There’s nothing more exciting than getting engaged, but all too often, couples lose that warm and fuzzy feeling as soon as they start planning. They say that organizing a wedding is among the most stressful things you can do in life, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Your wedding day is a celebration that will only take place once, so it’s vital that you enjoy the planning process and that the day you arrange exceeds your expectations. If you’re still basking in that post-engagement glow, and you’re not keen to lose that loving feeling any time soon, this guide will help you navigate the planning process without any worries at all.
Ticking off the major jobs
Every couple has priority jobs when it comes to planning a wedding. Once you’re ready to start organizing your special day, work out what is most important to you. Have you got a dream venue in mind? Do you want a specific date? Are you desperate to have a massive reception party? Note down the most pressing jobs, and start working your way through them as early as possible. If you’ve got a date in mind, and there’s no flexibility, the first thing to do is look at venues. If you’re getting married during the holidays, or you want a New Year wedding, for example, you may find that these dates are in demand, and it’s best to reserve early.
Choosing a venue
When you’re looking for a wedding venue, try and be open-minded. Even if you’ve had a place in mind since you started junior school, it’s always useful to have a look around other options and to think about the kind of day you want to enjoy. Perhaps the first question to ask is where you want to be on that special day? Do you envision a wedding close to home, or does the idea of jetting off to a foreign country appeal? Destination weddings are increasingly popular. If you’re looking at Hawaii weddings, you love the sound of a romantic outdoor ceremony in the mountains in Scotland or Canada, or you’re thinking about a party on the beach in Mexico, Greece or Thailand, the sooner you book, the better. Once you have a date, you can inform your guests, and they will be able to make the necessary arrangements to join you overseas. If you have a shortlist of contenders, don’t be afraid to go back and visit as many times as you need to make a decision.
Finding the dress
Once your venue is ticked off your to-do list, and you’ve pinned down a date, you can think about the next job on your list. For many brides, this is finding the dream dress. Dress shopping should be enjoyable, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and don’t panic if you don’t find the perfect gown on the first day. Get ideas from magazines and blogs, but be open-minded when it comes to styles and shapes. Try different options, and think about the vibe you’re going for and the location of the ceremony. If you’re getting married on the beach, for example, you may want a lightweight dress. Wait for the dress that gives you that indescribable feeling and makes you feel confident. You don’t have to settle for something that doesn’t tick all your boxes.
Booking a photographer
Most people want to look back on their wedding day fondly, and having a brilliant photographer is a surefire way of commemorating your day in style. Photographers can get booked up in advance, so be prepared to make a choice early on in the process. Look at portfolios, read client testimonials, and meet with some photographers to get to know them and find out more about their style and the prices and packages they offer.
Working out the logistics
Every couple wants their day to run like clockwork, so it’s crucial to get the logistics right. Send out save the date cards well in advance of the wedding, and set up a website to provide your guests with all the information they need about the day. Specify an RSVP deadline so that you have an accurate idea of numbers, and offer tips for booking hotels, finding parking and getting the best deals on flights if you’re going abroad. It’s also wise to offer directions for drivers and to provide a timeline, so everybody knows where they need to be at what time. If you’re organizing transport for your guests, make sure you give out details of meeting points and times.
Taking the stress out of budgeting
Money is the most common cause of stress for couples in the throes of wedding planning. Budgeting should be the first job you do before you start looking around venues or working out what kinds of favors you want to give your guests. Write a list of everything you want at your wedding, and work out how much you have to spend in total. If you have other people contributing to your wedding, ask them how much they are putting into the pot. Once you’ve got a total, you can divide the cash you have. Focus on the elements that are most important to you, and if you’re struggling, identify areas where you could save. If you’re not fussed about a sit-down, silver service meal, for example, you could save a fortune by swapping to street food, brunch or a hot and cold buffet. To eliminate stress, stick to your budget, note down every payment you need to make and record every expense you’ve already covered. Keep invoices and receipts, and update your budget as you go.
Are you planning a wedding? If so, you’ve probably come across numerous people who have wished you luck or talked about the stresses and strains of planning. While it can be a big job to take on, there’s no reason why this process can’t be fun. Hopefully, this guide will help you work your way through your to-do list with a smile on your face.