To begin with what kind wedding do you want? Have you always imagined having a big white wedding with all the traditional trimmings or do you see yourselves just wanting a good party. It’s your wedding, don’t be swayed by what you think is the right thing to do; you want it to be a personal reflection of you as a couple.
Next to consider is the big money question, how much do you want to spend on the wedding? Be realistic, look at your finances and work out how much you can afford, the start of married life is not the time to be getting into debt. Will you need to start saving or do you already have a pot put aside?
Are there any family members that want to help? If so it’s worth talking to them at this stage to establish what are they expecting in return, is it a no obligation gift or are they going to want a large say in what the money is being spent on. If you feel it’s going to compromise the kind of wedding you want then consider saying no. It’s always a good idea to use gifted money for a particular area of the wedding such as the flowers or drinks and give them some say in just that area.
When to marry? Is there a time of year that holds a special significance, an anniversary of an important date in your relationship? The budget may have a big effect on when you choose to get married because if you have to save you will need to give yourself long enough to do so. If the budget’s tight you may also want to consider getting married out of season i.e. not in the summer or think about a mid week wedding. Unless you’re having the most intimate of weddings or are willing to be incredibly flexible with dates you should ideally give yourselves at least a year to plan the wedding.
Make a provisional guest list as soon as you can, there’s no point looking for venues if you’ve no idea who’s coming? Split your list into groups, family, friends- school, university, work, and within each group list in importance, close and not so close etc. (Grouping at this stage will also help if you eventually decide to do a seating plan.) This is also a good time to decide who you want to play key roles such the best man and chief bridesmaid and check with them if they’re going to be around for the date or time of year you have in mind.
Once you have asked yourselves these key questions you are better prepared for the next steps and that’s when the fun really begins!
All photos courtesy of Marianne Taylor Photography