Guide to Planning Your Wedding Online

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What You Need to Know

  1. Planning a wedding can be one of life's most stressful times. Make use of the numerous online tools out there to make the whole thing easier!
  2. As well as reducing the stress, going online can also mean you don't have to pay for the services of a professional wedding planner, giving you more money to spend on the big day itself
  3. Before you get planning, you will need to set a budget for your wedding. Thankfully, there are online tools designed specially for this, so make use of these before you go and spend any money
  4. By going online, you can also save yourself the time and hassle of visiting potential venues. Do, however, visit one or two from your shortlist to ensure they look like their online pictures, or at least make use of online reviews
  5. Be wary of sending out wedding invitations by email. Most people still prefer a traditional touch. Do, however, set up an online response system so you can see who is coming and who isn't
  6. Thanks to the internet, a bride no longer has to get a dress from a local shop. There are literally thousands of stores offering bridal dresses online, but it's a good idea to try some on in person so you get an idea of what works and what doesn't
  7. Wedding lists have also been made less stressful thanks to the internet. Set up an online list so guests can buy a present at the click of a button, and to ensure that people don't get you the same thing!

Why Go Online to Plan a Wedding?

Planning a wedding is arguably one of life's most stressful occasions. After all, whether it's your first time or you've been hitched before, you will want everything to be perfect, right down to the tiniest detail.

In the old days, it was usually down to the bride and her family to organise everything from booking the venue to finding the perfect cake. Alternatively, you could just hire a professional wedding planner to take care of everything, though specialists don't come cheap and you will have to accept losing some control over how your big day goes.

Now, however, thanks to the wealth of resources available online, it's never been easier to plan a wedding yourself. As well as being able to choose from a massive range of specialist products and services, you can also browse reviews and compare costs to make sure you're making the right choice and getting the best value for money. Plus, you no longer have to give up whole weekends in the weeks and months leading up to the wedding for the planning. Instead, you can organise almost everything from the comfort of your own home, or even arrange the flowers in your lunch hour.

Below are just a few of the many things you can organise online. Though remember, you may want to do certain things offline to avoid disappointment. After all, dresses rarely look as good in real life as they do pictured on a website…

1: Setting a Budget

Ok, so it may not be the most romantic of tasks, but as any professional wedding planner will tell you, the first thing you need to do when organising your big day is to set yourselves a budget.

Drawing up a wedding budget is no easy task. After all, there are plenty of expenses you need to factor in, many of which you may overlook if you're not careful. For instance, who pays for the flowers, the taxis, the organist and the church itself? And will there be a free bar, or can your savings account not stretch to this?

Fortunately, a home computer can help take the stress out of taking care of money matters. In fact, even a simple spreadsheet can help you add up all the potential costs. However, there are also now a number of special tools available online to help you tot up the likely costs of your dream wedding, thereby giving you a good idea of whether your dream day is feasible or if you instead need to tone down your expectations.

A simple online search will help you find several free and easy budgeting tools designed specifically for planning a wedding. Popular wedding budgeting tools include this one from The Knot as well as this one from Your Wedding Company. Again, however, you don't need to buy a fancy app or even invest in a special spreadsheet to draw up an accurate budget. But, if you do choose to make your own list of costs, be sure to go online and read the various budgeting checklists out there so you can be sure you don't miss something off.

2: Finding a Location

Gone are the days when a couple needs to spend long weekends travelling round hotels, churches and other venues seeing how they measure up. These days, a quick online search will not only reveal the various venues that host wedding services and receptions in the area you want, but you will also be able to view images of the venues, compare the different costs and menus and, perhaps most importantly, read reviews (good or bad) from past guests.

Just some of the many specialist websites dedicated to showcasing the best wedding venues in the UK (and further afield) include You and Your Wedding and Hitched. Alternatively, if you are looking for a venue for a civil partnership or civil marriage, then the government website DirectGov has a database of venues offering such services in England and Wales.  

If you're feeling extra adventurous and want to tie the knot outside of the UK, then there are also numerous sites designed to help you take care of every little detail of getting married abroad. To start with, you should check out this official government guide to getting married overseas. Once you have checked this out, then make use of specialist sites such as First Choice Weddings or Perfect Weddings Abroad to get planning your big day.

3: Sending Out the Invitations

The process of sending out invitations to a wedding has also been revolutionised since the dawn of the internet. While sending out physical cards is still very much the 'done thing' (in fact, emailed invitations are frowned upon by many), there are a number of online tools you can use to ensure you get the perfect invites out there are to make sure you get replies in good time.

For starters, by getting online, you can browse through literally thousands of different wedding invitation designs. Sites such as Pinterest have large numbers of pages devoted to wedding invites. By using these you can either find a designer and order their product direct, or you can take inspiration from various designs and make your own.

Once you've sent out your invites, sites and apps such as RSVPify make keeping track of who is able to come and who isn’t even easier (plus it makes replying quicker and easier for your guests, as well as saving them the cost of a stamp!)

4: Dress and Design inspirations

One other way in which the internet has revolutionised the wedding planning business has been the way in which it has given brides-to-be infinitely more dresses and accessories to choose from. So, while in the past, a bride and her bridal party may have been restricted to just a few local shops, these days, they have countless shops and specialist suppliers at their fingertips.

That said, there are a number of things you need to consider before buying a wedding dress online. After all, if you get it wrong, your whole big day could be ruined. According to the experts, then, you should:

  • Know the type of style and the colour of the dress you want before you start looking for real. By all means, get online and compare different styles and shades, but you should try and narrow your search down as quickly as possible.
  • Do go to a shop and try a few dresses on, even if you know they're not the ones you are after. This way, you will be able to see how different styles look or feel. So, you might find out that long sleeves aren’t for you or that you prefer cream to white. You can then use this information to make an informed decision when shopping around online.
  • It pays to be patient. It may often seem that there are just too many options to choose from, but hang in there, as most experts agree that brides end up finding the right dress for them eventually.
  • Beware of scams! Sadly, there are plenty of fraudsters out there looking to take advantage of happy brides, so be sure you're buying with a reputable seller and always use a secure payment system.

5: Making a Wedding List

Once you've booked the date, got your invitations out, and confirmed the venue, then you might want to think about sending out wedding lists. And again, going online is now the easiest way of drawing up a list of gifts you would ideally like your guests to give, plus it also makes it much easier for the guests themselves to search for and purchase these items.

There are numerous specialist sites offering you the ability to post a wedding list, giving your guests the chance to browse through the numerous items, see what still needs to be purchased, and, of they want, buy that gift with the click of a button.

One of the most popular among UK couples is the John Lewis Gift List, which is simple to use and can be easily personalised. Other leading online gift lists include Prezola and Marriage Gift List, which links to items sold by many of the biggest high street retailers.

Further Reading

  • For more ideas for the perfect wedding, check out the leading website

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