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Getting married in 2018? Read this first

Getting married in 2018? Read this first

Love is well and truly in the air as we launch into 2018, with a raft of prominent celebrity couples planning to tie the knot before the year is out. If you're joining the ranks of Game of Thrones super-stars Kit Harrington and Rose Leslie, WWE heroes John Cena and Nikki Bella, or uber power couple Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, first up: Congratulations. But now that the excitement of your engagement and the sparkle of your diamond has somewhat faded ­- it's time to get down to the serious business of planning your wedding. Don't worry - we're here to help.

STEP 1: Have an honest conversation with you partner about the wedding you both want

Sitting down with your partner, without the interference of feisty friends and pushy relatives, gives you both the opportunity to freely discuss what's important to you on your wedding day. If your dream weddings are worlds apart, you can each make a list of the three essential elements you want included and look at ways you can compromise to bring your ideas together. After all, compromise is the cornerstone of any successful marriage.

STEP 2: Plan your wedding budget

Now that you have the fundamentals of your big day decided upon, you'll have a rough idea of how much things might cost. It doesn't hurt to get a few venue and supplier quotes at this stage to give you a more detailed estimate. Look at your available funds (include family contributions and personal savings) and what you will need to cover your wedding costs (always add 10 per cent to your total figure to make sure you cater for hidden expenses). The difference in these dollar amounts may influence your timing and help you negotiate on specific elements to make things more affordable.

STEP 3: Select your bridal party

For some couples this is an easy decision, but for others it is the cause of much angst. Choosing who should stand beside you on your wedding day and guide you on your journey to the aisle is a big decision. There is absolutely no rule that says you must have someone in your bridal party simply because you were in theirs. Choose people who you trust, who you know have your back and will always have your best interests at heart. Four bridesmaids and two groomsmen? Doesn't matter! This makes for some great photos. Don't choose people just to fill a quota. You may choose not to have any bridal party at all. Stay true to yourselves and get married your way. 

STEP 4: Decide on your guest list

Often one of the more stressful parts of planning your wedding, deciding on your guest list can break even the most relaxed bride-to-be. If parents are contributing to your big day, they may believe it is their 'right' to invite who they want. Again, compromise is key. Establish firm but fair guidelines as to who to invite e.g. Have you known them for more than five years? Can you picture them still in your lives in five years' time? Giving parents, in-laws and contributors each a guest quota to fill with guests of their choice helps to cap numbers and puts the onus on them to make the decisions about who they really want to attend.

STEP 5: Book your venue

Popular wedding venues can be booked years in advance (especially in peak periods), so it pays to get in early to secure your date. Opting for Sundays, lunchtime or mid-week weddings can increase your chances of availability. If you're planning an at-home celebration or an event on private property that won't be booked out, now would be a good time to send out your Save-The-Dates. If you're planning a destination wedding, you need to give guests at least six months' notice.

STEP 6: Organise your big-ticket items and secure your suppliers

There are a few key items that you should prioritise when planning your wedding: dress, rings, bridal party couture, preferably in that order. Custom-made wedding dresses can take the best part of a year to make and even off-the-rack designer dresses can take several months to order. You need to allow enough time to select or design and customise your wedding bands, and organising outfits for your bridal party can also take a while. Some brides give their bridesmaids a colour scheme and let them choose their own attire, others like to be in full control of what everyone is wearing. To avoid arguments, remember to be upfront from the beginning about who is paying for what.

STEP 7: Decide on your details

Your wedding should reflect the unique and extraordinary couple that you are. Weddings are becoming increasingly customised and it is the minutiae of your nuptials that will ensure your big day is sentimental and special for everyone who is celebrating with you. Choose personalised details that highlight your special identity - from the invites to the décor, the flowers to the guest favours. Now sit back, take a breath and smile, and feel all that love in the air as you embark on the happiest day of your lives.

Wedding planning made easy

Planning your wedding doesn't have to be the drama of the century. Preparation and honest communication is key. It's important to keep perspective and remember why you're getting married in the first place. For every other detail to make your wedding day amazing visit