Well obviously you post a whole load of photos all over Instagram and Facebook with all the hashtags you’ve been dying to have a chance to use #engaged #putaringonit #isaidyes and then you have to seriously think about what side to stand on in every selfie you take from now on so that the ring is in shot. Remember to use your left hand to carry your morning latte, tap your contactless and wave at your colleague that works on the other side of your office because everyone needs to catch a glimpse of the ring and know that your engaged now.
Eventually though you’re going to have to start planning the big day. Some couples opt to enjoy being engaged for a while before they start planning and that can be a great choice. Often it’s not a good time; moving house, new jobs and children can all get in the way of planning but that’s not to say that you can’t plan with other things going on in your life. Whenever you both feel ready to start making some decisions, here’s the main things you want to get started with:
- A budget. Weddings are expensive, a survey by hitched.co.uk showed that the average cost of weddings in the UK are a staggering £27,161 which is enough to put anyone off the whole process but there is a wedding for every budget, you just need to decide what yours is and stick to it. Yes your wedding day may be the happiest day of your life but you’ve got many, happy days to come after it and you don’t want to spend them paying off a huge debt. Go for a ball park figure rather than a set number so that you can be a bit flexible. If you’re lucky you may have family members that want to contribute but don’t presume that they will. The cost will vary greatly depending on where you choose to get married, the time of year you get married in, the number of guests you invite and how much you’re willing to do yourself. Do a quick google of some local venues and suppliers just to get an idea of costs so that you can come up with a realistic budget that suits you.
- The time of year you want to get married in. I got married in July 2016, it was scorching hot all day except for two minutes of rain that I was blissfully unaware of whilst getting ready in the morning. We celebrated outside on the lawn with horses grazing in the surrounding fields and with not a single cardigan in sight. Bliss. Since I started wedding videography I have realised just how lucky we were. Last year I had 6 enquiries for Saturday 9th September as everyone knows that you’re guaranteed beautiful weather the moment that the children go back to school. Not last year, it poured with rain the entire day. I filmed for a lovely couple who took it all in their stride and even had to hide out in a doorway near Corfe Castle after we’d ventured out when the rain stopped only to get caught in a downpour on the way back. In the UK you are never guaranteed great weather so if you’re dreaming of a sunny day then go for one of the summer months but be prepared that it might not be what you expect and that’s ok, at the end of the day you’ll still be married. You can get some fantastic deals in the winter months which could be a great option for you if you don’t have a very big budget. Autumnal or even Christmas themes and colour schemes can look beautiful but be sure to pick a venue that caters for cold or wet weather.
- The guest list: Although you don’t need to have anything set in stone straight away, it’s a good idea to jot down a rough list at the beginning of your planning so that you can estimate numbers. Some venues will have maximum numbers for the day time and evening which might rule them out if you want to invite a lot of people. Equally if you find that your list is quite small it might mean that your budget will spread a bit further as you will save on your catering costs.
- The venue: I wanted a beach wedding but when my husband and I visited three local hotels with stunning views of the beach I just didn’t have the right feeling about them. I wanted to do a lot of the wedding myself so that it was really personal and I felt that my options were a little limited by the hotel and I didn’t like the idea that there would be regular hotel guests there on the day. Saying that, a hotel could be a perfect option for you. If you have guests travelling from far away you might want a venue with accommodation. When you book at a hotel you usually get a built in wedding planner and if you’re nervous about the idea of organising things yourself then a hotel might really suit you. If you decide to go for a private venue or host the wedding at home you might have to organise lots of separate suppliers such as caterers, bar staff and DJs/entertainment so be prepared for lots of emailing and phone calls. Many venues hold open days which is great for getting a feel for what the venue is like filled with people but you might want to book private appointments too so that the wedding co-ordinator can take you around the venue and explain how each part will be used on the day.
Once those things are checked off your list you can breathe a sigh of relief. If you’ve got plenty of time, then give yourself a couple of weeks off planning. The next step is to work out what is most important to you and where you want to spend your budget. If you’re big foodies you might want to splash out on the food and the cake or if you’re really into your music perhaps you’ll want to look for a great band. It will likely be really overwhelming and a great way to get some ideas is to check out some local wedding exhibitions. They are usually free to get in or a very low entrance charge and you often get a goody bag with local wedding magazines. It’s a great opportunity to meet suppliers and chat to them about what they offer. Look out for a great photographer and videographer too. However, you choose to spend your money the only things that you’re going to have left when it’s all over is your photos and the video (and maybe the dress and a few bits of cake!) so be prepared to spend a significant portion of your budget on these to get great quality.