Planning a wedding party can be fun, but it can also take a lot of time and effort, as there are many factors you need to take into consideration.
Firstly you need to decide your budget, and whether the event is going to be in the day or evening. Day parties tend to be a bit cheaper, as you can get away with less food and alcohol. Also if you are hiring musicians, they generally charge on an hourly basis, and this can be expensive if you need them to perform late into the evening. If you are on a very small budget, it could be a good idea to arrange to leave on honeymoon soon after the wedding. This means you can dispense with an evening do altogether, and just have a small cocktail party so that everyone can toast the wedding and see you on your way.
Next you need to think about a venue. You may have some great local venues near you that specialise in wedding packages, such as hotels, country houses and halls. If you want to be more intimate, you could hold a garden party in either your own home, or that of a close relative. This can create a lovely, cosy atmosphere, and will give you more control over how long you hold the party for, and what music and food you can provide. You will probably need to hire a marquee to seat all the guests and have enough room for dancing, and also make sure there is plenty of lighting around the garden, and warm places for guests for when the evening draws in.
Food – Food is an essential part of a wedding party, so allow a minimum L10 a head for each guest when you are planning your budget. This will ensure that whether you have a buffet or a sit down meal, you will be providing good quality and generous food. If you are holding the party in a hall or marquee, it is a good idea to get a catering service in who can provide you with not just the food, but also all the necessary equipment including tables, linens, cutlery and crockery. You can rent these items yourself from specialised companies as well, including gas BBQs and small portable fridge units if you want to hold an outdoor event.
Music – music is an excellent way to create a warm and relaxed atmosphere, so think about whether you would like a live band or DJ. If you are on a budget, or have a very small venue planned, it might be best to just play background music. You could compile a batch of suitable CDs to play on the venue’s sound system or on a portable CD player, and also you could ask the venue if they have any appropriate music that they could arrange on your behalf.
Theme – to give your party a twist, you could think of a theme and extend it to the wedding outfits, the decoration of the venue, the music and also the food. For example if you are interested in the medieval period, you could hire long, banquet style tables, and hold a traditional hog roast for the reception, with mead and ale available for the drinks. You could hire a specialist medieval quartet to play appropriate music, and perhaps hire some old English style entertainment such as jugglers and fools.
Remember that this is your wedding, and although you do need to take the comfort and enjoyment of your guests into consideration, make sure you think about what you really want as well, so that you create that perfect, special day.