You’re engaged, Congratulations!! But what’s next?
The love of your life just got down on one knee and asked you to marry them and you said YES, how exciting!!! This is the beginning of a new season in your lives together.
If you are anything like me, you can’t stop staring at your ring, smiling because this is everything you’ve ever wanted. You’re also probably taking lots of ring photos and sharing your excitement with family and friends!! Be sure to Face-time all your loved ones to break the news so you can see their excitement, it’s so much better than texting it or spilling it over the phone.
After you’ve soaked up all the newly engaged love, it’s time to kick your wedding planning into high gear. But where do you start?
Here are some steps to help you plan the wedding of your dreams, as smoothly as possible
- Figure out your wedding budget – Is your wedding something you are paying for yourselves or are you having help from parents? Make sure you communicate with them so everyone is on the same page and you know what venues you can start looking into. Having a wedding binder or some sort of organizational tool to help sort out your vendors and budget is extremely helpful. Write down all the vendors and just a general amount you feel comfortable spending. (Include venue, photography, videography, DJ, wedding planner, officiant, caterers, florals, cake, dress, tux, alterations.. depending on how inclusive the venue you choose is, lighting, chairs, linens, silverware, decor and dont forget save the dates and wedding invites)
- Figure out your priorities – What is most important to you? The venue or location you choose? The dress or the flowers? The ceremony and emotion? Just being with family and friends? For me, the biggest thing aside from guest experience is photography. I’ve based everything off of what would be most picturesque. The time of my wedding depends on when the sun sets so I can get those gorgeous golden photos. After the wedding is over, the only tangible memories I’ll have are my photos, so hiring an amazing photographer and basing my timeline around photos was a no brainer for me.
- Pick a theme – Nailing down a theme early on is essential! It will help you pick a venue and all of your decor to keep your wedding cohesive and flow together nicely. Pinterest is super helpful when it comes to choosing colors and a theme.
- Choose a venue and pick a date – These go hand in hand because if you have a date in mind you’ll need to make sure venues have it open or if you don’t have a specific date in mind you’ll get to see what dates your dream venue has available. The venue you pick is super important, this is where you are tying the knot and you’ll want it to be perfect. Call and visit lots of venues, ask questions. Find out what each venue includes and allows, do you want somewhere all inclusive or do you want to pick all of your vendors? Make sure you find out policies for the venues you love so you know what you can and can’t do. My ideal wedding venue is something that includes linens, silverware, food, set up and take down of chairs etc. Also, windows. I’m a huge fan of windows and natural light, it also makes for amazing photos.
- Decide on a bridal party – Who’s going to stand next to you while you say your “I DO’s”? Maybe only an immediate family member, or 6 of your bestest friends. Or maybe you don’t want to have a bridal party at all, and that’s totally fine too!!! Are you and your significant other going to have the same amount of people on each side?
- Finalize your guest list – It’s hard, I get it. Make a list of family members and friends you really want to come and make sure the guest count works with the venue you chose.
- Order Save the dates – I definitely recommend sending out your save the dates about 9-10 months in advance so people can plan their schedules especially if it’s a destination wedding.
- Start booking your vendors – It’s never too early to lock in your vendors. It’s actually easier in the long run to book your vendors early on, so you have less stress closer to the wedding date. You’ll want vendors that are registered and insured in case anything were to ever happen, you’ll want to be protected. You also want to make sure your vendors fit your theme and can bring your vision to life. I suggest booking your photographer first, so you can have your engagement session and use those photos for your wedding invites. As a wedding photographer, I book up about 10-12 months in advance, so if you have your eye on a specific artist, definitely reach out to them and lock them in!
- Say YES to the dress – You’ll want to set up your dress appointment about 8 months before the wedding. Dresses take about 4-6 months to come in once your order it, and then you’ll need to have alterations done so it fits absolutely perfect! Plus it’s super fun and for me it was the first time the “I’m actually getting married” felt real!
- Plan your Honeymoon – Is there somewhere you’ve been dying to go? Do your research and plan your dream vacation. Did you know you can make a honeymoon fund for guests to give to instead of bringing a gift? Definitely a cool idea if you ask me!
You’ll want to make a timeline for the months leading up to your wedding to help keep you organized and on track. You’ll also want to buy decor or if you are more of a DIYer, get someone to help you. Don’t wait till last minute!
If you’re newly engaged I hope this was helpful to you! Happy Planning <3