You’re engaged – congratulations! The initial surprise is starting to wear off and now you’re wondering how to start planning a wedding? I have to admit that when we first started to plan our wedding I felt a bit overwhelmed. I didn’t know where to begin, and I definitely didn’t have a plan for what to do first. If this sounds familiar, then keep reading to find out how to get started planning your wedding based on what I learnt.
5 Steps to Start Planning Your Wedding
To start planning your wedding I think there are 5 basic steps that you, as a couple, need to go through. This will set the fundamentals decisions in place, so you can begin to get you wedding plans sorted. They will help you focus, so you make the best use of your time (it’s limited so you don’t want to waste it).
- Set a (rough) budget for the wedding. You don’t need to have an exact number to get started, but are you going to spend a few thousand or tens of thousands? A rough number will help guide you when you are filtering through all your ideas and research. I tried not to look at things that were way over our budget when I was researching for our wedding, it could only lead to disappointment. Part of setting a rough budget is finding out where the money is going to come from. Will you use existing savings, need to save money up in the future, or perhaps family will contribute? If you think family will help out with the money make sure to ask and not to assume.
- Pick a location. I don’t mean specific map coordinates, but an area of the country or maybe a town where you would like your wedding to take place. Having a location in mind when you start searching Google for wedding venues will narrow down the search results significantly, otherwise you’ll be swamped. Do you want to your wedding near your home, where you grew up or maybe somewhere exotic?
- Decide on the size of your wedding. Do you want small and intimate, huge like a royal wedding or something in between? The number of guests you invite will determine what size of venue will be suitable, so having a number will narrow down your options a little more. Also the number of guest will probably be the single biggest influence on how your budget is spent.
- Choose the time of year that you would like to marry. If you want an outdoor wedding then you’ll probably aim for summer – although sun still isn’t guaranteed even in the middle of summertime. It’s been a while now, but we’re still a bit traumatised by the daily weather watch in the lead up to our outdoor wedding. It was in June so it should be sunny right? But it poured down the morning of the wedding, so much so that the water was coming up through the carpet in the marquee. I’m glad I didn’t know about that at the time, but it caused Dean mega stress. Luckily that the sun came out in time and the marquee dried out, but it definitely cranked up the worry levels a notch or two (million).
- Agree the type of ceremony you want. Would you like a religious ceremony or a civil one? There are legal requirements that you need to stick to get married, and in the UK your local council website will have information about the locations you can legally get married. If you have a civil ceremony, there are lots of options for adding extra personality and meaning, either as part of the legal ceremony or in addition with something like a handfasting ceremony or blessing. Different types of ceremony many have different requirements so you’ll want to find out about those sooner.
Having completed these 5 steps you will have made the decisions that will build the foundations of all your wedding plans. You can then move on to researching your options, and with theses decision in mind you will be able to narrow down your search so you won’t be totally overwhelmed. You’ll be off to a good start to planning your wedding.
Mistakes to Avoid
At the start don’t be too specific with the decisions you make for the 5 steps above – at least not to all of them. If you have an exact budget, precise date and only one wedding venue in mind from the beginning then you might end up being disappointed if all these things won’t work together. You need to leave yourself a little wiggle room to make compromises to reach the best overall solution.
Let’s Get Started
So now you’ve read my advice on how to get started planning your wedding, it’s time to make those 5 steps and get your plans underway.
If you’re struggling with making decisions, we have a FREE guide on setting priorities which will help you out. The guide describes how we came up with our joint list of priorities, including the answers to these first 5 steps. Our joint priorities, or the ‘wish list’ as we called it, was the basis of all our choices we made and saved us from getting caught up in the wedding fever on many occasions.