As Christmas and New Year is the season filled with love it's no surprise that it brings with it a flurry of engagements, so if you're newly engaged and entering the bubble of all things weddings then congratulations!
If he's just popped the question and you're already thinking about table plans and buttonholes then you could probably benefit from my top five tips for the recently engaged...
This is a hugely exciting time and potentially a moment that you've been waiting for your whole life. So stop and take a moment to enjoy it.
Share the news with friends and family, perhaps with a get together or engagement party and get used to introducing your other half as your fiancée (I bet it takes several goes!) Let the engagement dust settle just a little bit before you even think about picking up a bridal magazine and definitely before you commit to any wedding planning decisions.
2) Think About When and Where
Two of the most significant wedding decisions that you're going to make are where to get married and when to do it, so it's only logical that these are two of the first things that you and your new fiancée (still sounding weird?) should think about.
You may have had this all figured out since the age of 10, but if not then start by thinking about when you'd like to get married as this could help with the where. Remember to discuss this together; you may know what you'd like but does your other half want that too? It's best to make sure you're on the same wedding page early on in the planning process.
Begin by thinking seasonally, do you want to have a beautiful, outdoor, summer wedding or a gorgeous, cozy, winter wedding? This will then play a factor in the location, for example (in the most black and white terms) if you dream of a glorious sunny day then you may consider a destination wedding in Italy, but if a winter wedding is for you then perhaps a stunning country estate in The South of England is more suited to you both.
Unless your heart has always been set on a particular venue, don't focus all your efforts at this stage on finding the right one; that will come. Now is the time to fine tune the country, county or city....and you don't have to limit yourself to just one. Options are always good.
3) The Dreaded Budget
Something which you may want to put off discussing is the budget. This often isn't the favourite topic of conversation as unfortunately it can put a bit of a realistic dampener on the unlimited wedding dreams. However, it is probably one of the most important wedding conversations that you and your fiancé should have, and early on too.
You may be one of the lucky couples who have no budget so long as you have all your wedding wishes, but the likelihood is you will have some sort of maximum that you would like to spend on your wedding day. Whatever that amount is, you should be clear on it as this will determine other factors such as the wedding venue and number of guests.
Start to also consider how much of the budget you would like to allocate to certain things e.g. the maximum amount you will spend on your dress. This helps to give you an indication of what you will need for each aspect.
It's okay to not be sure about how much everything costs at this stage; the chances are this will be the first time you've planned a wedding so if in doubt allocate too much, that way you'll be pleasantly surprised rather than caught out later down the line.
4) The Guest List
Another tricky task is deciding on your guest list. Fairly early on in the process you should start considering your guest list.
Unfortunately, this will largely depend on your budget. My advice is to begin by listing your 'definites' i.e. the friends and family who absolutely have to be at your special day. This is then the minimum number that you will be working with when looking at venue capacities and costs.
If you're able to add to it later then that's great, but at least you know your nearest and dearest will be there.
5) Your Wedding Planner
Now that you've decided on the above points you're at a good stage to reach out to your wedding planner. You have all the information needed for a planner to start assisting you, so get in touch and let them take care of the rest....