Congratulations!!! You are engaged!!!...... but now what?
As you slowly recover from the wonderful shock of a surprise proposal and get used to life as a newly engaged one of the two following situations generally unfolds:
- You pull a Monica (Friends reference…if you haven’t watched it) - You are thrilled to start planning your wedding and pull out your meticulously detailed and regularly updated wedding planning folders
- OR you are like ME when I got married; lost, nervous, scared, trying to get myself half as organized as I usually like to be to wander into this unchartered territory…..but wait a second, how do I even get started and do that?
It unfortunately didn’t take too long for the dread of planning a wedding and panic to settle in when I first started planning my own wedding. So, I am going to use this opportunity to provide a quick summary of some things to consider (that I wish I had) that will help YOU navigate your way through this exciting adventure.
So, let’s get started….
When to start planning?
Almost immediately, if not earlier. Wedding planning doesn’t have to be mad dash to the finish line, it can be a relaxing enjoyable experience if you start planning early and don’t leave everything for the last minute.
What should you decide on first?
It’s obvious, but not quite as obvious as you might think. The first thing to plan and finalize are DATES. Sit down with your significant other and figure out which dates work the best for you, because if you can’t finalize a date you can’t finalize any other vendor.
What is the most critical decision in your wedding planning?
Choosing the correct venue for your reception. It’s not just as simple as which venue is the prettiest or “it” to have your reception in. Lots of small details come into play on the day of your event that unfortunately sometimes get overlooked during selection. Make sure you consider accessibility, sharing of space with another wedding party, access to hotels/transportation etc.
How to plan your budget?
Wedding planning is going to be a lot harder unless you have at least outlined a rough budget. Not everyone has the same budget but everyone should have the same goal regarding the use of their budget…to cover expenses that you cannot do without. Figure out what the most important features of your day will be that you absolutely CANNOT live without and allocate appropriate budget to those first to get a better sense of what you are working with
How to make your guest list and stick to it?
Making a guest list and sticking to it is hard. Your budget will help get you started on the right path in terms of what you can afford. If your budget is lower and the guest count higher, generally the quality of food/beverages will take the biggest hit. Other factors that may be important to you can also change your guest count i.e. adults only party. In my opinion both you and your spouse should stick to your planned list and not waiver and trust me you will be happy you did.
How to manage contact with all your vendor and guests?
Create an email specifically for maintaining contact with your guests and vendors. Most people these days create an email for RSVP purposes already, use that as the central email for all wedding related stuff. Maintaining contact with all your vendors is critical but so is staying sane and none needs their personal email spammed constantly.
Checking in on things the week of or even month-of
You absolutely HAVE TO find someone who can help you manage last minute runs for things forgotten, emergencies with vendors and generally making sure everything holds together. It could be your maid of honor (but I think she will already have too much on her plate, so spare her if you can), other friend who is not part of wedding party and even better if it’s a month-of or week-of event planner. Last week/month is to enjoy the upcoming celebration of a big milestone in your life and not for stress and meltdowns.
Do you need day of planner/help? YES you do
I think all brides are slowly thinking in this direction but boy do I wish I did 4 years ago when I got married. If you decided to not get a month-of planner, you must make room in your budget for at least a day-of planner. Why? Because you can’t manage all the vendors while sitting in front of the room and trust me someone needs to keep an eye on things to make sure everything goes smoothly, I have been to too many weddings to see family members/wedding party running around instead of enjoying the day.
I hope this quick summary was helpful. The next blogs in this series will concentrate more on each subsequent topic and hopefully I can make this journey a lot less bumpy and much more enjoyable. And of course we are more than happy to chat in details, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org any questions and free consultation for your event.