06 Jan 10 things to do after you get engaged
Congratulations – you’re engaged and about to embark on one of the most exciting adventures of your lives together!
Planning a wedding is no small feat so once you’ve spread the happy news with your nearest and dearest (and, of course, updated your Facebook profile!) make sure you get off to a great start and get these essential first steps sorted pronto!
1. Buy a notebook
Ok, rushing out to buy stationery might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’ve just got engaged but it pays to be organised from the start. You’re going to want to keep everything together in one place so, from jotting down ideas to penning out a guest list, put everything wedding related into one notebook (preferably one that has different sections) or a folder and use this as your wedding planning bible.
2. Pick a season
Sit down with your other half and talk about what time of year you think you’d like to get married. Keep an open mind when it comes to dates as it’s really going to depend on the availability of your chosen venue but it won’t hurt to have a season or rough time of year in mind. Bear in mind that some venues offer a winter wedding package between October and March which are normally cheaper too.
3. Assemble your dream team
Your A-team, your besties, your wedding crew – whatever you want to call them, your bridal party have an important part to play in the planning process and the day itself so choose wisely! Remember, anything goes with bridal parties – you don’t have to stick to tradition. It’s an exciting thing, asking the special people in your lives to play a part in your big day so take time to enjoy the process.
4. Write a guest list
You might think it’s too early to do this but knowing the approximate number of guests will give you a better idea of which venues could be suitable. There are some beautiful, smaller and more intimate venues to look at in Dorset but some only hold up to 60 guests so if you’re planning to invite more people than that then don’t waste time visiting small venues.
5. Set a budget
There’s lots to think about when it comes to setting a budget for your wedding. What would you like to spend? What can you afford? Will family be offering to help you with any of the costs? It’s best to work out a budget and how that will break down to cover different elements of the big day. It’s also worth writing a list of ‘need to haves’ and ‘nice to haves.’
6. Find a venue
Dorset has so much to offer in the way of wedding venues – whether you want castles or stately homes, glorious green countryside or a coastal affair there is so much to choose from. Book in a few visits to different types of venues as it’s hard to know what you want until you see it. Many local venues run wedding showcases where they’ll dress the rooms up as if a real wedding is taking place, so it’s a good idea to tie in your visits with those if you can.
Once you’ve set your hearts on a venue it’s time to talk dates. Find out what dates they have available and then get it booked – you’ll usually have to pay a deposit to secure your date. Do make sure you ask for and have read the full contract/terms and conditions before paying your deposit – some venues have strict rules about certain things and you’ll want to make sure you’re happy with everything stated before handing over any money.
7. Book your registrar (civil ceremony)
If you’re going to be having a civil ceremony then once you have your venue booked and your date confirmed you’ll need to book your ceremony with a registrar. It’s wise to call ahead and check availability of the registrars before you confirm your booking with the venue.
8. Book your essential suppliers
Photographers, caterers and bands can be booked up to 12-18 months in advance so it pays to get these things sorted as early as you can. That said, spend plenty of time researching and asking for recommendations from others as these things are important and are going to have a big impact on your special day, so it’s important you’re happy with your choices.
9. Consider insurance
It sounds boring but with the huge costs involved in a wedding, it’s really important to consider whether you need wedding insurance. There’s a really useful article on Moneysavingexpert.com all about wedding insurance so have a read through that.
10. Give notice
Unless you’re having your wedding in an Anglican Church*, then you’re required by law to give notice of your intention to marry at least 28 days before your ceremony. You can do this up to 12 months before your wedding so our advice is to get it done and out the way early on. You’ll need to call your local registration office and make an appointment for both of you to attend and give the details of your intention to marry.
It costs £35 per person to give notice (usually payable on the day by credit/debit card) and you’ll need to provide documents proving your name, identity and nationality, proof of address, and if you have been previously married, evidence that you are now free to marry.
*Usually the official performing your Anglican wedding will register your marriage for you.