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Top tips for planning a wedding

Planning your wedding is an exciting time.

But with so much to think about, from visiting venues to choosing suppliers, it can be difficult to know where to start.

Here are some wedding planning tips to help you prepare for your big day.

Set a budget

The average cost of a wedding in the UK is now £18,400, according to Hitched. But before you start paying for anything, work out a budget that suits you.

Some of your larger costs may be:

  • venue hire
  • food and drinks
  • photography
  • flowers
  • transport
  • music and entertainment

You’ll also want to think about outfits for yourselves and the wedding party, as well as rings and a honeymoon. 

If any family members are helping to cover the costs, chat with them about what they’re comfortable spending. It’s also worth talking to any family or friends who are offering to arrange flowers, decorate the venue or bake the wedding cake, for example. You may need to put some money aside to cover their expenses. 

Make a list of wedding priorities

Work out what’s important to you and your partner when it comes to your big day. This can be anything from a certain venue to a specific band. 

It can help you remain focused, prioritise your spending and stick to your budget. For example, if you want a large guest list, you may decide to compromise in other ways and choose a cheaper venue.

Do you know any newlyweds you can ask for advice? They’ll be able to give you an honest idea of what to expect and what to focus on.

Start saving

Try to build up some money in a savings account as your ‘wedding fund’. If you can't save the full amount, there are borrowing options you could look at.

These include taking out a loan, which you can repay over several months. You could also get a 0% interest credit card if you think you'll be able to repay within the interest-free period. Remember, the more you’re able to save, the less you’ll have to borrow and the less you may end up repaying in interest.

Get yourself organised

Whether you’re getting married in 12 months or 3 years, start doing things early so you have plenty of time to find the best suppliers for your day and your budget. 

Use checklists, spreadsheets or planners – anything that helps you keep track of tasks, costs, timings and contact details, for example. 

When you do speak to suppliers, compare packages and contracts carefully. Look at any extra fees and restrictions as well as the basic price. For example, some venues might ask for a minimum spend or a large deposit. 

Sort out your guest list

It doesn’t have to be an exact number, but having an idea of how many people will be coming to your wedding will help you find the right venue. You’ll also be able to budget more effectively as you’ll have a clearer idea of how much food and drink you’ll need.

Work together

Planning a wedding is a team effort, so don’t forget your other half when you’re choosing a venue or making other big decisions. It’s also a good idea to work through your budget together to help you stay on track with all your costs.

Make it legal

With so much going on, it can be easy to forget one of the most essential steps – making your marriage legal. You need to give notice of your marriage or civil partnership at your local register office at least 29 days before the ceremony takes place.

Send ‘save the date’ announcements

Give everyone plenty of notice of your upcoming wedding (typically 6 to 12 months).

Guests can avoid booking holidays or making other plans if they’ve received a ‘save the date’ announcement. It’ll also give anyone travelling to your wedding plenty of time to organise themselves.

‘Save the dates’ are traditionally sent out as cards but you can also do it online. This can help you save money on printing and postage. 

Manage your money after the wedding

Managing your finances after the big day is important. If you haven’t already set up a joint bank account, you might want to think about doing so. It can be an efficient way to pay bills and other expenses.

It’s important to make a plan to repay debt. This might be because you’ve used your credit card or overdraft as a buffer, or you’ve taken out a loan to cover some of the wedding expenses. 

Opening a joint savings account can also help you rebuild your savings and provide a safe place to keep any money you receive as a wedding present.