Wedding Budget Planner | Coochicoo Cards

Wedding Planning Budget

He's put a ring on it, you're dizzy with excitement and have a million ideas of how you want your dream day to be but before you start booking suppliers left right and centre, take a breather sit down and work out a budget. OK so it's not very romantic but you don't want to over spend and allow the costs to spiral out of control and end up starting your married life in debt. It is how you spend your money that counts and not how much. Traditionally the father of the bride paid for most of the expenses but times have moved on and now most couples choose to pay for the bulk of the wedding themselves or even split it three ways between the couple and both sets of parents. But it comes down to who is willing and able to pay.

We offer you some advice on how to set your budget and given you a handy Wedding Budget spreadsheet to keep you on track.

Prioritise

Decide what is more important....an amazing dress? the dream venue? 100+ guests? then add that to the budget and divide what is left over to other suppliers.

Set Up A 'Wedding Fund' Bank Account

Both of you put a set amount of money into this account each week/month and pay all of your suppliers from this account. Some banks offer cash-back for opening an account which you can put that towards the wedding.

Decide Together

Make sure you are both 100% happy with what you are spending to avoid any arguments.

Venue Deposit

The biggest expense of your day is the venue so make sure it is right place, affordable and that your guests can make it before you pay the deposit.

Get It In Writing

Use only reputable suppliers and make sure you get written quotes and order confirmations before you pay any deposits and they you have read and agree to their terms and conditions.

Have A Contingency

Set aside around 10% contingency in case of any problems (e.g the cars don’t arrive and you need to get a taxi, a supplier goes bust and you need to find another - you should be able to claim this back on your insurance after the wedding).

There are lots of wedding budge planners available on line, try this one from Bridebook.co.uk.

How to start wedding planning | Coochico Cards

How to start planning your wedding.

Whether you were lucky enough to ‘get a ring put on it’ over Christmas, New Year or Valentines or if you have been engaged for a while, we know you want to spread your joy and to spring into action planning your wedding.  With so many ideas out there where do you start? Well we recommend visiting local Wedding Fayres so you can get a feel for your dream venue and meet lots of lovely wedding suppliers who can advise what they can do to make your big day special.  After that, it is a good idea to revisit your shortlist of venues at their Wedding Open Evenings where the rooms are generally set up as they would be for a wedding and you can talk to the venue’s Wedding Coordinators and also meet the hotel’s preferred and recommended Wedding Suppliers.

There are still lots of Wedding Fayres going on through Spring and into Summer which we will be attending. We are very proud to be the chosen preferred and recommended wedding stationery supplier for a number of North East venues, so we are also attending their Wedding Open Evenings.

Full details of these events can be found on our website and Facebook events pages.  Keep checking the lists as more dates are added.

We hope to see you at any of these events and “Happy Wedding Planning”

Wedding Planning Timeline | Coochicoo Cards

18-Month Wedding Planning Timeline

So, you’re engaged, many congratulations! Now you are left with your head in a spin wondering what to do and when? Worry no more and use our handy timeline to help you plan the most amazing day of your life:

12 to 18 months before
Have fun and celebrate your engagement first.
Think of the kind of day you want to have and set a budget.
Look at venues and set a date  – check the availability of a celebrant for that date too (if you are having a civil ceremony) or the Church and Vicar/Priest (if you are having a religious ceremony).
Invite your friends / relatives to be in the wedding party (bridesmaids, maid of honour, best man and ushers).
Get the girls together and go shopping for the dream dress.
Book the next few Sundays out and attend local wedding fayres and short-list your favourite wedding suppliers.
Look at wedding stationery and all those lovely invitation designs out there – order and send Save The Dates.

9 months before
Go back to your favourite bridal shop and buy ‘the’ dress.
Choose the florist and flowers for your bouquet and room décor.
Go shopping for the men’s suits and bridesmaid dresses.
Arrange appointments with, and book, your favourite wedding suppliers particularly the cake maker.
Book your entertainment – there are lots to choose from including DJ’s, musicians/bands, string quartets/harpists, magicians, casino/games room etc.
Finalise the guest list and order your wedding stationery. Why not consider building a wedding website too.
Agree the menu with your venue.

6 months before
If you are not staying at the venue the night before then book your transport – don’t forget the groom who might want to arrive in style in a sports car perhaps?
Book your room decor supplier (eg. chair covers, sashes, centre pieces, LOVE letters, dancefloor etc).
Go shopping for shoes, the very important wedding rings and your accessories.
Plan and book your wonderful honeymoon.
Arrange wedding insurance (you just never know what could happen).
Receive your gorgeous invitations from your wedding stationer.

3 months before
Send out your invitations (ask guests to reply no later than 6 weeks before your wedding date so you have sufficient time to get final numbers to your venue).
Book hair and make-up for the bride, bridesmaids and mother of the bride.
Go shopping for bridal party gifts – make sure you include mother of the bride, mother of the groom as well as your bridal party and anyone else who has helped to make your day truly special).
Shop for, and order, wedding favours – your stationer should be able to help you with this.
It is a good idea to break-in your wedding shoes around the house – you don’t want blisters on the day.
Order you wedding cake.

6 weeks before
Organise the seating plan – this can take longer than you think.
Groomsmen and Father of the Bride write their speeches.
Confirm the timeline of the day with your venue.
Have a pre-wedding photo shoot to get to know your photographer and agree those ‘must have’ shots.
Confirm bookings with all of your suppliers so they know exactly where and when they need to provide their services and products.
Agree play-list or must have/not have songs played with DJ.
Have a hair and make-up trial.

4 weeks before
Write your wedding vows.
Chase up any guests who have not RSVP’d.
Have a final dress fitting at the bridal shop and agree any alterations if necessary – take your chief bridesmaid along so they can learn how to fasten and bustle your dress.
Give your seating plan and menu to your stationer so they can prepare your Table Plan, Place Setting Cards, Table Name Cards, Table Menus, Favours and any other wedding stationery.
Book spa and nail treatments for yourself and your bridal party.
Have some fun, let your hair down and go on your hen and stag parties.

1 week before
Collect dresses and suits after any alterations and make sure the dress has been pressed and steamed.
Receive the on-the-day stationery and deliver this to your venue.
Both bride and groom to have their last pre-wedding haircut and colour.
Give reception venue a schedule of supplier delivery and setup times including contact details.
Sort your ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue).
Groomsmen and Father of the Bride to finalise their speeches.
Pack your overnight bag if staying at the venue and also think about packing for your honeymoon.
Have the ceremony rehearsal with your bridal party.

The Big Day
Relax, enjoy and have a wonderful day – with the proper planning everything will go swimmingly.

After the Wedding
Pre-arrange for any hired goods to be returned to the suppliers (although most should have arranged to collect the next day)
Pre-arrange for the bestman to return any hired suits.
Contact your stationer and order thank-you cards which should be ready for you to send out when you return from you honeymoon.

A to Z Of Wedding Stationery

First impressions count and your wedding invitations give your guests the first glimpse of what they can expect at your wedding, so it needs to be right for you! Not only do you have invitations to think about but also on-the-day stationery including your table plan, place setting cards etc and afterwards by sending ‘Thank You’ cards to your guests. With so many decisions to make we have laid out an A to Z of Wedding Stationery to help you:

ABROAD – If you are getting married abroad then choose wedding invitations perfect for a destination wedding such as our Passport or Boarding Pass. You may not need on-the-day stationery as the wedding co-ordinator at your hotel will have that covered but you still need to send Thank You’s to your guests afterwards.

BRIDESMAID & BESTMAN – Add an extra special personal touch and send your wedding party cards asking them to be your Bridesmaid(s) / Bestman. We can make these for you!

CEREMONY – Are you having a civil ceremony in a hotel or a religious ceremony in a church? The wording of your invitations will depend on this. See our previous blog post on how to word your invitations.

DAY GUESTS – Your day guests will need more information in their invitations as they will attend your whole day so make these invitations the most elegant/detailed. They will need to know the time and place of your ceremony, where your Reception is, any dress code, and ensure to include an RSVP as you will need to give your venue confirmed numbers.

EVENING GUESTS – They will need less information then your day guests so these can be a simpler version. Give them the option to RSVP by phone/email to save you the cost of an extra insert.

FAVOURS – Show your guests how much you appreciate their presence with a thoughtful favour. See our previous blog post for top tips on choosing the right one.

GUESTS NAMES – If you do not have great penmanship then ask your stationer to print your guest’s names in your invitations for you.

HONEYMOON – If you need a little help towards your honeymoon then it is now acceptable to ask for this rather than a traditional gift list. Why not include a little poem to this effect in your invitations? We have some suggestions, just contact us and we will email them to you.

INFORMATION – Make sure you include all the information your guests will need to save receiving lots of phone calls from them. See our previous blog post. Or why not set up your own Wedding Website to include all the details and you can put this link in your invitations. We can now do this for you!

JOURNEY TO THE WEDDING – if you are providing transport to/from your venue include this in your invitations or include directions to your ceremony and/or reception venue, and provide contact numbers for the local taxi firms.

KIDS – Are you excluding children from your wedding or do you have special arrangements made for them already? Put this in the invitation. See our previous blog post on how to word this.

LISTS – Plan ahead and make a list of all the guests you want to invite to your wedding, and then break this down between day and evening guests. You may have to be ruthless if you want to stay within your budget!

MENU – are you choosing a set menu or giving your guests a choice? If you are giving them a choice then include this on your RSVP. You may also need to ask your stationer to print your guest’s choices on their place setting cards otherwise they may forget what they have ordered. Make sure you put 1 menu on each table at the reception.

NAME CARDS – if you are assigning your guests a specific seat at the table then you will need place setting cards which your stationer can design to match the rest of your stationery. Or instead of a place card, why not give your guests personalised favours?

ORDER OF SERVICE – if you are having a religious ceremony then you will need an Order of Service so your guests know how the service will flow. Include the wording of the hymns and titles of any readings. You will need to agree the wording of the Order of Service with your vicar before finalising this with your stationer.

POST BOX – if you are asking your guests for money then it is advisable to have a Wedding Card Post Box. This allows a safe place for your guests to put their cards rather than leaving them on tables or behind the bar where they may sprout legs or get lost.

QUIRKY – your wedding day should reflect you as a couple and your personality, so if this is quirky, go with that on your invitations and other wedding stationery. We have lots of designs to fit with this.

RSVP – typically 25-30% of guests decline the invitation but do not count on this or invite numbers beyond the venues capacity. For day guests always include an easy way for your guests to RSVP as you will need to give confirmed numbers to your venue 4-6 weeks before your wedding. Make sure the RSVP has a ‘respond by’ date, a line for guests to fill in their names, and check box whether they can attend or not. It is also a good idea to ask your guests for any special dietary requirements so you can give your venue the heads up!

SAVE THE DATE – these are a great way to give your guests plenty of notice about your wedding and are especially useful if you are getting married in a peak holiday period or mid-week date so your guests have enough time to book the date off work.

TABLE PLAN – one of the most stressful parts of the wedding planning process is organising your seating plan. See our previous blog ‘Strategic Seating Planning’ to help you with this.

UNIQUE – your wedding is unique and so are you! Every one of our designs can be tailored to match your own personal theme and style and the final product is unique to every one of our customers.

VINTAGE – vintage is still very now! There are lots and lots of ideas out there to suit a vintage style wedding and we have lots of designs to suit.

WELCOME SIGN – add an extra personal touch to your day and welcome your guests with a personalised sign. Your stationer can design this to match the rest of your wedding stationery.

XTRA INVITATIONS – order at least 10 extra invitations for any last-minute additions to your guest list and for redoing any mistakes if you are handwriting your guest’s names. Also keep yourself an extra one as a precious keepsake of the day.

YES/NO – keep a running list of all the RSVP’s as you will need to confirm numbers to your venue 4-6 weeks before your wedding. You may want to ‘upgrade’ some of your evening guests to the day celebrations if you have space.

ZZZZ– take a deep breath and relax now your wedding stationery is sorted.

5 Top Tips On Picking Wedding Favours

Why do we need to give favours to our guests you may ask, well they are the most important people in your life and you want to thank them for being part of your special day. A wedding lasts a day but memories last forever and a thoughtful and meaningful wedding favour is an extra touch to making the day memorable to your guests. There are literally 1000’s of favour ideas out there, so to help you narrow it down here are 5 top tips to help you choose the right one.

1. Fit The Venue
Is your wedding outside, on a beach, is it a festival style? Give your guests something they will find useful throughout the day. For example a cooling fan, a warming pashmina or comfy flip-flops for the ladies, sunglasses for the gents, miniature sun-creams, glow sticks and whistles, sparklers or miniature bubbles, or funky temporary tattoos.

2. Fit Your Theme
Choose favours that compliment the colour theme or style of your day. More importantly, give favours that will reflect your personality while being interesting to your guests. For example if you are going rustic then make small jars of jam or chutney. If you are going elegant then boxes or bags co-ordinated with the rest of your stationery. If fun and games is the flow of your then lottery tickets or scratch cards, gambling chips (if you are having a Casino), bingo tickets (and play a little bingo during the reception), raffle tickets (with a fab hamper as a prize) or perhaps a quiz/game for the whole table to play.

3. Keep it sweet!
Edible wedding favours are always popular. Gone are the traditional sugared almonds as we say hello to 100’s of sweet treat ideas. From chocolate hearts to creamy fudge, cookies to cupcakes. All of them can be presented in colour co-ordinating boxes or bags tied up with ribbon.

4. Something To Keep
If you want a long-term souvenir of your day for your guests give them something they can display in their homes or use again like candles, flower seeds/bulbs, lavender posies, key rings, wine glass charms or fridge magnets.

5. Make It Personal
Whatever favour you choose why not personalise it with your guests name? Not only is this an extra special touch but also gives you extra pennies in the budget as you would not need place setting cards.

You do not need to break the bank, as it is the thought that counts, and you have got bigger things to budget for. The DIY approach is not always cheaper when you factor in the materials and your time to put them together so take a look at our affordable favour range. They are available in various designs and colours to match your theme and style. We can personalise any of them with your guest’s names. If you do not see what you are looking for just contact us with your idea and we will give you a price.

cheque book wedding invitation | Coochicoo cards

How to word your wedding invitations

First impressions count and your wedding invitations set the tone of what your guests can expect on the big day, so we understand the importance of them being perfect inside and out! Don’t worry if you are not a budding Shakespeare as once you’ve found your perfect design we can help you with the wording.

So, what should be included…..

• Title, first name and surname of the couple
• Who they are from – they are normally sent from the hosts, which are traditionally the brides’ parents, and are generally written in the third person (i.e. Mr & Mrs Jones). However, it is becoming more common for them to be sent from the couple themselves. Traditionally the brides name appears before the groom, but there is nothing to say you can’t break convention and word your invitations however you want! The wording becomes more complicated if parents are divorced or if the couple are holding the event themselves.
• Correct invitation – ‘the honour of your presence’ is generally used for a religious ceremony and ‘the pleasure of the company’ is for non‐religious.
• Where the ceremony is taking place
• Date, month and year of the wedding ceremony
• Where the wedding reception is taking place (if different from the ceremony)
• Address/telephone/email to which guests should reply
• A reply date
• You might also wish to include details such as: any dress code or theme; the time the guests can expect the day to come to an end; whether children are invited. If children are invited, make this clear by including their names on the invitation (as parents might assume the children are not invited if not specified). If children are not invited include wording like ‘As much as we would like to invite all the children of our friends, it is only possible to accommodate the children of close family’, or ‘We are sorry we are unable to accommodate children’.

Follow this link for our suggestions on how to word your invitations.

To order samples of any our invitations, with printed insert please just choose your favourite design(s) from our Invitations page and select the ‘order sample’ button.

Top Tips On Choosing Your Wedding Invitations

1 – Theme & Style
First impressions count and your invitations and Save The Dates give your guests a hint of the style and theme of your special day as well as details of your wedding. So choose a design that fits your theme and colour scheme. For example, do you want a Vintage inspired design or a Modern design? What colours would you like incorporated?

2 – What to Include
Think about what you will need to include. For example, do you want to include an RSVP? Will you need to include extra inserts for directions to the venue, menu options etc? If so, you will need to choose an invitation design that has space for this such as a pocket style. Or do you simply want to send the invitation? If so, you can go for a book fold or postcard design.

3 – When to order
We recommend ordering your invitations at least six months before your wedding for sending out three to four months before your big day. You can order your Save The Dates as early as you want, particularly if it is a destination wedding.

4 – How many to order
You only need to order one Invitation/Save The Date per family or couple (not per guest), plus allow another 10% for those extra guests you want to invite at a later date. You might want to consider sending your day invitations a few weeks before the evening invitations to allow the day guests to reply. If some of them cannot attend this will enable you to invite some of your evening guests to the whole day.

5 – Who to send them from
Invitations are traditionally sent from the hosts which used to be the brides parents, however it is becoming more popular for the bride and groom to be the hosts as more couples pay for the wedding themselves. We will guide you on the exact wording to use as it differs for religious and civil ceremonies.

Are you looking for your perfect Save The Dates and Invitations? Then take a look at our range or let us create a bespoke design for you. Just Contact Us for details

Strategic Seating Planning

1 – Start planning
Do not wait for all your RSVP’s to come in, start organising your seating plan as soon as possible as you do not want it to be a rush before the big day. You can always alter it nearer the time as late RSVP’s come in.

2 – Speak to your venue
Double-check the capacity of your venue including the size and shape of the tables. Be careful not to sit everyone too close as you do not want your guests pushing their chairs back and bashing into each other.

3 – Even numbers
Try to have an even number of men and women on each table so there is a good mix of conversation. Same-sex tables can become rowdy once the alcohol starts flowing.

4 – Mix it up
Try not to seat your guests in all family groups as they lose the chance to mingle. But also do not seat guests together who do not know each other at all as it could be awkward. Try to find a balance (maybe think about their ages and interests so they have a talking point). Guests with a partner should always be seated together. Never have a table dedicated to the ‘singles’, put them with guests who they will get along with but do not force a ‘match make’, which may seem fun but could cause awkwardness.

5 – Who needs access?
Think about where elderly guests, pregnant guests or children are seated as they may need wheelchair access or to get to the bathroom quickly.

6 – Seat yourselves
Do not forget to include yourselves in the seating plan. You can go with a traditional top table arrangement, mix it up, or the two of you can sit on own. If you have small children you may want to sit them next to someone who can keep an eye on them for you so you can relax and enjoy the meal fully.

7 – Finding their seats
Make sure your tables are clearly numbered or named. Why not name them after something personal to you (e.g. places you have been, songs you like etc). Use clear place cards or personalised favours so your guests can find their seats easily and quickly.

8 – Above all…..Don’t over think it!
If you spend hours staring at your seating plan, adding people in and taking people out, you will stress yourself out. Set aside just one evening to do it with your partner then come back to it the next day with a fresh mind to make minor changes then hand it over to your wedding stationer THEN LEAVE IT ALONE. Be prepared for drop-outs and cancellations even after you have finalised it but for your own sanity leave it as it is. Any replacement guests or late additions will cope finding their seat. Your wedding stationer will also have a cut-off point for production.

Are you looking for your seating plan to be brought to life? Then take a look at our range of table plans or we can create one for you to match your theme and style! Just Contact Us for details.