As wedding planners, we receive lots of enquiries from couples who are looking to plan a beautiful destination wedding in France. Some contact us very early (as much as 2 years prior), and some contact us pretty late (just a few months before their desired wedding date).
Planning a wedding with a lot or very little time is not an issue, as long as everyone agrees to the schedule. For those starting very early, there will probably some quiet months where there is not much to be done as some vendors might not be able to take bookings just yet. For those starting a bit late, it might be that we need to tackle a lot of things from the start and couples may need to make time in their diary to review all the options we present to them and make decisions.
So starting right, for us, is not really about starting at a given “right time”. Starting right is about choosing the best options for you from the start. And the very first thing couples choose is their wedding venue… and we have seen many couples choosing the wrong one.
Couples tend to “know” that the choice of venue is extremely important: it has to be easily accessible (especially when you are planning a destination wedding), beautiful, it has to have the right capacity for the expected number of guests, to provide enough spaces for each moment of the day. But lots of couples fail to see the even bigger picture of how this venue works with the atmosphere and decor they wish to create, and what part the venue is going to play in the overall wedding budget. And these are correlated.
Indeed, you could choose a venue that is beautiful, has all you need in terms of spaces, is practical for your guests, and is within your budget, but not exactly the right style. If that is, you might think you will just bring that style to the venue. This is of course possible, but it will incur some extra costs, sometimes large costs, that you might not have taken into account. And if you cannot accommodate these, you might find yourselves with a venue that is not the right style and that will mean you will need to review your vision of your wedding to suit the venue…
We also see lots of couples who fall in love for a gorgeous venue and excitedly book, without realising how much other elements of a wedding cost. Then when it comes to sourcing vendors and styling, they realise that they can’t afford the little or big extras they had in mind and are so important to them.
So our recommendation is very simple:
If you are planning on hiring a wedding planner, do so from the very beginning and benefit from your planner’s expertise for your venue search too. Your wedding planner will suggest venues taking into account the style of wedding you are after, the atmosphere you would like to create and your overall budget.
If you are planning on coordinating your wedding yourselves, seek the help of a wedding planner to source your venue. A professional’s guidance at the very start of your planning process will save you lots of trouble (and probably money) further down the line.