You and your *now* fiance can officially say that you are engaged! How exciting!!! Once the initial excitement dies down, it’s time to start talking with your newly minted fiance about what you want for your wedding day. Below are the VERY FIRST steps you should be taking in wedding planning. DO NOT pass go until you have done these things. Take it from me, a wedding planner with 15 years of industry experience. Doing these things before jumping head first into planning will really make everything easier and save you tons of time.
Do you envision a large wedding? A small wedding? A destination wedding? Outdoor wedding? Traditional wedding? Completely non-traditional wedding? Do you envision a certain season? Get on the same page about your vision before you start sending inquiries to venues to ensure you aren’t wasting your time or any vendors’ time.
After you and your fiance have decided on your vision, it’s time to discuss this with your families. Ask them what their vision and expectations for the wedding are and work on lining those two things up. Often times parents and the couple envision different things, so have these conversations before planning begins. After you have discussed the vision, it’s time to start talking about budget. These conversations can be awkward, but trust us. You need to talk about money BEFORE any planning starts. Find out what each side of the family is able to contribute, what you are able to contribute and determine your full wedding budget. DO NOT START PLANNING UNTIL YOU KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY YOU HAVE TO WORK WITH? Would you start looking for a house without knowing how much the bank will pre-approve you for? No. Same thing here. Money first. Fun stuff after.
Make your guest list.
After you have determined your budget and who is contributing what amounts to it, it’s time to make your guest list. This also involves consulting your families. Ask your families for their lists and make yours. Keep in mind, if you haven’t seen or talked to someone in a year…you really don’t have to invite them to your wedding. Guest count is the number one driving factor in your wedding costs, so don’t feel bad about limiting it to your nearest and dearest if you need to. Also keep in mind, about 20% of your guests will decline the invitation for one reason or another. So, if you are inviting 200 guests you can realistically expect 160 guests to attend. This is tried and true!
This is a great time to bring a wedding planner on board. You have your vision for the wedding. You have your budget for the wedding. You have your guest list. It’s a great time to bring in a professional wedding planner in the area of your wedding to simplify and streamline the process for you. A common misconception is that wedding planners are expensive and a luxury. Honestly, nowadays they are a necessity. Gone are the days when couples got married right out of school and right out of their parents’ homes. Nowadays, couples are getting married at an older age when they have more responsibilities to juggle. They have demanding careers, perhaps own a home or are in the process of buying one. Couples are busy. Planning a wedding takes roughly 400 hours of work. Do you have 400 hours in your life to plan your wedding with everything you already have on your plate? Also-most of the time we keep our clients within their budget INCLUDING our fees. The fact is…wedding planners are no longer a luxury. They are a necessity for the busy, modern couple.
Start looking at venues.
Now that you have your vision, budget and guest count narrowed down it is time to start reaching out to venues you are interested in and then set up tours! Many couples do this before making their guest list and figuring out their budget, which is a HUGE mistake. Often times, we see couples bring us on after they have already booked a venue that ends up being way more than they should have spent or is not appropriate for their guest count. Avoid this extra stress by taking the important steps BEFORE you even start looking at venues.
Enjoy being engaged! We hope these simple tips help get your wedding planning journey off to a great start!