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How to Plan an Intimate Wedding in the Lake District

2nd March 2022

If you want to know how to plan an intimate wedding in the Lake District, you have lots of great options available to you.

When planning your big day, it's essential to take care of all the details in the run-up so you can enjoy the most important day of your life stress-free.

Our guide will look at everything you need to create your perfect ceremony and wedding party, from setting the date to planning the ceremony.

25 tips for planning an intimate wedding in the Lake District

Planning destination weddings can take a lot of time, but it doesn't have to be stressful! By planning ahead and ensuring you cover all the bases, you’ll enjoy your wedding day and the planning.

Take a look at our top tips below to help you get started on everything, from deciding the number of guests to sending invitations and enjoying the big day.

Set the date

One of the most important wedding planning decisions you will make is setting the date. As soon as you do that, you will have to start planning to ensure everything goes well and you can book everything you want for the day.

Weekend weddings are often the most popular because the majority of people involved will not be working and kids will be off school. It helps to avoid the inconvenience of trying to get the time off work, especially if you invite colleagues.

You will also have to consider the time of year you plan to get married. Summer and spring weddings are most popular as you have a much better chance of good weather, but this can impact the price of certain services and make it challenging to secure bookings.

Winter and autumn weddings offer up the opportunity for different styles and themes and can be just as memorable.

Finding the ideal location 

When choosing a date, you will also have to consider whether you can book your dream venue. The availability of a venue often determines the date. 

Planning ahead and keeping up a regular correspondence with the venue will keep you up to date on any changes or availability.

Lake District weddings are always popular due to the incredible scenery that can make the perfect backdrop to your wedding photos.

When booking your destination wedding, you will also be able to plan your seated dinner at this point if you’re having one. This will usually be a set meal with several options.

Allow yourself enough time to plan

Always make sure you don't push yourself in terms of how long you will have to prepare. The last thing you will want is to worry about your wedding preparation.

Save the dates

When you do decide on your date, sending out a save the date card, message, or email, to the people you plan on inviting is advised. This isn't an invitation but does allow people to start making plans.

Save the date cards can be straightforward, or you can go for something more unique like magnets that people can stick to refrigerator doors, so they see it every day.

Slim down your wedding guest list 

When drawing up your guest list, make a provisional list and include every possibility before trying to whittle it down. Intimate weddings can be challenging to plan for, so finding out how many guests are permitted from wedding venues is a great place to start.

You can then try to separate who you can add to your intimate guest list and who would be happy to attend the reception.

Settle on a guest list 

Settling on a wedding list for intimate wedding ceremonies is difficult, but usually, by focusing on your closest family members and closest friends, you will be able to do it.

Invitations

You can now focus on your wedding invitations, and you will be able to let your guests know they have been invited to your intimate ceremony. The invitation should name exactly who is invited or include any 'plus ones', have the location and time to arrive, the time the ceremony will begin, and include a separate RSVP card detailing the meal choices.

Your guests will keep their invitations but should return the RSVP card detailing their meal choices by the advised date.

You can also send out separate invitations to your wedding reception guests advising what time they should arrive. 

Keep in touch

After your invitations are sent out, you should keep in touch with your guests and help to provide any information they need for attending.

Social media page

One great way to keep in touch with your guests and also to encourage them to stay in touch with each other is by using social media to create an event page. 

This is an excellent way for guests to plan travel or accommodation with one another. Some people even set up a small wedding website to direct their guests to links to the venue, accommodation, and local area.

Consider accommodation options for your guests

Providing accommodation options for guests is always appreciated, and the venue may even have rooms available to make the day run even more smoothly. 

Providing links to the accommodation's websites and telephone numbers will make enquiries and booking more straightforward. You can also provide a guide that shows the distance from accommodation to the venue.

Travel options

Providing travel options such as buses that pass through areas your guests live can be very helpful. Local taxi numbers and public transport links should also be provided at this stage.

Gift list

Everyone feels a bit awkward about asking for gifts but creating a gift list from a store you like will help you avoid receiving well-intentioned gifts that you may have no use for and avoid having people buy the same thing.

It has also become popular to advise guests that while no gift is necessary, you can give money towards a honeymoon because people are likely to gift something if they are not directed.

Finally, if you feel you have no use for wedding gifts and are comfortable enough that you don't need money, it is possible to set up a charity donation in your name that people can give to. This is a great way to support your favourite charity.

Starting to plan the wedding ceremony

Planning your wedding ceremony in plenty of time before your big day will help you relax and enjoy the total experience. After you have decided on your wedding destination, you will have to consider several factors to ensure your intimate ceremony goes without a hitch.

Deciding who officiates

A long list of people will be able to officiate your destination wedding, whether you are planning a religious wedding, non-denominational wedding, or want a member of your friends and family to officiate. Those that can officiate include:

  • Priests
  • Vicars
  • Rabbis
  • Humanist celebrants (in Scotland)
  • Registrars

Music

The music you choose for the wedding ceremony is not just the music the bride walks down the aisle to. It is also recommended to have music for the quieter times around the ceremony and when the paperwork is being signed.

It would be best to try to think of music that means something to you and will resonate with your guests. This way, when they hear certain songs in the future, their mind will be cast back to your special day.

Tradition: bridesmaids and groomsmen?

There is also the small decision about what you will wear to decide on. If you plan on something traditional, you will have to start looking for that special wedding dress and planning for your bridesmaids.

The groom and groomsmen will also be able to start thinking about suits or kilts. If you plan on renting these, it is wise to start making your plans early to avoid disappointment. You will also have to go for sizings, so plenty of preparation is required to ensure everyone looks their best on the big day.

Photographer & videographer

Finding the right photographer and/or videographer to capture the days' events is essential. You will be able to check their body of work if they have a website or social media page to ensure their style matches your plans. Checking a photographer or videographer's portfolio is essential, even if they are recommended to you.

Meeting with them to let them know your vision is vital for ensuring you get what you want. If you have any specific shots, always let them know so they can give you an accurate price.

You will be offered digital copies or can pay more for prints or a hard copy of your wedding video after it has been edited.

Wedding cake

Choosing your wedding cake should be one of the more fun jobs, and getting to speak to specialist cake makers also means you should be able to get some tasters.

Whether you want a traditional cake, specific flavours, cupcakes, or any other style, you should discuss this with the specialist.

Table assignments

Table assignments can be tricky if you have invited people who don't get on with one another and need to keep them separated. Your wedding venue will let you know the seating arrangements and how many per table before you start planning.

Kids tables are always a great way to ensure the smaller guests have fun with each other. You will then decide whether you want to seat couples, friends, or family groups together or try something a bit different.

One great way to get people talking and mingling is to mix the tables up. Though it can be a bit daunting at first, people soon break the ice and have the opportunity to speak to people they would never otherwise have spoken to.

Wedding favours & name cards

You will be able to detail seating arrangements on a board in the room, so people know which table to go to, and then you can place traditional name cards or do something different. Wedding favours are small gifts given out to guests and can be placed with a name stage at peoples seats. 

Guests always appreciate small treats like miniature bottles of whisky, gin, or vodka. Bags of sweets for the kids will definitely put a smile on their faces, although stopping them from eating them before dinner can be challenging.

Speeches

Speeches are usually made either before or after the meals are served. Try not to make them drag out too long, or people will lose interest, but when planning your speech, you should try and include an amusing anecdote, your thanks to everyone involved, and don't forget a bit of sentiment.

Table arrangements

Planning your table arrangements to match the wedding's colour scheme is a great idea. You will be able to have matching flowers as a centrepiece that people can take home afterwards.

Planning the wedding reception

After the ceremony and seated meal, everyone will be ready for the wedding reception to let their hair down, kick off their heels and celebrate your union.

Food & drink 

Depending on your budget, an open bar or free first drink can be a great thank you to your guests. It is also a good idea to provide food during the evening, and most venues will offer either a buffet or the option of small snacks.

Entertainment

Your entertainment choice will help to get the party started. Whether you want a wedding band or a DJ to spin your favourite tracks, it is worth securing them early so they don't get booked up before you get a chance.

You will also have to consider the all-important first dance. Even if you have a wedding band, you will be able to play the original recording to ensure your moment in the spotlight is perfect.

FAQs about planning an intimate wedding

Is a wedding checklist a good idea?

A wedding checklist is a great idea. Every time you think of something, add it to your list. This will help you remember all the tiny details that will make your special day unique; it will also let you see how much you have completed as you tick items off.

Can I invite people to the wedding party and not the ceremony?

If you are struggling to cut your invitation list, there is always the option of inviting people to the wedding reception rather than the ceremony. There will often be a limit on the ceremony and meal at a wedding as people will need to be seated. The reception afterwards tends to have a higher capacity, making this a viable option if you’re planning an intimate wedding ceremony but a larger reception.

How do I stop people from posting photos before the official pictures are released?

It is only natural that people will want to take pictures of your big day. Still, it is not unreasonable to ask people to refrain from posting any online until a specific date or until the official photos have been posted.

The best way to do this is to ask the wedding officiant to announce at the start of the ceremony as they thank people for attending. This is a relatively common practice nowadays.

Can I include a force majeure clause in wedding contracts?

A 'Force Majeure' clause in a contract considers events outside the control of the people involved that causes the cancellation of the wedding. This can be severe weather, Government restrictions, or several other reasons.

You will be able to discuss this with everyone involved in the wedding, from the caterer and venue to the entertainment and photographer.

Is a wedding planner necessary?

Wedding planners can be great for taking the weight off your shoulders, but they do add another expense. It will really be down to you whether or not you use a wedding planner. Still, it is worth remembering that the relationships a local wedding planner can build with companies within the industry can sometimes help you with discounts and offers.

Finding the right wedding planner will help you to put your plans into action, and even smaller, intimate weddings in a boutique hotel will be remembered by all those involved.

Final Thoughts

An intimate destination wedding is a perfect way to celebrate your love and share your day with family and friends. Your wedding day should be exactly how you want it, but don't lose sight of the fact that you should be enjoying your day.

With extensive experience in planning and catering wedding events, planning intimate weddings in the Lake District is easy with the Daffodil Hotel & Spa. Your wedding location will play a big part in how your wedding day is remembered, so make sure you find the perfect place for you.

With our planning tips for your intimate celebrations and wedding entertainment, you'll be able to create a uniquely memorable day for you, your partner, your family, and your friends.

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