So you’ve decided to start planning your wedding, where the hell do you start?

Here are my top 5 tips for getting going with the process:

Working out your budget

Well first things first, you need to know how much you’ll be able to spend. I turned to my trusty spreadsheets for this to list out everything I could think of that we’d need to spend money on.

I went into quite a bit of detail to try and cover it all, but there was bound to be things I had forgotten so I also put in a contingency line. I then went back and put rough numbers against each thing and voila – this, therefore, gives you your total budget!

However you decide to do this part, I recommend you do it before looking at any venues and falling in love with them. It’s surprising how quickly even the smaller parts of a wedding can add up and it’s only when you see it all listed in one place that you can get a true idea of how much you’ll be able to spend on each thing.

Choosing a date

Once you’ve worked out your rough budget for the big day, you should decide when (roughly) you’d like it to be. I found having that conversation together really helps before you start looking at venues, as the type of venue you go for could potentially be dependent on the time of year that you get married. For example, our wedding venue was in the UK and right on the beach, so we chose August as our wedding month as we wanted to make the most of the location by encouraging people to have drinks outside on the pebbles and most importantly (hopefully) have good enough weather for beach-y photos of us and our family and friends.

Book the important things ASAP!

You now know your budget and you’ve thought about the time of year you’d like to get married, it’s now time to look at venues! There was only one place where we wanted to get married so we didn’t look anywhere else, just headed straight there to have a look around and book the date. We chose a date that was just over a year and a half away from when we got engaged. Not for a specific reason other than giving us enough time to save for everything we wanted and to be able to choose exactly what we wanted without having to compromise because it was booked up. Once booking the venue, we then booked our photographer and a couple of other things that we knew were popular and so wanted to secure them. If you already know when the wedding is – then why wait?! It will take some stress away from nearer the time and as long as you can afford to cover the various deposits then you know your top choices for various things will be part of your day.

Decide on your must haves

Going with the theme of booking the important stuff that you already know you want, it’s good to have an idea of what matters most on a budget level and then everything else will be a ‘nice to have’ alongside that and something you may or may not decide to go for later on depending how the budget is going. For us, our most important things were the venue, (including food and drink) after all this is what shaped the memories of the day and was a backdrop our rather unique photos, our awesome photographer, our amazing florist who did the flowers but also did the decor for the venue and our lovely ice cream man who served our guests cones from a tricycle. These were the things we weren’t prepared to compromise on.

Remember it’s your day!

Since the day we got engaged, it amazed me how many people liked to share their opinions on our wedding. “Oh we wouldn’t have chosen that” or “Why are you getting married there, it’s not very wedding-y” or “Oh we didn’t have that cause X was more important”. It’s great of course to be given tips and advice on what is one of the most important not to mention expensive days of your life. But don’t forget the day is about you, so choose the things that YOU want.

We’ve been to a lot of weddings over the past few years, not all of which would have been our cup of tea, and that’s fine because everyone is different. We’ve seen things that worked and things that didn’t work so well but that’s just our opinion and we wouldn’t dream of telling the couples that! It was their day and they no doubt loved it. After all, they would have gone through the same process as us and each thing was chosen because they wanted it.

Try not to take people’s comments to heart (something I don’t always do too well) and just remember your wedding is about you as a couple. I know how much our wedding was about us, it was in the town we live in and love, on our favourite beach and we loved every minute of it.

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