Congratulations!! He did it, or you did it, or she did it—all I know is YOU are engaged! Now, I’m sure you have already made it official on FB, Instagram and called everyone you know, but what’s next?! Seriously! Does anyone ever tell you where to go from this amazing moment? Don’t worry, I got you, here are the next steps to planning your perfect day.
Timing is Everything
The first thing people will want to know is the wedding date! This one will make you go into a panic, rage and tear up all at once. Until you have an exact date you will not be able to determine anything else. According to the Knot, the average engagement lasts 15 months, so take a second to think about what type of wedding you want, season, venue etc.… this will help you determine the date and avoid any major conflicts, such as family events and holidays.
It might seem stressful and like an easy thing to put off, but trust me, just getting that out of the way will make everything else go smoothly—of course, you don’t need to rush picking a date, just make sure the conversation and discussion is one that happens early.
With that said, for the date you will need to know the location and style of wedding you hope to have—for example, I wouldn’t suggest a December wedding in Canada, unless you are ok with the cold, so if it’s going to be in Canada, consider a summer month.
“Where” is the ultimate question. Have you considered a beautiful beach in Hawaii? Martha’s Vineyard in May? The Rocky Mountains near Denver in September? Where do you picture your dream wedding? What do you see? Who’s there? Are you wearing Jimmy Choos or converse, or maybe barefoot on the beach, or cowboy boots? What is your style? Nautical, vintage, glam, modern, super fancy like a black-tie event, or a casual bbq in a garden or park? I suggest you get some magazines and head over to Pinterest for inspiration.
Talk About the Budget
Set one. Just do it. Sit down with your loved ones and figure out how much you have to spend on this day. If you are looking to save money, a destination wedding might actually be the way to go. Or, will you go all out for the honeymoon instead?
Start Thinking About the Guest List
Remember, if you have a certain type of wedding, how many people will fit? Can you squeeze 300 people in a small library in Maine, or 50 people in a ballroom at the Ritz? Think about this once in a lifetime celebration, but always think about the bill. If you are inviting 300 people, you will need to feed 300 people, and if you are considering alcohol, tag that on to the price, as well.
Cutting guests will help on catering costs, so make sure you take a good hard look at the list.
Trust me, I know it’s tough, I have been there. Your family will invite that 4th cousin you haven’t met but once at a family reunion when you were 2, or that friend of hers that you still haven’t met. There will be Uncle John, Paul, their 5 sons...and you can see where I am going with this. Don’t let things get out of control if you can’t afford it.
Don’t worry, there are other ways these friends and family can participate in your celebration without physically being at the event.
Think About a Pre-Wedding Party: The Engagement Bash
It’s never too early to sign up for gifts (start registering asap), but if you are thinking destination is the way to go, these registries will be better than accumulating more stuff.
Note: Do not include registry info in your engagement party invites or any formal manner. Stick to word of mouth or your wedding website.
Insure that Engagement Ring
It doesn’t matter what you think will or will not happen, it’s about peace of mind. Some of those rings cost more than a whole wedding, so please, it’s worth it. You can add it to your renters or homeowners insurance policy (which would reimburse you for a set amount of cash if you lose the ring), or wherever you got the ring — a jewelry store will have insurance you can add on.
Assemble Your Bridal Party
How will you ask your best girlfriends and guys to be a part of this special day? Remember, the best time is the earliest possible time, especially if you’re considering a destination wedding. This will be a big commitment, and they will be agreeing to spend their money and time!
You are ready for it. If you aren’t the DIY type, and even if you are, consider hiring a travel agent and wedding planning consultant. I will say it again; a wedding planner and/or travel agent is going to help you prepare for this event in ways you may not even think of. Remember, this is your wedding, leave it to the pros. Do you try to change your own oil? Do you diagnose yourself rather than going to the doctor? There are several options but you do not want the stress nor the headache, and remember, you will be dealing with guests who you know will drive you nuts, so anything you can do to alleviate stress is a good thing!
So now, at this point in the checklist we have what kind of wedding you want, the date, the guest list, some help — it’s time to book!
Book and Set the Date
Your venue/resort is the centerpiece of the day, weekend and sometimes week. Visit the site, double check budget and work on the smaller details after all this has been handled. Booking early is the best way to go. Plus, when you book you have officially set the wedding date and you know it is yours!
Look at the Rest of Your Team
Do you need a photographer, hair stylist, DJ, etc.? Are you flying them over, or are they local? These are all the other items that need to be ironed out. Figure out what the most important vendors are and get them booked right away. We flew our photographer over with us and do not regret it.
And last, but not least...
Let’s shop! Start searching and saving your favorites. Read up on style specific to your type of wedding and destination. The season will also affect your choice.
Getting married in the summer? Go with lightweight fabrics such as chiffon, linen or organza. Having a winter wedding? Faux fur and velvet will keep you warm. Satin, shantung, silk and tulle are perfect year-round.
This should get you started off right! If you need any other pointers, I am here to help! (Feel free to get in touch with me directly.)
Eat, Drink & Celebrate that Engagement!