Plan the dream - Your ultimate wedding

No matter how simple or extravagant your wedding is going to be you'll need to have a plan and stick to it to make sure your day runs smoothly.

You can't start to plan too early and it's best not to hesitate over the really big decisions like setting the budget as it's the cornerstone of many important decisions.

Be firm and stick to a budget. It's easy to get carried away, especially as it's a once in a lifetime event, but you probably don't need to be in debt for years to come. Start saving regularly, maybe even open a special wedding bank account and set up a system to monitor your savings and spending.

You'll need to be clear about who pays for what at the outset. Wedding etiquette has changed substantially over the years. It used to be common for the bride's parents to pay for the ceremony but these days the wedding couple often pay or share costs.

Dream big to start with, then cut back if necessary. You may have to compromise as you work through the planning process but you'll be surprised how easy it is to have the perfect day that doesn't cost a fortune. Style doesn't have to mean expensive and it's often the small details that make a lasting impression. For example, cut back on numbers invited, consider a smaller cake, send online invites and have a buffet reception rather than a sit down meal.

Your wedding is a celebration and a joining of two people together as one. Enjoy the process and don't get obsessive with trivial things that in the long term don't add value or pleasure to your special day.

Setting the date

Having decided on the venue the date will depend on the availability of your church, register office, wedding or reception venue. Firm up on where and when you'd like to get married and check to see what's available. Popular venues can be booked over a year in advance, especially during the summer. If you're willing to have a mid-week off-peak wedding you will have more choice.

Take the time to investigate venues thoroughly, read the fine print and then book. Remember that you may be asked to pay a deposit to confirm your booking.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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