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Tips on planning your wedding

Published date: 1st April 2019


Negative though it may seem we’d like to start with the two worst things to do when planning your wedding. They’re that important.

The first is doing everything yourself. Bad in so many ways. Your future husband has to be involved, or at some point he may think: ‘Am I part of this? Aren’t we a couple?’ Dire consequences can follow. He’d not be the only one upset: parents and maids-of-honour or adult bridesmaids have their place in the planning scheme of things.

And if you do try to handle everything alone, you’ll be exhausted, isolated, fixated, and a dull person to be around. So spread the work – and fun.

The second is thinking it’s one big shopping trip with no financial consequences. Unless blessed with zillionaire parents you’ll have a limited budget whether that be £1000 or £100,000. This is about starting a new life together, best done without incurring massive debts for you or your folks.

So setting a budget is generally the first task. What’s in the kitty from parents and/or the two of you? Once that’s decided you can investigate costs. There are plenty of online tools and clever little apps to help with this, but old-fashioned pen and paper is a good start. Walk through the day in your imagination, and list everything that has to be paid for: dresses, hair, make-up, suits, cars, the ceremony, flowers, reception, food, drink, decor, evening party, band or DJ, maybe wedding-night hotel, honeymoon. Then go through it again and you’ll find you’ve missed stuff out – invitations, photographer, bells at the church if you want them, gifts for key helpers – the ring(s)! There will be more too.

A sensible budget is split by item, with what you allow for each noted down, and actual costs added as they are decided. If budget and actual bear no comparison, act.

Then we get to the good stuff. What sort of wedding do you want, and how do you want it to look? Either virtually or actually a mood-board and/or a scrapbook help here. A mood-board gives a feel for things like colour-schemes, general styles, a look; whereas the scrapbook offers more specific reference points – dresses that you like; favours; bouquets; decor. Again, make sure the groom is involved and has his say.

Once you sort how much you have to work with and what you want, look at the whens. For this a to-do list helps hugely. And it’s not just ticking off, say, hiring a photographer, but meetings with two or three to choose one you like and trust; another to decide on style and shots with your choice; a confirmation letter; and a reminder call nearer the day just in case.

This site of course can help enormously with finding many, maybe all of the people you need for the big day, and with selecting a venue, or at least narrowing down your list. An hour of screen time probably equates to 10 spent driving round even local venues to do a preliminary check.

As outlined in our guest-list article, invites, acceptances, whom to ask and whom to leave out – kids yes or no, plus-one or alone – is just about the trickiest and toughest aspect of planning. How many guests cascades down from what you budget for the reception, so with that in mind list all the potential guests, and then (with the proviso that parental backers must have their say too) work out a guest-list in order of importance to you.

A task to do in tandem with the guest-list is table plans. Not simple: how big are the tables (ask the venue); who is at the top table; who has to be kept apart; who fits with whom (single friend looking for Mr Right and ancient aunts Florrie and Hilda maybe not?

If all this seems daunting – though done with care and allowing yourself plenty of time it needn’t be so – then there are two options left to explore. Hire a professional wedding planner. Or elope!

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