dreamt of celebrating in the snow, or perhaps getting hitched in high summer is more your thing. When wedding planning the season you choose to tie the knot is something you should establish from the start. It will not only affect the feel of the day but can also have a big impact on budget. Popular venues can be booked up years in advance and prices generally rise in the sought after summer months.


Choose a Wedding Date

Does the day of the week you chose to wed make a difference to your wedding plans? Couples who chose to tie the knot during the week can save up to £5000 compared to the exact same wedding on a Saturday, with Monday’s proving the most cost-effective. A weekday wedding could also mean that you can book your first choice services without any compromise. Just like the venue, the most popular wedding singers, make-up artists and photographers can be booked up years in advance for weekend dates. If you are considering a weekday wedding you need to give thought to the guests in attendance. If you’re inviting children will they be able to take time off school, likewise teachers may struggle to attend if it’s within term time. It’s also a big ask to expect all of your guests to take annual leave to attend, two days away from work can be 10% of one person’s allocated holidays and childcare can also be trickier during the week. Don’t forget to consider all of the other factors when it comes to a weekday wedding rather than just focussing on the potential money that can be saved.


Plan the Wedding Guest List

Now for what can be the trickiest part when it comes to wedding planning, the guest list.

The number of guests you invite is a vital factor to decide upon when you begin to make your wedding plans. It affects everything from the venue options you have, depending on their capacity, to the budget you need to allocate to catering and everything in between. It’s easy to get carried away and want to invite everyone you know to your special day but unless money is no object you may need to be strict with your guest policy, do you really want that second cousin you haven’t seen for seven years and her family eating into your honeymoon fund!


Budget for your Wedding Guests

The rules have shifted over the years from weddings being a family orientated event to the bride and groom’s friends taking precedence over distant relatives. Start with a wedding planning list of essential guests and a second list of people you would also like to invite and allocate a budget per head, you can then make a decision based on how much, if anything, you have left over after all of your key guests are counted for. As a rough guide the average wedding party costs the bride and groom £120 a head.


When to Send Wedding Invites

Now the date and venue are decided upon, and the guest list is fine-tuned it’s time to get the invites out. It is best to do this as soon as you can, so you can get an idea on numbers. There are various ways of announcing your big day. Virtual invites are increasingly popular and will certainly save time and money but they can lack that special feeling. A ‘You’re invited’ email popping into your guest’s inbox will never feel the same as a beautifully crafted and thoughtfully posted physical invite. Establish what is important to you, again it might be a case of saving on the invites, which cost an average of £8 each, so you’re able to spend more on other elements of the day. Etsy is a great place to find local independent businesses that are able to reflect the feel of your wedding in the invites you send. High-street card shops also offer some brilliant options for cost effective ready- made wedding stationary, either way make sure you give your guests plenty of notice and don’t forget to request dietary requirements which plays another important element to your wedding planning.

Find a Wedding Dress

One of the most exciting things to tick off your wedding planning checklist is finding the perfect outfit for your big day. You might be a bride or groom who has a very clear idea of the style you’d like to marry in but you can never be really sure until you try for size. Approach wedding outfit shopping with an open mind and allocate plenty of time to try a wide range of styles and stores. Being comfortable whilst feeling your best is priceless when you tie the knot, therefore the look you decide upon is something that should be given top priority on your wedding planning agenda.


Choose a Wedding Venue

You may have a definite idea on how you want your wedding to be from the outset or perhaps your dream wedding venue is something you’ve never considered, either way be open to what you may find. Just like a wedding dress, a style you had always envisaged may not turn out to be ‘the one’. Consider all of the elements that need to come together to make everything that extra special. Cast your net wide when you begin your search and remember, it’s a joint decision so willingness to compromise with your fiancé to find a venue that ticks both your boxes is key!

When to Book Your Wedding Caterer?

Once you have the foundations ticked off your wedding planning list, it’s time to choose your caterer. At this point, you should have a good idea about your number of guests, your ideal date, and the budget allocated to the catering. Many venues will provide their own in-house caterers with some not allowing for any outside suppliers at all so consider if having the freedom of catering options is important to you. A good wedding caterer will be happy to discuss your ideas and requirements and advise on what will and won’t work depending on your wedding party and venue. It’s also important to consider your guests’ dietary requirements, all good caterers should be able to cover all of your guests’ needs, from gluten-free to religious beliefs.

We love nothing more than bringing our customer’s wedding planning ideas to life and have worked with over 100 happy couples to make sure all of their catering needs are met. If you’re looking for trusted wedding caterers in London or beyond, get in touch today. Our dedicated wedding team will be delighted to discuss all of your requirements to ensure all of your dream details are covered, making the catering one more thing you can confidently tick off your wedding planning list!


To let us help, ring 020 8871 1949 or email