October 2014 was one of the most exciting months of my life so far. I managed to fit in: coming back from an amazing holiday in Vietnam; getting engaged; travelling to Australia for two weeks with work; completing a challenging person development course and coming home and buying a house. One of those months that really makes me feel like a full blown adult. Scary!
Whilst the entire month was important to me, the most incredible part of it was getting engaged. Andrew did such an amazing job of the proposal, the preparation, the surprise, the ring – everything! I couldn’t sleep all weekend I was so excited, but we still managed to make it a special moment between us two to remember for ever. Given we had so much going on with buying a house at the same time, we decided we wanted to enjoy being engaged for a couple of months and not start the wedding planning until January this year. We knew we didn’t want to get married until summer 2016, so we gave ourselves time to enjoy a break before Christmas.
So now we’re over halfway through 2015 and the wedding planning is in full swing! I thought it might be time to share some wedding planning tips that I’ve learnt along the way. I’ve read blogs, I’ve read bridal magazines, I’ve spoken to friends and I’ve got that all important Pinterest wedding page set up (in fact, I’ve had that for longer than I care to admit, but that’s a tale for another day).
So what have I learnt so far? My number one piece of advice for getting things started is…
Before you do any research, any thinking, any planning or any dreaming, have the money conversation.
Budget is the most important starting point – it determines where you can get married, when and in what style. You need to know how much money is in the pot before you start trying to spend the pot. It sounds obvious but it can so easily be over-looked and you can end up feeling super disappointed or even start racking up huge credit card bills, which is never a good idea.
Firstly, sitting down with your other half is a good first move. Decide how much you want to spend – weddings are expensive, there are lots of other things you could do with the money, there are lots of ways you can spend the budget you do have – make sure you’re on the same page otherwise assumptions can be made! And they quite often don’t end well.
Once you’ve sorted things out between yourselves, it might be a good idea to sit down with parents and in-laws. You know your parents better than anyone else, and you probably have an inkling as to whether they have anything to add to the pot or not. I would just say, don’t make it into a big deal. If you think they don’t have anything to put in, then maybe it’s not worth asking. But for me, I needed the peace of mind of knowing exactly where everyone stood. In my opinion, it’s best to just ask, delicately, if they want to contribute anything. If the answer’s no then that’s cool, but at least you know. And if that answer is yes, bonus! Try and establish exactly how much so you know what you’re working with. It might be awkward but I’ve all too often seen situations where money overshadows the fun of wedding planning and it’s not a good place to be in. Be honest, be upfront, be tactful.
For us, we have a strict budget and we’re planning on sticking to it. Each month is about saving as much as possible, but without giving up entirely on our social lives. It’s all about balance – you spend as much or as little on your wedding as you want to. On the one hand, it’s just one day of your life. On the other hand, it’s one day you want to remember for all the right reasons. Follow your heart, do what’s right for you and you will have the wedding of your dreams!
Anyone else out there planning a wedding? I’d love to hear your budgeting tips. And soon there will be more to come from me about finding your perfect wedding venue.