The most common question I get from couples is “where do we start the planning process?” To answer this question, I’ve come up with these 11 things to help get you started.
1. Announce your engagement
Obvious, right? Remember, it’s how you announce your engagement and who finds out first that is most important. Yours and your partners parents should absolutely be first to know. If possible, they should be told in person, at the same time. after close family and friends are told, then feel free to make a Facebook or Instagram Post. However you want to announce your engagement is up to you and your partner. Have fun with it!
2. Throw an engagement party.
Whether you throw a large party or a smaller, intimate gathering, your engagement is something to celebrate.
3. Do an engagement photo session.
Engagement sessions are generally done within three months of the proposal, so the photos can be used on your wedding web site, as your announcement or however you would like. Get creative! My advice is to take some time to research wedding photographers. Often, you can get a package that includes an engagement session and the wedding day. This can save you lots of time and big money.
4. Set a budget.
No one likes to talk about money but it’s a must! Before you can begin planning your wedding you must know how much wedding you can afford. Your budget doesn’t have to be an exact amount just be realistic with what you can afford. I recommend having two prices: a minimum and a maximum. Also, talk to your parents, your partners parents and grandparents. They often help pay for the wedding whether they give you a set amount or pay for a specific item or element. Find out what they are willing to help you with and figure that into your budget. I will talk about the budget in more detail in a future post. For now, this is a great place to start.
5. Determine the size of your wedding and begin making a guest list.
Talk to your partner to see how big he/she wants the wedding. It can range from small and intimate to a few hundred people. Begin making your guest list now and remember, if your parents are paying for any part of your wedding, they are entitled to have input so be sure to obtain a list from them as well. Although I will talk about the guest list in more detail in a future post, keep in mind that essentially, the more guests you have, the more your wedding is going to cost.
6. Pick a few dates.
Determine the time of year and season you want be married. Think about the weather and what will be comfortable for your guests. I recommend picking a few dates so when you find the perfect venue(s) you have plenty of options for booking purposes.
7. Set a vision.
What kind of wedding do you want? Religious? Informal/formal, to what degree? Colors? Theme? If possible, incorporate an idea that represents you and your partner and what you value. Figuring out your vision and what your partner wants is a must before you can get to the more exciting stuff.
8. Pick your wedding party
Planning your wedding is so much better (and a lot more fun) when you have your girlfriends to share EVERYTHING with. If you’re one of the lucky ones, they will be just as excited about your wedding as you are!
9. Begin your wedding research and gather inspiration.
Once you’ve set a budget, figured out the size of your wedding and determined your vision, begin the fun stuff! Start your research and gather inspiration. Instagram and Pinterest are my favorite. Organize your research! I can’t express enough how important organization is during the planning process.
10. Get away/take a breather.
Planning your wedding may be stressful. You’re going to be spending a lot of time on the computer, phone and scheduling meetings with potential vendors on top of the already busy schedule you have with work, kids and family. Everyone needs time to regroup every once in a while, so remember that it’s OK to get away or take a breather from wedding planning for a few days when you need to.
11. Enjoy each other.
In times of stress we tend to take our frustrations out on the ones we love the most. This includes our partner. Always remember why you’re getting married in the first place. Enjoy each other’s company, time and support. I suggest having a weekly date night where you focus strictly on each other with absolutely NO wedding talk.