The First Steps in Planning a Wedding

So the champagne has been sipped, the ring has been shown around, and congratulations have poured in, but now the reality hits; you actually have to plan a wedding. Many couples aren’t sure where to start when they’re arranging a wedding, and this can make the whole process more difficult than it needs to be. However, checking out the following first five steps in wedding planning, can give you the confidence to get going.

Step 1 – Brainstorm

Have you and your fiancée ever actually discussed your dream wedding? Perfect if you have but very few couples do. Men tend not to think too much about what they’d like their wedding to be like and women often have detailed dreams but keep them to themselves. Sitting down together and just discussing what you’d like your wedding to be like is an important first step; you might find out that one of you has visions of an intimate backyard wedding for fifty while the other is picturing a hotel ballroom with two hundred guests. Discuss the style of wedding you’d like, how formal it should be, how many people you’d like there, what season it should be, and where you’d like to get married geographically.

Step 2 – Budget

Talking money is far from the most romantic part of wedding planning but it is essential nevertheless. Usually when you announce your engagement your parents will instigate a discussion about whether or not they can make a contribution, but if they don’t you should bring this up early if you’re hoping for their help. Be specific about amounts or items they’re willing to pay for to avoid misunderstandings. Don’t be tempted to start spending in the hope they’ll cough up later, you may be disappointed.
Most couples now pay for at least part of their wedding themselves, so think about how much you can afford to pay. Do you have some savings you can use? If you have to save up to pay for the wedding how much can you realistically put by each month? You might want a six month engagement, but if you need eighteen months to save up that might be a better option; no couple wants to start their married life paying off debts from their wedding day.

Step 3 – Guest List

Drawing up an initial guest list can give you an idea of how many people will be at your wedding, how big your venue needs to be, and how many people you have to provide catering for, and these factors can influence the choices you make next, even if you change your list slightly as you go along. If you want to invite more people than you expected you might have to scale down your catering plans, while if your guest list is smaller than you expected you might be able to splash out on your dream venue.

Step 4 – Choosing a Venue

Once you know the type of wedding you’d like to have, what budget you have to work with, and roughly how many people will be invited, you can start to look at wedding venues. The internet has made this task much easier, and you can list all the venues in the area that you want to get married, creating a shortlist based on capacity, cost, location, proximity of accommodation and simply whether you like the look of them or not. If you’re having separate ceremony and reception venues this will be a factor too. Plan a visit to all the venues on your shortlist and prepare a list of questions to ask each one.

Step 5 – Setting the Date

Setting your wedding date will make the whole experience suddenly become real. Generally the date that you choose will depend on availability at the ceremony and reception venues you have chosen, but some couples like to check the date with family and friends who will be key members of the wedding party before they make a final commitment. If you have a wide choice of dates, choosing birthdays, proposal anniversaries, or parents’ anniversaries can make the date particularly significant.

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