How to Start Planning your Wedding


Make sure you have actually talked about the wedding and agreed:

  • what you’re going to spend;
  • whom you want to invite; and
  • how much you expect your families to contribute.


As soon as you decide to get married set a provisional date for the wedding and tell all the important people in your life about it. Make the basic decisions about what sort of ceremony you want:

  • A religious ceremony or a civil one?
  • If it’s a civil wedding, do you want to have it in a register office or a licensed venue?
  • If you go for a licensed venue, which one do you want it to be?

Get in touch with the appropriate people about your ceremony:

  • provisionally book the register office;
  • find out how much notice the superintendent registrar will need to attend a licensed venue; or
  • contact your chosen religious organisation.

Check the legal requirements for your type of wedding ceremony, including:

  • residency; and
  • documents (birth certificate, decree absolute certificate, etc.).

Start talking to anyone other than the two of you who might want to help pay for the wedding – your parents, for example. Make a tentative guest list – this has a bearing on the kind of venue you choose and it will affect your budget. Agree on the budget. Check out the reception venue you want (unless it’s the same as the venue for the ceremony). Some reception venues are booked years in advance, especially for Saturdays in summer. Think about whether you want to arrange it all yourself or whether you’d like a wedding co-ordinator (this is an expensive option).

Plan your honeymoon – if you’re going abroad you can often get much cheaper deals by booking well in advance.

Provisionally book your first-night hotel room or bridal suite. Take out wedding insurance before you pay any deposits. Suppliers and even venues sometimes let you down, and finding last-minute replacements can be expensive.

On the day of your appointment think carefully of who you wish to bring with you. Ideally we suggest one or two people whose opinion you really value. Too many people with different tastes and opinions can really confuse the issue.

Don’t leave it too late to go looking for the dress of your dreams.   I would advise looking about 12 months in advance so that you don’t end up ‘panic buying’ because you know you’re leaving it tight!  The last thing you want is to be told by a sales assistant that you need to order now and even then the dress will arrive with only weeks to spare till the wedding. Things completely out of anyone’s control can cause delays – the weather… strikes… and even Icelandic Volcanoes !!! can cause havoc with deliveries for example. Giving yourself plenty of time, will mean the pressure will be off, and you won’t be having panic attacks about your wedding dress arriving too close to the wedding.

On the day of your appointment think carefully of who you wish to bring with you. Ideally take only one or two people whose opinion you really value and trust. Too many people with different tastes and opinions can really confuse the issue.

Many girls land with an entourage of 6 or 7 friends to help pick a dress. This can often be a recipe for disaster.  It can be soul destroying for a bride when she is looking at herself in a dress which she loves and a friend or sister screws up her face and says she doesn’t like it.   Everyone has very different opinions and views on what they like and everyones opinions are so different. And why not? It would be a sad world if we all liked or enjoyed the same things.  So choose your helpers wisely

It will make your wedding dress experience much more pleasurable. And once you have made your choice I am sure everyone will love the Dress as much as you do!!

It is a good idea to set a budget for yourselves too.  This doesn’t just apply to wedding dresses.  Set yourself a budget for each item, and try to stick to it.  If you go over budget on one thing, try to cut back on another.   When you visit a bridal shop and tell them what your budget is, the staff will only be too happy to show you what they have in that range.  There’s really no point trying on 2500 pounds wedding dresses if your budget is 1000 pounds max. Also bear in mind that if spending lots on your wedding dress is out of the question a sale sample dress is a great way to get a gorgeous dress at a fraction of the price.  It’s a much better option than going down the internet route . Many of these internet sites selling so called “Designer” dresses at rock bottom prices are actually selling cheap designer copies which are so often so badly made they hardly resemble the real thing at all. Bear in mind that old saying “if something seems too good to be true “!!! Then it very often is!!

Most couples nowadays are paying for their own wedding and want to keep numbers

down, asking only those who they want to invite.  This can be a tricky one when a parent feels obliged to ask certain friends or relatives that you haven’t counted in. More and more couples are opting to have a very small and intimate wedding with 30 – 40 guests and then having a bigger ‘evening do’ later that day for everyone else to join in the celebration.  Many brides and grooms also get nervous and stressed out about taking their vows in front of a huge crowd of guests, and this is often a good compromise to take the pressure off.

Many also go abroad to save costs (and hassle) and take only their closest friends and family with them, and then organise a big party when they come home.  It can be a good idea if the destination is short-haul – many of the guests can make it their annual holiday.  Italy, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus seem to be the most popular destinations at the moment, and your travel agent will team you up with a wedding co-ordinater who will make sure everything runs like clock-work.  It doesn’t work out much cheaper overall having this type of wedding, but Brides (and Grooms) love that fact that a huge chunk of the stress is cut out and they find the wedding preparations are much more relaxed.

Dont be afraid to delegate in the run up to the wedding.  Bridesmaids and groomsmen aren’t just there to look good in their dresses and suits on the day!  Delegate members of the bridal party to pick up suits, pick up dresses, collect cakes and help with errands for last minute things.  Chances are, they will only be too happy to help out where they can, freeing up time for you to organise things like seating plans, final numbers, menus, and of course all those trips to the salon to make sure you are looking your best on the day!

Remember the most important thing of all.  It’s not all about putting on an impressive wedding day and for everything being perfect.  The wedding day is the first day of a marriage where two people will spend the rest of their lives together.  Try and make decisions together in the preparation for your marriage . Share the workload and try to organize as much as possible together… Wedding Dress shopping being the exception!! Don’t lose sight of the fact that this is the most important day of your lives. The day belongs to both of you so take time to relax and enjoy it. It will all be over too quick but the special memories will live with you both forever.