2. Determine what is most important to you. Spend some tie reflecting, make a list, pray, and ask a few trusted friends about their wedding day. Weddings are an intensely personal event, as they should be, so I recommend spending some time honing in on what is significant to you as a couple and how you want that reflected on your wedding day. When I was engaged and planning my wedding, we knew we’d be relocating soon after our wedding day, so we wanted our wedding to be held where we met and fell in love and where the majority of our closest friends lived. It was our last hurrah before making our way to the midwest. We also knew that it was more likely our family would travel from the midwest to New England for our wedding and that many of our friends didn’t have the funds to travel in the opposite direction. Since we knew our family would be traveling, we wanted to have a more formal celebration as a way to thank them for investing so much time away from home to come and celebrate with us. Your priorities will likely look different. Music and dancing may be the most important to you, or perhaps the ceremony venue is significant to you and your fiancé. Maybe you’ve always wanted to have an outdoor lakeside reception. Whatever those “must have” things are – write them down, and keep going back to them during the planning process. These priorities will be your guiding post.
3. Think about size and style of wedding. Talk about your budget. After you’ve determined what is most important to you on your wedding day, it’s time to start getting more specific. This is when you can start gathering ideas and photos on Pinterest! That’s the fun part, right? It’s also appropriate to decide your budget, which will determine what your dream day will look like. For reference, the average American wedding budget for 2017 is $35,000. That includes everything from rings, honeymoon, photography, reception venue and catering, to your dress, veil, and even undergarments! If you like to be organized and love crunching numbers, this is a good time to start a spreadsheet (nerd alert: I still have mine saved from nearly 10 years ago!)
4. Consider hiring a wedding coordinator or event planner. If there’s one thing I could recommend to every engaged bride (other than hiring me for their wedding…or having an outdoor ceremony!) it’s to work with a talented wedding coordinator. They are a treasure trove of knowledge, tips, and organization. A good wedding coordinator helps you save money on things that aren’t on your priority list, and recommends the best vendors to make your dreams come true. They will will help your day run smoothly and be your sanity when something goes wrong. And most importantly, they enable you and your family to be fully present on your wedding day. Full service coordination is the best, however if your budget is limited, a day of coordinator is well worth the stress saved.
5. Secure your venue and set a date! One of the first questions people ask when you get engaged is when and where is your wedding. It’s tempting to jump straight ahead to this step, though sometimes you just KNOW where you’re going to get married and want to snag that date right away! Once you’ve set your date, now you can start looking for other vendors for your date.
6. Hire a photographer and your remaining vendor team. I’m not just saying this because I’m a photographer, I promise! Out of every other vendor other than your venue, photographers often book the furthest in advance. Research styles and services offered, and email or call your favorite photographer to check their availability ( learn more and check out my Top 10 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Wedding Photographer). Most photographers will offer a complementary consultation (mine are often via video chat since the majority of my couples live an hour or more away from me), so this is a great time to get know your photographer a bit and I highly encourage it! Learn more about why I think consultations are a must. Ask questions, and when you’ve found the one, pay your retainer and snag your date! If you want to work with me, you can reach me on my contact page!
Take your time with these first few steps after you get engaged, and you’ll ensure that your wedding day is smooth, effortless, and just the kind of day you’ve always dreamed of! When you invest time in the beginning on these critical steps, your careful planning along the way will bring your vision to life!
Did you love this post? Make sure you save it on Pinterest or share it with a friend! And what are your best tips for planning a wedding? I’d love to hear them!
P.S. Want to work with ME for your wedding day? I’d love to chat more with you! The best way to get the process started is to head over to my contact page and give me a little bit of info about you and your sweetie, and they we can chat more!