He has finally proposed to you and given you your best piece of jewelry to date. You have called your parents and your best friends. But, now, what do you do to get started with planning the biggest day of your life?
First, breathe! Take in all of the congratulations and attention that is showered upon your third finger on your left hand. Enjoy everyone telling you how beautiful the ring is and how they cannot wait to celebrate with you on your big day.
Set A Budget
Let the wedding planning frenzy begin. You will need to have that awkward conversation with your parents and fiancé to determine your budget. You do not want to get your heart set on a venue and photographer only to find out that Dad has different plans with a much smaller budget than you thought. It is best to get this conversation done before you start looking at vendors.
Draft a Guest List
You will need to get a ballpark idea of how many people you will want at your wedding. One of the first questions that a vendor is going to ask is how many guests do you plan to have? This answer will determine if the venue you have selected is large enough for your wedding. This list does not need to be exact at this point (save that discussion for another day), but think about what your ideal size is and see if your family and friends count are in line with this number. If not, you may need to cut some people. Remember, the guest list can be a big contention between you, your fiancé and your parents. So, lots of deep breaths!
Pick a Wedding Date
Pick your wedding date. This seems so simple, but can be most difficult. You will need to discuss with your fiancé dates that you both like and you will need to be flexible with those dates. You may have the perfect date, but your venue may already be booked for that date. Or, you may have the perfect date and the venue is open, but, the photographer is booked. Flexibility is key when selecting a date. Don't be afraid to do a Friday or a Sunday wedding.
Find a Venue
Once you have an idea of guest number, a budget and a flexible date, you can start looking for a venue. Keep in mind that most venues will only have one wedding per day. Therefore, your date may not be available, especially if you want to get married in the peak wedding seasons. This is where your flexibility will come in. Some brides will have booked a venue months or even years in advance to make sure they have the perfect location. You want a venue that will represent you and your fiancé. If you are relaxed and want your reception to be more relaxed, you probably do not want an ornate ballroom for your wedding. You want your entire wedding to represent the story that you and your fiancé have written.
Choose Other Priority Vendors
You've set a date, you've found a venue, now, to find the high priority vendors (photographer, videographer, that perfect band or dj). These are vendors that will again, only have one wedding per day. If you love the style of a certain photographer, call them up and book a meeting with them. Photography and videography are what you have left the day after your wedding, you want to make sure that you have chosen the one that speaks to you and your style.
Select Your Wedding Party
These are the individuals that are going to be with you throughout your entire planning and day of process. Remember that all of your friends may not be able to be in your wedding. Financial reasons, prior obligations and a multitude of other things may keep them away. And it is okay! These individuals may be able to help out with other areas in planning. It is also very okay to have a bridal party that is not even. You may have six best friends where your fiancé only has four. There are many ways to work with this that do not include asking people to be in your wedding that you normally would not ask, just to be even.
Watch for follow up blogs for the next steps to planning your perfect day. Until then, enjoy the bliss that is engagement!
*Cover photo provided by Kelly Ginn Photography