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Top tips for planning a wedding

From visiting venues to choosing suppliers, planning your wedding is an exciting time. But with so much to think about, 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 wedding in the UK is estimated to cost between £18,000 and £32,000.1 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 bridal party, as well as wedding rings and a potential honeymoon. 

If any family members are contributing to 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, as you may need to put some money aside to cover their expenses. 

Make a list of wedding priorities

It can help to think about 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’re wanting 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. For example, they may have found certain details, which felt important at the beginning, didn’t matter so much on the day.

Start saving

If you’re covering part or all of the cost, consider taking some extra time to build up your savings in a savings account as your ‘wedding fund’. If you’re not able to save the full amount, there are borrowing options you may want to consider.

These can include taking out a loan which you can repay over a number of months, or 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. 

You may consider using checklists, spreadsheets or planners – anything that helps you keep track of various tasks, costs, timings and contact details, for example. 

When you do speak to suppliers, check and compare packages and contracts carefully, including prices, any additional fees and restrictions. For example, some venues may have a minimum spend or require 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 attending your wedding will help you find the right location. 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 deciding on your centrepieces. 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’ll need to give notice of your marriage, or civil partnership, at your local register office and have your ceremony take place at least 28 days after.2

Send ‘save the date’ announcements

Give your guests plenty of notice of your upcoming nuptials (typically 6 to 12 months) by sending ‘save the date’ announcements.

This can help prevent people booking holidays or making other plans. 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 find digital, eco-friendlier alternatives on the market too – which 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, you may consider setting up a joint bank account as an efficient way to pay bills and other expenses.

If you’ve used your credit card or overdraft as a buffer, or have taken out a loan, to cover some of the wedding expenses – it’s important to make a plan to repay debt.   

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.