The Beginner’s Guide To Wedding Planning

If you’re the proud new owner of a sparkling ring on your finger, congratulations! For most people it's the first time planning such an important event, so follow our guide of the first steps to take. As one of the most well established wedding venues in the Cotswolds, the team here at Lapstone Barn has so much experience to help you along the way!

The Budget

Before you jump head first in to planning, work out your budget for your wedding day. Have this at the front of your mind as you make enquiries with wedding venues, photographers, florists, cake makers, stylists and entertainers so you know if their prices fall within your budget.

If family members have offered to contribute to the costs, now is the time to have those (sometimes tricky!) conversations about what they would like to pay for. Having your financial ducks in a row from the start will make the planning process much less stressful – it’s supposed to be enjoyable afterall!

Your Wedding Venue

Your wedding venue search should definitely be at the top of your wedding to-do-list. Obviously we very much hope you will choose the most beautiful wedding barn in the Cotswolds – Lapstone Barn! Every other supplier you contact will want to know when and where you are getting married so they can confirm their availability, so your wedding venue needs to be your first booking – then your wedding date is set!

Before choosing your venue, think about whether you want a relaxed or formal day, intimate or extravagant? If you’re finding it difficult to get past this stage of wedding planning, gain some inspiration on Pinterest, Instagram or be inspired by real weddings on your favourite blogs.

Ultimately, this will help you kick-start your vision for your wedding day, so it’s clearer in your head from the outset how you want your day to look and feel.

The Ceremony

This is the most important part of your wedding day – this is what it’s about afterall! If you wish to have a civil ceremony, there is a huge choice of wedding venues which are licensed to conduct these. You will need to book the wedding date and ceremony time with your registrar directly with Gloucestershire Registration Services (GRS) for your civil wedding ceremony here at Lapstone Barn, once you have reserved your wedding date with us.

We don’t have any contact with GRS until the registrars arrive on your wedding day, so make sure they are booked. This is something we always double check at your final planning meeting, just in case!

Alternatively, if you are opting for a local church wedding, you will need to contact the church directly to arrange this with them. You are welcome to get ready at the barn in the morning in our beautiful bridal area, the Hayloft, returning after your church wedding for the reception – when the party starts!

Guest Numbers

Next it’s time to think about your guest list and work out numbers. We’re not saying you need to know exactly who will be attending your wedding, but it’ll be useful to have a rough idea so when you start the venue search you are aware of the capacity limits. For instance, if you know you’ll be having just a handful of guests, an intimate venue may take your fancy.

For couples who are having 200 guests, you can look around barn wedding venues that have capacity for larger numbers. We ask for your final numbers 28 days before the wedding, so you have plenty of time to finalise your A team!

The Details

Once you have the main framework of your wedding day in place, it’s time for the really fun bit! Start to think about colour schemes, themes, decor and styling for the day and explore this as you have initial conversations with wedding suppliers. The time of year might affect what colours you choose, or you might opt for a neutral colour palette, perfect for any season.

Can any friends recommend a brilliant photographer? Do you want to use a stylist to plan the look and feel of your wedding day, or are you planning to decorate the barn yourself? What parts of the day are most important to you? Have you always dreamt of including a certain flower in your bridal bouquet?

The details are endless, but they make the day so personal to you, so spend time getting it right. If you need inspiration, take a look at Pinterest and Instagram for ideas and put together a mood board of things you love in your search. Now pour yourself a long drink… this could take a while!


Planning your wedding day should be one of the most amazing experiences of your life. Yes – it probably will be stressful and a little  overwhelming at times, but it should also be fun, exciting and completely unforgettable. We are here to help every step of the way and can advise you on the best local suppliers to use for your look and budget, so if we can help at any point during your planning process, just ask.

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