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Planning your wedding? – Our top 10 tips

planning wedding_date_01_06_12It’s one of the most special, memorable and, dare we say it, expensive days of your life. Think ahead to ensure your wedding goes without a hitch.

1. Set the date…
Or at least choose a season. The weather may have a huge bearing on the type of venue, dress, food and photographer you choose.

2. Sort out your guest list
Start writing it as soon as possible. Only once this is roughly put together can you even think about booking a venue and sending out invitations. This is the time to decide whether you’re going for a small occasion or a big bash.

3. Work out your budget
Recent research shows that the average wedding now costs around £20,000 – not an expense to be taken lightly. Martin Lewis’ website, has lots of ideas on how to budget and make savings.

4. Pick your venue
The location is paramount. Do you want a traditional church, a banqueting house or an outdoors setting? It may be the single biggest expense, but it’s a detail that could make or break your big day – and the photographs, too.

5. Choose your dress
This one takes time. You can start by browsing wedding magazines, catalogues of designers you like, trawling through boutiques in search of that dream creation and visiting wedding exhibitions which are held all over the country. The internet is a great resource, too. Check out and to see a range of gorgeous gowns. Once you have made your choice, there are the fittings – usually four to get it just right.

6. Make it legal
Do you know your legal requirements? It’s surprising how many couples don’t. For example, you must give notice of your intended marriage and be aware that UK marriages must take place between 8am and 6pm. Check out all the facts at to be extra sure.

7. Find a photographer
Your wedding photos are sure to be among your most cherished, so take time to get this part right. Spend time researching local snappers and get recommendations from friends and family. Don’t forget to view finished albums.

8. Finalise your wedding list
Loads of shops, department stores and specialist companies offer this service, but it’s a definite no-no to ask for cash as an alternative.

9. Order the cake
Sponge or fruit? Marzipan? Icing? It’s all a matter of taste. Maisie Fantaisie has some extraordinary creations to inspire and delight. See

10. Write the speeches
The best man and the father of the bride are the main ones but nowadays the bride often says a few words too… so get creative.

Say it again…
Do you want to relive your special moment again?

If you got hitched years ago but yearn to remind yourself what it was like to make those cherished vows to one another, why not do it one more time? You could ‘elope’ to Gretna Green, plump for an exotic destination such as a beach in the Caribbean, or opt for idyllic surroundings in the UK, such as Cornwall or Devon.

This article was first published in at home with Lorraine Kelly in April 2012. [Read the digital edition here]

Photograph: Getty Images

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