You’re Engaged!! Now What??
The period of being engaged is often one of the most joyful and exciting times in a couple’s life. We’re here to guide you down the right path after your brain goes from the pure bliss that comes from You’re Engaged!! to Now What??
YOU’RE ENGAGED!! The day you’ve been (maybe not so patiently) waiting for has finally arrived. You laughed, you happy cried, you told your families, you posted it on all your social media, you created a (very-detailed) Pinterest board… You’re ready to start planning!
Then, it hits you: You have no idea where you should actually begin!
Where to Start?
The first question in a new bride’s mind is usually “Where do I even start?” It is SO easy to get overwhelmed by the onslaught of questions, decisions, and options that are thrown at you when you begin the wedding planning process.
A great place to start is probably the least fun and definitely the least romantic place which is: budget. Deciding on an overall budget early in the wedding planning process not only allows you to set monetary boundaries but is also extremely helpful in figuring out what your top priorities are for your wedding day.
After you decide on an overall budget, it will be easier for you to decide what you really want and what you could do without on your wedding day.
Do pictures mean more to you or do flowers? Do you really care about having a videographer or would you rather use that money towards food for the guests? These are the types of questions that are easier to answer once you have an overall budget in place.
One suggestion: Set a lower budget, while keeping in mind your absolute “Do Not Cross” point. If you and your fiance know you don’t want to spend more than $15,000 MAX, start your budget at $13,000. If dad says he’s willing to contribute $25,000 to the wedding budget and you can’t afford to add to that, set your budget at $22,000. This gives you a little cushion for the sneaky costs that add up along the way. It might also mean you can splurge on that less practical option you’ve been dreaming about, once you start to nail down your big vendors and get an idea of expected costs for the must-have items.
Where to Next?
Alright so you have a budget…where do we go from here? A great next step is deciding how much planning you actually want to do yourself, what you’d like to pass off, or how much help you’ll really need. There is no right or wrong answer to these questions. Every bride is different.
Some want to be completely hands-off and would like a wedding planner to come in from the very beginning to handle everything. Some have a pretty good idea of what they want or maybe even already have some vendors in mind but feel stuck in a wedding-planning rutt and need a little help. And some want to plan everything from start to finish but need someone to be there to coordinate the day of their wedding.
Deciding on what you want out of a wedding planner in combination with a budget that is already in place will set you up for amazing success in planning your dream day!
Tackle the Big Vendors First
“Put a Ring On It” Podcast talks about the main 4 things you need to put on a good event: People to come to it, a place to have it, food to eat at it, and entertainment to enjoy.
The Guest List
So, you want a small wedding, with you and your fiance surrounded by your closest friends and immediate family? You start putting together a reasonable guest list with your friends and the family members you can at least remember meeting or seeing at big holiday occasions throughout the years.
Then BAM! Moms or dads or both hit you with a lists of every relative that shares a bit of your DNA and all of the friends who would be completely slighted by the offense of not offering them an invitation.
Suddenly, your small wedding has become a party for 300 of their not-so-closest friends and family.
We recommend crossing this uncomfortable bridge sooner rather than later, for a few good reasons. It lets you know what you’re looking at and need for venues and vendors, and you can establish if boundaries need to be set on how many guests everyone should be allowed to invite, before anyone starts spreading the word.
Big word of advice: Be kind and understanding to your parents and their excitement to share your happiness with the people they know. But also be realistic and don’t sacrifice guests you and your fiance really want to be there for the sake of someone your parents haven’t spoken to since you were two-years-old.
Location, Location, Location…
Finding a venue should be on the top of your to do list! Some venues have restrictions and requirements that may determine what can and cannot be a part of your day. It’s important to read the fine print on those contracts and make sure there aren’t any deal breakers.
Some venues have a list of approved vendors that you have to choose from, and looking into the cost of those vendors might be an important step before signing on the dotted line. Are the approved vendors going to set your budget skyrocketing? Did you get excited and meet with caterers right away, only to fall in love with on that isn’t approved at your dream venue?
These are the things most brides don’t realize might come into play. For those brides that went with a planner or day-of-coordinator, their guidance and expertise at reviewing contracts can often be a lifesaver… or at the very least, a budget saver!
Food & Drink
One of the biggest costs for your wedding could be the caterer, so we recommend booking this vendor early on. It also helps to make sure a caterer you love isn’t going to be booked before you get the chance.
Who’s Ready to Party??
Find your DJ or band early on too! Make sure you meet with them in person. This vendor is going to influence whether your guests get up and dance or wallflower all night more than any other vendors. A good fit is very important! If you want your guests to get up and dance, you don’t want a DJ who is intent on playing slow songs for the older guests. Mismatches like this lead to disappointment and unnecessarily stress.
Know who works with those vendors the most throughout the process? Wedding planners do! Planners know how to guide each unique couple toward the DJ or Band that is best for them.
Thanks for the Memories
The last of what our planners feel are the big 5: Photographer! Most brides know how important this one is, but there’s a lot to consider when choosing this vendor. Personality, quality of work, turn-around time, and packages… How do you find one that gives you everything you need??
Setting a schedule helps you determine how many hours you need. Does the photographer offer that at a price that works? How much time do you need for getting ready pictures? How long do they stay at the end? Why would you need a second shooter? How early do you need to wake up on the day of to get everyone’s hair and makeup done AND get all the photos you want before the ceremony? It’s a lot to think about before you make a decision, and important because it affects your timeline greatly.
Schedule a free consultation with a wedding planner and see how they can help take you from You’re Engaged!! to Now what? Even if you don’t hire one, they may help you answer some questions. Reach out to us today if you’re interested!