The romance of the proposal and the excitement of your dream wedding becoming a reality soon give way to confusion and even panic when you realise all the planning that needs to occur before the big day actually arrives.
While you should enjoy your engagement to the fullest, if you plan to marry soon you'll have to start putting into place some concrete plans. An ideal wedding can take over a year to plan, and leaving yourselves only six months or less will cause incredible stress.
Some couples are fortunate in the respect that they are from similar backgrounds, religions or regions. The way the wedding will be conducted is already agreed, and there will be few areas that will require compromise or creativity. Even if you are one of the lucky ones in this respect, you will need to plan carefully to ensure that external limitations do not affect your perfect wedding. Your choice of wedding reception venue may be undergoing renovations over the period you have chosen to marry, or another couple may already have booked the wedding chapel on the date you require. Certainly, if you both need help and inspiration to bring together two families, two cultures and two lives, getting started earlier rather than later will be of enormous benefit.
As tempting as it is to rush off to wedding gown designers and look through wedding photographers’ albums, there are some basic steps you need to take before any others. The venues and the officiator are absolutely vital - without these you literally cannot perform the wedding ceremony. As soon as you have picked a date, get the chapel booked and do the necessary administration to formalise your plans. Likewise, the reception venue should be booked with similar foresight, as they will obviously need to be on the same day! Go and see as many venues as you possibly can, and make provisional bookings with any that take your fancy. Don’t leave it too long before you make up your mind as the venue will require a deposit to hold the date for more than a week or two. If you are considering a ‘destination wedding’, try to get as much booked all at once…unless you are ultra organised, it is advisable to consider hiring a wedding planner to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Often, once these early essentials are out of the way, the rest of the wedding planning becomes more enjoyable. Consider areas such as clothing and accessories, wedding gifts, jewellery and wedding photographs next. Whenever you are dependent on a supplier, take your time to find one with a good reputation that you feel most comfortable with. Our guides to all of the above and more will help you along the way.