Now that you have the bling on your finger and have emphatically said YES to your forever partner, you’re automatically thinking of a wedding. “So now what?” While this is natural, we want to help you narrow down some of the priorities so you’re not hurled in to the overwhelming wedding-planning abyss. There will bean overload of information all over and wedding planning to-do lists in every corner of the internet. Having spent time with SO MANY newly-engaged couples, here are the top six things we have found will help you to do first once you’re engaged.
Inevitably, someone will start asking questions about the wedding just hours and days after you’re engaged. While some brides have already made prior arrangements even before the ring, there may be some ideas you’ll want your groom in on, so don’t get too set on anything until you let the ecstasy of the proposal wear off a little. Our biggest piece of advice for the first several days, is to JUST ENJOY it before making any commitments and starting the stress of wedding planning. Soak in your FIANCE before moving quickly past that short season in your life.
2. Discuss a season and possible dates – but don’t set it yet
Obviously you’ll have ideas in your head about your preferences for the time of year you want to get married. Maybe it’s around a school schedule, maybe it has to do with your ideal wedding look, but before you get too set and lock anything in, check with family and friends to see if anyone has advice to share or times that they’d suggest based on other factors. At the same time, there will never be a date that will be perfect for everyone, so be mindful that you can be flexible to an extent but not bend so far you break. Part of setting your date will have to do with must-have vendors, which we discuss in #4 below.
3. Set a budget
This one is a toughie. First you’ll need to know who might contribute, how much and if anyone has any particular area they’d like to fund. And as uncomfortable as it may be, it’s helpful to address numbers instead of assuming. Remember to do your research before pulling random figures based off pinterest articles. Those articles tend to take an average from all across the county, which may be a very skewed way of calculating. For example, the national average for a florist may show $1,000; but if you take into account that some people do silk flowers and arrange bouquets themselves for maybe $200 total and some florists decorate everything in live flowers and charge $5,000 to decorate the full venue, then your expectations might be off base when you go for your meeting. Keep an open mind, as there are always ways to cut expenses on things that are less vital. On the other side of the coin, do consider adding in some fluff budget for things you won’t think about at the beginning of the process. In order to set a more realistic budget based on YOUR needs, see our next tip.
4. Rate things in order of importance
Find out what’s most important to you, what you MUST have, then budget and book it first. Don’t rely on a wedding blog to tell you the order in which you should book things. If things are important to you, then it’s something you already know. It’s in your gut, it’s been there for a while, and you know that more than likely, you’re going to get what you pay for. This will also help your overall budget to come together more realistically. If your dream wedding is at a particular venue and nothing else will do, then book the venue. If you don’t care where or when you say your vows BUT you want dream wedding photos or video, then book your photographer/cinematographers first. You can always work things around and set lesser important things after you get your must haves, but it’s important to start with what’s most important to you (and your fiance), first.
5. Think about your Bridal party
In choosing who will stand beside you on your big day, think about personality rather than obligation. Your sister-in-law or cousin may be an obvious must by family’s standards but if you think the stress will be too much, give her another duty rather than bridesmaid to honor her as family yet not have her in as close quarters during high-stress times. Also think about THEIR lives and schedule, and be mindful of the time and finances you will be asking them to sacrifice for you. We’ve seen bridal parties big, small, and non-existent; and these people really help set the tone for your day, so choose them wisely.
6. Make it YOU
Now that most of your day is starting to come together in your head, you’ll want to use the little things to incorporate who YOU are as a couple and how you can make the day more unique and memorable. This could be location, overall style, table decor, or as small as the favors you choose to gift to your guests. The number one thing we can tell couples about making the wedding theirs is that the rules are more like guidelines, your wedding day is about your commitment to each other and celebrating your union. If that means breaking a tiny etiquette rule or having a non-traditional feel, then by all means go for it. As long as you’re acting in love and respect, you are probably not wrong, and it will be memorable for all who witness it.