10 Steps To Planning Your Wedding

You're engaged, now what? Knowing where and when to begin can be daunting - good thing you've found us, then! Here are the 10 things you need to do right away... 

Share the big news with your inner circle before updating your status on Facebook. It's not cool for your acupuncturist and hairdresser to find out before your extended family. 

Everyone's eyes will be on your hand, so grab your BFF, splurge on a professional mani, and start showing off that sparkler! 

Being engaged means you get to plan the wedding of your dreams. But it also means you're about to spend the rest of your life with your soul mate. Take some time (at least a couple of weeks) to savour how totally romantic that is before you dive into logistics. 

Ready to get down to the nitty-gritty? Settle on a rough guest list and budget. 'Without this, you can't book the right venue and vendors for your price point,' says planner Tracy Taylor Ward. 

This is the fun part: brainstorming with your man about the big day. Compare fantasies (tequila tastings, beach vows or a Venetian villa), and sign up for a Pinterest account to create an online inspiration board. Go crazy and think big- you can refine things after you've picked that all important venue. 

Have a range of dates in mind before your tour venues. Are you imagining a spring garden wedding, or autumnal 'I dos' in the woods? Do you want a honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands, or to cruise the Caribbean? The answers will help to steer you towards your ideal time of year. Tip: ask engaged friends when they're getting hitched, so you can avoid those dates. 

If you want to work with a wedding planner, book them before you choose your venue. 'I often wish I could turn back time and show new clients a site that would have been a much better fit for the theme they wanted,' says planner Annie Lee. 

Your venue will influence every decision you make, from your colour scheme to the style of your dress, so pin this down early on. The key is to find a venue that works with your vision (black-tie ballroom, modern minimalistic). And don't be afraid to think beyond the banquet hall. 

This is not the kind of party you can throw together at the last minute. Stay on track by creating a timeline of your to-dos. We asked wedding planners what software they used to stay organised. The unanimous response? Microsoft Excel. 

Once you've secured a venue and date, start hunting for your celebrant, photographer, and band or DJ. Because these people often book one event per day, they get snapped up quickly. Pounce immediately.


Budgeting For Your Wedding

Ok, so it's not the most glamorous part of planning a wedding, but you need to nail down what you need and get the best out of your day without running yourself into debt. Here's a few ways to make the process a little less painful...

Work out what you want

'It may seem obvious but you need to decide the type of wedding you want before doing your sums and booking venues,' says wedding planner Julia Dowling. 'I've seen a lot of couples book the venue first, only to realise they've blown the majority of their budget and can't afford another element they were desperate to include'

Have the money do the talking

About 50% of couples foot the whole bill themselves, which means that the other half ask for help, mainly from Mum and Dad. Sit down with each set of parents individually, you with yours and your partner with theirs, and ask if they would like to contribute to your wedding day.

Add it up

Your parents' contribution + yours = your total budget. Note: do not include your credit card limits in the total. You don't want to run yourself into debt as a married couple, that's no fun is it?

Spend it wisely

Now that you have a figure, start thinking about your priorities. What do you want most? A jam-packed dance floor? Amazing food? Or brilliant a brilliant photographer such as myself? (Shameless advertising right here!) Allot the bulk of your budget there and find ways to save elsewhere.

Consider every cost

'Most people go over budget by at least 30% because they didn't account for everything up front', says wedding planner Annie Lee.
Be sure to include the following hidden costs:
Dress alterations
Weather back-up plans (tents, heaters, umbrellas etc)
Taxes (Always ask if things include tax!)
And even postage costs for invites!


Hopefully these few tips will help you along your way to planning your perfect day, with as little trouble as possible.