Now that it's 2010 I can actually say I'm getting married "next year" and the preparations are getting all the more real. No more dizzily flicking through the wedding magazine pages for me, it's time to get serious about what we can afford and how.
First back-to-earth-with-a-bump task was the set the budget. The average UK wedding costs something like £20,000 and we're in London so we can more or less count on having to pay the highest prices on everything from the venue hire to the cake. Fortunately however this much-touted £20,000 figure actually includes the engagement ring (paid for) and the honeymoon (a separate budget as travel is so important to us) so the wedding itself is more likely to come in around £16,000, all things being "average", whatever that means.
We've had a lot of help from Doug's parents over the years but luckily we apparently haven't yet exhausted their goodwill so we have a nice substantial contribution to count on from them.
My mum however wants to do things differently and is paying for the dress, which means we can take that gargantuan budget-buster of an expense out of the spreadsheet (I know, a spreadsheet isn't exactly romantic, but this is, apparently, serious business) but not discard it altogether as I'm not entirely sure if her idea of an appropriate amount to spend on this is quite the same as mine.
That just leaves a shortfall of more money than I can bare to think too long about for us to save. Fortunately I've had this in mind for a while so we have a nice headstart but we have other demands on our money which are more important to us (namely an upcoming trip to Peru and a loooooong honeymoon to the States) so this is still likely to be an uphill battle involving cutting back on dinners out, copious drinks and lots of other fun things throughout 2010. Perhaps I'd better put my head back in those mags and remind myself what we're doing this for...