The very first things you must decide about your wedding are where, when – and how much.
The most popular days for weddings are Saturdays and the most popular months are from May right through to September. If your plans follow that pattern, be aware that the most popular venues get booked up very early, so set the date and book the venues as soon as possible after your engagement. But don’t discount other days of the week. Friday weddings are becoming more popular, with many venues offering a discount for weddings on any day other than Saturday and guests welcoming the opportunity to enjoy a long weekend.
Basically, the answer is as much as or as little as you want it to. An intimate ceremony with lunch in your favourite pub for your closest family and friends can be every bit as special as a huge event at a top venue for hundreds of guests.
If you’re working on a limited budget, decide what’s most important to you and spend your money on that. Maybe you want a really spectacular dress and are prepared to do without a flashy car to take you to the reception. Or perhaps you’ve always wanted to arrive at your wedding in a pony and trap and will settle for fewer guests.
Whatever you decide, do remember that many guests may be coming a long way and spending a lot of money to attend your wedding, so it’s often better to look after a small number of people well than to invite more than you can comfortably cater for.
The important thing is that it’s you day and the last thing you want to be worrying about is how you’re going to find the money to pay for it. So, be realistic when you’re setting your budget – and remember, with a little imagination you can make your money go a lot further.
Your budget will need to cover:
Bridesmaids’ and attendants’ outfits
Fees for the ceremony
Reception venue, food and drink
thank you gifts for best man and attendants
Going away outfits
Announcements in the newspapers
All the wedding stationery
Bride’s and bridesmaids’ dresses
Transport for the bridal party to the ceremony and from the ceremony to the reception
The reception itself
The wedding cake
Much though we hate to say it, things can go wrong at a wedding and it’s some consolation to know that you won’t lose out financially it they do.
Insurance policies on offer cover everything from damage to your wedding dress to loss of deposits due to cancellation of the wedding and theft of wedding presents.
Do get quotes before you decide which one to take out - and do read the small print to see exactly what each policy covers.