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By Gareth Smith, Mar 19 2018 02:09AM

1. Start planning early


You’ve got a date in your mind as the ideal wedding date, but don’t think that means you have to wait a year or two before you start planning! The earlier you get onto it, the easier, and less stressful it will be as your day approaches. Having a clear plan before you start will help you keep on top of everything and be sure that you don’t forget something important. Insurance, rough guest list numbers and the budget should always be your first three things.


2. Nail the budget


Don’t spend anything until you’ve set a realistic budget that won’t stretch you too far. It’s a common mistake to forget all the little extras, too – for the budget to work, you need to factor in every detail. Don’t forget to account for additional costs like dress alterations, gifts and beauty expenses. These can all add up!


3. Helping hands


Although it’s your big day, your friends and family will be more than willing to help and will want to be involved in the planning. By getting help from people you trust, you’re more likely to feel that you can be honest if things aren’t exactly as you want them!


4. Be selective with the guest list


Sorting the guest list early is important so you can then focus on finding the perfect venue that will cater for your chosen number of guests. Costs per head will most likely be your biggest expense, so don’t be guilt–tripped into inviting people you don’t want to come. It’s the biggest and hardest decision in the whole planning process, but it has to be yours and your h2b’s decision only.


5. Long distance venues


You may not be a fan of where you currently live, or want to wed where you grew up, but make sure you don’t stray too far from the majority of your guest list, as fewer people will be likely to attend. It will also affect the timings of your day – you can’t expect guests in Somerset to get to Yorkshire by 11am, for example. This is especially important if you’re planning a wedding abroad. To be safe, expect that many people won’t be able to make it.


6. Make sure you have a Plan B in place


However much you don’t want to think it, something could go wrong on the day. This could be anything from a problem with the catering to rain (despite the forecast promising a dry day). Plan alternatives for each scenario and account for anything that might not go to plan so you’re not left stressed out and panicking on the big day.


7. Pick your best girls


Your bridesmaids should be your biggest support throughout the planning process, so choose wisely. Friends you’ve recently made or cousins you rarely see are not the best choice. Instead choose your sisters, long–term best friends or close relatives. The last thing you’ll want is to look at your wedding album a few years later and to be no longer in touch with one of your bridesmaids.


8. Book the best photographer / DJ you can


Your wedding album is how you’ll relive the cherished memories of your day, so don’t underestimate the importance of a good photographer. Research carefully and find someone who understands exactly what you want. Engagement shooes are a great idea too, because you’ll get to know your photographer better as well as practise your poses! Also if you are planning on booking a Mobile DJ for your evening entertainment, then make sure you book a reputable company, a cheaper price is to be frowned upon, remember the DJ can make or break your special day.


9. Get the menu right


One of the biggest talking points at any wedding is the food. From hog roasts and buffets to bake offs and mini fish ‘n’ chips, the quirkier the better! Avoid skimping in this area – hungry guests are never a good thing!


10. Feel fabulous, but don’t overdo it!


Everyone wants to look fab in their wedding photos, so if you’d like a confidence boost, now’s the time to adopt a healthy eating plan and practise a few simple exercises to tone your body. On the other hand, going on an extreme diet is definitely not a good idea. Just remember that your groom wants to marry you exactly the way you are!


11. Don’t fall for common beauty mishap!


The main culprits here are too much fake tan, coloured–in eyebrows and too much foundation! Yes, you will need to wear slightly heavier make–up than usual to make your features stand out in photos, but don’t go crazy! 2015 is all about soft, smokey eyes and peachy tones on the lips and cheeks.


12. Give your groom his own responsibilities


Your fiancè may not have been planning his wedding since he was five, but he will definitely have his own ideas and opinions and will want a say in the planning. Listen to what he says and remember it’s his day, too! Most guys like to get involved with the menu, music and budget spreadsheets.


13. Make the little details personal


Your wedding is all about the two of you, so try to incorporate as much of your personalities into the day as you can. From the stationary and favours to the outfits and first dance, guests should say ‘that’s so them!’


14. Lists, lists and more lists!


With a million and one suppliers to deal with, each with different payment deadlines, it’s impossible to keep track of everything by yourself. Sit down with your h2b, make a budget spreadsheet of forecast costs and actual costs as well as when payments are due, and lsit what things are left to do.


15. Don’t forget what’s important


Wedding planning can be stressful but if you find yourself getting too caught up in it all, take a step back and remind yourself what your wedding is really about – you marrying the love of your life!