Whether you've been engaged for a couple of months, or your other half has popped the question over the festive period, the start of a new year is the perfect excuse to kick start your wedding planning. It's certainly an exciting time, but do enjoy revelling in the fact you're now engaged by spending quality time together before embarking on your wedding planning - it could be a long road, and possibly the main topic of conversation in your household for a while!
To help get you started, I've compiled a list of the first 5 things to do when planning your wedding:
1. Talk Money!
Always a sensitive subject, but extremely important! There's no point setting your heart on a wedding that you can't afford, so it's best to set a firm budget before you start. Sit down with both families to discuss if they're able to contribute to your budget. If you're contributing yourselves (or paying for everything), how much can you realistically afford? Be honest, and don't set a budget which is going to be unattainable.
Allocate a percentage of your total budget to each main aspect of your wedding; venue, food and drinks, flowers, music, decor, and wedding attire. Don't forget wedding insurance, the Church/Registrar fees, and transport! Keep a contingency amount in case of an emergency, perhaps 5% of your total budget.
2. Consider your guest numbers
Write a list of everyone you'd like to invite. Would you like everyone to attend for the whole day, or some guests just for the evening reception? You can always re-visit this later, but it's important to gain an idea of numbers so that you can search for a venue that can accommodate everyone. Remember that it's unlikely everyone on your list will be able to attend.
3. Discuss your inspirations and style ideas with your fiancé
Before you start, it's important to talk through your ideas together to discuss what style of wedding you'd really like to have, and whether you'd like a Church, Civil or Humanist Ceremony. I always ask my couples to write a 'Top 5 Must Haves List' - the most important things to them for their wedding day - separately and then a combined list. This can be referred back to throughout your planning, to keep you focused and make sure you're creating the day you'll really love. Create a mood board of ideas together - perhaps on Pinterest. Include colours, style, flowers, and decor you love.
4. Hire a Planner!
Not everyone needs a Wedding Planner, but you might find the services of one super helpful! If you have a busy lifestyle, a time consuming career, feel overwhelmed at the thought of planning such an important event, or have lots of ideas but aren't sure how to implement them, then it would probably benefit you greatly. Working with a Wedding Planner is not necessarily the luxury expense as sometimes perceived. We are experts within the wedding industry, and so have the expertise and contacts to help you through your planning. It can also be invaluable to have someone on hand who can provide impartial advice or a shoulder to cry on when family disagreements over the guest list/menu selections/floral arrangements happen!
If you do decide to hire a Wedding Planner, meet with a few to talk through your ideas. It's important you get on well as you'll be working together potentially for 18 months or so.
If you're quite happy planning most of your wedding yourselves, you might want to consider hiring a Wedding Planner as the date of your wedding approaches. Many offer a 'Wedding Day Co-ordination' service, allowing you to relax on your day, knowing that a professional is taking care of all of your plans. Have a look over my Services page to find out more about the services I offer.
5. Purchase wedding insurance
It often gets forgotten about, but purchasing wedding insurance before parting with any cash is important. As with any insurance, you don't want to have to use it, but it's there as a back-up in case of any mishaps. It's not a huge expense, and many companies offer reasonable policies. If you're planning on a marquee wedding reception, make sure the policy you choose covers this.
I hope you've found these helpful, and have helped you get started with planning your wedding. Most of all, enjoy the planning process, and always take time to remember what getting married is all about; your commitment to one another.