Congratulations you’re engaged! And now the fun of wedding planning can begin…

Before you get carried away with hiring a pair of flying doves, a horse drawn carriage and ordering gold embossed wedding stationary, we have collated our top 8 things to consider when you are at the start of your wedding planning journey.

How to start planning your wedding

Firstly, enjoy your engagement!

Getting engaged is a magical time, you spend half your time staring with amazement at the dazzling new ring on your finger and you’ll both be in your own bubble of excitement. Relax and revel in this time together, enjoy the congratulation comments and well wishes from friends and family. Party, visit family, dance the night away or just cuddle on the sofa together but ensure you take the time to enjoy this momentous stage in your life.

Odds are that before you’ve even had the chance to get your engagement ring resized questions will be fired your way like when, where and how are you getting married. Don’t rush into any on the spot decisions like choosing your groomsmen/maid of honour or promising your parents next door neighbours daughter she will get an invite, its very easy to get carried away when sharing the excitement of your engagement story.

Keep up the Communication

Communication with your fiancée is vital during your whole wedding planning journey but prior to any official organising you must have an open discussion, after all the wedding is about the both of you. (even if you sometimes think the day is just for you ladies!)

It’s most likely that you have at some point mentioned to your fiancée pre-engagement aspects of your dream wedding whether its a passing comment on your family church meaning so much to you or your views on a friends recent wedding day but now is the time to listen to both of your thoughts.

Initial discussion points for you and your fiancée:

  • Religious beliefs. These will shape your entire wedding day make sure you are both on the same page as to the formalities. For more of an insight read our Church wedding vs civil wedding ceremony
  • What is you ultimate dream wedding vision
  • Each write down 3 key elements of your wedding which are of most importance to you, for example; having a ceremony with a coastal view, having my Great Grandfather sitting in the front row, having a venue close to where I grew up, having our 2 beloved dogs there on our big day, partying away to a 10 piece band late into the evening. These small elements will shape how your wedding planning evolves, for instance you could end up searching for a pet friendly venue or ruling out destination weddings to ensure vital family members can be present.

Talk Finances

How much does a wedding cost? As much as you want it to cost!

Before you get carried away with all your wedding planning admin, you need to both agree on a final total budget for your wedding day. You might think this is a bit difficult before you start getting venue or supplier quotes but it is vital you do this beforehand.

Differing reports will state the average UK wedding spend is anywhere from £12,000 to £30,000 but honestly this is irrelevant. Decide what you have put aside in savings for your big day (remember its always safe to keep hold of your rainy day fund!) and how much you could save at present to put towards your day plus factor in any contributions family members have agreed to contribute. Don’t assume family contributions will be readily available in fact most modern day UK couples will finance their wedding day of their own accord.

Once you have agreed on this final figure and you are both comfortable with it, make sure you re-visit it at every decision making wedding planning stage. It’s also wise to have a contingency of 5-10%. Every bride and groom-to-be will tell you the temptation to overspend when it comes to weddings is inevitable.

When to get married

This year, next year, the year after or in five years time? Narrow down between yourself your desired year and month.

Our top points to keep in mind when choosing your desired wedding date;

  • Finances. Wedding season is typically May to September, a date out of season could save on your budget
  • Weather. If you have your heart set on an outdoor wedding Summer months are clearly best suited
  • Destination weddings. Appropriate months will depend on your location- do your research
  • Job/work commitments. Will you be able to get suitable time off work
  • Key guest commitments. Choosing your sisters baby due date or best friends 30th is probably not wise

Where in the world shall we get married?

The world really is your oyster, get married on a super yacht in Gibraltar, in a glass pyramid in Bali, inside Cornwall’s Eden Project or at the secluded woodlands of Oaklands in Yorkshire. The choice available is exciting but firstly narrow down where geographically is best for you both whilst keeping guests in mind.

You can search a variety of high quality wedding venues by distance from your desired postcode here.

Guests

Start by each of you creating a list of who has to be at your wedding no questions asked, who ideally you would like there and additional guests who would create the party atmosphere.

It’s amazing how a guest list of over 70 can be quickly collated when you originally thought a maximum of 50 would be sufficient. Work through your lists together until you come up with a final estimated guest number.

At this point you can also start discussing who you would like in your wedding party. The best man, groomsman, maid of honour, bridesmaids, flower girl, page boy, there’s lots to think about!

Inspirational Research

At the beginning stages of your wedding planning there’s nothing better than doing your research, it fuels your excitement and drives your passion for creating the wedding of your dreams.

Pinterest and Instagram are great sources of inspiration along with wedding blogs and forums (check out our Real Weddings)

Get out there as a Bride or Groom-to-be

Visit wedding fairs, sip the VIP champagne, buy the fancy wedding magazines, sign up to useful newsletters and begin to enjoy this new stage in your life. Time flies by so quickly and the memories of the initial buzz and excitement of wedding planning will be ones you treasure forever along with your wedding day.