Congratulations on your engagement! Whether you’ve been looking forward to this day forever, or whether it came out of the blue, you’ve said yes to getting married and now you are officially engaged.
That ring on you or your partner’s finger looks stunning and you can’t wait for your magical wedding day to arrive. There is plenty of time left to choose the colour of the napkins and the song for the first dance, but there are a few things you must do straight away to avoid disappointment and stress as the count-down timer ticks by quicker than you’d imagine.
1. Set a Wedding Date
Did you know that 75% of couples choose Saturday afternoon to get married? And as there is only one Saturday a week, these dates are in high demand. Dates with symmetrical numbers are also popular — like 10/10/20 or 21/8/21.
So, first of all, you need to decide if you want to get married on a Saturday, Sunday or perhaps during the week. You will find a weekday wedding more budget-friendly and you’ll have access to vendors and venues that are otherwise booked out.
Consider the time of year as well. Australian weddings in December and January can be uncomfortably hot, and as the summer of 2019/20 showed, susceptible to bushland locations being destroyed by fires.
Check the calendar to make sure you’re not clashing with other major family events. Alternatively, think about using an existing family gathering as a way to combine celebrations.
2. Set a Wedding Budget
According to Easy Weddings, the average cost of an Australian wedding in 2020 is $32,940. Set your budget to an amount you are happy with, plus a contingency of around 10%. This budget amount will inform all your decisions going forward so it important to be clear on this number at the outset.
Also, determine who is paying for the wedding. In the past, it was the bride’s father, but times have definitely changed. Couples pay for their own weddings, have help from family and friends, and even take out personal loans to fund the event. Financial decisions are highly personal, but it is important to be aware of your limitations and boundaries.
A wedding without a budget will quickly escalate out of control. The last thing you want is sleepless nights where you lie awake, worried about how you will pay the bills.
3. Choose a Ceremony & Reception Venue
Where you get married is as important as when you get married. Decide on your ceremony and reception location as soon as possible. The reception venue is usually the most significant outlay, with most couples spending around 45% of their entire budget on this location. The ceremony venue cost may be minimal or entirely free (if you are in a park or public place).
The wedding ceremony location will inform your overall style decisions as a ceremony on a beach will require a different type of dress and decorations to one in a chapel or grand ballroom.
Some couples are able to combine the ceremony and receptions venues into the same place. Places like Oxford Falls Peace Park have an outside bushland area for the ceremony and an inside room for serving food and drinks. You could also forgo the standard reception ideas and use a drinks caravan and food truck on-site to serve your guest.
Once you have made your ceremony and reception choices, book your venues straight away so your date is locked in.
4. Book a Celebrant
Choosing a celebrant is a very personal decision based on a variety of personal preferences — from gender right through to the sound of their voice. Here are some questions you might want to ask your celebrant to decide if they are right for you – How to Choose Your Celebrant.
As celebrants can only do one or two weddings a day, and as previously mentioned, most people want to marry on Saturday afternoon, celebrants get booked out fast.
If you want to save money while still having a personalised, bespoke ceremony, choose a celebrant who lives near you so they won’t be charging a travel fee. It also makes pre-wedding meetings to complete the paperwork easier too.
5. Book Other Vendors
Other popular wedding vendors in high demand include photographers, hair & makeup artists, stylists, florists, caterers, and DJs. Some of these professionals are booked out a year in advance so if you want to have your favourite, you’ll need to get in quickly.
6. Let Everyone Know
Once you’ve taken care of the basic bones of your wedding plan, it is time to let everybody know. Send out a ‘save the date’ email so your friends and family know not to book any overseas holidays or important events on your wedding day.
Now you’ve got the 6 essential wedding planning items taken care of, it is time to begin working on the rest of your to-do list. Haven’t got one? Here’s one you can download right here: Wedding Planner