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Did you get a surprise proposal on Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve? It’s one of the peak times for partners to pop the question…

Well if that’s the case, congratulations! You’ve probably spent the last few days telling all your family and friends the news and starting to make plans in your head.

You may also have been having a bit of a panic! Especially when everyone asks you when you are getting married and you haven’t set a date yet.

“OMG I’m getting MARRIED! I have a wedding to organise.”

If you’re anything like most brides you’ll be going out buying every bridal magazine you can lay your hands on and checking out wedding blogs across Facebook etc.

It’s an exciting (and busy) time. However, you don’t need to get over stressed and pressured. Here’s a list of things you need to be sorting out as soon as you get engaged and we’ve helped many brides in the run-up to their wedding days.

Stay calm - and remember what your wedding day is really all about

Stay calm and remember what your wedding day is really all about

Eight things to do when you’re first engaged

  1. If your other half surprised you with a shiny rock to put on your finger then you need to get yourself a manicure at the earliest opportunity so you can show off your ring in all its sparkling glory.  If you’re not a nail varnish type, then opt for a nude colour. And if you’ve never been one to care about your nails then you need to start by firstly slathering on the hand cream and secondly wearing gloves when you’re washing up. You want your hands to look wonderful on your wedding day (they’ll be on display in all the photographs) and the preparation starts now!
  2. Set a wedding budget. This might not be first on your list but really it’s the first thing both of  you need to do, before looking at wedding dresses, venues, flowers and deciding how many guests you are going to have, because working out what you can afford will affect every decision. It’s really important not to overspend (or even wish you’d spent more) because you only get one shot at your wedding day and you don’t want to start married life in debt.
    wedding venue

    Popular venues get booked up quickly, especially in summer

  3. Book a wedding venue. Popular locations get booked up quickly, especially on Saturdays during the summer. If you want to get married in just a few months, you might find it easier to find a suitable venue if you decide on a midweek wedding or out of season (during the winter).
  4. Think about your guest list. The amount of guests will be dictated by several factors for example how many people you can afford to entertain and also how many your venue will accommodate. Our advice is to have people who are important to you on your wedding day and not those you feel you have to invite (and never see anyway).
    wedding seating plan

    Work out your guest list

  5. Once you’ve found a venue you like that’s available at the time you want, then you can tell everybody the date of your wedding. Sending out ‘save the date’ cards is a good idea, particularly if you’re marrying in the summer when people will be booking holidays. It could also be a good idea to avoid a date in the school holidays when people may be organising a family break, particularly if you are having young children as flower girls or pageboys.
  6. Book a photographer. Once you’ve decided where you are marrying then you need to start booking your suppliers. Think about the style of photography you’re after which could be reportage or traditional and research some photographers whose style you like. Ask for recommendations too. Like popular venues, good photographers will be very busy at peak times.
  7. Book some appointments to go wedding dress shopping. You don’t need to take a whole gang of friends with you just your mum, sister and/or best friend is enough. Keep an open mind and try on what the assistant suggests, you could be pleasantly surprised at what suits you.
  8. Think about who you would like to be your chief bridesmaid, your maids of honour and your flower girls/pageboys. Your best friend may be wonderful but if she is a bit disorganised, then she’s probably not your best choice. The chief bridesmaid has a lot to sort out (like your hen do) so she needs to be efficient. Also be prepared for requests from friends for their children to be flower girls/pageboys. You need to manage expectations and be tactful. Of course, you don’t have to have a whole retinue of attendants just one bridesmaid is fine.
    flowergirls

    Think about who you are going to ask to be your flower girls

The important thing is to keep a cool head when you’re wedding planning and enjoy the build-up without getting stressed. Yes, there are quite a few things to sort out but make sure you keep it as fun as possible!

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