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Engaged: Keep Calm

I was recently asked to guest blog for Tanya Jones of Perfect Promise UK. Asked what advice I would give to recently engaged couples, I was all too keen to help. I have met hundreds of wonderful couples over the years and working exclusively with a venue means when I meet them they are often in the very early stages of the planning process….

"Getting engaged is such an exciting time. Allow yourself to be swept up in the excitement and love that comes from your friends and family. Drinks all the fizzy bubbles, flash that ring, but take a time out to be with your other half. The joy is so infectious that everyone will want a piece of you, but take a breath, look at your chosen person and revel in this new chapter together. 

As a wedding planner, following my engagement just before Christmas, it was pretty easy to get wrapped up in the planning almost immediately. You are, after all, about to plan and enjoy the BEST day of your life!! I had everything in my head, almost immediately, which was so exciting. Naturally this did die down and I really don’t spend every moment thinking about it - at one point I was planning in my dreams! Running all guns blazing into the planning process is awesome, but exhausting,. You have to take time to talk to each other about what is really important to each of you - You might be rather surprised…

The key to planning your wedding is to not get too sucked into it - what on earth will you talk about after if you are not living your usual life now?

I could list every area to consider, how to look at each choice and decision, but the most important consideration is the vibe you want on the day. Are you throwing one huge party? Do you want a country house party? A decadent hotel wedding? A marquee in a field with rustic touches? It is all about the overall vision. From this you can focus on the small stuff, but don't sweat it! Will your guests really notice if there is no chalk board pointing to the dance floor? 

Once the cards have stopped, the congratulations have died slightly, think dates. I use a tick box system with couples to determine what is most important to them:

Does the season really mean that much to you? Remember, if you are marrying in England you can never guarantee the weather. Sure, during the summer, the odds are more in your favour, but you will be paying a premium at all venues for those dates. 

Consider what else is going on? Is a close family member already marrying in the next few months? Are you happy to squeeze in before or after them, knowing you will compare EVERYTHING while you are at their wedding? Plus, is it fair to rain on their parade? My fiancé and I wanted to marry almost immediately, getting engaged in December we would have been thrilled to host our wedding this summer, but we will wait. H's brother has, quite rightly, planned his wedding for August. We want both weddings to stand alone in their own right. Remember, you have chosen your person, you have the rest of your lives together, waiting another few months to "make it official" really doesn't matter in the long run.

What else have you got coming up? Are you buying a house and planning your wedding? Perhaps you have a big holiday coming up or always wanted to travel before you settled into marriage? This may, financially be a strain and could add to the stress of everything, as well as restricting you on the day itself. Really think about waiting a couple of extra months to add to the pockets and get that bucket list ticked off.

Picking your venue is possibly the most important decision you will make. I consider it much like finding that perfect house to live in. "You don't know a house until you walk through the door." When making enquiries, ask all your questions, I firmly believe no question is too small when it comes to your wedding. If you feel you are getting generic, automated response, is this really the venue you want to trust with your big day? Every wedding, every couple, every family and friends group is different and your venue is merely the foundation of your ideas and styling and the backdrop to you and your guests.

Remember, above all else, you have found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. As Monica said in friends, "I want a marriage." Of course, we all want to host the most fabulous wedding, and you will, but you also have a whole life to live together. Be excited about the wedding, be ecstatic that you are going to share everyday with your person."

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