Well first, congratulations! Getting engaged is one of the most special and emotional times in one’s life. First off, take a few minutes and soak it in and when you’re ready to dive into planning – I’ve got you!
I also recently got engaged and most of you are probably thinking…. she does this for a living so she probably knows exactly where to start. Well, some of that statement is true. I definitely have a random box of wedding inspo that I’ve collected over the years and I do plan events for a living but what I’m finding is that I am really enjoying the little details of the planning process. For example, how to ask my bridesmaids, designing our invitations, telling our story and how that is reflected throughout the wedding, and many more. If I can recommend anything in the planning process, don’t get too wrapped up in the details (I mean enjoy them, for sure!) but remember the day really is all about you and your partner and sharing YOUR love story.
I’ll admit, I did ask myself a few times after we got engaged, ‘where the hell do I start?', and if your reading this we might be in the same boat. Since we are going through this together I thought I would share my own wedding planning journey with you all. It can definitely be overwhelming and it probably won’t be the only time you’re stressed with the wedding planning process. Just remember to enjoy the journey and if you hate planning – hire me :)
Below are a couple stepping stones to get you started.
Again, enjoy and happy planning!
Enjoy Your Engagement
Like I said above, enjoy it. Take some time to soak in all the love, it goes quick! Maybe take a quick weekend getaway just the two of you, have a date night at your favorite restaurant, get a couples massage, throw an engagement party – Whatever makes you two feel so wrapped up in love you could burst!
Hire a Wedding Planner
I know, a little self-promotion here. But honestly, as a planner I am hiring a wedding planner! And I could give you 100 reasons why you should (blog coming shortly). When I got engaged I thought to myself, 'easy I can do this myself and I’ll get just hire a day-of coordinator to pull it together.' Well, the more I got into the details the more I realized I wanted to enjoy being engaged and less wrapped up in all the behind the scenes details. I wanted it to feel like my wedding day and I want to enjoy every minute of it. Wedding planners really do help take the heavy lifting off your plate and can also help organize your thoughts and bring your vision to life. They can pull your ideas together and source all the vendors you need. Having a wedding planner is really like having a partner in crime during the whole process – Someone that is 100% dedicated to your day and making sure all those little details come together. Okay, I’m done. But really, hire a wedding planner.
The Guest List
This is really the best starting point. Once you know the guest count (or a rough number) it will help you land on the budget and possible venues. With the guest list, start with immediate family, bridal party and work from there. If you’re having a hard time whittling it down (and sorry if this sounds a bit harsh), but don’t invite someone you haven’t be in touch with or better yet haven’t texted in over a year. That big day is going to go by so quickly, spend that time with friends and family you love, regularly see and keep in touch with.
This is a big piece to the planning process and can be difficult to land on an exact number. At this day in age (makes me feel weirdly old saying that), most couples are paying for the own weddings or both parents are chipping in. I think a good starting point is to communicate to both families so you know how much each is willing to contribute and then see how much will be coming out of your own pockets. Landing on a number will help you start thinking about wedding venues and some larger priced items like entertainment and photography.
Pick A Date & Venue
Once you have your tentative guest list and a budget it will be much easier finding the perfect venue for your big day. Picking the date and venue also go hand-in-hand, and one may affect the other.
A couple questions to ask yourselves - When do you want to get married? Do you envision an outdoor ceremony in the early spring or do you picture an indoor celebration in a historic ballroom? It can be tough to decide (or maybe your one of the lucky ones and you know exactly where you want to get married, Bride Wars anyone?) But if not, talk as a couple and discuss the time of year and location of where you can see yourselves getting married.
Make a list of all the venues that fall in the guest list range and budget; then setup appointment to tour them in person. Pro Planning Tip: During the email/correspondence process ask as many questions as possible, for example: maximum capacity, what’s included in the rental fees, food and beverage minimums, catering options, list preferred vendors, time allocation of contracts, etc. That way when you’re onsite doing your tour it’s more about the flow and overall look and feel of the venue.