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 stationery, we have collated the top 8 areas to consider at the start of your wedding planning journey.

How to start planning your wedding

Firstly, enjoy your engagement!

Getting engaged is a magical time, filled with bubbles of excitement, admiration for your brand new fiancée and of course hours spent gazing at the new adornment on your finger. Relax and revel in this time together, enjoy the joyous 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 part of 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 and maid of honour or promising invites to your big day straight away, instead share the excitement of your engagement story, thank well wishers and avoid hasty decisions.

Keep up the Communication

Communication with your fiancée is vital during your whole wedding planning journey and especially prior to any official organising. Begin by having open discussions together on the dreams and aspirations you have for your big day, after all the wedding is about the both of you (even if sometimes you might think the day is just for you!).

It’s most likely that before getting engaged you’ve mentioned aspects of your dream wedding whether its a passing comment on how much the family church means to you or even your thoughts on a friends wedding day but now is the time sit down, reflect and listen to both of your ideas.

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
  • Your ultimate dream wedding vision. As silly as it may sound, what springs to mind when you imagine getting married, even the smallest of details can help begin your planning journey.
  • Write down 3 key elements which are of most importance to you, for example; having a ceremony with a coastal view, having your Great Grandfather sitting in the front row, having a venue close to where you grew up, having your 2 beloved dogs present, being able to party away to a 10 piece band late into the evening. These small elements will shape how your wedding plans evolve, 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. Whether you opt for a budget of less than 10k or into the hundreds of thousands, collate together; what you have put aside in savings for your big day (remember its always safe to keep hold of your rainy day fund!), how much you would be willing to save before the big day and then factor in any contributions family members have agreed to contribute. Don’t assume family contributions will happen in fact most modern day UK couples will finance their wedding day completely 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 yourselves the desired year and month. Covid-19 has of course affected the wedding industry but venues have adapted and are ready to host your big day when restrictions allow.

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

  • Finances. Wedding season is typically May to September but a date out of season can help 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!

Decide where in the world you want to say ‘I do’!

When it comes to choosing where you want to get married, the world really is your oyster. From tropical island’s of paradise and exotic beach resorts to rustic romantic retreats and countryside chic, there’s a vast array of exciting places to say ‘I Do’.

Your first big decision needs to be narrowing down geographically where you as a couple want to enjoy your wedding whilst keeping your guests in mind.

From secret Italian hideaways to designer luxe UK options, you can search the most diverse collection of quality wedding venues from around the world in the most stylish Wedding Venue Finder here or browse endless possibilities and get inspired here.

Guests

Start by 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 help to 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 a lot 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 featuring some of the most incredible celebrations worldwide.

Get out there as a Bride & 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.

Good luck with your planning and don’t forget to visit our Wedding Planning Blog, full of inspiring ideas from exciting suppliers featuring the most incredible Real Weddings.

Read more | Wedding Planning Checklist: How to Plan your Big Day