So you’ve got the engagement ring sparkling away on your finger and a date in mind. Now comes the tricky part – the wedding planning. Unless you’re an expert event planner, chances are this is the very first time you’ve had to cater for such a large audience. And, if you’re someone who’s dreamed of getting married since they were little, you’ll want to make sure everything goes off without a hitch and perfectly. So, this blog post covers our top tips for starting your wedding planning – as early as you want to.

Work Out Your Budget

It’s important to remember that weddings can be costly events. Even if you’re planning on keeping everything low key, the average wedding here in the UK still costs around £30,000. But if the sight of that large number has set you off into a panic, don’t fear! More and more couples are finding innovative ways to cut this amount significantly with options such as having the wedding on family land or creating DIY decorations where possible.

One of the first things we recommend you do before you start planning is work out your budget. It doesn’t have to be a detailed spreadsheet just yet (although this is a brilliant way to manage money in the future). But having a clear understanding of your very top budget will help you to understand just what you’re likely to get. Remember that certain aspects will take up a larger percentage. Wedding location, the bridal dress and even catering are some of the most expensive features in a wedding and should be considered early on. Work on the larger parts first and work back – after all, if you have the wedding castle of your dreams, perhaps giving up that owl ring bearer won’t seem like the worst thing in the world.

Pick your Wedding Party

Some of us know exactly who we want standing alongside us as we make our way down the aisle. And, for others, it’s a much trickier process full of family politics and rifts. However, it is very important that you feel comfortable and confident with your wedding party. Remember, your wedding day is just that – yours. And, it’s going to cost you a considerable amount of money and stress. Therefore, it should be everything you’ve ever wanted it to be – right down to the people who help you make it a reality.

Deciding who you want in your wedding party early on also gives you a team of people to help with the planning. Sit down with your partner and discuss it clearly. Perhaps he’s always seen his sister as a bridesmaid while you’re desperate to have your childhood bestie as your MOH. Either way, it’s important that you both come to a decision on who will be there when you’re stressing over last minute canape changes or the flowers that couldn’t be sourced in time.

Start a Guest List

Finally, we recommend you start a guest list as early as possible. 80 guests may seem like a lot but once you’ve invited everyone’s cousin’s mother’s second uncle twice removed, that number can dwindle rapidly. Knowing how many people you definitely want to invite can also impact the venue you’re able to go for. One good piece of advice is to write an expansive list with your partner. Sit down individually and colour code each person – green for those you 100% want there, orange for those that aren’t essential and red for those you’d be happy to remove. Compare your notes and it will soon become apparent who doesn’t make the final cut – meaning you’ll have more money to spend on that owl ring bearer you’ve been talking about.