Well, I am here to tell you the great news, it doesn’t all have to be done right now. Working with couples over these last ten years we have perfected a process, that if you follow it, will keep your planning smooth and perfectly timed.
There are a few things to get started on shortly after that shiny new rock is placed on your finger. First and foremost, I recommend you take a few weeks just to enjoy being engaged. Take a few weeks to stare at that shiny new star on your hand every day when you wake up. Work the “fiancé” word into every conversation. Revel in the fact that you have found your one true love.
Once you have alerted all the family and friends personally (don’t let them find out on Insta), people will start asking you about your plans. That’s where you begin to question how to get this thing started.
You honestly can’t get much else done before tackling the five things below. Grab a notebook and pen, get comfy, and get to work. Together you should be able to get through it in one fun evening.
Start thinking about what season you prefer, what your work schedules might look like, and how long you want to save and plan for this day. Then choose a few preferred dates. Yes I said a few, we are in the drafting stage here! It will help you to remember that the best vendors out there book weddings up to a year or year and a half in advance. So, being flexible on a few dates can possibly open up additional options for you.
You really shouldn’t make any moves before deciding on a budget. Now I’m not expecting you to put a firm number down here right now. If fact, I suggest you figure out a range that you feel comfortable with, high to low. I know this can be a tough conversation to have with family, but it needs to be discussed before you can move on. If you have others who will be contributing to the budget, discuss with them how much they plan to cover to determine what your total budget range would be. Truthfully, it’s hard for you to know exactly what things cost out there until you do some research. This is one big reason why we planners love being able to help you right from the get-go. We can help flush out your budget and show you how to allocate your money in the smartest ways possible.
I know, I know. I’m asking you to make some difficult decisions right up front, but I promise it will get easier. Sure, you want to invite everyone and their sisters to your wedding, BUT please heed this warning if you listen to nothing else: Go ahead and start that list, add all the people you know, all the people your parents know, add your kindergarten teacher if you like, then put it away. Take a day or two and make a second list of who you would invite to Sunday dinner in your home, and start there.
In reality the more people you have, the higher the overall cost will be. Keeping your guest list in check is the single most effective way to stay inside your budget. Every guest comes with a per-person cost. If your budget is $30,000 and you invite 300 guests, you have $100 per guest to spend. Take into account that your venue and catering will likely cost 50% of your overall budget. This will limit options for you very quickly. If you have the same $30,000 budget and you invite 100 guests, you now have $300 per person. Guess what? You can maybe splurge on something super important to you or get this to perhaps come in under budget!
Ah, wedding style, now that’s my jam right there.
Here’s where you get to daydream and think about what you envision for your day, and how you would like it to look and feel. There are so many styles out there, rustic, classic, boho, modern, vintage, mid-century mod, french countryside, I could go on forever here. You don’t have to set anything in stone just yet, but knowing a general direction will give you a great starting off point. If you’re not sure how to even go about finding your style, take some cues from your closet or your home décor. What colors do you gravitate towards? Knowing your overall vibe from the start will help narrow down all those options and help you choose venues and vendors that are aligned with this vision. With that being said, we are on to the last and final of the “firsts”.
Once you have a good idea of the time frame, budget, guest count, and style, you can start thinking about your venue. Do you want to travel? If so, how far. What are your must-haves? Do you need elevators or only one-floor access for your grandparents? Are there any requirements for your ceremony to take into consideration?
Once these are in place, it’s time to start your research and touring venues! I recommend calling and checking availability for the dates you are considering, and see if they match up. If so, schedule a meeting and go check it out. Give yourself plenty of time to review each one taking the time to stand in the space and decide if you can see your wedding there. After you have toured your top favorites sit down and go over the pros and cons. Remember your must-have and would-likes, and the answer should become clear. Now that you have decided to go ahead, pull the trigger and secure that date. Congratulations, you’re getting married!
Now you get to take a little time to breathe again, tell everyone about the wedding date, and start to research the next steps. What do we suggest next,? Why a wedding planner, of course! That is, if you have not made arrangements for one already.
Many couples don’t realize just how vital the role of the wedding planner is until after the wedding. They’re either thrilled, saying “Oh, thank goodness we hired a wedding planner” or “I don’t know how we would have done this without you” or they are filled with regret wishing they had because of how many things didn’t go as planned on the wedding day! Remember, you only get one shot at this!
The next set of items on the to-do list should seem easy once all the big-ticket items are crossed off the list! Spend some quality time together, go on a few dates, and DO NOT discuss wedding-related tasks for at least a couple of weeks. You deserve it!
No matter who you choose to help you through this process, make sure you have a great connection with each other and feel confident they will carry out your vision!
I hope these little tips help you get started planning the wedding of your dreams! Congrats, bride-to-be! Get ready to conquer the wedding planning journey.
Contributing writer Melissa Brown
Learn more about Melissa and SBM Event Co. by visiting https://sbmeventco.com/
All Photos provided by YTK Photography