Congratulations! Getting Married is a big decision, and a real milestone in your life. There are also lots of things to organise which can be great fun, but costs can really run away from you. The average wedding is said to cost £20,000, but it doesn’t have to be that expensive, it just takes a bit of planning and organising.

Here is the Advance Credit Union top tips to help get the most out of your big day

So you got engaged!

Rings Bought your engagement ring? Here in the Midlands we are fortunate to have the Jewellery Quarter on our doorstep, so why not visit for a vast choice of engagement rings and wedding rings. Don’t forget to ask for a discount and stick to your budget!

Set a budget. We always say this, but you first need to decide how much you can afford to spend on your wedding. Your wedding plans will then fit your budget.

Planning the big day You need a plan, here’s our Wedding Planner spreadsheet to get you started and, you could try the Haynes DIY Wedding Manual What is on your wish list, and what is really important to you?

It takes two You may have been planning your own wedding since you were 3 years old, but don’t forget about the person you are marrying; they would like to make some decisons about where to hold the wedding, who to invite and other important wedding choices. And most of all they want to know how much it will all cost. Why not share and collaborate on your Wedding Planner spreadsheet with GoogleApps using our Wedding Planner Template.

Parents or other family helping to pay? Give them something specific such as the reception or wedding cars; they will feel more involved if they know what they paid for.

Let people help This is your big day, but you can’t do everything. Ask friends and family to do something for you and be as specific as you can. It could be make your invite cards, arrange the flowers, drive a car on the day, be the groom (joking about the last one).

Set the date. Weekdays and autumn/ winter can be cheaper for reception venues, and you are more likely to get the date you want. But will all your guests be able to attend?

Start saving, now! How much can you afford to put away regularly so you have a fund ready to pay for your wedding?

Reception doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy; it is your day, so have what you want – picnic in the park, party at home, garden party at a friend’s house or splurge on a fancy hotel, it is your choice.

Invitations why not try making your own?

Who to invite Yep, another list. Fortunately our Wedding Planner includes a Guest list to make it easier. You will need to stick to your wedding venue and reception number limits. Who is invited to the full day? and who for the evening reception only? Include your guest’s kids too? What about a ‘B’ list if someone can’t make it?

Gift list What do you really need? Don’t be afraid to ask for money to help pay for your wedding or honeymoon. Our Wedding Planner also includes a column for gifts received and a reminder to send a thank you note.

Wedding dress doesn’t have to cost a fortune, secondhand can be great value; most have only ever been worn once ;-). Be aware that dresses may need to be altered to fit.

Advice. You will get loads of it from everyone you know. Some advice might even be helpful! So make the most of it by asking specific questions.

Church wedding? Getting married in a Diocese of Lichfield church? Ask your vicar about their free credit union membership scheme. AdvanceCU will accept their free credit union membership vouchers.

Wedding Day

Don’t sweat the small stuff Provided that there is a ceremony, a ring or two, some food and a party then everyone is happy.

Photos Ask guests for a copy of their photos from the day, there may be some spectacular snaps that your official photographer missed.

Honeymoon

Where? It doesn’t have to be Bali

When? Or immediately after the wedding

Budget What would you like to do with your honeymoon and how much do you want to spend?

What next?

Warning! While a wedding is a wonderful dream day, it’s important to remember that one of the biggest causes of divorce is debt and financial worries. If the cost of your wedding leaves you financially crippled and in debt for most of your married life, it’s a pointless waste.” Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert

Talk to your partner about how you will both plan and manage your money, joint account or separate? How much can you spend without checking with your partner first? Is your partner a saver or a spender?

Budget is more important now than ever. You will have big plans, so prioritise what is most important to both of you.

Keep saving! Have a specific thing to save for: house deposit, car, furniture, electricals, holiday fund. Ask us to set up a Saving account for you, we’ll lock your money away till you need it.

Insurance You will need to update your household insurance for all those wedding gifts and rings. Plus review your life insurance so your partner benefits.

Pension Some pension providers require you to update them with your partner’s details otherwise they may not benefit from your pension. Ask your pension provider just to be sure.

Welcome to the club! You’ll soon realise you’ve joined a club, the married club. Club members are usually quite supportive, with lots of advice and anecdotes. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Marriage Course This is one of your biggest investments, so why not learn how to get the best out of it? There are Marriage courses run locally, try www.relationshipcentral.org, www.marriagebydesign.org.uk or search for Marriage Course Birmingham or Marriage Course Solihull.

Anything else?

Advance Credit Union can help you with your wedding plans and married life:

Budget Planner

Bill Payments

Loans You may need to borrow money to help pay for part of your wedding or new married life.

apply-now

Life Insurance is included for free if you save or borrow with us. Don’t forget to tell us if you want to change your beneficiary to your new spouse.

Other Resources

Church of England wedding? Try http://www.yourchurchwedding.org

MoneySavingExpert on cheap weddings