Once you've taken the time to share the news and bask in the glow of your new relationship status, it's time to start planning the big day. It’s inevitable that orchestrating such a big event for all of the important people in your life can be pretty nerve-racking. Tackling these eight decisions first will help you enjoy the process and stay focused on what's really important.
Decide on a date
While you don’t need to have the date set in stone, it’s an important factor which will drive many of your other decisions along the way. Consider if you want to have a long engagement and take time planning or if you’re in more of a rush. A slightly more rushed engagement could be decided if elderly relatives are unwell, for example. Other factors to consider are holidays and big games, these could significantly drive up the cost for your guests to travel and find accommodation if your wedding coincides.
Set your budget
Your budget is another factor which will determine many of your wedding planning decisions. The first step is to sit down with your parents and discuss who will be paying for what. Then decide between yourself and your S.O what you can realistically afford. Note that it’s advised to have a 10% budget “buffer” for anything which may be more than you initially thought. So if your budget is $20,000, keep $2,000 aside for emergencies.
Book your Venue
Some venues book up over a year in advance so getting in early will allow you to have a good selection of venues in the location you want. If you have a particular venue in mind, then give them a call to see how far in advance couples typically book. They will also be able to tell you key information such as the size of the venue and how many guests it can hold.
Determine your guest list
Work with your S.O to determine your VIP’s. Then discuss with your parents if there are any other relatives or close family friends who they would like to invite. From here you can begin to decide on the amount of guests you would like which in turn feeds into the size of venue you need.
Select your theme
Before you start flicking trough wedding magazines and scanning the internet for the next trend, consider your own personal style. Are you a couple who loves a casual wine night or relaxed Sunday brunches? Then don’t feel like you must throw a black-tie dinner. Your wedding is for you and should represent your own unique personality.
Find your photographer
Having the perfect wedding photo’s is usually a must for every bridal couple. By securing your photographer early, you can ensure the pro’s aren’t already booked up on other weddings and thus limiting your selection.
Investigate any religious requirements
Whether you’re looking to convert or yourself or your S.O are a particular faith, it will be worth investigating how long preparations may take as you may need to take Marriage classes before you walk down the aisle. Alternatively, if you'd like a particular person to officiate your wedding, check with them as early as possible to confirm availability.
Think about travel
Whether you're having a destination wedding or not, people fly in from all over the country (and world) to attend weddings. If you know that any of your guests will need to book travel (flights, hotels, time off, and so on), try to set a date and share the information with these special people as soon as possible.