Your wedding will be the biggest party you will ever organize and probably one of the most expensive! So when it comes to planning your big day use our 5 step wedding planning guide to help you get started.

1. Set the date – You can’t do anything without setting your wedding date. As a guide most couples will take between 18 and 12 months to plan their wedding, but it is entirely up to you how long you take. Try not to choose a day that has meaning to someone else, such as a birthday, anniversary or graduation for instance, whilst it may not be possible to avoid this for all your guests, make sure you take note of any special days for your close family and friends. Think carefully about the time of year as well, a wedding in the months between may and September will cost you more than one outside of these months. Also a weekend wedding will be more expensive than a mid-week one.

2. Choose your wedding style – Do you want a traditional religious wedding or a formal civil wedding? Do you want a small intimate wedding or a large wedding? Would a destination wedding be more your style or a casual, relaxed wedding in the garden

3. Set the budget – Firstly you will need to ascertain where the money is coming from. Will you fund the entire wedding yourselves? Will the brides parents, as is tradition? Or will the money come from various sources such as yourselves and both sets of parents? Use a budget planning sheet to set out figures for every element of your wedding day, it can be helpful here to ring around some vendors – venues, florists, caterers etc to give you some guide prices, these can help you to determine a figure best suited to your wedding. If the end figure is too high then you will need to trim back on some elements, this will help you to both realize what is most important to you for your wedding. Finally find out how much each party will be donating to the wedding fund and assign that money to various elements of the day so that everyone knows what they are paying for.

4. Open a high interest account – This is for your wedding fund and to make sure it is kept separate from your everyday bills. Having a high rate of interest applied will help to top up your fund and perhaps help you to bring back in some of those things that you had to take out of your budget initially.

5. The guest list – This can be one of the biggest headaches for couples particularly when close family insist on inviting every family member and close family friend. If your parents are contributing towards costs then you should allow them to invite a few guests of their choosing. When you begin your guest list write down those people who are most important to you first, then add in other people in order of importance. People you haven’t seen or spoken to in more than six months, work colleagues and distant relatives are probably best invited to the evening party rather than the wedding proper. Keep your budget in mind also, remember each additional person is an additional cost, think about all those plus ones and if you want children at your wedding.

6. This guide is of course just the start, but it is enough to give you the foundations on which to build every other element of your special day. From here you can go onto choose your wedding theme and colors, vet potential venues and vendors, find your wedding dress and book your honeymoon.


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