You’re engaged – congratulations! Once the excitement has settled down, you will probably be asking “Now What?”

“Will you marry me?” is the life-changing question that sets into motion many feelings and a chain of events and planning that will lead to your wedding day and beyond to a lifetime together.

Whether you have been dreaming of your wedding day since childhood or have been swept off your feet and taken by surprise, you will soon realise that there is much to plan and your new focus will be filled with images of the day to come.

Weddings are filled with details and it’s easy to get carried away with the small things. Before you begin, sit down with your partner and discuss the type of wedding that you’d both like. It’s advisable to be in agreement before you meet with your parents. Communication is going to be a key factor in planning – not only will good communication minimise conflict, but it will help your understanding following through into your marriage.

What to discuss with your partner:

Style:  Whether you want a casual affair or a formal event, large or more intimate, make sure you are on the same page. If you are adventurous, you may opt for something unique, or your dream might be a destination wedding – either in the country or abroad, budget permitting. Think of the weddings you have attended that have left a lasting impression and this may assist with which direction to go or which to avoid.

Time of day and year: Decide whether you want a daytime wedding or if you’d prefer to party late into the night. Although most couples believe that a Saturday is the best day for a wedding, many venues offer lower rates on other days. Do you have a preference for the time of year? Summer is generally a more popular time to get married, but Winter weddings allow for a cosy atmosphere with fires and candles warming guests and the visual setting. You will not only need to take the seasonal weather into consideration but also look at the school and public holidays, international guests and major sporting events that may affect your date.

Budget: What are the two of you able to, and realistically prepared, to spend? If parents or others are contributing, confirm what they want to or are able to assist with. Have these discussions and get clarity early on to avoid misunderstanding and disappointment. Keep in mind that the number of guests will strongly influence the cost of the wedding so drawing up the guest list by all concerned will be a significant part of the budgeting process.

Cultural Considerations: Two people from very different backgrounds are becoming one. Know and respect one another’s culture and differences and work together to incorporate each other’s traditions.

Finally, once the two of you have discussed the wedding details and agree on a budget, the style and timing, meet with your parents. You will know how best to handle this. If both sets of parents get on well, invite them to dinner together, otherwise have them over separately. Communicate clearly what you have discussed with your finance and invite them to become involved where it suits you and they are able or willing.

Feeling a little overwhelmed? For more advice and if you are wondering if you should hire a wedding planner, read this great article: Do I need a Wedding Planner