Sunday, 22 January 2012


Getting engaged is such a magical and exciting time in anyone’s life, having finally found that special someone to spend the rest of your life with to share those special moments in your life and who will love you unconditionally forever. What a beautiful feeling. When your partner got down on one knee and professed how much they loved you, must have been a moment to cherish; one which you will look back on for the rest of your life. Whether the proposal was performed in front of family and friends, at the top of the Eiffel Tower, on a beautiful sunny afternoon overlooking the lake, it will be a day both of you will never forget.
Then you have the excitement of telling family and friends… then let the celebrations begin! You show off the ring to everyone and tell the story of how your partner proposed to anyone who will listen.

Then reality sinks in! You have an entire wedding to plan, and that in itself is an enormous task. At first it was fun flipping through the bridal magazines which you bought for yourself, but now you look through them feeling anxious with all the planning you have in front of you. It seems like the to do list is growing by the minute with choosing venue’s, deciding on a theme, how many guests to invite? What is the cake going to look like? What flowers should you choose? Should we have a band or a DJ? The list goes on and on and before you know it you are starting to freak out, and dreading the thought of planning your dream wedding.
So before you run to the hills, here are some helpful tips:

There are several factors you need to consider when planning your wedding. The first thing you need to do to draw up your guests list is, because in many cases this can determine how large your budget needs to be or for how many people it needs to cover. The average wedding now costs around £15,500. What you need to determine is what you can afford to spend. Do you have any savings? If not, then you may need to look at other ways of financing your big day.

In the olden days, as soon as the happy couple announced their engagement Mum and Dad would dig out their cheque book and pay for the whole wedding. The celebration would be held at a grand location with a large guest list and would typically cost a small fortune. Usually the parents of the engaged couple would have started saving from when they were children. But those days are gone, leaving the financing of your dream day to largely fall on you.
There are several options you need to consider, such as:
Do either of your parents have a special wedding fund? If so, now would be the time for you and your fiancé to sit down with them and talk about the financials. It may be that as it is their money, they may already have some idea’s in mind for what type of celebration they want to throw. You might want an intimate wedding with family and close friends, but your parents may want to throw you a lavish wedding for 300 people. After all they are paying for it, so you may need to be prepared for this. Though, if you are ok with this then if I were you I would happily thank them and go with the flow. Any idea’s, theme’s or colour scheme’s you have in mind, sit down with mum or mother-in-law-to-be and let her know what is important to you. Even though they are paying for it, it is your wedding too.
However for their children’s weddings, parents do like to contribute, so if they do not have some kind of wedding fund set up for you, ask them if they are willing to contribute something such as paying for the reception or the wedding dress or the grooms suit.

Do you have any savings? If not, then maybe consider setting the wedding at least 18 months to 2 years away. This way, if are disciplined and save as much as you can every month, forgoing on those nights out and lunches with friends, in the end, having your beautiful wedding will be well worth it.
Also, if there is any overtime at your work place, then take it. Weddings are expensive and any extra money will be well worth the extra hours. However, savings will definitely help you to plan your dream wedding, and make life easier it is unlikely you will be able to save 10,000 or 20,000 in 1-2 years for you big day. 
Nowadays mainly the cost of the wedding does fall heavily on the bride and grooms shoulders so you have to look at borrowing the money, such as through a bank loan, or credit cards.
With a bank loan you will pay interest which will be added on top of the amount you borrow. The longer the term of the loan, the more interest you will pay. However the quicker you pay the loan back, the less interest you pay.
Credit cards can charge a very high interest rate. However there are cards out there that offer 0% on purchases. If you shop around you could find yourself a great deal. For example 0% of purchases for 18 months. If you took out a card with a large limit, this could fund your wedding and as long as you pay off the credit card before the 0% period ends, you will not pay any interest, otherwise once the offer ends, you may have to pay a high amount of interest each month.

Once you have the funds available to pay for your dream day and after determining the guest list, you then need to decide on list of “must haves.” These are items or elements of your wedding which are the most important to you and the groom. For instance, the brides top 3 “must haves” could be her wedding dress, the reception venue and the photography. The grooms must haves may be his stag do, the cake and the wedding cars. Therefore, you will have to allocate the budget to accommodate these items.
Remember to be realistic if you are on a budget. Don’t spend more that you can afford or you will put yourselves into debt and subsequently be paying off your wedding for many years.

Now it’s time to get to work. You need to gather idea’s for you big day. Do you want a formal or informal celebration? Are you going to invite everyone you have ever known, or will it be small and intimate? What colour scheme or theme will you opt for? Who will the bridesmaids and groomsman be? Do you want a winter themed wedding or a colourful summer wedding? 
There is so much to think about! It is enough for anyone to become panicky and start to regret getting engaged; therefore you need a timeline to stick to. One of the first things you need to look at is choosing a wedding venue as depending on the time of year, the most popular venue’s will book up at least a year in advance, and so do good photographers and catering companies.
Check back soon for my next blog - The Wedding Timeline. 

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