The first things to do in your journey to ‘I Do’

If your new years was a little more spectacular than most and 2017 has started out with the excitement of a wedding proposal, then it’s time to start the planning process.

So, what comes first? The date or location? Actually, neither! Your budget is a great place to start so you can ensure you have everything you want on your special day.

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1.Set your budget

Agreeing on an achievable budget gives you the parameters to plan within – after all, there’s no point looking at venues with a $30k minimum spend if your total budget is $20k.

2. Set your ideal date

Once you set your ball-park budget then one of the very first questions is whether you intend to have a long engagement or race to the altar sooner. It’s a good idea to have a few options for dates rather than getting your heart set on one particular day on the calendar. Think about the dates you’d like to avoid (check with the important people in your life too), and the season you want to celebrate your nuptials in. The most important factor with your planning is to get your first choice with every element, which can mean staying flexible with dates, especially with some popular venues booking out up to 3 years in advance. That might be fine if you need time to save but if you want to head down the aisle within a year or 18 months then you may have to be a little bit more flexible.

3. Find your dream location

If you have some idea of your preferred locations then it will pay to check with the venue coordinators to suss out availability and whether they have any blockouts that might affect your planning.

View our preferred wedding venues.

4. Other essential vendors

Setting a date allows you to start locking in the other vendors who will be essential to creating the perfect day. Popular celebrants and photographers often book out up to 18 months in advance and again, to make sure you get your first choice of suppliers, make sure you book your preferred choices as soon as you possibly can.

5. Reflect your style

Once you have settled on the date at your dream venue then the next decision is what style of wedding you want. Do you want boho, or vintage, or glamour or casual? With so many decorating options available today it is easy to have Hollywood glamour in the most rustic of locations, or enjoy a Boho themed celebration in a central city hotel.

6. Gowns, glorious gowns

Your choice of dress is intrinsically linked to the style of the day, so you may hold off on setting a theme for the day until you have found the perfect gown, or vice versa.

Whilst you may have a style of dress in mind be open to change and check the different styles that are available and try on a wide range of gowns at several different salons. Let the consultant help you, but make sure you have your besties there to keep everyone on track and make sure you tell them to give you honest feedback.

View our favourite gown suppliers.

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7. Professional help required

If you’re starting to get a bit of a brain spin by now it might be worth considering hiring a professional wedding coordinator to help out with your planning. Whilst it might seem a luxury expense, experienced and well-connected planners can actually save you money as they will have negotiated discounts with other suppliers that you can take advantage of. They will also have more contacts within the industry, allowing them to source the unique extras that will make your wedding stand out.

8. Who to invite?

Who makes the cut, and how do you explain to Great Aunt Petunia that there simply isn’t space at the relatives table for her? Obviously, your budget will have defined your venue which will, in turn, have defined the numbers you can accommodate. If your budget allows for 200 attendees then you probably won’t have to be too quick to cull, however, if you’re planning a small intimate ceremony then this may be a tougher decision. If you are paying for the day then the decision should be yours and yours alone, however, if you’re lucky enough to be getting help from family then there will have to be some tricky negotiations. The most important factor is going to be who do you want to spend the biggest day of your life with? Would you rather spend the day with distance relatives or close friends?

Of course there’s also the little detail of who gets to be in your bridal party, but maybe that should be a post for a little later so you can enjoy some quality time with your new fiancé and not freak out.

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