So, you just got engaged a few weeks ago, you’ve called all your family & friends, you’ve posted your ring on Facebook, maybe even had a party to celebrate. But now that a few weeks have gone by and the excitement of the big news is starting to fade, many new brides-to-be’s find themselves asking now what? Where do I even start? Don’t worry you are not alone! Here’s a step by step guide on what to do now that you are engaged from a planner who has been doing this for almost a decade.
Sit down with your fiancé and start talking basics…
Date: Come up with a range of dates that might work for your big day. Notice I said range. Yes, it typically helps if you have some flexibility with your date, when courting
Location: Maybe this is an easy one with an obvious choice, or maybe you are considering a destination wedding. Either way, once you have your dates in mind, do a little research about your ideal location. Consider local events, sporting events, marathons, etc… And check the weather during that time period from previous years. You wouldn’t want your perfect beach wedding scheduled during hurricane season, or your wedding date to coincide with the first Saturday of May if you decided to get hitched in Louisville, KY. The point is; know your surroundings!
Budget: This can be a difficult one but it’s also one of the most important steps to consider. While this topic could be its own blog post, here are some general guidelines to consider, regardless of your budget even if it is $1,000 or $100,000.
Who’s contributing and how much? Will you be dipping into your savings? Do you need to take out a loan? However, you are getting the money for your wedding, figure out what that total amount is and make sure you are not putting yourself in a bad financial spot after you say your “I do’s”.
Consider your guest list. Both you and your fiancé will want to write down a list of friends and family that you’d like to invite to the party! The cost of a wedding is pretty much based on the number of guests you invite, since that will determine, which venues you can consider, and the amount of food & beverage needed. (Typically, the two biggest categories in your budget) This is a good opportunity to decide if your third cousin from New York that you haven’t seen in 10 years, is really worth inviting if you are trying cut costs.
Choose your wedding party.
This aspect can sometimes be a difficult decision, but your bridesmaids and groomsmen can be great resources and provide support during the planning process. However, it’s important to keep in mind that your wedding party is agreeing to spend their money and donate their time to you and your big day. Remember to be considerate and kind by informing everyone about all your plans (including costs for attire, showers, parties, etc.). It’s important to show them how much you appreciate them. After all, your wedding day should be a big party surrounded by the people that love you!
Get support: Consider hiring a Wedding Planner or Coordinator.
Most people are planning a wedding for the first time with not much experience spending thousands of dollars on one large event. As you can imagine this can be extremely stressful, when you don’t know where to start, are concerned with sticking to your budget, and trying to navigate contracts from multiple vendors. This is where a planner or coordinator comes in! They are there to make your life easier, to help with recommendations, to make sure you haven’t overlooked any important steps or details, to ensure everything goes smoothly on your big day. They will be the stress carriers while you get to
Pick your venue and officially set your date.
Start to envision your perfect day. You probably already have a good idea of what this looks like, but the venue is one of the most important decision of the whole process! As it will set the backdrop to every other aspect of your wedding. Consider if you are looking for a hotel ballroom wedding or an elegant historic mansion full of southern charm. (I know the perfect one….Mustard Seed Hill!!)
Then make a list of the venues that fit into your vision and schedule tours and check available dates. Your friends and family are good resources when asking for recommendations as well as your wedding coordinator who will be able to provide several contacts. If your preferred venue is just out of your budget, ask them if there are any “more
Wedding Dress Shopping!
This of course, is one of most bride’s favorite steps on the list. Once you put on that first dress it makes the whole process seem more real and the excitement really starts to set in! Begin your search browsing wedding dress photos online and on Pinterest. Check out local dress shops and make some appointments for fittings. You will want to save pictures of your favorite dresses so it’s easier to describe to the bridal shop you are visiting. Consider the time of the year you are getting married and location (indoor/outdoor) when choosing a material. It’s also helpful to understand the dress lingo. Read up on silhouettes, necklines, trains, bustling, and color hues. Typically, you can find tons of articles and blogs on the best dress for your body type but the gown consultant at your appointment will also be full of great recommendations! So, don’t be scared to try on a dress that you hadn’t originally considered. The employees at these shops are experts and you might just be surprised by the way you look in one of their recommendations. Some of our favorite places to dress shop are; Maria with Build-a-Bride, Twirl Boutique Lexington, and The White Dress.
Don’t forget that your future husband though. He will want to look just as dashing and Geno’s Formal Affair has all the best options with the latest trends for men!
Hire professional wedding vendors.
As you know, most people start planning their weddings months or even year(s) in advance. That means that many top wedding vendors are in high demand and will fill their calendars quickly. Consider your non-negotiable items that you set up as priorities in your budget. If you love a specific photographer, caterer, or band, reach out to them as soon as your venue and date are set! Some vendors only accept one wedding in a day, so it’s important to make sure you reach out to your favorites quickly. If other categories don’t rank high on your priority list, then don’t stress about reaching out right away. Pick your priority vendors and then the rest will fall in line.
Here are some of our favorite vendors to work with by category;
Invitations: Simply Done Invites
Enjoy your day and remember what’s important!
Even with all the months of planning behind you, the time and energy that you and your vendors have put in, there is one thing I can promise you, not everything will go as you had planned! But don’t be a Bridezilla (That’s right, I called you a Bridezilla, don’t be one.) It’s not fun for you or anyone else around you. As I mentioned, not everything will go perfectly, some things might be little hiccups and others will be bigger than you expect but don’t let them ruin your day. (I dropped my engagement ring down the drain on my wedding day, so I understand the stress of things not going right but that’s a story for a different time!) Anyway, the one thing I want you to consider is something my Mom told me when I was stressing out on my big day. She said, “Remember why you are doing this. The important thing is you will be married to the one you love at the end of the day and that’s all that truly matters.” So don’t stress about the insignificant things that might not go as planned. Enjoy your special day and remember what’s important! Besides those hiccups might just make for a pretty good story one day.
XOXO – Megan