As with most things, you have to put in the work in order to ensure success, and a wedding ceremony is no exception. This applies to whichever end of the market you are aiming at.
Here’s how to get started.
You are likely to be hiring professionals, which could include all or some of the following: wedding planners, photographers, caterers, celebrants and florists. How do you know which to choose?
Don’t go with the first quote you receive, even if it seems reasonably-priced. Ask two or three suppliers. Better still, try and arrange a personal meeting (or Skype or at least, phone). That way you can ask questions directly and get a feel for their personality and professionalism. If you take an instant dislike to your celebrant, say, you won’t want to work with them over the course of the year or so while the service is written and you won’t want them to conduct your ceremony!
Testimonials (especially first-hand) and web-sites are well worth looking at too.
Obviously, don’t leave things till the last moment, but allow reasonable time. Success is in the planning.
You need to be prepared (lists are good!) so that you do not spring last-minute surprises on your suppliers. Maybe you have specific dietary requirements for the caterer – don’t leave it till the day before!
You will need to choose your venue carefully. Depending on budget and climate, the world is almost your oyster. You can save money by planning the wedding ‘out of season’ or at an unusual venue (such as a beach or field). The time of day of the reception can also be significant for pricing.
If you are trying to reduce expenditure, take care not to stint on what really matters to you (be it clothing, the guest-list or whatever). You might be able to cut some corners elsewhere. It should go without saying, but don’t take unilateral decisions! Consult with your partner before you act!
Don’t forget to organise accommodation, both for yourself and for out-of-towners, if necessary.
If you leave yourself plenty of time (and make notes and ask questions), there’s no reason at all why your big day can’t go completely smoothly. As long as you have thought through what you want, your every desire can be fulfilled.