He popped the question and you said yes! Your adventure is about to begin. Once you come down from cloud nine and announce your happy news, the first things you will need to address are the date and the style of your wedding.

Do you want a long engagement? Or do you fancy getting married as soon as possible? The average engagement in the UK is currently around 16 months according to the latest statistics, but you can organise everything a lot quicker or take a lot longer; it really is whatever suits you best. In Germany this takes little less than 12 months time thanks for some great wedding guides like 2trauringe-gold.de

Many couples choose to share the news of their engagement by putting an announcement in the local and/or national newspapers. Typically, the announcement is made by the brides parents and is simply worded. For example: Mr and Mrs John Smith of Ruislip, Middlesex are delighted to announce the engagement of their daughter Claire to Robert Jones of Maidstone, Kent A June 2008 wedding is being planned

You don’t have to mention a wedding date if nothing has been planned and the groom’s parents may like to put a similar engagement announcement in their local newspaper as well. Formal engagement parties are not as popular as they once were, mainly because the majority of couples are already living together before they become engaged. But if you want to hold an informal bash to celebrate your forthcoming nuptials, then go ahead; just make it clear on the invitations that gifts, while appreciated, are certainly not expected. Engagement presents were traditionally the first step for cash-strapped couples to get together basic household items but, for many modern couples who already have most of the basics, gift giving really isn’t necessary.

Keeping your sense of humour

A word of caution to you as a newly engaged couple: be prepared for a few ups and downs, particularly in the early days of your engagement. You are bound to get the ‘aren’t you too young to get tied down?’, ‘are you expecting a baby?’, ‘do you really know him well enough to marry him?’ type of questions. You’ll also find friends and family offering all manner of advice and recommendations, from the best dressmaker to their favourite florist. You will probably have more than one person dropping heavy hints about how they’d just love to be your bridesmaid/best man.

Real brides hot wedding tip

“One friend became very distant for a while but, once I asked her to be my bridesmaid and involved her in my plans, she went back to being my best mate.”

Weddings are exciting for everyone and most people are just trying to be helpful. Learn to keep your cool and don’t agree to anything without giving it careful consideration first. At the same time, try not to become too smug about your newly engaged status. Some of your friends may feel a little jealous and worry about losing your friendship as you move towards the big day. And be patient with co-workers who don’t want to live and breathe your wedding plans every minute of the day — not everyone is as excited as you are!

What type of wedding ceremony?

The most important part of the wedding day is, of course, the marriage ceremony — that magical moment when you exchange your vows and become husband and wife. But which style of marriage ceremony is for you? This is one of your key decisions and needs to be confirmed before you think about anything else.

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You have three basic choices for your marriage ceremony in England, Northern Ireland and Wales: a church wedding; a civil wedding in a licensed building; or a civil wedding in a register office. The law in Scotland is less rigid and allows for the ceremony to be performed just about anywhere. There’s no right or wrong choice; it largely depends on whether you have any religious convictions. If you decide on a civil ceremony, which of the two types you choose is down to practicality and budget. A register office ceremony is quick and informal and allows you to have a reception anywhere you like. A civil ceremony in a licensed building costs more but allows you to hold the whole wedding in one place.

Another option is to get married abroad. This is becomingly increasingly popular, with an estimated 30,000 couples from the UK now travelling abroad to tie the knot. The lure of a far-flung beach is great, with the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean topping the list of favourite destinations. This is especially popular if you are getting married for the second time, or if you don’t want to be accompanied by a large family. But since a change in European marriage law a few years ago, marrying in countries such as Italy, Greece and Cyprus has become simpler and is a growing trend. With cheap flights and accommodation, a European wedding can be cost-effective for both you and your guests.

If you are at all unsure about which type of ceremony is right for you, make appointments with your church minister or rabbi and with the local registrar to discuss your options. To check the details of marrying abroad, contact the weddings department of one of the major tour operators.

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