22 January 2016

Starting the wedding planning process

If you were lucky enough to unwrap an engagement ring this Christmas (or were the person popping one in your partner’s stocking) then you’ve no doubt got an exciting year ahead planning your big day.

Over the busy festive period there probably wasn’t time to do much more than share your happy news with friends and relatives and flick through the odd wedding magazine. But now that January’s here, this may be the perfect time to start thinking about how you’d like your nuptials to go, and how you’re going to pay for them.

Here are a few things it may be worth thinking about at the beginning of the wedding planning process.

Decide when to tie the knot

First things first, when and where would you ideally like to get married? Are you hoping for a whirlwind engagement and a spring ceremony? Or would you prefer to wait a year or two while you save for the wedding of your dreams?

When you want to get married will impact on your budget and how you pay for the day. Certain times of year typically more expensive when it comes to booking venues, photographers etc. And the longer your engagement, the longer you will have to save.

This doesn’t mean you have to compromise on your dream day though – you may just have to think carefully about your budget and how you are going to cover costs.

Agree your guest list

One of the biggest, and trickiest, decisions for any bride and groom is who to invite. The size of the guest list affects everything, from the venues you can choose to feel of the day, and the overall budget. So it’s best to have at least a rough idea of size right from the start.

There can be a temptation to include everyone. But if you’re on a budget you may have to be brutal as venues tend to charge per head.

To keep costs under control, you can always have a low-key ceremony and wedding breakfast and then invite more guests to join in the evening party.

Making a checklist

There’s so much to think about when it comes to organising a wedding – and it’s not just big ticket items like the venue, dress and suits. You also need to think about the cake, invitations, thank you gifts and transport.

Making a checklist in the early days of planning can help make sure you don’t forget anything. It can also help avoid any unexpected last minute costs like realising you haven’t booked a DJ or transport for the bridesmaids the week before the wedding. Remember to include every little detail, even the smallest costs add up.

Setting a budget

Weddings can be an expensive business – in December 2015 Brides magazine put the average cost at around £24,000 – but it’s up to you how much you spend. Setting a budget you are comfortable with upfront is a good way to prevent costs from spiraling. It might be a good idea to create an itemised budget planner for your wedding-related purchases to help stop you accidentally overspending as you go along.

Who can help out?

Making use of the skills of your nearest and dearest is a great way to give your wedding a unique, personal touch and keep costs down. Maybe your mother-in-law is an expert baker who could whip up the cake for a fraction of the cost? Or perhaps your best man has a sports car he’d be happy for you to use to get to the church?

How you’re going to pay

There are numerous ways to cover the cost of your wedding; savings, loans, donations from family – or a combination of all three – are some of the most popular. Which you opt for will depend on a number of factors; how much you have saved already, when you are getting married and what your budget is.

If you don’t have a wedding fund saved yet, a loan may be a way to help you cover the cost of your big day without the need for a long engagement. But it’s important to factor the repayments into your monthly budget and not borrow beyond your means.

Take a look at our personal loans

Alternatively, putting a few wedding bits on a credit card that has an interest free purchase period may be an option.

Find out more about our credit cards

Happy planning!

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