If you're reading this then I bet a huge congratulations is in order! I do hope the engagement was super romantic. And if you want to tell me all about it then fire away! I love proposal stories.
Now just before you start reading I need to let you into a little secret... Im not a writer. haha... Writing really isn't a talent of mine but I do love to write these little informative blogs for couples who will eventually say I do...(Just saying' don't judge me)
I bet your head is spinning with ideas and thoughts about your big day but sitting down and creating a plan from day one can help keep budgets on plan and the disagreements to a minimum (they will happen. Just remember its wedding related and nothing wrong with your relationship!)
Picking a date...
Firstly think about seasons... Whats your favourite? Do you love spring with all its delicate colours or Autumn for its deep burnt oranges?
Do you see yourself getting married indoors or outside? These things need to be considered and factored into the time of year you will eventually choose.
Do you want to wear faux fur or potentially have snow? Do you come out in hives at the thought of heat? Weddings aren't just in 'Wedding Season' anymore so you can do and have ANYTHING your heart desires.
Pick things out that you BOTH love and see if there are any stand out themes that help guide you to the time of your that would be perfect for saying I do. Also state things you do not want to be a part of your wedding day. Think back to weddings you have attended... What parts of those days did you enjoy the most and what parts made you want to have a snooze?
You'll also need to factor in how long you will need to save for your wedding day, An extra year could make all the difference to your quality of life in the lead up to your big day.
I have a lot of teachers as brides or grooms and find they all need to get married just before a half term so that they can actually have a honeymoon!
Everyones life situations and requirements are different. There are no definitive answers when it comes to wedding planning so just soak in all the info and then rest and reflect!
Your dream wedding...
By now you will hopefully have some inkling of what your dream wedding is, Or perhaps you could be one of those people who has known every single last detail since they were 8. If you are either then Pinterest is a great place to start to start bringing your ideas together.
Create Pinterest boards with things you like. You don't have to know why you like them but if something catches your eye just pin it. Once you have a few hundred pictures pinned have a look through for themes to see what you are loving the most.
You'll soon realise you want to head towards creating a candle-lit dreamy affair in a stately home whilst wearing a ball gown or a boho barn style wedding where you are up to your knees in mud or even something totally off grid like getting married under a dinosaur in a museum!
The world is literally your oyster so be clear on this before you spend a penny.
Think about the size of your venue and the distance people will need to travel. Is there onsite accommodation or hotels near by for family or friends who will need to stay for a few days if they live far away?
Set Your Budget...
Work out a realistic target. What you can save within the time period you have set yourself without having to miss out on life during the planning process. Nobody wants a crappy 18 months of life just to have one day do they? Where realistically you are paying for a nice day out for everyone else!
It may be an awkward conversation but also ask family if they are planning on gifting any money towards your wedding as this will have an effect on your planning process.
Draft a guest list...
Is your dream day small and intimidate or a go large or go home affair.
Do you want to spend quality one on one time with all your guests or just throw the party of a lifetime for everyone you know.
Again it all boils down to how you imagine your dream wedding day to pan out. I know when I was wedding planning we had two totally different ideas on what it should be. We came to a compromise and are still happily married so was obviously a good choice. haha
Choose your Bridesmaids and Groomsmen... Its your turn to propose! Theres so many cute ways to do it these days. Just have a look on Pinterest. You're either into that kind of thing or not. For me it was face to face and no presents! It just wasn't the done thing 6 years ago. Don't feel the need to do it because everyone else does. If you have doubts about anything... scrub it off the to-do list. You'll also have more budget to assign to things you do actually want.
Get some insurance...
Not to scare you or anything but if its not too expensive protect yourself. Being in the industry day in day out I see businesses fold all the time. I think back to the shop I bought my dress from. I picked it up and three weeks later it went into liquidation and hundreds of brides were left without weddings dresses and no way of getting their money back.
We have insurance to protect our other big spends in life and this shouldn't be any different. I've just had to pay £500 in vets fee's for the cat to find out there is nothing wrong with her. I do have insurance but I nearly never bothered! Its costs me less than a tenner a month and now that £500 bill will only cost me the £60 excess. Winner!! ;)
Book your venue...
Remember your venue is going to be the backdrop to all your wedding photographs so pick a good one! haha... No seriously... Your wedding venue is quite possibly going to take a large chunk of your budget when you factor in hire costs and food plus drinks packages and room costs... Most venues will have a pricing tier to suit budgets but one thing I will say is don't whack all your budget on somewhere fancy if fancy isn't your style.
You may think it will impress guests BUT guests (in my experience) would much rather have entertainment and extra drinks paid for in a run down shack than being bored and not being able to afford a Pepsi in a stunning wedding venue!
Have a google online too for wedding photography at that venue. See if anyone has done something similar to what you have in mind so that you can properly visualise the potential.
Once you have booked your venue you will officially have your wedding date!! Yay.
Hire priority suppliers...
If you cant imagine your wedding day without a particular amazing band or photographer you admire you need to act fast.
In demand wedding suppliers can be booked up years in advance so work out what your priorities are and get deposits paid to secure them for your date. You can read about my own wedding priorities over on this blog...
Now its time to go wild! Within budget of course... (nobody wants a lifetime of debt for one day)
A lot of wedding dress shops require you to book in an don't operate a turn up and try on system so make sure you get in touch with them before you head out with your tribe only to get turned away again.
If you are going to be lots of DIY bits to save money do some really good research... I realised that whilst trying to save money I actually wasted a lot through trial and error and not having basic equipment needed to do the job properly! Would have cost less and saved lots of time and frustrated tears and rants at Mr T.
Last of all just enjoy it. Its YOUR wedding day. Make choices for you two as a couple and not for the benefit of others. Lots of people around you will love to give you advice and suggest you do something because they did. But you do not have to be people pleasers on your wedding day. No no no. Do what makes you happy.