5 things you need to decide now you are engaged

5 things you need to decide now you are engaged


Congratulations – you’re engaged. Maybe you have been talking about your wedding for years and know every detail of how your big day will be. But if not, here are some big questions to ask yourself before you get down to the detailed planning.


Why do you want to get married? What is important to you about a wedding? Could you describe in a sentence or two why you are doing this? If you can then this can be your “mission statement” to measure your other decisions against.

You may well be looking at a very different wedding if your answer is “To give our relationship legal standing and be recognised as each others’ next of kin” than if it is “To bring together all of our family and friends to celebrate the amazing life long love which we have found” or “To make a public declaration of our love, building on the traditions and culture of our families and providing a stable basis for our own children”.


One couple in the USA had “Our wedding will serve as a time for our friends and family to reconnect with us, get to know one another, and enjoy a happy weekend in the Texas Hill Country.”* A “Mission Statement” by one of my couples is in the picture above. Don’t overthink this but go for a walk or curl up on the sofa and decide why you want to have a wedding so you can avoid getting caught up in too many other people’s expectations.


Who needs to be there for your wedding to be the occasion you want it to be? If you just want to be legally married then it may be that just the two of you will be there with two witnesses who may be friends or just a couple of random people you persuade to help you out. You may just get married at your local Registrar’s office and let people know by posting it on Facebook. Or you may “elope” to Gretna Green or go abroad combining your wedding with a holiday.

Wedding guestsIf you want a big family wedding make a note of all the people you would want to have there. It can be helpful to have 3 categories – maybe, must have, love to have, happy to have if we have room. (Think about friends of your parents or children – are there any people you need to consider even if they don’t make the final cut?) Think about friends who you are both close to who you want to celebrate with you and others who one of you may know or the people you work with.

You may want to think about who you want to invite to be a part of your wedding such as Best Man or Bridesmaids – you may want to ask longstanding close friends at an early stage but you don’t need to do this straight away. You may find it easier to identify who shares your excitement once you have had a few conversations about the wedding, especially if the wedding is a couple of years away.


Sign for weddingNow you have ideas of your why and who you want to be there you will have a clearer idea of what you want to plan. Is it going to be a very private affair where you go off to somewhere like Gretna Green or Las Vegas or a beautiful deserted seashore or in your own garden? Is it going to be a traditional wedding which will include cultural or religious elements? Is it going to be a small personal ceremony with close family and friends followed by a meal with lots of chat? Is it going to be a festival style celebration with tipis and bands and camping? Is it going to have some elements of tradition but with your own personal twists? Do you want the ceremony and the reception/party to be in the same place?

A good way to think about what you want is for each of you to write down 3 things that you would really like to have as part of your wedding. Then show these to each other and try to get a top three that you both agree on. When we got married my husband’s big ask was that we have live music with a band so we made sure that happened.

Another element to include here is what kind of budget will you be looking at and whether you will be paying for it all yourselves or can expect some help from family. Remember that when others are contributions they may want a say in what kind of wedding you have and what you spend their money on!


Destination Wedding CelebrantNow you have some ideas about who you would like to celebrate with you and what things you want to include, you can start to think about where you want to hold your wedding. If you are going to get married in another country you need to find out if there are any legal restrictions and you may want to get a travel agent or a destination wedding planner to help you.


Outdoor ceremony CelebrantIf you want to get married nearer home you should consider what is important to you. Do you have a dream of a fairy tale castle or of a Glastonbury style vibe. If you have elderly people attending or those with disabilities or children – are there things you need to take into account? Are there any unusual places near you that host events such as art galleries or museums but aren’t licensed for weddings? If you still want to have your Ceremony there you can do the legal bits with a Registrar or a Minister of Religion and then have a Celebrant to take your Ceremony anywhere. (Including licensed premises).

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Your numbers will affect what is possible for your venue as will your budget. So will the availability of your venue so it is good to ring and ask how far in advance they are booked. And in turn this will affect the next question – when?




Save the dateYou may want to enjoy being engaged and just save a little before setting a date. People will ask you when you are thinking of so have an answer you both agree on even if it is “not for at least three years”. Factors like budget and how determined you are to have particular things as part of your wedding can affect when your wedding will be. But you may also have an elderly grandparent who you would love to have there and so not want to leave the wedding too long. Popular venues and suppliers often get booked up well in advance so that can also affect decisions about dates. You may have a special date that you would love to get married on. Or you may have other circumstances that will influence your decision.

Weddings are often on a Saturday as fewer people work on Saturdays and they also get Sunday to recover and/or travel. However it can make a big difference to your budget to go for a weekday. If you are considering that you need to recognise that if you have teachers in the family or school age children you want to involve, you may want to look at school holidays. Sundays can be good, especially in front of a Bank Holiday Monday. Your venue of choice may have limitations. If you want your wedding ceremony to be outside it is best to avoid the winter months (although a plan B is always helpful for the weather any time of the year in the UK.

This list isn’t exhaustive of course but gives you a good base for questions to ask yourself. Once you know the answers to these you are well on your way to planning your wedding. Enjoy!

* https://apracticalwedding.com/wedding-planning-mission-statement/

For more advice on all things wedding ceremony see The Blog.

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30 Love quotes to inspire your Wedding Vows

30 Love quotes to inspire your Wedding Vows


Writing your own wedding vows is a really lovely thing to do. It can play a big part in personalising your wedding ceremony. However, sometimes people find that just sitting down with a blank sheet of paper isn’t all that helpful. Looking at other people’s vows can be helpful as can looking at different love quotes. You may also want to see the earlier blog here on “A simple way to write your wedding vows”.

Wedding CelebrantDon’t try to fit a whole load of quotes into your vows. You want them to be about you and your partner and they should relate to your love and your life together. However popular quotes can help you to find ways to talk about what your love and your marriage mean to you. If you look at some humorous quotes it may remind you of things in your relationship you feel are not the easiest but you believe your love overcomes. Quotes can also help you to think about what is really special about your partner and how you felt when   you first met.

So you may already know a whole lot of love quotes from famous people or from songs or films or books which inspire you. You may want romantic ideas or funny ones. However here are 30 quotes to get you started:

Wedding vowsOn Love

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” —Lao Tzu
“Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell”. – Joan Crawford
“Love is sharing your popcorn.” – Charles Schultz
“I fell in love the way you fall asleep, slowly and then all at once”. – John Green, The fault in our stars
“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” —Dr. Seuss
“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” —Maya Angelou
“Love is but the discovery of ourselves in others, and the delight in the recognition” – Alexander Smith

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On Marriage

“Sexiness wears thin after a while, and beauty fades. But to be married to someone who makes you laugh every day, now that’s a real treat.” —JoAnne Woodward
“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” —Mignon McLaughlin
“A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” —Robert Quillen
“The greatest marriages are built on teamwork. A mutual respect, a healthy dose of admiration, and a never-ending portion of love and grace.” —Fawn Weaver
“Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that truer friend in his wife.” – Franz Schubert
“The best thing to ever happen to marriage is the pause-live-TV button.” – Rick Reilly
“Marriage is like vitamins: We supplement each other’s minimum daily requirements.” – Kathy Monkhe
“Marriage is a wonderful invention: then again, so is the bicycle repair kit.” – Billy Connelly

For better, for worse

“I have seen the best of you and the worst of you, and I choose both”. – Sarah Kay
“You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not”. – Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper
“I don’t know where I’d be without you here with me. Life with you makes perfect sense. You’re my best friend.” —Tim McGraw
“Remember, we all stumble; every one of us. That is why it’s a comfort to go hand in hand.” —Emily Kimbrough
“It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life”.- Rita Rudner
“Love doesn’t make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.” —Franklin P. Jones
“Love is a lot like a backache; It doesn’t show up on X-Rays, But you know it’s there.” – George Burns

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“You make me happier than I ever thought I could be, and if you let me, I will spend the rest of my life trying to make you feel the same way.” —Friends
“Grow old along with me; the best is yet to be.” —Robert Browning
“When the darkness rolls in, I’ll be there through thick and thin.” —Hilary Duff
“You are the finest, loveliest, tenderest and most beautiful person I have ever known – and even that is an understatement”. – F. Scott Fitzgerald
“I wasn’t sure that love could survive everything we put it through, but you were. You were sure, you were always sure.” —Boy Meets World
“Before we met, I was as lost as a person could be and yet you saw something in me that somehow gave me direction again.” —Nights in Rodanthe
“Cause all of me Loves all of you. Love your curves and all your edges. All your perfect imperfections. Give your all to me, I’ll give my all to you. You’re my end and my beginning. Even when I lose I’m winning.” — John Legend, All Of Me
“I love you, and I will love you until I die, and if there’s a life after that, I’ll love you then.” ― Cassandra Clare, City of Glass

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