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Where to start with planning your wedding…

When your wedding day is on the horizon, you want to be prepared. If you're not careful, all those essential wedding preparations can turn something truly beautiful and exciting into a heavy load. But make sensible plans ahead of time and you can identify some really manageable steps that will make the run up to the big day far more relaxed. Getting your planning right will save you headaches and potential stress. Here are some tips.

Determine early on, whose day is it? If parents are contributing to the budget, they might also want a say in your guest list. But do you really need to invite your dad’s second cousin who they met for the first time 3 weeks ago in Sainsbury’s? Make clear decisions over things like children, spouses, wider family and close friends, so that you don’t feel under pressure to make exceptions for individual cases.

Get your team on board. Whether you are using a professional photographer or talented friends, a hired venue or an outdoor location, a qualified beautician or your big sister, make sure you communicate and meet with your helpers and organisers in advance. That way you can feel more confident about delegating tasks and not having to carry all the details yourself. Plan pre-wedding day rehearsals if possible, keep in touch in the months leading up to the marriage, and double check. Don’t leave anything until the last moment, or it will stay there nagging at the back of your mind.

So what about the challenges that are bound to crop up however well you’ve planned? What about a shower of rain just as you’re waiting for the photographs. What happens if the glorious sunset beach moment turns gloomy and overcast? The truth is, you can’t plan away every potential problem, but you can have contingency plans. Have some birdcage umbrellas available for the guests, or at least for the bridal party, and remind yourself that grey skies aren’t the end of the world.

Get your plans underway, and then relax. No wedding is going to be perfect in every respect, but that’s kind of the point. Your day will unfold one way or the other, and then the biggest present is that you’ll be walking into a new and exciting life ahead, together.