The Wedding Guild Series: You're Engaged! What's Next?
You’re engaged! CONGRATS! Take some time and enjoy this monumental moment! Go get yourself a killer manicure and take that ring selfie! Call your friends and family to gush about the news or throw a surprise engagement party. Binge watch some Say Yes to the Dress episodes while flipping through a bunch of wedding magazines. Then get down to business and plan the wedding of your dreams.
For many engaged couples, the wedding planning can seem like a daunting process. Where do you start?! Don’t worry, take a deep breath – we’ve got you covered. Here is a list of tasks to check off your to-do list early:
1. SIZE & INSURE YOUR RING. Sorry, this will probably be the least fun part of your wedding planning, but it could totally save your butt in the long run.
2. BRAINSTORM & DISCUSS. Sit down with your fiancé and discuss your ideal wedding day. What time of year do you each love? Are there particular venues that have a special place in your hearts, such as the place you first met or the location of your first date? What are each of your must haves?
3. SET A BUDGET. Decide how much you and your fiancé will personally be spending on the wedding and figure out whether or not your families will contribute. Figure out your ballpark budget to decide if you can afford to hire a planner. If you’re able to afford a planner, your planner has the skills and expertise to help you fine-tune your budget and decipher how much your must-haves will cost. Your planner will then do the math (you’re welcome; no one likes math) to establish your remaining budget and allocate the funds accordingly.
4. HIRE A PLANNER. Admit it – you’ve always wanted your own personal superhero. A wedding planner is a superhero in heels. If your budget allows, hiring a wedding planner can be a huge life saver! There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes of wedding planning and execution that brides don’t know about – and it’s better that way. A planner can suggest reputable vendors, such as photographers and florists, that will help bring your dream wedding to life. Wedding planners rope in all the details and ask all the questions that you may not think or know to ask.
5. DRAFT THE GUEST LIST. Ask your parents for their ideal guest list, preferably having them prioritize their guests in order of “must be there or else…” to “would like to have attend, but we won’t disown you if they don’t get an invite”. List your ideal guest list and have your fiancé do the same. Cross reference the guests on your lists with your parents’ and estimate how many people total. Although the list does not have to be set in stone in the early stages of wedding planning, having a rough estimate will give you a good starting point when looking at venues and caterers.
6. BOOK YOUR VENUE. The venue is the canvas for your wedding. It will influence almost every aspect of your wedding, from the background in your pictures and the guest list, down to the color of your table linens and floral. Pick a place that will fit the design and feel that want. Do you want an intimate space that will allow for sit-down dinner service and or do you want a lofty feel with food stations set up around the room? Schedule visits to possible venues and go with a list of questions, and then book early! Venues can book a year in advance (or more), especially during peak wedding season.
7. SET A DATE. One of the first questions you’ll get asked as a newly engaged couple is “When’s the big day?!” While the date seems like something you have to nail down first, don’t! The main reason we suggest not nailing down the big day earlier on our list is what if you fall in love with a venue, but your date isn’t available? Talk about a major bummer… With that being said, pick a time of year you’re thinking about getting hitched and then visit venues, making sure to get a calendar of their availability. In the meantime, just give your friends and family the go-to statement of, “We’re just so excited to be engaged right now!” However, if you’re planning to say your “I dos” during a busy time of year, such as around the holidays, try and nail down the date soon and send out Save the Date cards to friends and family so they can all plan accordingly to be there for the big event.
8. GO DRESS SHOPPING. Let’s admit it: this will probably be the most fun to-do item on your list. Do some serious online browsing and screenshot any dress styles that speak to you. Familiarize yourself with necklines, silhouettes, and fabrics. Also, take into consideration the time of year and location of your wedding. Are you planning a beach wedding during the summer months? Go with a lightweight, flowing fabric. A rustic, winter wedding? Pick a heavier fabric and accessorize it with faux fur!
9. BOOK KEY PLAYERS. Photographers and videographers get snatched up quickly, so book them quickly! Decide on your caterer (if your venue does not offer in-house catering), your florist, and your band or DJ.
10. ENJOY THE PROCESS! Your engagement is a special time in both of your lives. Revel in your happiness and share it with loved ones. But most of all, make sure the two of you stay connected, take time to laugh, and remind each other why you’re choosing each other in the first place.