Congratulations on getting engaged! I bet the weight you gained with that new rock on your finger is the best kind of weight gain 😉 You’ve probably already started a group chat with your closest friends to show off that bling and announce that you’re marrying your best friend. You’ve FaceTimed your parents and they are so happy for you and so excited to welcome a new son in law to the fam! Now you’re wondering: ‘What’s next?’ ‘What do I do now?’ There is no right or wrong way to get started, but there are ways to make it a stress-free process.
Discuss with your fiancé WHEN you both want to get married. Believe it or not, a lot of couples will start planning the wedding without even deciding when it should be. Knowing when will allow you to plan everything else accordingly.
You’ve chosen the perfect wedding date. Next you’ll want to decide on a budget. How much can you afford and what is reasonable? Weddings are expensive, but if you start with a budget that will help guide you with making smart money decisions. Find out what part of the day is most important to you and spend a larger portion of your budget on that. So for example (because I am a photographer ;)) you decide photography is the most important, because it’s one of the things you get to look back on after the wedding for years to come. Then you decide that rather than get colored linens you’ll use the ones the venue provides because it’s free. You spend more on the photographer and less on the linens. You just need to decide what is most important to you and your significant others.
Pick your wedding party! Who is going to stand up next to you on one of the most important days in your life? Don’t worry so much about making sure you have the same amount of girls as guys. What’s important is that you have your best friends by your side and you don’t exclude/include someone just because your fiancé has a certain amount.
Compile a guest list. Decide on who you are going to invite and get an estimate. If you know how many people you plan on having that will help before booking your venue. Some venues will actually give you discount if you have under a certain amount of people. Never hurts to ask ;). Once you have a guest list all put together, send it to both sets of parents. Make sure you’re not missing anyone. For me, I have a huge family so having my mom review the list made sure I didn’t forget anyone. Then the fun part, reach out for addresses. (Use an excel sheet, it’s a life saver).
Decide on the style of your wedding. These are just a few of my favorites:
Decide on a venue. Base your decision off of the style you’re going for. (Recommendation: find one that you can do both the ceremony and reception at, way easier and cheaper!) Before you plan anything else you must have a venue booked so that way if the date changes you don’t run into a situation where you have to reach out to all your vendors and some aren’t available anymore.
Research & book all your dream vendors! Who have you been eyeing for photography? Who’s floral arrangements take your breath away? Who can create invitations that scream: ‘Two people who are madly in love’ in a classic, beautiful & genuine way?
Book your engagement session! After you’ve chosen your photographer, decide when would be a good time to do your engagement photos. If you’re wanting to use the photo(s) for your save the dates, make sure to plan ahead and give your graphic designer plenty of time to get them done.
DRESS SHOPPING!! Finally, the Pinterest board you have been saving of wedding dresses will finally be worth it! Pick your favorite styled wedding dress, pick out some of your favorite dress stores, invite your closest friends and family, and try on all the wedding dresses your heart desires. Pick the one that makes your heart skip a beat, the one that when you look in the mirror you already see your fiancé crying.
Choose your wedding colors. Will it be rose gold and white? Lavender and pastel green? There are so many variations to choose from, but keep your wedding style in mind when making your color decision.
Wedding party attire shopping. Knowing your colors will help this step immensely. Make an appointment for your girls and make the appointment for the guys. This is a good time to go ahead and get the groom’s tux as well. Ask the place you got your dress from if they do any special discounts since you got your dress from them. (Most places will)!
Book your honeymoon/hotel for the wedding. You’d be surprised at how fast rooms book up so it is important to get that taken care of as soon as you can! Also note: if your venue is out of town/state make sure you get ahold of nearby hotels and have them hold rooms for your guests to ensure they have a place to stay!
Register for gifts. Choose 1-3 places to register for gifts. Make a date out of it with your fiancé! Go to the stores, and then head to dinner after. Trust me, it’s a lot of fun this way!
Schedule your bridal shower and dress rehearsal. I find it easiest to use the handy Facebook events for this. No need for extra money spent on stamps and invitations as you already are spending a ton of money on other important things!
Finalize a timeline and decide on members of your family that you would like to be in your family formal pictures at the wedding. If you book me as your photographer, I assist all of my VLP couples with a customized timeline that is vendor friendly that makes the day run smoothly & stress-free. For family formals, once you decide what family members you want in the pictures, write out what sets you want. (For Example: Bride + Groom + Groom’s Parents + Groom’s Siblings)
Choose your wedding day songs. What song will you play as you walk down the aisle? What will be the song you have your first dance with your new hubby to? Your DJ should have a list of great songs to choose from if you’re having troubles thinking of some!
Schedule your final fittings and alterations. Jo Dee @ Something Blue is fantastic, otherwise talk with your dress store about options they offer!
Mail your invitations! They say to do this 6-8 weeks prior to your wedding locally. If it’s a destination wedding, give guests more time and send them out 2-3 months ahead of time. Gives everyone enough time to RSVP!
Apply for marriage license. This is an easy one to forget about, but it is one of the most important! You can’t get married without one 😉
Meet with all of your vendors to ensure everyone has the timeline and finalize all the wedding details to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Treat yo’ self! Get a mani & pedi a couple of days before your wedding. Relax, get some sleep, and dream of what married life is going to be like! This is an exciting time for you. Take a deep breath and enjoy it!
There are a lot of little things that go into wedding planning, but these are some of the most important! The things that MUST be done. And while there are (what it feels like) a million things to do to get ready for your big day, just remember there is no reason to get worked up about it. If things aren’t going exactly as planned just remember – it’s not about the ‘things’ that make up a wedding, it is about two people who are madly in love and who want to spend the rest of their lives together. So, if the only thing that goes right is the part where you say “I Do”, then you’ll be okay, because that’s what you’re here for!
So congratulations! You’re getting married!! The day is going to be perfect. I hope you’ll consider making me part of it!!