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Preparing to get married once you are engagedThis entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

You are officially engaged and undoubtedly glowing with excitement, congrats! You’ll be full of love and optimism, and it’s the perfect time to put that positive energy into organising your big day. But where to start? Is it the venue? Or should you choose your dress first and coordinate everything with the style you decide on? There will be many questions on your mind, and to take the stress out of an otherwise extremely enjoyable chapter of your life, here is a step by step guide of how to plan your special day.

The Blissful Engagement

Enjoy your engagement then plan your wedding

In this phase, you will be so elated and fuzzy that it will be hard to sit back and relax into being engaged; you will naturally want to start planning. It is important to remember though, that your partner has just spent a long time getting ready to propose, saving for the ring, and working out the best away to pop the question. So, before you jump straight in with your Pinterest board and list of venues, give your partner a little space to breathe.  If you are itching to get started, this is the perfect time to think about the guest list, your wedding party, and of course your bridesmaids and best men.

Starting To Plan

Get your wedding planning on track

Once you have relished being engaged and cannot contain your excitement any further, it is time to get stuck into the primary stages of arranging your wedding. The first thing to do is to set the date, after you ask yourself whether you want a winter wedding, a summer one, or perhaps one in spring with all the gorgeous flowers. When deciding, keep in mind what day of the week it will be and where the week is falling. Weekday weddings are usually more affordable, for example, and bank holiday weekends are often in high demand. This is also the time to set your budget for the wedding as it will dictate many aspects of your next stages.

To Party Or Not To Party

Should you plan an engagement party

Being engaged is a huge deal, and your nearest and dearest will be so excited for you. So, when you have got a date and budget in place, it is time to think about whether you want to throw an engagement party to celebrate with everyone. If you have finished allocating all your wedding finances and have some leftover that you can use to host a party, it is a really lovely opportunity to share the news. It doesn’t have to be a big affair, you can have an intimate dinner for under 20 people at your house if you have the space, or you could hire a venue if your budget is more accommodating to a larger event.

Finding A Picture-Perfect Venue

Choose your wedding venue

The next step in your wedding planning adventure is choosing the ideal venue. Although you are most likely dying to find your dress, it is best to settle on where you are holding your wedding first as it may inform the style. Do in-depth research of each venue and see all possibilities in person before making any selections. If you have decided on an area, make a list of possibilities and their open days in the vicinity and try to hit a few in one go. You could do an exciting tour of wedding venues in Kent for example. Make sure to check their availability for your selected date, whether it is convenient for your families to get to, and whether there is accommodation nearby if required.

Now For The Dress

Find a wedding dress with great top detail

Having picked your venue, the time has finally come for the incredibly exciting task of finding your perfect dress. The first thing to do is to determine which silhouette is best for you and then think about the details, as opting for a style that suits you is the difference between a good dress and a great one. The next aspect you need to focus on, even if all you can think of is the princess skirt, is the top of your dress as this is the area that your guests and the camera will focus on. Once you have made your mind up, plan in time for any alterations, and if you are intending to buy a custom-made dress, remember that these can take up to six months before they are ready to wear.

Choosing Your Flavour

Choose your wedding menu

The next stop on your wedding organizing venture is to find and book your caterers if they aren’t already included within your venue package. Your first and most exciting decision is what style of cuisine you want. Does your dream wedding involve canapes with high-class glamour from luxury wedding caterers? Or are you after a more rustic, homely feel with food trucks or finger food stations? When you have what you want in mind, it is time to start researching providers. Before you decide on your final one, make sure your potential choices have availability for your chosen date as this is an easy way to narrow down the shortlist.

Sharing The Love

Planning your guest list

Now that you have the essentials in place, you can work on your invite and gift list. Your wedding invites will ideally match the theme of your special day and let people know what to expect. For example, if you are planning a festival wedding, lanyards with printed wedding ‘line-ups’ would be a wonderful way to set the mood. This is also the perfect opportunity to decide on what to ask from your family and friends in terms of a wedding wish-list. This can be a little daunting as many people these days have everything they need at home. Yet, you needn’t worry about awkwardly asking for money, as sites like Honeyfund give you the option of simply sending a link to the goal you are saving for and your guests can feel comfortable gifting what they can.

Selecting Flowers and Favours

Selecting your wedding flowers & favors

Flowers are said to make a room smile and that is true of weddings too! Before getting carried away designing lavish spreads layered with symbolism, set your budget, and find a florist to work with. For a more affordable service, look for an up and coming florist rather than somewhere already well established. They will be happy to work with you to expand their portfolio and are more likely to be flexible to your needs. A good florist may also be able to help you with your table spreads and tying in your choice of favours to the overall design. Have a look here for some gorgeous and unique favours ideas that your guests will be happy to take home.

These are the initial stages of wedding planning and they are so exciting and enjoyable, you’ll have an amazing time shaping your big day. Keep a look at for How To Make Your Dream Wedding A Reality – Part Two, which covers everything from bridesmaids dresses to writing vows and everything in-between. Let me know if there’s anything you have done differently or other tips in the comments.

Bio: Help! I’m Getting Married is blog by Nat, a twenty-something blogger living in Brighton, UK. who set up a blog a few years ago when she was engaged to be married as a resource to help women in similar situations, covering everything from venue and food to photographers and dresses. 

After being married almost four years, she learned that life certainly doesn’t end at marriage; she encountered so much during the first two years of marriage that she made the decision to change the focus of her blog from just weddings to a variety of lifestyle topics. She wanted to convey the message that life goes on after your happily ever after, and that the journey has been just as exciting as the wedding.

 You’ll find a bit of everything on Help! I’m Getting Married; along with the regular wedding articles, there’s also plenty to read on fashion, beauty, family, travel, lifestyle, culture, food, and much more. Nat’s work appears around the internet, and she’s currently a certified Mumsnet Blogger and a Miss Millennia Magazine contributor.

Twitter: @martinnathalie9

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­­­Honeyfund’s Amazon.com Gift Card Giveaway Rules

Beginning June 30, 2017, Honeyfund is promoting its partnership with Amazon.com by giving away ten $500 Amazon.com Gift Cards, one each to ten lucky winners!

Honeyfund’s Amazon.com Gift Card Giveaway Rules

NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL, AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

Honeyfund’s Amazon.com Gift Card Giveaway (the “Sweepstakes”) is open to legal residents of the US or Canada to win, and at least eighteen (18) years old at the time of entry. Employees of Honeyfund, Amazon.com and other companies associated with the promotion of the Sweepstakes, and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates and advertising and promotion agencies as well as the immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings, and children) and household members of each such employee are not eligible.

The Sweepstakes is administered and sponsored by Honeyfund.com, Inc. (‘Administrator’), located at 321 So Main St, #523, Sebastopol, California 95472.

Honeyfund’s Amazon.com Gift Card Giveaway prize includes:

  • Ten (10) $500 Amazon Gift Cards

Participation in the Sweepstakes constitutes entrant’s full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of these Official Rules and the decisions of the Administrator, which are final and binding. Winning a prize is contingent upon being compliant with these Official Rules and fulfilling all other requirements set forth herein. The Sweepstakes begins on June 30th, 2017 at 12:01 am PDT and ends on October 31st, 2017 at 11:59 pm PDT (the “Sweepstakes Period”). Entries that are submitted before or after the Sweepstakes Period will be disqualified. Submissions will be accepted for the duration of the Sweepstakes using any of the following methods:

Honeyfund registered users receive one (1) entry for adding the Amazon.com Gift Card to their registry page via their honeyfund.com account, and one (1) entry for every Amazon Gift Card purchased via the “Honeyfund Registry Page Offer” ad unit on their registry page.

All entrants receive one (1) entry for every Amazon.com Gift Card purchased via the Honeyfund website.*

No purchase necessary. To enter without purchase, receive one (1) entry for each original social media post promoting the giveaway via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest with the hashtag #honeyfundamazon500.

All entries become the property of Administrator and Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned.

On or about November 6th, 2017, the Administrator will select ten winners at random from among all eligible entries received throughout the entry period. The odds of being selected depend on the number of entries received. The Administrator will attempt to notify the potential giveaway winner via telephone on or about November 7th, 2017. If the potential winner cannot be contacted within five (5) days after the date of the first attempt to contact him/her, the Administrator may select an alternate potential winner in his/her place at random from the remaining non-winning, eligible entries. The potential winners will be notified by email, mail or phone. Each potential Prize winner (parent/legal guardian if a minor in his/her state of residence) will be required to complete, electronically sign and submit a Declaration of Compliance within five (5) days of the date notice or attempted notice is sent, in order to claim his/her prize. If a potential winner cannot be contacted, or fails to submit the Declaration of Compliance within the required time period (if applicable), or prize is returned as undeliverable, potential winner forfeits prize. If the potential winner is at least 18 but still considered a minor in his/her jurisdiction of residence, Sponsor reserves the right to award the prize in the name of his/her parent or legal guardian, who will be required to sign the Declaration of Compliance on the potential winners behalf and fulfill any other requirements imposed on winner set forth herein. Potential winners must continue to comply with all terms and conditions of these Official Rules, and winning is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements. In the event that a potential winner is disqualified for any reason, Sponsor will award the applicable prize to an alternate winner by random drawing from among all remaining eligible entries. Only three (3) alternate drawings will be held, after which the prize will remain un-awarded. All potential winners from Canada will be required to answer a time-limited skill-testing question correctly without any assistance to be eligible to receive a prize, or such prize will be forfeited.

The Prize will be fulfilled approximately 3-6 weeks after the conclusion of Honeyfund’s Amazon.com Gift Card Giveaway. In the event that the operation, security, or administration of the Sweepstakes is impaired in any way for any reason, including, but not limited to fraud, virus, bug, worm, unauthorized human intervention or other technical problem, or in the event the Sweepstakes is unable to run as planned for any other reason, as determined by Administrator in its sole discretion, the Administrator may, in its sole discretion, either (a) suspend the Sweepstakes to address the impairment and then resume the Sweepstakes in a manner that best conforms to the spirit of these Official Rules or (b) terminate the Sweepstakes and, in the event of termination, award the prize at random from among the eligible, non-suspect entries received up to the time of the impairment.

The Administrator reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Sweepstakes or to be acting in violation of these Official Rules or in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner. Any attempt by any person to damage the website or undermine the legitimate operation of the Sweepstakes may be a violation of criminal and civil law, and, should such an attempt be made, the Administrator reserves the right to seek damages (including attorney’s fees) and any other remedies from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. Failure by the Administrator to enforce any provision of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision.

By participating in the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to release and hold harmless the Administrator and Sponsors, and each of their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising and promotion agencies, other companies associated with the Sweepstakes, and each of their respective officers, directors, employees, shareholders, representatives, and agents (the “Released Parties)” from and against any claim or cause of action arising out of participation in the Sweepstakes or receipt or use of the prize (including any travel or activity related thereto), including, but not limited to: (a) any technical errors associated with the Sweepstakes, including lost, interrupted or unavailable Internet Service Provider (ISP), network, server, wireless service provider, or other connections, availability or accessibility or miscommunications or failed computer, satellite, telephone, cellular tower or cable transmissions, lines, or technical failure or jumbled, scrambled, delayed, or misdirected transmissions or computer hardware or software malfunctions, failures or difficulties; (b) unauthorized human intervention in the Sweepstakes; (c) mechanical, network, electronic, computer, human, printing or typographical errors; (d)application downloads, (e) any other errors or problems in connection with the Sweepstakes, including, without limitation, errors that may occur in the administration of the Sweepstakes, the announcement of the winner, the cancellation or postponement of the event and/or the flyover, if applicable, the incorrect downloading of the application, the processing of entries application downloads or in any Sweepstakes-related materials; or (f) injury, death, losses or damages of any kind, to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from entrants participation in the Sweepstakes or acceptance, receipt or misuse of the prize (including any travel or activity related thereto). Entrant further agrees that in any cause of action, the Released Parties liability will be limited to the cost of entering and participating in the Sweepstakes, and in no event shall the entrant be entitled to receive attorney’s fees. Released Parties are also not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by site users, tampering, hacking, or by any equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Sweepstakes. Entrant waives the right to claim any damages whatsoever, including, but not limited to, punitive, consequential, direct, or indirect damages.

Except where prohibited, each entrant agrees that any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of, or connected with, the Sweepstakes or any prize awarded shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by the appropriate court located in California. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, entrants rights and obligations, or the rights and obligations of the Sponsor in connection with the Sweepstakes, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of California, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules, which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than Information collected from entrants is subject to Sponsor’s privacy policy.

For the Winner List, watch this blog or send an e-mail to help at honeyfund dot com.

* Amazon.com Gift Cards (“GCs”) are sold by Honeyfund.com, Inc, an authorized and independent reseller of Amazon.com Gift Cards. Except as required by law, GCs cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods on Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions,
see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, TM & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.

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