How to start planning your wedding

Congratulations on becoming engaged!

Bride and groom standing in front of wooden wall
© Photographed by John Knight

So, where do you start? The first thing I would recommend doing is reading our detailed Essential Wedding Planning Checklist and then download your own copy of our condensed version for you to keep.

You also need to have a realistic conversation with your fiance/fiancee about your budget. Do you have savings you intend to use, or are you going to set aside a certain amount each month from now on? Your finances will govern every decision you make for your wedding, so it’s important that you both know what your budget is, before you get carried away planning a lavish event that might not be realistic. If you’re going to have a save up for your wedding, try to work out how long it will take you to save a reasonable amount (bearing in mind weddings typically cost anything from £10,000 to £25,000 [Bridebook - The UK Wedding Report 2020]).

The next thing to consider is the guest list; start with the essential people who you definitely want to be there for the whole day, and see how many you have. Then create a second list of those who you would like to come to the evening reception, and see how many you have. You can always move people between the lists (they’ll never know!). If you end up with a very long list, have a good think about why you’re inviting certain people; do you actually like them or is it out of obligation? It is worth remembering that one of the easiest ways to save money on a wedding is to reduce the guest list!

You then need to think about the type of wedding you both want to have, and the time of year. Do you have a specific date or month in mind? Is your heart set on an outdoor wedding, a traditional church ceremony, a stately home or maybe a marquee in the garden? Is there a particular theme you want to incorporate, and therefore a specific type of venue that fits with this? If you’re not sure about what exactly you want, I recommend going to a wedding fair or two as they are great places to get inspiration.

Once you have decided on the type/style/theme of your day, you can then consider potential venues. At this point you should think about key things that are personal to you that will affect your final decision, such as: how many people the venue can hold; is there accommodation onsite/nearby; can you have the ceremony and the reception there (if that’s what you want); what dates do they have available that suit the time of year you want; what are the menu choices; can you have a live band; etc…

Once you have your venue, everything will begin to fall into place, as you can then confirm your date, send your save-the-dates and start to book your suppliers.

Follow our Essential Wedding Planning Checklist to keep you on track with when to start planning certain aspects and booking your suppliers.


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